Sports, by definition, is a physical activity that tests and increases a person’s physical abilities. Through training, the human body is conditioned to exceed beyond its average limits to accomplish the demands of a certain sport. It’s not an easy or abrupt process. Training for sports requires a certain duration. Sports is also viewed as an activity meant to signify that the capability of men is limitless.
In the past, sporting events were revered and held in high honor because only a few men can participate. But today, there’s no title or exclusivity. Sports is for everyone who wants to try it. It’s also perceived as a profession, a means of entertainment or recreation, a stress-relieving pastime, and a means to a healthier lifestyle.
Kickboxing as a Sport
I love kickboxing. Many people agree with me on this sentiment. It’s one of the few sports that requires holistic improvement to allow full control of the body and its motions. This is needed if you are to spar with someone in the ring.
Kickboxing is a combat sport based on a combination of kicks and punches. It’s done standing up. This activity developed with the application of boxing and karate. Most of the time, people practice this for self-defense, others for fitness. There are two variations. Japanese Kickboxing started in the 1950s. American Kickboxing, on the other hand, developed during the 1970s and officially became a sport when PKA (Professional Karate Association) held the sport’s World Championships on September 1974.
The activity is more than just a sport. Many want to engage and participate in fitness. Kickboxing lessons for beginners are offered in many schools.
Kickboxing: Why It’s the best health routine
Mundane routine and gym workouts are repetitive. Hence, these options have a tendency to become boring. When you don’t have the drive or motivation to workout, it affects your body and overall health. This is the reason why many people have decided to switch up their routine.
Incorporating or even focusing on sports can make things more entertaining and challenging. If you want to workout and at the same time learn new things, engaging physical activities like sports is a good thing. In this regard, Kickboxing will definitely be a good choice.
History of Kickboxing
Before Kickboxing gain prominence and before it was officially considered a sport, it underwent different processes and changes. It’s an activity that was formed because of various influences from other physical activities.
The PKA is the organization that shone the light on this sport on September 1974 when it created and hosted the first World Championships for Kickboxing. Experts consider kickboxing the ‘hybrid martial art’ because of its numerous influence from various combat styles all over the world. This activity is also considered the foundation of what many know today as mixed martial arts. But one may notice that in MMA, you aren’t just fighting while standing. There are also ground combats influenced by Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other martial art forms.
Kickboxing for adults is often confused with other contact sports and activities. People often use the terms differently. While it’s true that most combat and physical sports belong in the same category, there are differences. The comparisons below will explain things properly.
Boxing vs Kickboxing
It’s pretty easy to spot the difference between the two sports. The foundation of both sports is the same. But the key difference is the use of both feet and hands in kickboxing. Boxing involves punches but your feet is never used for attacking. It’s used for deflecting and for carrying your body to different places in the ring. In kickboxing, both hands and feet are used for offense. Boxing follows the principle of attacking and blocking. Kickboxing, on the other hand, is more aggressive since you don’t necessarily learn to deflect first. You are often taught to attack with both your weapons.
Dodging strikes for both sports are different as well. You can’t dodge downwards for kickboxing since there’s a chance that a kick will hit you. Hitting below the belt is forbidden in boxing while you can attack and be attacked in different places of the body for kickboxing.
Jiu Jitsu vs Kickboxing
The biggest difference between the two sports is how techniques are executed. Kickboxing uses techniques that require players to fight while standing up. You kick, hit, and punch upright. Jiu Jitsu, which originated from Brazil, is a contact sport that involves ground fights. This means you will be grappling and wrestling on the ground. Jiu-jitsu also focuses on pinning down or locking a specific body part of the opponent to discourage mobility and to decrease the effectiveness of their attacks. There are more attack variations for jiu-jitsu. However, it is also very demanding since fighting on the ground doesn’t give you much advantage unless you are well-trained with the technique.
MMA vs Kickboxing
MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and is an umbrella term used to describe a combination of combat techniques used in the ring. While kickboxing lets you fight, you often attack, punch or kick standing up. MMA doesn’t have boundaries. There are lesser limits and more attack strategies to choose from. Everything depends on the competitor. Because there are different options for attacks, it also increases the risk of getting hit. In MMA, you need to be smart about your strategies and to take control of the game immediately.
