Kickboxing is a full-contact sport that can test one’s coordination, balance, and flexibility. It is indeed a challenging type of martial arts, but it’s not something to be intimidated by, especially if you’re a beginner. Kickboxing is an all-body workout and a challenging contact sport that can totally improve your physical fitness and mindset.
Try the adventure and challenge kickboxing in Egypt offers with our beginner’s guide.
What is Kickboxing?
Kickboxing is a type of martial arts loosely derived from karate, but it also borrows physical movements from other disciplines like Muat Thay and Western boxing. The main movements in kickboxing, however, focus on footwork, kicks, and punches. Elbows and knees are mostly not part of the primary person-to-person contact. Hands and feet are responsible for most of the movements.
Kickboxing today is a popular professional sport recognized globally, similar to classic contact sports like MMA and boxing. Local and international gyms offer kickboxing training for professional athletes or regular kickboxing as a form of workout. Additionally, there are also local and international competitions recognizing the best kickboxers today.
Who Oversees Kickboxing?
There is no single international governing body monitoring and overseeing kickboxing. However, there are various international governing bodies that handle kickboxing training, activities, competitions, and other events in different parts of the world. Some of the most prominent are the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO), World Kickboxing Association, International Kickboxing Federation, International Sport Karate Association, and the World Kickboxing Network.
Where Did Kickboxing Start?
Since kickboxing is a hybrid contact sport loosely derived from various types of martial arts, the sport has no single origin. The main roots of kickboxing, however, can be traced back 2000 years ago in Far East Asia, where martial arts was commonly practiced as a form of self-defense discipline.
Is Kickboxing Safe?
Kickboxing, as a type of martial arts, is generally safe. Competitions that involve person-to-person contact that aims to knockout the opponent, of course, is a different matter. These competitions are only for professionals who know the risks.
Kickboxing as a form of exercise or recreational activity is safe. It involves whole-body movements, so accidents and injuries, however, may happen from time to time, but nothing too alarming when one is training with a professional. This information is revealed by a study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“Kickboxing exercise can be a safe form of exercise for fitness purposes. Keeping music speeds below 140 beats per minute and limiting the number of kickboxing sessions per week may help to reduce injury rates,” concluded the study. The wrist and elbow areas had the highest percentage of injuries reported. The most common locations of kickboxing injury are the back, knee, and ankle. Strains, meanwhile, were the most common type of injury reported, followed by sprains and tendonitis.
Why Kickboxing is Good For You
As a form of exercise, kickboxing is actually a high-energy cardio workout. It’s a full-body exercise that can benefit your overall physical fitness, followed by your mindset if you aim to look at kickboxing as a form of overall self-improvement.
Kickboxing can tone your body, form muscle strength, improve cardiovascular health, manage weight loss, achieve better sleep, and boost mental health. Kickboxing can offer all these and more with regular participation, and if you really treat this type of martial art as your own personal type of exercise.
Although not many studies have dived deeper into the benefits of kickboxing, one study published in BMC Psychology has explicitly stated that martial arts like kickboxing can be an excellent sports-based mental health intervention that offers positive benefits.
“Martial arts training may be a suitable alternative, as it incorporates unique characteristics including an emphasis on respect, self-regulation, and health promotion. Due to this, martial arts training could be viewed as a sports-based mental health intervention that potentially provides an inexpensive alternative to psychological therapy,” said the study.
How Kickboxing Changes Your Body
Kickboxing improves the body’s flexibility, coordination, balance, and muscle reflexes as a full-body workout. For muscle improvement, kickboxing can specifically tone your arms, legs, back, core, and glutes.
You’re also moving through the entire session when kickboxing, so you can burn more calories leading to weight loss while strengthening the aforementioned muscles. According to Harvard Health, martial arts like kickboxing can burn 300-420 calories if done for 30 minutes straight.
Aside from affecting the actual form of your body, kickboxing can also improve your overall physical health as a high-intensity exercise. Your elevated heart rate can enter an intense zone when kickboxing, making it easier for cardiovascular conditioning to take place. You can avoid heart–related diseases with a regular high-intensity workout.
