Originally a blend of Karate and boxing, KickBoxing started out in Japan in the 1950s but did not come to prominence in North America as a contact sport until 1974, when the first World Championships were held by the Professional Karate Association. Since the ’90s KickBoxing has been a foundational element of MMA, which has added to it the ground-fighting techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
KickBoxing is often used as a loose term to apply to any stand-up fighting style which allows both hand and foot strikes. In practice, MMA-style KickBoxing blends techniques from Karate, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, and boxing.
A practical, street-level martial art, KickBoxing will train you to deliver decisive blows with speed and precision while avoiding being hit yourself.
The Difference Between KickBoxing and Karate
While both are stand-up martial arts, Karate is more formalized. In Karate, students are taught primarily fist and foot strikes. The focus is on delivering powerful blows which are intended to end the fight, although in practice against any opponent with some training it is seldom that quick or clean. In Karate tournaments, knee and elbow strikes, while often taught at the dojo, are illegal. This is not to say that proficient practitioners of Karate are not highly dangerous individuals. Many have honed their techniques to a point where they can decisively end an encounter in a startlingly short period of time, even against multiple opponents. Many successful MMA fighters have Karate as a foundational art.
KickBoxing, on the other hand, is much more freestyle. It teaches ‘street-level’ fighting techniques and allows for strikes from elbows and knees as well as hands and feet. In this respect, while originally based upon Karate, modern KickBoxing is more similar to Muay Thai.
Both Karate and Kickboxing, in the hands (and feet) of someone who has put in the time and commitment to train to at least Black Belt level, allow their practitioners to defend themselves against any assailant with lesser training and even defend effectively against multiple attackers.
Taking KickBoxing to the Next Level
If you’re wondering if you should study KickBoxing or Jiu-Jitsu it depends upon your goals. If you are taking up a martial art to improve your confidence, flexibility, balance, speed, coordination and overall fitness (all very good reasons) but hope never to have to use what you know to defend yourself, then it’s a matter of personal preference. Do you prefer to use your speed and coordination to overcome your opponent? Then KickBoxing is the way to go. If you prefer to find an art where you can use leverage and technique to overcome once the fight is on the ground (and almost all fights end up on the ground) then you’ll want to study Jiu-Jitsu.
If you want to take up MMA and compete, then you should definitely learn both.
KickBoxing for Fitness
There are many, many Black Belts in the world who studied a martial art for the fitness and self-confidence benefits and who genuinely hope never to have to use what they know against another person. Martial arts in general, and especially arts like KickBoxing and Jiu-Jitsu, provide exceptional physical training and have the potential to get you into the best shape of your life. You’ll also find that you are joining a close-knit community of like-minded people who support and encourage each other. The stereotype of the ‘tough and aggressive’ martial artist is just that – a stereotype you will seldom, if ever, encounter. Martial arts teaches respect and self-control as much as self-defense, so if you’re hesitating because you think you won’t fit in you’ll be pleasantly surprised to meet the wide range of polite and normal people just like you who are rising to the challenge of mastering the art of KickBoxing.
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We offer group classes in the martial arts we teach, KickBoxing and Jiu-Jitsu. Come on out and join us! Make friends, get fit and learn to defend yourself!
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