Kickboxing is probably the most ambiguous term used to describe a martial art today. The sport of Kickboxing is simply a combination of boxing techniques mixed with sport Karate kicking, Kickboxing in New York City has taken on a wide-ranging definition. Your experience walking into a Kickboxing gym near you, in NYC can vary. From a hardcore competition based gym, to an aerobic type classes.
In the 1970s in North America, Kickboxing originally developed from the limitations observed in Karate point sparring. Boxing had a full-contact reality to it, where there was greater risk in getting knocked out in a contest. Incorporating Kicking techniques with boxing allowed for the traditional Martial Artist to compete with the same level of full-contact experience as boxing. As a result, some Karate and Tae Kwon Do Academies naturally began to evolve into a Boxing gym like atmosphere.
The Dutch-style of Kickboxing evolved in Holland much in the same way Kickboxing evolved in North America. It has a Full-contact Karate base with Western Boxing punches and movement incorporated. Because the Dutch also competed in Muay Thai events, they naturally incorporated knees and low thigh kicks into their repertoire. The style of Karate, they used as their base was a knock-down full contact style (as opposed to the North American point contact style). It is the most modern of the Kickboxing fight disciplines - it emphasizes angular movements and boxing combinations with thigh kicking techniques. While Muay Thai, appreciates the linear fixed stance and power kicks and knees, Dutch-style Kickboxing appreciates angular transition with emphasis on their punch combinations and low kicks.
The oldest form of Kickboxing is probably, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing). It is the national sport of Thailand where the competitors square off against each other and apply punching, kicking, knee and elbow techniques in combination to defeat their opponent. The format follows that of western boxing, in that the competition is done in a ring, with referee, with weight divisions and timed rounds. Training in Muay Thai, is similar to training in a western Boxing Gym. Instructional group classes, along with calisthenics all to their training towards competing in Muay Thai Boxing events.
Tae-bo was developed in the 1990s as an aerobics workout using Tae Kwon Do and Boxing drills. It quickly caught on and became mainstream when celebrities began to incorporate it into their fitness routines. The format works well in a studio setting or simple enough to follow on a video over your television. It’s a lot of fun, putting together combinations, shadowboxing and calisthenics without being hit. Today the variations of the same program are widely practiced under different names in NYC like Cardio Kickboxing, Kettlebell Kickboxing, I Love Kickboxing, Fitness Kickboxing, etc. The new variations maintain the same fitness-centric principle with no sparring and slight variations incorporating other workout disciplines.
Kickboxing in New York City
Training Kickboxing in New York City can be a lot of fun if you find the facility that suits your frame of mind and training goals.
First identify the Kickboxing training format that interests you: Fitness focused, Competition focused or Technique focused.Fitness based Kickboxing gyms in NYC are typically called studios and focus on weight loss and a great workout. The different variations described above, should make it fun for to explore. The key is not to focus so much on techniques but movement and a great workout. Muay Thai gyms are typically fight gyms. While they offer group classes to non-fighters, their focus is the competition and will typically have a stable of fighters they train. The atmosphere is a bit more serious, as people tend to have a competitive mindset. Kickboxing as a Martial Art – Technique and skill development focused. This falls more on the middle ground. The techniques used are applicable to full-contact fighting and the workouts are as intense. However, the mindset of your group is on understanding the principles and applying technique masterfully. The sparring sessions are less intense and focus more on how proficient the practitioners are in their sparring exchange. There is no rush to competition, the practitioners maintain a comfortable pace in developing their skill in Kickboxing.
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Is Kickboxing good for kids?
Kickboxing training, as with most competitive sports, can be a great tool to build confidence, physical strength, and camaraderie/social skills (from the class setting) When talking about martial arts training for kids, there are two perspectives that need to be taken into account – the usefulness in context of dealing with bullies. On the one hand, you can make the argument that knowing how to box, punch, and kick, will empower the child to fight back and defend themselves effectively. On the other hand, a strong argument can be made that the notion of “fighting fire with fire”, especially if the child (or adult for that matter) does not have a healthy and mature association with these tactics, might back fire and perpetuate more bullying behavior. The striking arts by their very nature are offensive tools that cause blunt force trauma and there should be great care in understanding the limited violence scalability this toolset offers a bullied child.
Is Kickboxing and Muay Thai the same?
No. Muay Thai is the national ring sport of Thailand and deeply rooted in the history of Thai culture. The term “Kickboxing”, when it was introduced was meant to denote a new sport that incorporated western boxing hands, allowed kicking – from Japanese Karate styles – but was restricted to mostly above the waist targets with no clinch work or grappling allowed (the use of knees would vary but elbows were almost always forbidden) This sport was the natural evolution of martial arts competition from the decade before (mid 1960’s) which mostly consisted of Karate point fighting (from non-contact to full contact) often with little or no hand-protection in an open arena setting, once full-contact became the order of the day, then a natural evolution towards boxing style strikes and gloves followed, along with changing the setting to include both combatants in a boxing ring. In contrast to the western boxing or Muay Thai trunks that are typical now and in an effort to pay homage to their karate roots but also differentiate themselves to some degree, the combatants fought bare chested (no Gi top) but with Karate style uniform pants, and sometimes wearing their Black Belts to boot. This became the trademark look for “American Kickboxing” as it emerged in the late 70’s and early 80’s
The term, Kickboxing, in the modern era has become a generic term for the many iterations of stand-up striking ring sports that include kicks. You can also make the argument that if it involves – knees, elbows, and clinch work, then it is Muay Thai. However, there are also European (specifically, Dutch) and Japanese iterations of the sport. When someone mentions these, the former in particular, they do not say, Dutch Muay Thai, they refer to it as, “Dutch style Kickboxing” - which is often a contrast to traditional Muay Thai in that it emphasizes boxing hands far more than kicking or clinching as they Thais do.
Is Muay Thai good for self-defense?
Muay Thai is an excellent martial art for self-defense. It develops and emphasizes strong and explosive strikes and conditions its participants to absorb blows with their block techniques in regular practice. Unlike other striking arts, whose sparring and competitive aspects ban fighting from within the clinch and standing grappling ranges (i.e. – how boxers end up getting separated when they clinch) Muay Thai has a very strong element of clinch work and also promotes expertise in striking with close quarter tools like the elbow and knee (which are often far more damaging that a typical punch) Like most striking arts however, the main drawback in a self-defense scenario for a practitioner of Muay Thai is the lack of familiarity with ground grappling and (this cannot be overstated) the willingness to enter into an exchange of blows with what might potentially be a bigger and stronger opponent, intent on knocking you out. There is always a risk that’s assumed if your strategy falls along the same line as your opponent (debilitation as opposed to neutralization)
Is Kickboxing good for self-defense?
The self-defense benefits that are derived from Kickboxing are the increase in general athletic attributes (balance, strength, speed, etc.) as well as body mechanics that are vital in being able to throw a strong and competent punch or kick. Being well versed in striking from both the offensive and defensive perspectives goes a long way in being able to protect yourself in a typical street encounter. With that said, one of the major deficiencies is the lack of grappling (clinch and ground) training, which is extremely common in street encounters. Another factor that can be viewed as detrimental is the willingness to engage in a scenario where you are exchanging punches, especially against a bigger and stronger opponent. Any time you are close enough to land an effective strike, you are also close enough to have your opponent land one on you as well, and unfortunately, it only takes one, lucky shot to make a bad situation far, far worse.