Kickboxing (in Japanese キックボクシング kikkubokushingu) is a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.Kickboxing is practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport.
Japanese kickboxing originated in the 1960s, with competitions held since the 1960s. American kickboxing originated in the 1970s. Japanese kickboxing developed into K-1 in 1993. Historically, kickboxing can be considered a hybrid martial art formed from the combination of elements of various traditional styles. This approach became increasingly popular since the 1970s, and since the 1990s, kickboxing has contributed to the emergence of mixed martial arts via further hybridization with ground fighting techniques from jujutsu and collegiate wrestling.
There is no single international governing body. International governing bodies include World Association of Kickboxing Organizations, World Kickboxing Association, International Sport Karate Association, International Kickboxing Federation, World Sport Kickboxing Federation, among others. Consequently, there is no single kickboxing world championship, and champion titles are issued by individual promotions, such as K-1, It’s Showtime, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, among others.
The term “kickboxing” can be used in a narrow and in a wide sense.
The narrow use is restricted to the styles that self-identify as kickboxing, i.e. Japanese kickboxing (with its spin-off styles or rules such as Shoot boxing and K-1), and American kickboxing.
In the wider sense, it includes all stand-up combat sports that allow both punching and kicking, including Savate, Muay Thai, Indian boxing, Burmese boxing, Sanda, styles of Karate, etc.
Punching techniques are very much identical to boxing punches, including
Jab – straight punch from the front hand, to either the head or the body, often used in conjunction with the cross
Cross – straight punch from the back hand
Hook – rounded punch to either the head or body in an arching motion, usually not scored in points scoring
Uppercut – rising punch striking to the chin.
Short straight-punch usually striking to the chin
Backfist usually from the front hand, reverse-back fist and spinning back-fist both usually from the back hand – are strikes to the head, raising the arm and bending the arm at the elbow and then straightening the arm quickly to strike to the side of the head with the rear of the knuckles, common in “light contact”.
Flying-punch struck usually from the rear hand, the combatant hops on the front foot, kicking back with the rear foot and simultaneously extending the rear hand as a punch, in the form of “superman” flying through the sky.
Cross-counter a cross-counter is a counterpunch begun immediately after an opponent throws a jab, exploiting the opening in the opponent’s position
Overhand (overcut or drop) – a semi-circular and vertical punch thrown with the rear hand. It is usually when the opponent bobbing or slipping. The strategic utility of the drop relying on body weight can deliver a great deal of power
Bolo punch – a combination of a wide uppercut/right cross/swing that was delivered seemingly from the floor.
Half-hook – a combination of a wide jab/hook or cross/hook
Half-swing – a combination of a wide hook/swing
The standard kicking techniques are:
Front kick or push Kick/high Kick – Striking face or chest on with the heel of the foot
Side kick – Striking with the side or heel of the foot with leg parallel to the ground, can be performed to either the head or body
Semi-circular kick or forty five degree roundhouse kick
Roundhouse kick or circle kick – Striking with the front of the foot or the lower shin to the head or the body in a chopping motion
There are a large number of special or variant kicking techniques, including spinning kicks, jumping kicks, and other variants such as
Hook kick (heel kick) – Extending the leg out to the side of the body, and hooking the leg back to strike the head with either the heel or sole
Crescent kick and forward crescent kick
Axe kick – is a stomp out kick or axe kick. The stomp kick normally travel downward, striking with the side or base heel.
Back kick – is delivered with the base heel of the foot.
Sweeping – One foot or both feet of an opponent may be swept depending upon their position, balance and strength.
Spinning versions of the back, side, hook and axe kicks can also be performed along with jumping versions of all kicks
Knee and elbow strikes
The knee and elbow techniques in Japanese kickboxing, indicative of its Muay Thai heritage, are the main difference that separates this style from other kickboxing rules. See ti sok and ti khao for details.
Straight knee thrust (long-range knee kick or front heel kick). This knee strike is delivered with the back or reverse foot against an opponent’s stomach, groin, hip or spine an opponent forward by the neck, shoulder or arm
Rising knee strike – can be delivered with the front or back foot. It makes an explosive snap upwards to strike an opponent’s face, chin, throat or chest.
Hooking knee strike – can be delivered with the front or back foot. It makes a half circle spin and strikes the sides of an opponent
Side knee snap strike – is a highly-deceptive knee technique used in close-range fighting. The knee is lifted to the toes or lifted up, and is snapped to left and right, striking an opponent’s sensitive knee joints, insides of thighs, groin
There are three main defensive positions (guards or styles) used in boxing. Within each style, there is considerable variation among fighters, as some fighters may have their guard higher for more head protection while others have their guard lower to provide better protection against body punches. Many fighters vary their defensive style throughout a bout in order to adapt to the situation of the moment, choosing the position best suited to protect them.
Slip – Slipping rotates the body slightly so that an incoming punch passes harmlessly next to the head. As the opponent’s punch arrives, the boxer sharply rotates the hips and shoulders. This turns the chin sideways and allows the punch to “slip” past. Muhammed Ali was famous for extremely fast and close slips.
Bob and weave – bobbing moves the head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. As the opponent’s punch arrives, the boxer bends the legs quickly and simultaneously shifts the body either slightly right or left. Once the punch has been evaded, the boxer “weaves” back to an upright position, emerging on either the outside or inside of the opponent’s still-extended arm. To move outside the opponent’s extended arm is called “bobbing to the outside”. To move inside the opponent’s extended arm is called “bobbing to the inside”.
Parry/Block – Parrying or blocking uses the boxer’s hands as defensive tools to deflect incoming attacks. As the opponent’s punch arrives, the boxer delivers a sharp, lateral, open-handed blow to the opponent’s wrist or forearm, redirecting the punch.
The cover-up – Covering up is the last opportunity to avoid an incoming strike to an unprotected face or body. Generally speaking, the hands are held high to protect the head and chin and the forearms are tucked against the torso to impede body shots. When protecting the body, the boxer rotates the hips and lets incoming punches “roll” off the guard. To protect the head, the boxer presses both fists against the front of the face with the forearms parallel and facing outwards. This type of guard is weak against attacks from below.
The clinch – Clinching is a rough form of grappling and occurs when the distance between both fighters has closed and straight punches cannot be employed. In this situation, the boxer attempts to hold or “tie up” the opponent’s hands so he is unable to throw hooks or uppercuts. To perform a clinch, the boxer loops both hands around the outside of the opponent’s shoulders, scooping back under the forearms to grasp the opponent’s arms tightly against his own body. In this position, the opponent’s arms are pinned and cannot be used to attack. Clinching is a temporary match state and is quickly dissipated by the referee.
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