Kickboxing


Kickboxing
High kick block.jpg
Focus Striking
Country of origin Japan Japan
Creator Osamu Noguchi, Yamada Tatsuo
Famous practitioners see list of kickboxers
Parenthood Muay Thai, Karate, Boxing


Kickboxing (in Japanese キックボクシング kikkubokushingu) refers to a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate, Muay Thai and western boxing.[1] Kickboxing is often practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport.[2][3][4]

Japanese kickboxing originates in the 1960s, with competitions held since the 1960s. American kickboxing originates in the 1970s. Japanese kickboxing developed into K-1 in 1993. Historically, kickboxing can be considered a hybrid martial art formed from the combination of elements of various traditional styles. This approach became increasingly popular since the 1970s, and since the 1990s, kickboxing has contributed to the emergence of mixed martial arts via further hybridization with ground fighting techniques from jujutsu and professional wrestling.

There is no single international governing body. International governing bodies include World Association of Kickboxing Organizations, World Kickboxing Association, International Sport Karate AssociationInternational Kickboxing Federation, World Kickboxing Federation, World Kickboxing Network, among others. Consequently there is no single kickboxing world championship, and champion titles are issued by individual promotions, such as K-1, It's Showtime, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, among others.

Contents

Terminology

Low kick (Roundhouse kick)
Kickboxing workout

The term "kickboxing" can be used in a narrow and in a wide sense.

The term kickboxing (キックボクシング) itself was introduced in the 1960s as a Japanese anglicism by Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi for a hybrid martial art combining Muay Thai and Karate which he had introduced in 1958. The term was later also adopted by the American variant. Since there has been a lot of cross-fertilization between these styles, with many practitioners training or competing under the rules of more than one style, the history of the individual styles cannot be seen in isolation from one another.

The French term Boxe pieds-poings (literally "feet-fists-boxing") is also used in the sense of "kickboxing" in the general meaning, including French boxing (savate) as well as American and Japanese kickboxing, Burmese and Thai boxing, any style of full contact karate, etc.

Arts labelled as kickboxing in the wider sense include:

History

Overview

Since kickboxing is a broad term that can be used both in a wide and narrow sense. This can make understanding the history somewhat difficult.

Some of the earliest forms of kickboxing included the various Indochinese martial arts especially muay boran, which developed into modern muay thai.

However in terms of modern competition, it was during the 1950's that a Japanese karateka named Tatsuo Yamada first established an outline of a new sport that combined karate and muay thai.

This was further explored during the early 1960's, when competitions between karate and muay thai began, which allowed for rule modifications to take place. By the middle of the decade the first true kickboxing events were being held in Osaka.

By the 1970s and 1980s the sport had expanded beyond Japan and had reached North America and Europe. It was during this time that many of the most prominent governing bodies were formed.

  • In Japan the sport was widely popular and was regularly broadcasted on television before going into a dark period during the 1980s.
  • In North America the sport had unclear rules so kickboxing and full contact karate were essentially the same sport.
  • In Europe the sport found marginal success but did not thrive until the 1990s.

Since the 1990s the sport has been mostly dominated by the Japanese K-1 promotion, with some competition coming from other promotions and mostly pre-existing governing bodies.

Along with the growing popularity in competition, there has been a increased amount of participation and exposure in the mass media, fitness, and self-defense.

Japanese

Tatsuo Yamada(left) and his master, Choki Motobu(right)

On December 20, 1959, a Muay Thai among Thai fighters was held at Tokyo Asakusa town hall in Japan. Tatsuo Yamada, who established "Nihon Kempo Karate-do", was interested in Muay Thai because he wanted to perform Karate matches with full-contact rules since practitioners are not allowed to hit each other directly in karate matches. At this time, it was unimaginable to hit each other in karate matches in Japan. He had already announced his plan which was named "The draft principles of project of establishment of a new sport and its industrialization" in November, 1959, and he proposed the tentative name of "Karate-boxing" for this new sport. It is still unknown whether Thai fighters were invited by Yamada, but it is clear that Yamada was the only karateka who was really interested in Muay Thai. Yamada invited a Thai fighter who was the champion of Muay Thai (and formerly his son Kan Yamada's sparring partner), and started studying Muay Thai. At this time, the Thai fighter was taken by Osamu Noguchi who was a promoter of boxing and was also interested in Muay Thai. The Thai fighter's photo was on the magazine "The Primer of Nihon Kempo Karate-do, the first number" which was published by Yamada.

