People who are new to kickboxing might wonder, is kickboxing a martial art?
The answer is not an easy one. Many consider kickboxing a hybrid martial art because it combines elements of kicking and punching but does not highly emphasize defensive moves or more profound philosophies typical of martial arts.
In many ways, kickboxing is more aligned with combat sports than martial arts. However, it still incorporates some elements of martial arts and is an excellent exercise for anyone who wants to strengthen their physical and mental resilience. Read more to learn is kickboxing a martial art.
So, Is Kickboxing A Martial Art?
This question is more complex to answer than it appears on the surface. To answer that question, it’s necessary to understand what defines something as a martial art and how kickboxing falls into that definition.
What is Kickboxing?
As its name suggests, kickboxing is a type of boxing that involves kicks. It features adapted techniques from Muay Thai, Karate, and modern boxing. Thai soldiers used Muay Thai in the 13th and 14th centuries. By the 20th century, it had transformed from a combat system to a means for recreation and physical fitness.
What is the Definition of Martial Arts?
Let’s explore what the term martial arts means to get to the bottom of the question, “Is kickboxing a martial art?”
Martial arts were initially developed in East Asia as a form of combat and self-defense. So, the term “martial arts” is a broad term that refers to East Asian-developed systems of techniques and skills that can be used for combat, self-defense, and spiritual growth. Martial arts can be armed (i.e., involve weapons) or unarmed (i.e., involve no weapons, only body movements).
In addition to focusing on physical well-being, martial arts have a mental component. Martial arts aim to improve all aspects of a person’s life, not just physical fitness. Martial arts focuses on building character, overcoming psychological and physical obstacles, and spiritual development. Finally, people who practice martial arts are expected to be highly disciplined and exhibit respectful behavior toward their opponents.
What are Some Well-known Martial Arts?
Martial arts have been highly popularized in modern culture thanks partly to film and TV shows depicting them. This is one reason so many people wonder, “Is kickboxing a martial art?”
- Muay Thai
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- Kung Fu
- Mixed martial arts (MMA)
What Does Kickboxing Have in Common with Martial Arts?
One reason “Is kickboxing a martial art?” is difficult to answer is because there are many martial art elements in kickboxing. For one thing, kickboxing focuses on using body movements to strike, punch, and kick an opponent. Kickboxing also applies some defensive moves, although the focus is mostly on offense.
Another thing kickboxing has in common with martial arts is that it focuses on strengthening the mind as well as the body. People who practice kickboxing must overcome mental as well as physical obstacles to succeed.
How is Kickboxing Different from Other Martial Arts?
It’s essential to consider how kickboxing differs from other martial arts when considering the question “Is kickboxing a martial art?”
For one thing, kickboxing requires an incredible amount of stamina and energy. This is different from the type of energy needed for other martial arts, such as karate. When kickboxing was first introduced in the U.S. as a sport in the 1970s, the fighters came primarily from karate backgrounds. They soon realized that going a full 10 rounds in kickboxing took significantly more energy than a karate competition.
Additionally, kickboxing focuses on aggression and causing damage to an opponent, whereas traditional martial arts focus on self-defense and honor. Kickboxing classes teach students how to make contact using punches and kicks rather than how to pull back.
Finally, while kickboxing can help improve mental well-being for participants, it does not have the same focus on spiritual aspects as other martial arts. So the final answer to the question, “Is kickboxing a martial art?” is “Not exactly, but it’s close.” As described above, kickboxing does share many elements with well-known martial arts. While kickboxing is not generally considered a pure martial art, it has many valuable benefits worth exploring.
Ready to Try Kickboxing? Get A Free Class from X3 Sports
X3 Sports offers kickboxing classes designed to help students learn kickboxing techniques, strengthen their minds and bodies, and torch calories, all while having fun and building camaraderie with new friends. Try a free kickboxing class to see what it’s all about.