What is Kickboxing?


Kickboxing is an intense sport that sees some of the world’s best athletes compete against each other. Kickboxing is a blend of karate and boxing and is a stand-up combat sport. Generally practiced as a way of self-defense, a great way to exercise, or even on the competitive circuit, kickboxing offers many benefits.


kickboxing history

The earliest days of kickboxing can be traced back about 2,000 years ago in far East Asia. Back then, Muay Thai Kickboxing was practiced as a means of discipline and self-defense. For many years, Kickboxing was controlled by the Thai government but made its way to becoming a global combat sport through Bruce Lee, who brought the sport over to the United States. Kickboxing became popular in the US during the 1970s and has been ever since.

Playing Surface

kickboxing playing surface

Kickboxing takes place in a ring similar to boxing. The surface of the ring is a springy, canvas material enclosed by ropes attached to turnbuckles. The playing surface of Kickboxing allows kickboxers to move around the ring freely but does not allow for too much separation between kickboxers. Don’t confuse kickboxing with mixed martial arts (MMA), which takes place in a chain-link-enclosed octagon. kickboxing takes place in a ring very similar to boxing.  

Kickboxing Equipment

Kickboxing Equipment List

Having the essential equipment in kickboxing is very important. Not being properly equipped can result in short and long term injuries.

Here is the essential kickboxing equipment one should have:

  • Boxing Gloves - The most essential equipment a kickboxer should have. Rather than having bag gloves, kickboxers should have an actual pair of boxing gloves.
  • Mouth Guard
  • Shin Guards - due to the high volume of kicking in kickboxing, having shin guards will protect your legs from injury.


Kickboxing is a physical combat sport where two fighters face off in the ring. That being said, it is not a sport where brutality will lead to success, as it is very technical. The objective of kickboxing is to beat your opponent using various kicking and punching techniques to either knock your opponent out, get the ref to stop the fight, or win on judge’s point cards by showcasing superior technique and skill throughout the fight. 

Rules and Regulations

Kickboxing Rules and Regulations

While kickboxing offers a wider variety of options in terms of striking your opponent than karate or boxing, there are a few important rules all kickboxers must abide by.

Here are the most important Kickboxing rules you should know:

  • In a full-contact match, the only way to win is by knockout.
  • In a light-contact match, the winner has to score more points than their opponent. 
  • Kickboxers must wear the correct protective gear in competition. 


Kickboxing is a technique-based sport full of strategy.

Here are the most important kickboxing strategies you should know:

  • Distancing - it is important to understand the distance apart from your opponent, being too far apart will cause you to lose power in your technique. 
  • Defense - Being able to block and dodge is essential in kickboxing. 
  • Timing - No technique is successful in kickboxing without proper timing. 


kickboxing lingo

Here is the common lingo and slang in kickboxing:

  • Fighting Stance: Kickboxing starts with a basic stance that gets your body ready for movement.
  • Front Kick: This is a standard kickboxing move that can be done with both legs and is executed by bringing the knee up and kicking the opponent with the ball of your foot. 
  • Block: A block is deflecting your opponent’s strike at an angle, not necessarily stopping the entire momentum of the strike.



Kickboxing has been around for thousands of years and has seen very talented fighters over the course of its evolution as a sport. Kickboxing is gender-neutral and recruits talent from all backgrounds. If you are looking to learn more about kickboxing, you should familiarize yourself with some of the greats of the past as well as the biggest stars today.

Here are the most famous kickboxing players you should know:

  • Bruce Lee
  • John Wayne Parr
  • Raymond Daniels


kickboxing leagues

As kickboxing has been around for thousands of years, it has evolved to take on many different styles. Kickboxing has formed many different leagues around the world. If you want to become a kickboxer, familiarize yourself with some of the most popular kickboxing leagues.

Here are the most popular kickboxing leagues you should know:

  • One Championship
  • King in the Ring
  • World Combat League

Events and Competitions

kickboxing events and competitions

The World Kickboxing Association is the largest kickboxing organization in the world. It operates worldwide providing fighters across various backgrounds to compete. 

Here are the most popular tournaments in Kickboxing:

  • WKA US National Championships: Focusing on the Muay Thai-style of kickboxing, this tournament crowns the US Champion.
  • Glory Next Event: Similar to how UFC operates, Glory is a slate of fights sponsored by the WKA ending with a championship belt on the line.
  • WKA World Champions: An international tournament to crown a champion.

Types of Kickboxing

There are three main styles of Kickboxing. There is traditional Muay Thai, Savate, and general kickboxing. The styles differ, but kickboxing is a general term for a Martial Arts practice that uses both the hands and feet. The biggest differences between the styles are found within the intricacies of the sport. For example, Muay Thai kickboxing has an eight-point striking system whilst regular kickboxing only has a four-point striking system. Kickboxing also primarily uses kicks and punches to strike while Muay Thai has a wider variety of strikes. 

Savate differs from Muay Thai and Kickboxing as it focuses more so on kick strikes. Savate developed in France and its levels are determined and resembled by the gloves of the fighter. No style of kickboxing is better or worse than the other. Each has its own benefits and is an excellent form of exercise and self-defense.


Do you wear shoes in kickboxing?

Generally, kickboxing is practiced barefoot although some gyms will allow you to wear socks.

Is kickboxing harder than boxing?

Kickboxing requires more technique than boxing and therefore may take a longer time to learn. It also provides more options of self-defense than regular boxing.

What is the order of belts in kickboxing?

Kickboxing belts range from white to black in order of experience. There are eight different colors of belts in kickboxing, the beginner belts are white, red and yellow and are for people with less than one year of experience. Orange, green, blue and purple are for intermediate kickboxers with less than three years of experience. Brown and black are the expert colors, with five or more years of experience.