Kickboxing - Quick Guide

Kickboxing - Overview

Kickboxing is a sport where two boxers fight in the ring. The game in itself is a self- disciplinary event that teaches patience and self-defence. This tutorial will help you in learning the protocols of the game in all dimensions.

Though it is a form of physical sport that involves punches and strikes, but has its own limitations and rules. The players need to hit each other with legal strikes to earn points. Sometimes they try to knockdown each other too. The player having the maximum points at the end of the game is declared as the winner. This game is played by both men and women.


It is a form of martial art that is believed to be originated from Thailand. One of the ancient armies popularly known as Muay Boran of Siamese soldiers used to practise this as an act of self-defence. Since its inception from year 1238 to the period of king Chulalongkorn’s ascendance into the throne of Thailand, the game went through many phases and got equally popular too.

Martial art

In the earlier days, there was no protective equipment that was used, but very soon king Chulalongkorn made the use of equipment like gloves and other protective gears compulsory. This game was modified a bit by Osamu Noguchi in the form of Muay.

Participating Countries

Kickboxing is equally famous in both Asian and Non-Asian countries. Wako Asian Kicking Federation is the governing body on behalf of Asian countries and internationally it is governed by World Association of Kickboxing Organisation. The list of top five major dominating countries in the medal table of kickboxing are −

  • Vietnam
  • South Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Iraq

Kickboxing - Equipment

The basic equipments needed in this game are as follows −

Boxing Gloves

These are the most essential parts of the kickboxing. Instead of bag gloves, the boxers should have actual gloves.

In order to prevent bad smell in the gloves the boxers shall use some freshener or baby powder.

Boxing Gloves

Mouth Guard

If you need to be sparred, then mouth guard is a must for you. The reason behind is that it will reduce the impact of any hard punch on your face or chin and will also protect your teeth.

Mouth Guard

Shin Guards

While kicking the Muay Thai bags, you may not need the shin guards but while drilling on live sparring you will need them the most. This will protect you from any potential fractures.

Shin Guards

Ankle Support Wraps

As kickboxing involves a heavy movement of your ankles so it is common that they may get injured. Therefore, while working on sparring season, a coach will always advice you to put on ankle support wraps.

Ankle Support Wraps

Head Gear

It has the capability to absorb any type of hard hits that are coming towards your head and will keep it safe and protected. Do not go for cheaper ones as they are not good at giving 100% protection.

Head Gear

Kickboxing - How to Play?

Warm Up

First you need to oxygenate your blood by taking a deep breath. Do the side step, grapevine and little bit of jumping. Do toe tapping by reaching out and up with the help of a wide stance. It is good if you can reach the centreline of your body. Continue with some round house punches followed by transition from reaching up and out to the jabs.

Warm Up

Things to Remember

Following are a few pointers that will help in understanding the basics of playing this sport.

  • Position of your chin should be tucked in and down.

  • Instead of aiming for the target, try to aim behind the target.

  • Keep your eyes inline towards the direction you are punching or kicking.

  • For better results, while executing the punch, try to extend your shoulder as much as you can.

  • For balancing your body and to improvise your muscle tone, keep your abdominals tight.

  • To defend yourself, keep your fists in front of your face.

Boxer’s Stance Techniques

To keep the impact to a minimum level, stay light on your feet. Do not press hard against the floor with your heels. Try to centralise the whole weight of the body on your foot. If you are experiencing any joint pain or discomfort, then it is better to discontinue. It is not good to stay on a particular boxer’s stance for more than 5 minutes.

Basic Moves

In this section, we will learn the basic moves of kick boxing.

The Jab Punch

This is one of the most basic moves that the boxer must know to remain for a longer period in the stance. Apart from knockout, you can also win the match by earning points. Objective of the jab is to keep your opponents away from you. So let’s learn this technique in a step-by-step manner.

Note − Here we will discuss the left jab techniques. Right jab techniques are the reverse of this.

Face towards your opponent by placing your left foot in front of your right foot. This is because it is a common rule to put that side leg forward with which you want to jab and make sure that your hips are above your feet.