There were "Karate vs. Muay Thai fights" February 12, 1963. The three karate fighters from Oyama dojo (Kyokushin later) went to the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Thailand, and fought against 3 Muay Thai fighters. The 3 Kyokushin Karate fighters' names are Tadashi Nakamura, Kenji Kurosaki and Akio Fujihira (as known as Noboru Osawa). Japan won by 2-1: Tadashi Nakamura and Akio Fujihira both KOed opponents by punch while Kenji Kurosaki was KOed by elbow. This should be noted that the only Japanese loser Kenji Kurosaki was then a Kyokushin instructor rather than a contender and temporarily designated as a substitute for the absent chosen fighter. Noguchi studied Muay thai and developed a combined martial art which Noguchi named kick boxing, which absorbed and adopted more rules than techniques from Muay Thai. The main techniques of kickboxing is still derived from Japanese Full Contact Karate (Kyokushinkai). However, throwing and butting were allowed in the beginning to distinguish it from Muay Thai style. This was later repealed. The Kickboxing Association, the first kickboxing sanctioning body, was founded by Osamu Noguchi in 1966 soon after that. Then the first kickboxing event was held in Osaka, April 11, 1966.

Tatsu Yamada died in 1967, but his dojo changed its name to Suginami Gym, and kept sending kickboxers off to support kickboxing.

Kickboxing boomed and became popular in Japan as it began to be broadcast on TV. By 1970, kickboxing was telecast in Japan on three different channels three times weekly. The fight cards regularly included bouts between Japanese (kickboxers) and Thai (muay thai) boxers. Tadashi Sawamura was an especially popular early kickboxer. In 1971 the All Japan Kickboxing Association (AJKA) was established and it registered approximately 700 kickboxers. The first AJKA Commissioner was Shintaro Ishihara, the long time Governor of Tokyo. Champions were in each weight division from fly to middle. Long time kickboxer Noboru Osawa won the AJKA bantam weight title, which he held for years. Raymond Edler, an American university student studying at Sophia University in Tokyo, took up kickboxing and won the AJKC middleweight title in 1972; he was the first non-Thai to be officially ranked in the sport of Thai Boxing, when in 1972 Rajadamnern ranked him no. 3 in the Middleweight division. Edler defended the All Japan title several times and abandoned it. Other popular champions were Toshio Fujiwara and Mitsuo Shima. Most notably, Fujiwara was the first non-Thai to win an official Thai Boxing title, when he defeated his Thai opponent in 1978 at Rajadamnern Stadium winning the Lightweight Championship bout.

By 1980 due to poor ratings and then infrequent television coverage the golden-age of kickboxing in Japan was suddenly finished. Kickboxing had not been seen on TV until K-1 was founded in 1993. In 1993, as Kazuyoshi Ishii (founder of Seidokaikan karate) produced K-1 under special kickboxing rules (No elbow and neck wrestling) in 1993, kickboxing became famous again.[9][10]

North America

Hook-punch

Count Dante, Ray Scarica and Maung Gyi held the United States' earliest cross-style full-contact style martial arts tournaments as early as 1962. Between 1970 and 1973 a handful of kickboxing promotions were staged across the USA. In the early days the rules were never clear, one of the first tournaments had no weight divisions and all the competitors fought off until one was left. During this early time, kickboxing and full contact karate are essentially the same sport.

The institutional separation of American Full Contact Karate from kickboxing occurs with the formation of the Professional Karate Association (PKA) in 1974 and of the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) in 1976. The impetus of the WKA on world martial arts as a whole was revolutionary. They were the first organised body of martial arts on a global scale to sanction fights, create ranking systems, and institute a development programme.

