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16.0 A Parallel Between Boxing and Kickboxing Practices and Techniques

For those more numerous people familiar with boxing, we thought to add this chapter for two reasons. First, to explain the similarities and differences between the two sports and also, by comparison, include some useful information.


Here there is no difference between both sports. Equipment must be selected with care, particularly the gloves. If gloves have laces, these should be tied snugly, but not tight, and the lace ends must not be loose. When not in use, boxing gloves must be hung in a well ventilated area. The use of talcum powder of the baby care variety is recommended to prevent fungus growth and facilitate putting on the gloves. Boxing gloves should never be used against hard uneven surfaces and should always be kept clean. Occasionally, they should be dry sponged with water and a mild detergent. Head guards, when used, must fit snugly. The use of mouthpieces is a must in boxing. It is also recommended in kickboxing as an extra precaution, even though under normal practice and sparring its use should not be necessary. Nothing much has to be said about shoes. Boxing shoes are excellent for kickboxing also. Hand wraps, which are used in boxing, are long strips of cotton cloth with a thumb loop and tie strings. They protect hands from injury. These should not be necessary in amateur kickboxing, however, they could be used as an extra precaution. Protective cups are a must in both sports.


The correct way to make a fist is the same in boxing and in kickboxing. The wrist must be kept straight and firm, so that it functions as a unit with the arm, for better transmission of the force and prevention of wrist injury. Power developed by your punch will be absorbed by the large knuckles at the base of the fingers. The fist does not develop power, it transmits it only. Power comes from the action and positioning of the body, particularly of the hips and shoulders at the time of impact. To form a proper fist, double your fingers in the palm of your hand, slide their tips upward toward the knuckles to tighten the fist and bring your thumb across the three first fingers. The importance of keeping the wrist straight cannot be overemphasized. During sparring the fists should not be kept tight all the time, since this is a useless expenditure of energy. They should be tightened shortly before impact. This alternation of relaxation and tension is very important in both sports.


The Half-Distance Basic Training Stance of kickboxing is essentially similar to that of boxing. It must be said here that in boxing there are different schools of thought and therefore variations in their "classical" stance. Many boxing champions have adopted unorthodox stances with great success. In spite of these differences all stances must have certain essential characteristics. First of all, they must provide for good balance and high mobility. It has been observed over the years that when these prerequisites are met, a person feels relaxed and comfortable. Check your stance by squatting. If it is right you should not lose balance.


Kickboxing footwork from the Full Distance B.T.S. is quite different from that of boxing. There are many similarities, however, between the footwork from the Half-Distance B.T.S. and boxing. The main difference being in retreating, where in kickboxing the leading foot is pulled back first because of the ever-present danger of a low direct kick to the shinbone. Circling is a very important maneuver in boxing. Against a regular guard boxer you circle to your right, leading with the right foot, followed by the left, while against a southpaw you circle to your left. Circling makes it hard for your opponent to follow through with his strongest punch. In kickboxing circling is less important, because you can throw off your opponent by changing guard with or without retreating.

In both sports mobility is paramount and the bulk of the body weight should be on the balls of the feet. Sliding, "shuffling" the feet in short steps on the floor is also common to both and it is necessary for balance and speed.


In boxing the left jab is considered the most important punch. It is very similar to the left direct punch with one important exception. In both cases these punches must be delivered "straight from the shoulder," however, in kickboxing there is no forward step with the left foot as in the left jab, which is supposed to land a split second before the left foot touches the floor. In both sports the push of the right foot gives power to these two punches. The positioning of the hand and slight rotation of the body to the right to get your shoulder in the blow are also similar.

In kickboxing, however, one does not step forward when delivering a left direct punch, because if it is deflected toward the right, his left shinbone could be easily kicked, or his left foot swept from under him with an A.S.P. sweep of the "Banana Peel" type, which comprises a variety of throws. In boxing the left jab has great defensive value. Its value in this regard is much lesser in kickboxing. In both sports, however, all blows should be delivered without any preliminaries susceptible to tip off the opponent. In other words they should not be "telegraphed". In the left jab and its kickboxing counterpart, the left hand and the left foot should not be drawn slightly back at the time of the initiation of the punch.

The left jab, as well as the left direct punch, can be used for stopping an opponent who throws a right hand at you. Assuming they are accurate and the opponent is not positioned right, they will reach the opponent before his attack reaches you. In boxing the straight right is considered as the most powerful punch you can deliver. So is the right direct punch in kickboxing. They are very similar in their delivery. In boxing the straight right is usually aimed at the head because of the ease to line up the right shoulder with the target and the danger of being countered with a left jab to the head, should you be aiming lower. In kickboxing, less emphasis is placed on the head as a target and the right direct punch is used against the body also, particularly against a retreating opponent to fix him in a position easy to follow through with a kick. At any rate, in kickboxing you are not necessarily vulnerable to a left jab if you position yourself right. The right cross, or right hook are similar to the right angle punch and are delivered similarly.

The left hook is one of the four basic boxing punches and is similar to the left angle punch. In both sports these punches are effective as a follow through, or a counter to the head or the body against a left jab and/or a straight right. These are devastating blows which do not have to travel very far to be effective. In no case should they be delivered with a wide motion, because should they miss, they would leave you wide open to retaliation. The pivoting of the body should start at the time these punches are fired and end as they land. Fist, elbow and shoulder should be in one plane. The left uppercut is the same as the left lift punch and is also directed to the body. It is the fourth basic boxing punch. Never lead an opponent with an uppercut, or a lift punch. An uppercut usually follows a left jab and occasionally a left hook. Since the uppercut (particularly the right) is relatively easy to block, or counter, and it is also easy to "telegraph", special care should be devoted to its practice. Notice that in all above cases no forward step involved in both sports, with the exception of the left jab.


