Kickboxing Moves

Two men kickbox

Kickboxing as a sport has its roots in Japan in the late 1950s. Kickboxing involves very skilled kicking and punching moves, and is traditionally a standing-only sport. This means once an opponent hits the floor, he or she is out of the field of play. In the 1990s, kickboxing hit the mainstream in a big way. Today, it is practiced as sport, self-defense, as well as for fitness and fun.

Basic Kickboxing Moves

While skilled kickboxers can make the sport look like a well-choreographed symphony of elaborate moves, kickboxing is in fact comprised of only a few types of moves.


One of the ways kickboxing differs from its cousin sport, karate, is the fact that it allows for full contact matches. Punching is one of the most basic of those kickboxing moves. There are several ways for a kickboxer to punch an opponent. Here are just a few of them.

  • Jab Punch - This is perhaps the most basic of kickboxing moves. It comes from the front hand and strikes the head or body of an opponent.
  • Uppercut Punch - This move is a rising punch to an opponent's chin.
  • Drop Punch - A more sophisticated kickboxing move, the drop punch relies on the body weight to power it through to your opponent. It combines semi-circular and vertical movements.


An effective way to neutralize an opponent is to utilize these three kicking moves.

  • Push Kick - The push kick is your basic front kick, effective for landing a blow to the face or chest with the heel of the foot.
  • Circle Kick - This kick draws on a chopping motion, striking with the top of the foot or the shin area.
  • Flying Kicks - This group of kicks combines a leaping motion with any number of swift kick moves and can be very efficient against an opponent.

Defensive Moves

Ask almost any competitive athlete, and he or she will tell you that one of the most important components of success is having a great defensive game. These defense moves can help prevent injury and will work in complement with the other basic kickboxing moves.

  • Parrying - This defensive maneuver basically relies on a kickboxer's hands to deflect blows by meeting the punch halfway and redirecting the movement.
  • Slip - If you learn no other defensive kickboxing move, this is the one to know. When you give your opponent the "slip," you rotate your body just in time for the punch to "slip" past you.

Learning to Kickbox

If you're looking to take up kickboxing, you may be in luck. Due to a rise in popularity of the sport, it's fairly easy to find a place to learn kickboxing moves.

  • Gyms - Many large chain gyms offer a variety of free or fee-based classes, ranging from weight training to dance to kickboxing. Often, class times are geared toward working adults and offer convenient meet times. Some gyms even offer child care services during your workout. Ask about these amenities before signing up for a new gym.
  • Studios - Many studios specialize in certain types of defensive sports, like karate and kickboxing. These teachers are often highly trained and can handle both amateur and advanced students.
  • Private Trainers - Some personal trainers specialize in kickboxing or other fitness-related sports. While this may be one of the more expensive options, it can also provide a one-on-one experience that classes and studios may not be able to offer.

Popular Sport

Kickboxing has become a popular sport for fitness and competition alike. Though it's based on much the same principles of movement as karate, it can provide a unique challenge for those looking for a full-contact competition sport. Recently, kickboxing classes have taken these unique moves and combined them with music to create a high-impact cardio workout that people of nearly any fitness level can enjoy.

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Kickboxing Moves