The position of your right hand should be in front of your chin in a defensive manner and it should be at higher level than your left. As the jab comes from the core, so transfer your weight with it with a slightest rotation while performing it to have a dynamic impact.

Although before the jab, your palms are nearby your chin, but once you start performing it with a corkscrew motion, your left palm should come down. Try to make the full extension of the arm during the jab and pull it back quickly as soon as you finish doing it. With the right amount of power and accurate precision a jab can be helpful in both defence and attack.

To distract your opponent, you can use the tapper jab. The process involves tapping your opponent’s glove with your left hand followed by uppercut to his body. Always be prepared for counter attack in this case. This means that, suppose you are in a situation where your opponent attacks you with his right hand, block it with your right. Now his left is unprotected and hence; use the jab through your left.

The Round House Kick

You may face some awkward situation when you might want to score point by attacking your opponent, but he would be protecting his front side with his fists. The only way you can attack him is from sideways and here you can use round house kick. Let’s analyse it in a detailed manner.

Round House Kick

The first step is to get closer to your target. The more you are closer, the better will be the punch. Use that arm which is farther to your opponent. This is because it will help you in putting your shoulder and hips into action to have a powerful impact.

Your area of focus should be the side of your opponent’s body, near the kidneys. Aim through your first two knuckles and keep on concentrating till the finishing of your attack. From fist to shoulder, your body should form the shape of an arc. If you want to put your opponent in amore awkward situation, try to avoid his straight punch.

Your opponent may use knee kick or front kick to distract you from applying the round house kick. Prepare well in advance about all your moves.

The Power Punch

This is another strong move that will help you in scoring good points and to successfully punch away your opponent. Perform this stand in an oblique manner to your opponent. Keep one foot ahead and one foot back.

Power Punch

The chin should be tucked in and shoulders should be in relaxed mode. Always use the rearward arm to punch because through this you can use the weight and motion of your hips and shoulders to have a stronger impact.

Aim through the target not the target surface. Alignment of your first two knuckles should be done along with the target. Remember that your arm and shoulder should be aligned in a straight line. Your area of target should be lower part of nose and centre of rib cage below chest.

The Left Hook Punch

This is the most difficult punch in kickboxing but is equally effective enough to score you a perfect point. The initial process involves keeping your left leg in forward stance and right leg in backward. Transfer the whole weight of your body upon your left leg. Position your arms in such a manner that they will form tight right angle between them.

Now with a rotation of your left foot, twist the whole upper body. Fully extend your left arm so that you can punch across the front of the body. Extension of this punch should be made fully towards the right hand side. Use your right hand for your own defence. Your target should include nose, ribs, and jaws.

The Front Kick with Forward Leg

Keep one of your foot in forward and other being about 7-12 inches behind. Now transfer the whole weight to the rear leg. Now looking at your target, lift your knee to the highest possible position.

Front Kick with Forward Leg

At your waist, try to lean backward slightly. Now extend the leg as much as you can but keep one thing in your mind that excess extension of the knee will not aid the process. Strike the target with the ball of your foot. After successful striking, return foot to the forward position.

In this type of a shot, your area of target should be groin, portion of body above waist, chin, and area below the kneecap.

The Front Kick with Rearward Leg

Keep one of your foot in forward and other being in 7-12 inches behind. Now transfer the whole weight to the front leg. Now looking at your target, lift your knee to that highest possible position. At your waist, try to lean backward slightly.

Front Kick with Rearward Leg

Now extend the leg as much as you can but remember that excess extension of the knee will not aid the process. Strike the target with the ball of your foot. After successful striking, return foot to the backward position. In this type of a shot, your area of target should be groin, portion of body above waist, chin, and the area below the kneecap.

The Side Kick – Left Kick

Put your feet apart having the distance of 7-12 inches. Put all your weight on the right side leg. Now looking at the target, lift your knee of the left leg slightly up and towards your side. From the waist side slightly move towards the right hand side. Point your toe away from the kick with a rotating action. As soon as you finish the turn, unload the knee.