Muay Thai vs Kickboxing
Kickboxing is more generic than Muay Thai. Where Kickboxing is heavily influenced by other traditional techniques from different places, Muay Thai is a refined art that came from traditional Thai Martial arts alone.
Kickboxing involves kicking and punching with variations on the strategies of how these kicks and punches are administered. You are also encouraged to wear gloves.
Muay Thai allows the use of elbows and knees for attacks. You aren’t just limited to punches and kicks. You are also allowed to use clinches for attacks. Muay Thai practitioners don’t often wear gloves.
In a way, Muay Thai can be considered a kickboxing activity. However, it is more refined and it has more techniques.
8 Benefits of Kickboxing for Health
I’ve continuously talked and blabbed about how beneficial the sport is for your body. But how does this help exactly? Which specific parts and components are improved and strengthened? Are there specific systems targeted? How are these developed?
All of these questions can be answered by the facts below:
- Burns fat faster – The activity allows you to burn 800 calories every hour. If you keep up with a high-intensity training, you will lose weight and tone your muscles along the way. People who need to get in shape fast, those who wish to lose weight properly, and even individuals who love high-strung activities will benefit from this. Kickboxing is a high-power workout that demands the body, hence burns calories faster.
- Best for cross-training – Ever feel bored about your current workout? At some point, many felt this way. And they started looking for things that will make their routines more challenging and fun while expecting the same effects. Substitute the normal weights for weighted gloves and you can feel the burn easily. It’s recommended that you alternate your routines so you won’t feel too worn out after. After, you’ll get what they call a ‘kickboxing body’.
- Better energy booster – The human body is fascinating in its contradictions. When exposed to strenuous and highly-physical activities for the first time, its no surprise that your energy drains. But with the continued exposure of the body to such activities, you are slowly using stored fat as energy. With high-paced activities like kickboxing, you will not only feel physical invigoration. There is the mental boost as well.
- Improvement of coordination – By strengthening your core, you improve your balance. Coordination is improved because this is required. Most maneuvers require players to have good balance and coordination. On top of that, they also need strength. All of these can be experienced through kickboxing.
- Helps reduce stress – The activity doesn’t only have physical advantages. It also provides mental benefits and improves mental and emotional health. These improvements, although not readily apparent, are still essential to anyone’s well-being. Stress is difficult to handle. And without the proper outlet, this can cause other issues and severe illnesses. Notice how you instantly forget about the things that worry you once you start your kickboxing routines.
- Confidence level booster – Doing high-intensity activities like kickboxing helps release endorphins. These are the hormones in charge of your moods. Most people will tell you that endorphin boosts make you happier. But that’s not all. It’s also useful in boosting confidence which is something that many individuals need.
Other Fascinating Facts About Kickboxing
Kickboxing won’t be what it is today if there weren’t any notable events. For every established event or sport is a story.
- The United States has listed over 30,000 martial arts schools. 75 percent of that specific number has kickboxing programs for actual competition or as part of a fitness program.
- Kickboxing is considered a holistic approach for fitness. It’s also an aerobic activity that improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens the condition of your body. With its fitness benefits, many consider kickboxing for weight loss. It also helps strengthen your heart and improve flexibility.
- The International Kickboxing Federation coordinates the most Kickboxing events for both the amateur and professional categories. There are several organizations that claim they ‘sanction more’. But this hasn’t been founded (and I’m not dropping names). According to data, IKF has organized the most event over the years.
- The average age range of people currently in the sport is 16 to 35. Of course, there are practitioners way above the age range.
- The sport charmed numerous businesses and corporations to provide sponsorships for a variety of events. Sponsors came from the top ranks of their own industries. It’s at this time people became aware of the immense popularity and influence of the said activity.
- Other health benefits of kickboxing: builds and strengthens your core and improves your balance drastically. It’s not only the upper body that benefits from kickboxing routines. The lower body, specifically your legs, become stronger. The lower body is fully utilized for defecting attacks and for attacking. Apart from developing lower body coordination and precision, it also strengthens the legs which is required to create an impact with every hit.
- It’ll be surprising to know that the safety rules of Kickboxing has promoted and upheld overall safety. This reduced the number of injuries. Boxing is reported to have more fatalities with competitors ending up in hospitals.