In the eighties, many fighters defected to the rival World Karate Association (WKA) because of the PKA's policy of signing fighters to exclusive contracts; plus, the PKA sanctioned fights exclusively with what has become known as "full contact rules" which permit kicks only above the waist as opposed to the international rules advocated by the WKA which is similar to kickboxing promotions in Japan and other countries in Asia and Europe. Because of the cost vs. revenue contracts within the PKA, many of the promoters also left the organization and formed the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) in 1985, and in the late eighties a struggle for control of the PKA developed between the Quines and equal partner Joe Corley, leading to the decline of the organization as a business entity.[11] The right to use the organization title was afterward contested.[12]


The International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) was founded in 1992. It is the most active kickboxing sanctioning body in North America and one of the top 3 worldwide organizations. The IKF also hosts the Largest All Amateur - Full Contact & Muay Thai - Kickboxing Tournament in the World, the IKF World Classic.

Europe

American kickboxing was promulgated in Germany from its inception in the 1970s by Georg F. Brückner. Brückner in 1976 was co-founder of the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations. The term "kickboxing" as used in German-speaking Europe is therefore mostly synonymous with American kickboxing. The elbow and knee techniques allowed in Japanese kickboxing by contrast were associated with Muay Thai, and Japanese kickboxing went mostly unnoticed in German-speaking Europe before the launch of K-1 in 1993.

By contrast, in the Netherlands kickboxing was introduced in its Japanese form, by Jan Plas and Thom Harinck who founded NKBB (The Dutch Kickboxing Association) in 1976. Harinck also founded the MTBN (Dutch Muay Thai Association) in 1983, and the WMTA (World Muay Thai Association) and the EMTA (European Muay Thai Association) in 1984. The most prominent kickboxing gyms in Netherlands, Mejiro Gym, Chakuriki Gym, Vos Gym and Golden Glory, were all derived from or were significantly influenced by Japanese Kickboxing and Kyokushin Karate.

Dutch athletes have been very successful in the K-1 competitions. Out of the 18 K-1 World Grand Prix championship titles issued from 1993 to 2010, 15 went to Dutch participants (Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Remy Bonjasky, Semmy Schilt. The remaining three titles were won by Branko Cikatić of Croatia in 1993, Andy Hug of Switzerland in 1996, and Mark Hunt of New Zealand in 2001.

Individual rulesets

Japanese kickboxing

Japanese Kickboxing is combat sport created by the Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi and Tatsuo Yamada (Karate practitioner). It was the first combat sport that adopted the name of "Kickboxing" in 1966, later termed "Japanese kickboxing" as a retronym. Japanese kickboxing has developed into K-1 in 1993.

These rules are almost same as Muay Thai rules:

  • Similarities
    • Time: three minutes × five rounds
    • Allowed to kick the lower half of the body except crotch
    • Allowed to do neck-wrestling (folding opponent's head with arms and elbows to attack the opponent's body or head with knee-strikes, but only depending on the rules of clinch and knees)
    • Allows knee strikes
    • Head butts and throws were banned in 1966 for boxers' safety.
  • Differences
    • No ram muay before match
    • No Thai music during the match
    • Interval takes one minute only as same as boxing
    • Point system:
      In Muay Thai, kicking to mid-body and head are scored highly generating a large number of points on judges' scorecards. Moreover, kicking is still judged highly even if the kick was blocked. In contrast, punching is worth fewer points. In kickboxing punches and kicks are held in closer esteem.

American kickboxing

In the full-contact sport the male boxers are bare-chested wearing shorts and protective gear including: mouth-guard, hand-wraps, 10 oz (280 g). boxing gloves, groin-guard,butt-guard and optional shin-pads, kick-boots, protective helmet (usually for those under 16). The female boxers will wear a sports bra and chest protection in addition to the male clothing/protective gear. In International kickboxing, where kicks to the thigh are allowed using special low-kick rules, use of Thai shorts instead of long trousers is possible. In addition, amateur rules often allow less experienced competitors to use light or semi-contact rules, where the intention is to score points by executing successful strikes past the opponent's guard, and use of force is regulated. The equipment for semi-contact is similar to full-contact matches, usually with addition of headgear. Competitors usually dress in a t-shirt for semi-contact matches, to separate them from the bare-chested full-contact participants.[13]

These are the rules used in American Full Contact Karate.

  • Opponents are allowed to hit each other with fists and feet, striking above the hip
  • Using elbows or knees is forbidden and the use of the shins is seldom allowed.
  • Bouts are usually 3 to 12 rounds (lasting 2 – 3 minutes each) for amateur and professional contests with a 1-minute rest in between rounds.

This is in direct contrast to Muay Thai, where the use of elbows and knees are allowed. In fact, some Muay Thai practitioners consider American kickboxing a "watered down" version of Muay Thai. Fighters and promoters can agree to various rules including kicks only above the waist, kicks anywhere, no knee strikes, knees only to the body, and so on. American Kickboxing is essentially much a mixture of Western Boxing and Traditional Karate.
The round durations and the number of rounds can vary depending on the stipulations agreed to beforehand by each fighter or manager. A winner is declared during the bout if there is a submission (fighter quits or fighter's corner throws in the towel), knockout (KO), or referee stoppage (Technical Knock Out, or TKO). If all of the rounds expire with no knockout then the fight is scored by a team of 3 judges. The judges determine a winner based on their scoring of each round. A split decision indicates a disagreement between the judges, while a unanimous decision indicates that all judges saw the fight the same way and all have declared the same winner.

International ruleset

The "International Kickboxing" ruleset by the International Kickboxing Federation contrasts with the American kickboxing rules in that it allows also low kicks.

These are the rules for International rules Kickboxing.

  • Opponents are allowed to hit each other with punches and kicks, including kicks below the waist, except for the crotch.
  • Using knees, elbows, head, mouth or clinching is forbidden.
  • Bouts are usually 3 to 12 rounds (lasting 2 minutes each) for amateur and professional contests with a 1-minute rest in between rounds.

Other kickboxing styles

Semi Contact:
Semi-contact is a fighting discipline where two fighters fight with the primary goal of scoring greater points using controlled legal techniques with speed and focus. The main characteristics of semi-contact are delivery, technique and speed. The competition in semi-contact should be executed in its true sense with light and well-controlled contact. It is a technical discipline with equal emphasis put on hand and foot techniques from an athletic viewpoint. Techniques (punches and kicks) are strictly controlled. At each valid point (a point that is awarded, with a legal part of hand or foot to legal targets and with legal technique), the central referee halts the fight and at the same time as the two judges, shows with his/her fingers the number of points in the direction of the fighter who is being awarded points. Fighters will enter the tatami and touch gloves. They will then step back and assume a fighting stance and wait for the command FIGHT from the referee. The time will only be stopped on the command of the referee, by calling TIME toward the area control table. Time is not stopped to award points or penalties unless the referee feels it is necessary. A fighter may have one coach and one second in his corner during the match.

Light Contact (or medium-contact)
Competition in Light Contact kickboxing should be executed as its name implies, with well-controlled techniques. In light contact competitors fight continuously until the central referee commands STOP or BREAK. They use techniques from full contact, but these techniques must be well controlled when they land on legal targets. Equal emphasis must be placed on both punching and kicking techniques. Light contact has been created as an intermediate stage between semi and full contact kickboxing. It is carried out with running time. The central referee doesn't judge the fighters, but only makes sure they respect the rules. The fight could be held in a tatami or in a ring.