Side Kick

Without hyperextending the knee, extend the left leg outward by maintaining a front stance. For the balancing purpose, you can lower your right arm to a side.

Maintain the toes in a downward direction and hit with the side blade of your foot. Soon after this, revert back the left foot to the side position.

The following table shows the area of target according to the position of your opponent.

Position of the opponent Area of target
Front of your opponent is facing you
  • Shin
  • Groin
Side of the opponent is facing you
  • Side of kneecap
  • Side of thigh

Kickboxing - Rules

Like other sports, to protect the health and safety of the players, the game has a number of rules and regulations. Every nation has its own federation to govern their respective kickboxing matches. Hence, there may be a minor change in the rules from one nation to another but the major rules remain the same.

  • In case you are playing a full contact match. To win, you must either knock your opponent completely out or else you have to hurt him so badly that he will not be able to play anymore.

  • However, if you are playing a light contact match, then you have to score more points than your opponent. This can only be possible if you have more legal strikes than your opponent.

  • Semi contact matches are similar to that of light contact matches. That means you have to score points by striking the opponent with legal strokes. Points vary between 1 to 3. The player having maximum points at the end of the match is declared as the winner.

  • As this is a physical match, the players are forced to wear protective equipment like head guards, shin and foot guards, mouth guards, groin protectors, etc. In case the player is a female she has to wear chest protector too.

  • Just before the beginning of the match, all players’ weight is recorded to ensure that they have prescribed health and weight standards according to the governing organization.

  • The timing of the matches depends on its type. For example, 3 rounds each of 2 minutes are conducted for semi and light contact type matches. Full contact matches also have the same timing schedule but each round has a period of 1 minute.

The following table indicates the legal punches and strikes that are allowed in the sport of kickboxing.

Strikes Allowed area
Hand strikes
  • Back fists
  • Hooks
  • Jabs
  • Upper cuts
  • Ridge hands
Leg strikes
  • Hook kicks
  • Front kicks
  • Axe kicks
  • Round house kicks
  • Foot sweeps
  • Back kicks

Kickboxing - Championships & Champions

The World Association of Kickboxing Organization is the governing body for arranging different types of international tournaments and championships all over the world. Apart from that, every nation has its own governing body for the game. Following is the list of major championships in kickboxing.

  • Asian Games
  • WKC Kickboxing Championships
  • World Class Kickboxing Championships
  • US National Championships


Following are some of the renowned male and female champions of kickboxing.

Benjamin Adegbuyi

Benjamin Adegbuyi is a kickboxer from Romania who debuted in kickboxing in 2011. In year 2012, he took part in the K-1 World Grand Prix where his opponent’s left hand broke. In the same year, he won the Superkombat World Grand Prix III Championship. In 2013, he won the Superkombat World Grand Prix I Championship.

He then took part in the Glory World Series and defeated Dmytro Bezus and Daniel Sam. In 2015, he participated in the Glory Heavyweight Contender Tournament and defeated Jahfarr Wilnis and Mladen Brestovac and received the Ramon Dekkers Memorial Trophy.

Xhavit Bajrami

Xhavit Bajrami is a kickboxer from Albania but he relocated to Switzerland. He was trained under Andy Hug and Michael Thompson and won many domestic fights. Then he was selected by K-1 in 1998. In 1999, he participated in the K-1 Fight Night ’99 and defeated Carl Bernardo.

In the quarter final of the tournament, he defeated Sinisa Andrija and in the semi-final he defeated Mirko Filipovic. In the finals he defeated Lloyd van Dams and won the tournament.

In 2000 and 2001, he could not get any success as he was defeated in the finals of K-1 Fight Night 2000 and K-1 Grand Prix Europe 2000. The year 2002 and 2003 were also not good for him.

But in 2004, he was able to win the ISKA World Super Heavyweight Championship. The years from 2005 to 2008 were mixed years for him. In 2009, 2011, and 2012, he won ISKA World Super Heavyweight Championship.

