Kickboxing is a stand-up form of striking. It consists of a variety of attacks but is commonly known for strikes with the hands and legs (punches and kicks). This is only a small part of kickboxing, however, as the form of combat includes knee strikes, elbow strikes, open palm techniques, and many other stand-up attacks.
Many people, maybe even you, envision kickboxing as the atypical straight punches (the jab and cross) as well as the atypical roundhouse kick, which is more often simply referred to as a round kick. This is a beginning point for kickboxing but even a straight punch or a round kick are not as simple as they first seem. For example, there are different versions of the round kick, or roundhouse kick. A round kick in Tae Kwon Do is different from a round kick in Muay Thai. The same can be said for other striking forms of martial arts as well.
Kickboxing is a well-rounded form of martial arts that is not in itself a traditional martial art. Kickboxing, as I know it, is a culmination of many striking martial arts. Depending on where a person has trained, and with whom, the styles they are associated with may differ. For me, I primarily use Boxing and Muay Thai, while incorporating this technique or that technique from other arts. For an associate of mine, their base is in Tae Kwon Do with supplemental training in boxing and Muay Thai.
The more you search and talk with different people or groups, the more you will see variety in what “kickboxing” is for each person.
The history of the art.
Just as kickboxing is diverse and hard to define in simple terms, so is the history of the art. Various forms of stand-up striking martial arts date back to ancient times. You can be sure that some from, if we were able to truly follow them all the way back in time, predate historical records.
Muay Thai predates the 19th century and originates in Thailand. The style is the successor of Muay Boran. Other variations of Muay Thai and Muay Boran exist. Styles that predate Muay Boran and Muay Thai are argued to be basis for Muay Boran and that other arts influenced, or are influenced by, Muay Boran.
Records on Karate vary depending on the style, historian, and other factors. According to some accounts, Karate can be traced back to Zen Buddhism in Western India with an inception date of around 1400 years ago. Others trace the history of karate back to the 19th century but state possible earlier beginnings. The exact date of origin will likely never be known.
My point is, when you look at the details of and think about kickboxing, do not dial it down to one area or set of skills. Thinks of it as a larger spectrum of skills and disciplines that can be put to together in nearly infinite ways. Appreciate where the art has come from and where it will go.
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