Techniques

Punching

Punching techniques are essentially identical to boxing punches, including

  • Jab - straight punch from the front hand, to either the head or the body, often used in conjunction with the cross
  • Cross (Straight punch)
  • Hook - rounded punch to either the head or body in an arching motion, usually not scored in points scoring
  • Uppercut - rising punch striking to the chin.
  • Short straight-punch usually striking to the chin
  • Backfist usually from the front hand, reverse-back fist and spinning back-fist both usually from the back hand - are strikes to the head, raising the arm and bending the arm at the elbow and then straightening the arm quickly to strike to the side of the head with the rear of the knuckles, common in “light contact”.
  • Flying-punch struck usually from the rear hand, the combatant hops on the front foot, kicking back with the rear foot and simultaneously extending the rear hand as a punch, in the form of "superman" flying through the sky.
  • Cross-counter a cross-counter is a counterpunch begun immediately after an opponent throws a jab, exploiting the opening in the opponent's position
  • Overhand(overcut or drop) - a semi-circular and vertical punch thrown with the rear hand. It is usually when the opponent bobbing or slipping. The strategic utility of the drop relying on body weight can deliver a great deal of power
  • Bolo punch - a combination of a wide uppercut/right cross/swing that was delivered seemingly from the floor.
  • Half-hook - a combination of a wide jab/hook or cross/hook
  • Half-swing - a combination of a wide hook/swing

Kicking

The standard kicking techniques are:

  • Front Kick or push Kick/high Kick - Striking face or chest on with the heel of the foot
  • Side Kick - Striking with the side or heel of the foot with leg parallel to the ground, can be performed to either the head or body
  • Semi-circular Kick or forty five degree roundhouse kick
  • Roundhouse Kick or circle kick - Striking with the front of the foot or the lower shin to the head or the body in a chopping motion

There are a large number of special or variant kicking techniques, including spinning kicks, jumping kicks, and other variants such as

  • Hook Kick (heel kick) - Extending the leg out to the side of the body, and hooking the leg back to strike the head with either the heel or sole
  • Crescent Kick and forward crescent kick
  • Axe Kick – is a stomp out kick or Axe kick. The stomp kick normally travel downward, striking with the side or base heel.
  • Back Kick – is delivered with the base heel of the foot.
  • Sweeping – One foot or both feet of an opponent may be swept depending upon their position, balance and strength.

Spinning versions of the back, side, hook and axe kicks can also be performed along with jumping versions of all kicks

Knee and elbow strikes

The knee and elbow techniques in Japanese kickboxing, indicative of its Muay Thai heritage, are the main difference that separates this style from other kickboxing rules. See Ti sok and Ti khao for details.

  • Straight Knee Thrust (Long-range knee kick or front heel kick). This knee strike is delivered with the back or reverse foot against an opponent’s stomach, groin, hip or spine an opponent forward by the neck, shoulder or arm
  • Rising Knee Strike – can be delivered with the front or back foot. It makes an explosive snap upwards to strike an opponent’s face, chin, throat or chest.
  • Hooking Knee Strike – can be delivered with the front or back foot. It makes a half circle spin and strikes the sides of an opponent
  • Side Knee Snap Strike – is a highly-deceptive knee technique used in close-range fighting. The knee is lifted o the toes or lifted up, and is snapped to left and right, striking an opponent’s sensitive knee joints, insides of thighs, groin

Defense

There are three main defensive positions (guards or styles) used in boxing. Within each style, there is considerable variation among fighters, as some fighters may have their guard higher for more head protection while others have their guard lower to provide better protection against body punches. Many fighters vary their defensive style throughout a bout in order to adapt to the situation of the moment, choosing the position best suited to protect them.