At What Age Can You Start Kickboxing?
Kickboxing, as a sport or workout, requires physical contact. As such, there may be age limitations, albeit not so restrictive. Some kickboxing schools, clubs, and training centers accept children as young as 5 and 6 years old, while others don’t accept kids until they are at least 8 years old. Regardless, it’s best to start kickboxing while young to improve and maintain childhood flexibility. Kickboxing schools and training centers have different approaches to different age groups, offering appropriate movements for a specific body type.
What Are The Core Elements of Kickboxing?
Kickboxing is a hybrid of different martial arts, but it only has three core elements that one should learn or master. It makes use of punching and other striking techniques. Here are three core elements of kickboxing:
Punching or BoxingWestern boxing is one of the main martial arts that inspired kickboxing, so the first core element is boxing. Most of the basic punching techniques in kickboxing come directly from classic boxing, such as jabs, uppercuts, crosses, straights, and hooks. Some of the advanced techniques are knife hand strike, superman punch, and spinning backfist. Your arms and hands will be used for attack and counter-attack when punching. Your fist is the main weapon used to generate force. That’s why beginners should always start learning boxing and the main punches when getting started.
KickingIf your fist in boxing is the main weapon to generate force for attack and counter-attack, your legs and shins are your long-range weapons in this second core element—kicking. You should be able to make contact with your opponent’s arms, head, ribcage, neck, and legs. The four basic kicks in kickboxing are left foot jab, right foot jab, left hook, and right hook.
Kicks and PunchesThe third element is the combination of kicks and punches. Kickboxers should be able to combine their kicks and punches strategically and sometimes at the same time. With this, coordination is one of the main principles you should prioritize to fully learn the three core elements. It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to master the ability of combine kicks and punches.
What to Wear to Kickboxing?
The type of clothes you would wear for kickboxing would affect your comfort level and performance. Your clothing should be loose-fitting as much as possible to allow large-range movements when kicking and punching. You can wear any sports shoes, pants or shorts, and tops that won’t hinder your ability to do complex footwork and arm movements.
Polyester is the most common fiber used in sportswear, so you might want to pick clothing made of polyester. Other fabrics you can try are nylon-spandex, polyester- spandex, and polypropylene.
What are the Essential Kickboxing Gear?
Kickboxing training done by professionals and inside a kickboxing school or training studio will require you to wear the right gear. You’ll need a good pair of boxing gloves and hand wraps that can protect and support your fists at the same time when training with a punching bag or when having physical contact.
Aside from the basics, you may also wear a mouthguard or protective head and body gear if the kickboxing school or training center requires it. These additional gear can offer more protection and prevent accidents or injuries.
Kickboxing gloves are usually different from regular boxing gloves, but the key features are subtle, and they’re mostly focused on providing protection and flexibility to the fists. Boxing aims to reward those with quick moves and powerful punches, so the point of contact when in battle is the knuckles. Boxing gloves should be able to protect the knuckles. Kickboxing, meanwhile, mostly uses the fist for striking, blocking, and clinching. Kickboxing gloves should be able to protect the fists.
The padding on kickboxing gloves should be evenly distributed around the fists. The padding should be able to offer enough protection on the back of the hand. As for flexibility, kickboxing gloves are more flexible than boxing gloves. Boxing gloves are stiffer. Kickboxing gloves ensure total flexibility by not having grip bars that will hinder the movements of the fists when striking and clinching.
If you’re only treating kickboxing as a workout, either kickboxing or boxing gloves will do. But if you plan to train and become a professional, it’s best to choose the right kickboxing gloves that can offer total flexibility.
Kickboxing Clubs in Egypt
Egypt has kickboxing schools, clubs, gyms, studios, and organizations that act as platforms to help individuals and communities recognize the value of kickboxing and promote its potential as a type of exercise or professional sport. If you’re in Egypt and constantly searching for ‘kickboxing near me’ online, Here are some of the most accessible kickboxing centers in Egypt that can help you start your journey: