Kickboxing is a group of stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from Karate, Muay Thai, Kun Khmer and Boxing. Kickboxing is practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport.
Punching techniques are very much identical to boxing punches.
- Jab: straight punch from the front hand, to either the head or the body, often used in conjunction with the cross.
- Cross: straight punch from the back hand.
- 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: 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.
- 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.
- Hook kick or 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.
- Straight knee thrust: 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 to the toes or lifted up, and is snapped to left and right, striking an opponent’s sensitive knee joints, insides of thighs, groin.
here are three main defensive positions (guards or styles) used in kickboxing. 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: rotating 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. Muhammad Ali was famous for extremely fast and close slips.
- Bob and weave: moving the head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. As the opponent's punch arrives, the kickboxer bends the legs quickly and simultaneously shifts the body either slightly right or left. Once the punch has been evaded, the kickboxer "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: using the kickboxer'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.
- Cover-up: 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 kickboxer rotates the hips and lets incoming punches "roll" off the guard. To protect the head, the kickboxer 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.
- Clinch: form of standing grappling and occurs when the distance between both fighters has closed and straight punches cannot be employed. In this situation, the kickboxer attempts to hold or "tie up" the opponent's hands or enter neck wrestling position. In one way to perform a clinch, the kickboxer 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. Other forms of clinch involves getting control of opponents neck by collar tie or upper body by underhooks, overhooks and body lock. It is often in the clinch where knee, elbow, sweep and throw techniques are used.