- A study conducted at the University of Mississippi has proven how beneficial kickboxing is for your body and how it improves heart health. Simply put, kicking and punching help relieve stress that’s a common denominator for severe health issues these days.
- Martial arts gear sales and all the other related equipment has increased over the past decades.
- A flexible body means a healthier body. One important factor in learning kickboxing is flexibility. This newfound ability is useful and essential for day to day activities and in avoiding injuries. Flexibility encourages mobility. Having full command of your muscles prevents any issues and helps with common physical activities.
- It’s discovered that books related to martial arts and kickboxing are what interests most people seeing the checkout percentage of such books as compared to all the other categories.
- Over 10,000 people are recorded in the Competitive Professional level for Kickboxing. Several thousands more than that number are listed in the amateur category.
What you Need to Start Kickboxing
There are different glove options. While it’s tempting to go for generic gloves, many experts won’t recommend this. Gloves are crucial for your hand’s protection. Get actual boxing gloves. The most ideal weights for beginners are 14 oz or 16 oz gloves. To be sure, fit them and try them out. Equipment stores allow buyers to choose according to what fits them best since it affects their play. When in doubt, relying on household sports equipment brands might work. High-quality ones are considered brand names even in the sports category. Learning care tips helps prolong the usability and functionality of a pair.
Pro care tip to remember: Always use antiperspirants or powders before using your gloves. Spray it with Lyso. Air it out and let it dry after.
Aside from gloves, hand wraps are crucial for wrist and hand protection. With the constant pressure and strength used by your hands for punches and other moves, injuries are highly likely to happen. Experts recommend the use of hand wraps at all times. This is constantly used compared to gloves. Some hand wrap types are inconvenient to put on and it also takes time. If this becomes a problem for you, you can try the slip-on types. There’s no ‘wrapping’ involved. But it has the same functions.
Pro care tip to remember: Compared to your gloves, you’ll constantly be wearing hand wraps until the end of your workout or class. It gets sweaty. Experts recommend constant washing right after every use. Buy spares and several pairs of hand wraps.
Remember that kickboxing is a contact sport. Sparring is a way to practice your drills and new techniques. Getting hit in the face or chin or any related part is inevitable. To prepare, a mouthguard is essential, unless you want to lose your teeth. You’ll see different options for mouth guards. Professionals have their own guards customized to fit their mouth and to make their teeth more comfortable. Having mouthguards, even if it’s not an actual sparring session, prevents injuries by reducing the impact of every hit
Pro care tip to remember: To ensure the mouthguard fits, boil it with water for 30 seconds. It softens the material and helps the material to easily fit your mouth. Boiling gets rid of bacteria as well. Since it’s used in a sensitive area, keeping it sanitary is crucial.
Best Kickboxing Shoes
Wearing shoes is optional. However for beginners, using this is recommended. Try not to confuse shoes worn specifically for boxing and the ones used specifically for kickboxing. There are slight differences since you’ll be using your feet for attacks. The pair shouldn’t have any material that can cause unintentional injury to your opponent. If you’re not certain what to choose, you can start with kickboxing shoe reviews. Several sports blog and fitness websites often list their favorite equipment with a product description and review included. Their list will come in handy.
Pro care tip to remember: There are different choices for shoes. Different brands are also present. This creates confusion. The trick is to always go for comfort rather than style.
This is a sparring must-have. Beginners absolutely need this. Any strong impact from a punch or kickboxing kicks to the head or to your face will be reduced when you have head gears on. The good thing is there are different varieties to choose from. However, you must remember that protective gear must be of high-quality for it to function properly. Price should be the least of your concerns when it comes to safety.
Pro tip to remember: For every kickboxing equipment you purchase, cleanliness is imperative. While head gears aren’t used as often as others, it still needs constant cleaning and washing. Apart from the smell, bacteria and dirt can fester which can cause an infection or illness.
Kickboxing is a contact sport. You get physical and it demands a lot from your body. The equipment used and needed isn’t just to protect you. It’s also necessary to your opponent on the other end of the ring. This must never be done with the motivation of hurting anyone. With the benefits it offers, kickboxing is surely worth a try! It might be the activity you’re looking for.