Did you know that kickboxing technically originated in Japan?
A Japanese karate master Tatsuo Yamada became really interested in the ancient Thai sport of Muay Thai. He wanted to incorporate its rules with karate to make a full contact version. In the 1960’s, there were big Muay Thai events that took place in Osaka.
Karate athletes wanted to test it out against their own artform so they entered competitions versus Muay Thai athletes to see which form would win. While the karatekas won, it prompted some to learn Muay Thai and eventually came up with a hybrid sport which they dubbed “kickboxing”.
It saw its heyday in the 70’s, and spread to the West in the 80’s. These days, kickboxing has branched out of the combat arena and into the workout and recreation realm.
Innovations in aerobic exercises in the 90’s came in the form of incorporating martial arts movements while dancing to music. The kickboxing style taught at gyms today for the purpose of body toning and weightloss stems from those innovations.
If you’re working towards a better physique and overall body conditioning, this sport can definitely help. Its benefits include:
- Burning fat
- Increase flexibility
- Healthier heart
- Improved strength and stamina
- Develop balance
- Mental strength training
Things to Note
Fight vs. Cardio Kickboxing
The martial art is a combination of two practices that are borne of the need for self-defense and offense. If you want to compete, you’d have to specify that you want to learn the combat form of the practice. The cardio version is optimized for workout purposes and does not really offer anything in the form of defense.
In short, if you’re only doing kickboxing for fitness, it’s better to not get into fights with real martial artists.
Either way you choose, you will need someone to guide you through the practice. Gyms or studios offering lessons have instructors for both purposes. They will come in handy especially for mental conditioning – sometimes, our bodies can take the workout but our minds can’t. This is where instructor’s experience will come in for motivation.
This is especially important for people whose only form of exercise is running on the treadmill. Kickboxing activates muscles all over the body with its complex movements. So it’s vital to do basic stretches for at least 10 minutes to prevent injuries.
As with all types of physical activity, injuries can be sustained while practicing. The most common parts that are injured are muscles and joints in the knees, back, hips, ankles, and shoulders.
If you’re thinking about going into competitive mode, you should also note that professional kickboxers sustain more facial injuries than that of normal boxers due to the involvement of feet in the striking mix.