Obviously, punching combinations are much more important in boxing. In kickboxing much more emphasis is placed on combining punches with kicks and kicks with kicks.

Traditionally, in boxing, punches are referred to by numbers. One is the left jab, two the straight right, three the left hook. the famous one-two is a left jab followed by a straight right. In both sports it is not recommended to use combinations unless you have first mastered their constituent parts. Combinations succeed only if the first attack has brought about a reaction on the part of the opponent, which can be exploited by the following attack. In boxing combinations, as for instance in the earlier mentioned one-two, no adjustment of the feet is necessary when the second punch follows the first, both punches being aimed at the opponent's head. Another well known combination is the one-two-three consisting of a left jab, straight right and left hook. Here again no readjustment of the position of the feet is necessary. The so-called one-three combination is a left jab followed by a left hook. Here, before delivering the left hook a short step with the left foot is necessary and care should be taken not to drop the right hand from the guard position. Another common combination is a left jab-left hook-straight right. In both sports combinations must be very fast, delivered in full balance and in flowing motions. All boxing punches combinations can be advantageously used in kickboxing.


All dodging techniques known in boxing can be applied in kickboxing. In both sports dodging must be carried out in full balance. In kickboxing, however, dodging kicks is more important than dodging punches for the simple reason that kicks are used more often.


As a rule, when parrying, the body must be moving away from the direction of the oncoming punch. In boxing, blows can be parried to the right, the left, or down. One favorite boxing combination is to parry a left jab downward and follow with a left hook to the opponent's head. The same guidelines apply to both sports. One should never fetch a punch in order to parry it, he should let it come to him.

Kickboxing Parry Ten* is not found in boxing and may appear strange to boxers. However, it is perhaps one of the most efficient parries against punches, particularly so in that it places you in an ideal position to follow through with a number of kicks, such as the instep, the side-of-foot, or the circular kick delivered with the leading foot. "Rolling with the punches", that is to say moving in the direction and away from the incoming punch, is applicable to both sports. This is an efficient way to lessen the impact of a blow.


In boxing, clinching is considered as a decisive method for stopping your opponent from attacking. Without going into the techniques of clinching and breaking which are of great value in boxing, let us only say that clinching is definitely not recommended in kickboxing, because you expose yourself to being thrown by your opponent, particularly since you take his arms under your own. He could easily throw you with, for instance, an A.S.P. "Barrel Throw." In kickboxing when you come to such close quarters, either break fast or go in for a throw.


The same basic guidelines apply to both sports. For instance, you may "draw" or entice your opponent * See page 20. to a given attack which you know well how to parry or dodge and you grasp the opportunity to score with a counter punch or kick. For instance, duck on a straight right and, as it slides over your left shoulder, counter with a left hook (angle punch). In both sports it is a cardinal sin to counter before first thwarting the attack. Some classical boxing counters are given below

Duck on a left jab and counter with a left hook to the body. Follow through with a straight right to the chin.

Parry left jab, sidestep to the left, and throw a left hook to opponent's head or body.

Counter left jab with a straight right, if you are taller and have the reach.

Block a left hook with your right arm and counter with a straight right to the chin.

Counter a left hook with a left hook. Parry the attack first, then pivot and fire yours by stepping in, aiming at the body. Follow through with a straight right to the chin.

Parry a left uppercut with your right forearm and retaliate with a left hook to the head.

One of the most commonly used counters for a straight right is a straight right after parrying or ducking the incoming attack. You can also counter with a left hook.

Block a right uppercut with left forearm and fire a straight right.

A stop punch involves really a situation where you "beat your opponent to the punch". In both sports this is much better than countering, but it requires considerably greater speed and finesse. It also requires keen observation to discover any mistake your opponent makes just before he initiates his attack, so as to be able to outguess him. The art of feinting is important in both sports and you can use different parts of your body for feinting an attack, or, so as to draw your opponent to an attack you can easily parry, dodge, counter or beat him to the punch. Feinting requires great technical skill and finesse. For example, a left jab to the body used as feint, is followed by a straight right to the chin. A left jab feint can also be followed with a left hook to the head. Feinting in order to draw a specific attack is dangerous and requires skill and experience.

While in-fighting is an important skill in boxing, particularly when two opponents of different heights are matched, the shorter one looking for in-fighting, the taller one avoiding it, in-fighting must be avoided in kickboxing because of the possibility of being thrown. At times a shorter opponent may find some advantage in in-fighting by using it as an opening for a throw. Kickboxers, being trained in both guards and the footwork stemming from them, are not particularly concerned with developing special techniques a regular boxer should develop in order to know how to handle a southpaw. It must be obvious by now that the differences between boxing and kickboxing are not trivial. As an example, a left direct punch is best followed by one or more kicks against a retreating opponent, rather than with another punch. Tactically, you have drawn his attention to the upper part of his body and then you have attacked its lower part, or the legs. While the principles are the same in both sports, the techniques and the tactics are significantly different.

In both sports, however, it is good to develop, with experience, tactics which work against shorter and taller opponents as well as opponents of your own height. A preferred combination, which you have thoroughly mastered and which you can successfully apply against opponents of varied skills and physiques, will often be the weapon for victory in both sports. In both, there are no substitutes for a good teacher, hard work, and experience.


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