Vitali Akhramenko

Vitali Akhramenko is a kickboxer from Belarus who started his career as a kickboxer and won the European titles in Muay Thai boxing. In 1998, he won a gold medal at European Open Muay Thai Championship and then he debuted in the K-1 tournaments in 2001. Before this, he won the WAKO World Championships in 1999.

In 2003, he won the Cup of Arbat Tournament in the under 93 category. In 2006, he was sent to jail due to an armed robbery attempt and after completing his punishment of three years, he returned to the game arena and in 2010, he won the Tatneft Arena World Cup. In 2011, he won the Fight Code Rhinos Series.

Damien Alamos

Damien Alamos is a kickboxer from France who has won the WPMF European and World Muay Thai Championships. At the starting of his career, he won the Muay Thai Fury 2 Efucatif Fight.

Till 2009, he had won many fights and lost some too. In 2009, he was able to retain his FFSCDA Muay Thai title.

In the same year, he won the WPMF World Muay Thai title which he also retained n 2011. In 2010, he won the WPMF European title.

In 2012, he won the Lumpinee Stadium Super Lightweight title which he also retained in year 2013.

Cosmo Alexandre

Cosmo Alexandre is a kickboxer from Brazil who has won the 77Max World Championship, the WMC Intercontinental and the WPMF World Championships.

His kickboxing career started in 2004 in Brazil. In 2007, he won the WMC Middleweight Intercontinental Championship and the WPMF World Championship.

In 2008, he reached the finals of the Showtime Series Season first. In 2009, he won the WMC /S1 King’s Cup Challenger Tournament and the Showtime 77Max title which he also retained in 2010. In 2014, he won the W5 World Championship.

Ruqsana Begum

Ruqsana Begum is an English kickboxer who is currently the captain of the British Muay Thai Team. She began her kickboxing classes in 2002 and started her career in 2008. In 2009, she won a bronze medal in the World Amateur Kickboxing Championship by defeating a Malaysian opponent.

In 2010, she won the British Muay Thai Atomweight Kickboxing Championship where she defeated Paige Farrington. In 2011, she won the European Club Cup Amateur Muay Thai Championship.

In 2012, she became the captain of the British Muay Thai team and she won a bronze medal in the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur World Championship.

Cecilia Braekhus

Cecilia Braekhus is a kickboxer from Norway who has won the WBA, WBC, WPBF, and the WBO titles simultaneously. She started her kickboxing training at the age of 14 and soon started competing in amateur boxing. In 2009, she became the WBC World Champion in welterweight.

In the same year, she also won the WBA title. In 2009 also, she won both the championships. In 2010, she won the WBC, WBA, and the WBO titles and in 2014, she defeated Ivana Habazin and won the WPBF title.

Cathy Brown

Cathy Brown is a British kickboxer who has won the World Cup Foundation European Flyweight title and the BBBofC English Bantamweight title. She started her career in 1992 and, within three months, her trainer told her to compete in the tournaments.

In 2000, she won the WBFo European Flyweight title. In 2002, she competed in the WIBF International Bantamweight Title but could not win it.

In 2003 also she could not win any World Cup title. In 2006, she won the English Women’s Bantamweight title. After this competition she retired.

Graciela Casillas

Graciela Casillas is a kickboxer from America who started her career in 1976. In 1979, she became the first woman to win boxing and kickboxing titles in the Bantamweight Championships. Before starting her career in kick boxing, she chose taekwondo. After the discontinuation of classes, she started learning karate and then started learning kickboxing.

In 1979, she won eight fights in karate and in the same year, she won the WKA Women’s World Championship. In 1981, Casillas defeated Cheryl Wheeler. She announced her retirement in 1986 and joined as an instructor at Oxnard College.

Regina Halmich

Regina Halmich is a kickboxer from Germany who popularised female boxing in Europe. She is one of the most successful female boxers. She started her professional career in 1994. In her full career, she has defeated many kickboxers who were known for their kickboxing.

Elina Reid was the only one with whom her fight ended in a draw. The year 2005 was very successful for her where she defeated Marlyn Harmandez, Hollie Dunaway, and Elina Reid. In 2006, she defeated Reka Krempf by a unanimous decision. She announced her retirement in 2007.