  • Slip - Slipping rotates the body slightly so that an incoming punch passes harmlessly next to the head. As the opponent's punch arrives, the boxer sharply rotates the hips and shoulders. This turns the chin sideways and allows the punch to "slip" past. Muhammed Ali was famous for extremely fast and close slips.
  • Bob and weave - bobbing moves the head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. As the opponent's punch arrives, the boxer bends the legs quickly and simultaneously shifts the body either slightly right or left. Once the punch has been evaded, the boxer "weaves" back to an upright position, emerging on either the outside or inside of the opponent's still-extended arm. To move outside the opponent's extended arm is called "bobbing to the outside". To move inside the opponent's extended arm is called "bobbing to the inside".
  • Parry/Block - Parrying or blocking uses the boxer's hands as defensive tools to deflect incoming attacks. As the opponent's punch arrives, the boxer delivers a sharp, lateral, open-handed blow to the opponent's wrist or forearm, redirecting the punch.
  • The Cover-Up - Covering up is the last opportunity to avoid an incoming strike to an unprotected face or body. Generally speaking, the hands are held high to protect the head and chin and the forearms are tucked against the torso to impede body shots. When protecting the body, the boxer rotates the hips and lets incoming punches "roll" off the guard. To protect the head, the boxer presses both fists against the front of the face with the forearms parallel and facing outwards. This type of guard is weak against attacks from below.
  • The Clinch - Clinching is a rough form of grappling and occurs when the distance between both fighters has closed and straight punches cannot be employed. In this situation, the boxer attempts to hold or "tie up" the opponent's hands so he is unable to throw hooks or uppercuts. To perform a clinch, the boxer loops both hands around the outside of the opponent's shoulders, scooping back under the forearms to grasp the opponent's arms tightly against his own body. In this position, the opponent's arms are pinned and cannot be used to attack. Clinching is a temporary match state and is quickly dissipated by the referee.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Martin, Andy (April 17, 1995). "Is it just karate without the philosophy? Not according to Big Daddy Chris Ozar reigning from Jersey City. He's been kickboxing for years.". Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/is-it-just-karate-without-the-philosophy-1616073.html. Retrieved 2010-08-20. ; "Kickboxing climbs up to be at par with other martial arts". The Economic Times. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Features/The-Sunday-ET/Kickboxing-climbs-up-to-be-at-par-with-other-martial-arts/articleshow/4794056.cms. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  2. ^ "Directory : Kick-boxing is the hottest workout in town, thanks to a streetwise fighter called Catwoman. Here's where to get your kicks.". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-07-17/news/vw-3615_1_kick-boxing-champion. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Offering a Fighting Chance to Get in Shape". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/may/22/news/ss-52288. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  4. ^ "POWERFUL! KICKBOXING IS A KILLER, THRILLER WORKOUT". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-08-18/features/9808180234_1_kickboxing-breath-conditioning. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  5. ^ said to be from a Sanskrit word mavya[citation needed]
  6. ^ "Get in shape at a Thai kickboxing camp". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2008-10-13-thai-kickboxing_N.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  7. ^ "FITNESS BOUND; Holiday pounds? Give 'em a swift kick". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2006/dec/18/health/he-savate18. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  8. ^ "Kungfu goes international". Shanghai Star. http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2002/0801/sp30-1.html. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  9. ^ Maylam, J. (2001): K-1 hits the spot: Ultimate fighters pack a punch The Japan Times (October 21, 2001). Retrieved on November 25, 2010.
  10. ^ Tashiro, H., & Tyrangiel, J. (2001): Turning the martial arts into mondo mayhem TIME (September 3, 2001). Retrieved on November 25, 2010.
  11. ^ Bill Wallace (October 1988) (Digitized by Google Books). The Decline and Fall of the PKA Empire. Black Belt Magazine. p. 13. http://books.google.com/books?id=6toDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA13&dq=%22Professional+Karate+Association%22+-inpublisher:icon&as_brr=0&cd=3#v=onepage&q=%22Professional%20Karate%20Association%22%20-inpublisher%3Aicon&f=false. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "About PKA". http://www.pkakickboxing.tv/aboutPKA.html. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "This sport needs a role model To its followers, kickboxing is the best of both worlds". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-12-06/sports/9204210446_1_kickboxing-bruce-lee-sport. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 

Sources

  • Muay Thai Kickboxing - The Ultimate Guide to Conditioning, Training and Fighting, Chad Boykin, 2002, Paladin Press, Boulder, Colorado. ISBN 1-58160-320-7
  • Thai Kickboxing For Beginners, Peter Belmar, 2006, Lulu Press. ISBN 978-1-4116-9983-0

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