Kickboxing is a combination of stand-up combat sports that are based on kicking and punching. It is a hybrid martial art as its genesis lies in several martial arts styles like Karate, Muay thai, Taekwondo and Western Boxing. It is a contact sport, which can be taken up for learning self-defence or for fitness. A few of the leading male kickboxers are Thomas Adamandopoulos, Romie Adanza, Ashwin Balrak and among the females, Azza Attoura, Anna Bogomazova, and Fredia Gibbs, are some of the leading professionals.
Kickboxing is primarily famous in Japan, North America, and Europe. It was first found by Japanese Muay thai fighter, Tatsuo Yamada, in the year 1959, who wanted to add full contact rules to Karate, that is hitting directly to be allowed. His desire for such a modified version of karate led him to establish ‘karate boxing’ along with Osamu Noguchi. Noguchi was a promoter of boxing and it was he who later coined the term ‘kickboxing’. By the year 1970, kickboxing had become quite popular in Japan. The sport started to gain recognition in North America and Europe after 1970. Initially, tournaments with features of Kick boxing were held in North America; however, they were not categorized as Kick boxing. Later, establishment of organized Associations on either side of the North Atlantic Ocean led to proliferation of the sport.
- Melts fat really fast- Kickboxing is an excellent fat burner because it combines martial arts with heart pumping cardio work out.
- Tones the entire body- Kickboxing calls for a workout involving all the body muscles. The kicks and the jumping movements define and tone legs. The core and torso area is conditioned well. The back, shoulders and arms are also toned well due to the boxing and blocking movements involved.
- Helps in self-defence – For women this is a wonderful reason to learn kickboxing.
- Stress buster- Boxing releases endorphins which reduce stress. (At the end of the day when you are tired and frustrated, you can vent out your anger by punching those boxing pads!! It’s much safer and healthier than hitting anyone for real.)
Basically kickboxing is meant for those who like to challenge themselves every day and push themselves to greater limits. However, manoeuvres involved in it can be very demanding for those who have a laid back attitude. Like every other form of martial art, Kickboxing helps you instil a sense of both calmness and exuberance.
A new form of kickboxing called aerobic kickboxing has been formed. It includes components of martial arts, cardio, and aerobics.
Classes usually start with 10-15 minutes of warm-up, which include stretching and exercises such as jumping jacks and push-ups. The warm-up session is followed by a 30-minute kickboxing session, which includes knee strikes, kicks, and punches. Some instructors may use equipment like punching bags or jump ropes. Several kickboxing institutes have adopted from Karate the style of awarding belts to students. Their reason to include the belt system was that students will be motivated and work hard in order to earn the next belt.
The general color of the belts in order of increasing rank is as follows:
A 9 year old boy Luke Harman, who suffers from Stickler’s disease, a disease that causes visual and hearing impairment, enjoys his kickboxing classes thoroughly. His father who also happens to be a kickboxing teacher said that his son doesn’t feel intimidated or shy because of his condition anymore. It is because his confidence has received an immense boost1. Hearing these words, one can definitely understand what an impetus a sport like kickboxing provides to an individual’s morale. Kickboxing makes one gain poise, flexibility, strength, and focus. All these qualities provide a momentum in improving one’s self confidence. The conception that only those who are physically fit can take up kickboxing is widespread. But this is a fad. It can be performed by anyone who has a strong will to practice it.
POPULARITY OF KICKBOXING
Celebrities like Lisa Bonnet, Pattrick Swayze, and Jodie Foster also practice kickboxing. However, Kickboxing is not as popular as the other forms of martial arts. But, its popularity is growing in the U.S. In India, too, it is gaining attention quite rapidly, mainly because of increase in awareness about health and fitness. It is also taught to the Indian soldiers. The sport provides training of techniques that can be applied in precarious situations, and it ingrains physical and mental stability. These inherent qualities of the practice make it an extremely good fit for defence personnel. In India it was introduced by Grand Master Solomon Isaac in the 1970s.
Overall kickboxing is one of the most vigorous exercises. It works wonders for your body and mind. It is so because you need to concentrate a lot to place and time your punches and kicks and a lot of movements are involved which use multiple muscle groups simultaneously. In fact, the results of a survey conducted by ESPN showed that boxing is considered the most difficult sport. A bout of 3 minutes might appear to be short to a spectator. However, a participant can truly acknowledge the endurance required to evade and throw punches for 3 long minutes.
Apart from representing the state or country in various competitions, one can also choose to be a kickboxing trainer. Several schools of this sport are mushrooming and as a result the need for properly trained kickboxing instructors is soaring. The lessons learnt in Kickboxing will definitely assist you directly or indirectly. Irrespective of your skill-level, it will always push you physically as well as mentally. The sport has a lot to offer to everyone, from a hobbyist to a soldier.