December 5, 2020

Boxing vs Kickboxing: Differences & Effectiveness

Mixed Martial Arts has been in trend for so long – it is hard to contemplate, which is the best. Different people have different views regarding their favorites.

Because of many people taking a step towards fitness, Boxing and Kickboxing are probably two of the most popular MMAs out there.

So you were confused between picking the “one”?

Well, before choosing, do you know the difference between the two?

I guessed so!

Even though Boxing and Kickboxing are closely related, they are miles apart when it comes to techniques and methods. Boxing is an ancient sport and is believed to have originated in Greece thousands of years ago (688 BC). Kickboxing, on the other hand, originated in Thailand about 2000 years ago and derived inspiration from Karate and Muay Thai. The difference between Kickboxing and Boxing is very apparent in the names; the former involves striking with both hands and legs while the latter involves only the use of hands.

Galvanized. Aren’t you?

While choosing any martial art form, it is always better to have a basic idea about what you might be looking at and if it fulfils your need or not. Having said that, let’s have a cursory glance over Kickboxing and Boxing, in terms of techniques and more.

Tracing the History

The form of Boxing involving the use of fists is believed to have originated in Greece in 688 BC. Most probably, it was a sport in ancient Greece Olympics. Some of the earliest evidence of Boxing also dates back to ancient Egypt. 

At that time, instead of the gloves we use today, leather thongs of the soft kind was used in order to safeguard the forearms and hands of the boxers. Later on, the leather thongs were removed and “cestus” came in. Cestus is basically a kind of a glove which has the inclusion of metal components. Unfortunately, this didn’t go well with the gladiators as it often proved to be fatal.

Kickboxing has grounded inspiration from Muay Thai and Karate in its techniques and is said to have originated in Thailand. Muay Boran was a version of Boxing practised by the Siamese soldiers in Thailand in the early 13th and 14th century. It was later developed on the same lines of Muay Thai as a martial art focussing on self-defense and physical fitness.

Osamu Noguchi, a boxing expert from Japan, is credited to have developed the martial art form of Kickboxing. He kept alive the soul of Karate but inculcated a full-on striking technique. Combining it with the full contact style of Boxing and Karate, Kickboxing, as we learn today, was given its shape.

Journey

When the Roman Empire collapsed, Boxing completely vanished only to resurface in the 18th century England. The amateur kind of Boxing began officially in the year 1880.

Boxing (men) was inducted in Olympic games of1904. At the same time, women’s Boxing made its debut in the Olympic games of 2012 which were held in London. Ever since then, Boxing has never looked back and has only grown in popularity. At this point, it is probably one of the most preferred forms of fitness and self-defense.

After a few years, Kickboxing started gaining momentum, and the first organization was formed in Japan, called the Kickboxing Association. As of today, Kickboxing probably one of the most famous mixed martial art styles as it employs both the hand and the legs and is a very efficient form of a full-body workout.

Techniques

Kickboxing employs the use of hand and feet in the form of punches and kicks to strike the opponent above the waist. Boxing practitioners fight in a ring and have gloves on their hands. It is all about fist fighting, punches and endurance.

Strategy

Boxing and Kickboxing are very different in terms of the strategies employed by the two, both defensive and offensive. Boxers are more comfortable with defense as the punches in Boxing is mostly restricted to over the belt. On the contrary, since Kickboxing utilizes both punches and kicks, it is more efficient on the offensive side of things.

Spacing

In order to land more direct hits and punches, boxers are required to stay close to their opponents. If there was distance in between the fighter an the opponent, while leaning, he/she would be exposed to counter strikes and punches. In contrast, Kickboxers are required to have a distance in order to execute a powerful and potent kick. If there is no distance in between the, the kicks may land behind the body.

Punches

The punches in Kickboxing and Boxing are somewhat similar to a common technique called the “Jab.” In a Jab, practitioners are required to have a straight and leading hand to execute a strong move. 

The angle of the body plays a vital role while punching and in reading the reaction of the opponent as well. If from the opponent’s side a move like – shifting the hand guarding the other hand, comes in, the practitioner can employ another kind of punch called the “Hook.” This type of punching targets the head of the opponent with a powerful force. 

“Uppercut” is used by both boxers and kickboxers. The target area is the chin, and the punch comes in from below hence wholly knocking out the opponent. This is one of the most common punching styles in Boxing and Kickboxing.

Body Posture

The stance or the body posture employed by a boxer is always sideways. This is done to minimize the room that is available for the opponent to throw in a strike. Contrary to that, Kickboxers generally have a square stance or body posture. 

Again this position is used to defend oneself against both the punches and the kicks coming from the opponent’s side. In a normal position, Kickboxers are exposed to a fatal strike on the most vulnerable parts of the body.

Clinching

Clinching in Boxing means taking hold of your opponent using both hands and by grabbing the shoulders. Boxers have a sweet spot for this move as it allows them to close in upon the opponent hence avoiding the full extension punch. It also gives the exhausted boxer a breather.

Since Kickboxing has techniques from both Muay Thai and Karate, they are allowed to throw the opponent as it happens in martial arts. While clinching in Kickboxing, there is a high probability of getting picked up and thrown to the ground.

Benefits

Both Kickboxing and Boxing epitomize physical fitness and a full-body workout routine. With Kickboxing, the benefit is that the practitioner is trained in the use of everything from feet and elbows to hands and knees. Attacking and defending is taught as well. At the same time, Boxing is all about punching and trust me; you cannot defeat a Boxer in his punches. They are slightly faster in comparison to kickboxers as they are efficiently trained on defending against swift jabs.

Which is More Effective in a Street Fight?

Although both are equally effective, Kickboxing is slightly better.

Kickboxing integrates the components of other martial arts like Muay Thai and Karate. Therefore it has a wide range of moves from punches to joint locks to throws to kicks and whatnot. On the other hand, a boxer generally uses his hands.

But street fights have no rules, and it is entirely unregulated. The primary purpose to survive and to do so; it is allowed to deal maximum damage to the aggressor. Kickboxing suits this purpose better since it employs the use of both the hands and legs.

Kicks are often more powerful and can dismantle the opponent in a single strike at the right position. The use of punches can help in short-range confrontations while kicks can be used to deal with damage from a more extended range.

Boxing is also very useful in street fights. Boxers are trained in the art of using their fists in the most brutal way possible. The lightning-fast jabbing punch can indeed leave the opponent in shock before he even realizes where it came from. The uppercuts can help in that final blow that can completely incapacitate the opponent.

But Kickboxing is slightly better only because it has a broader range of moves and even if the hands are caught up, the legs can be utilized to at least escape the situation.

Therefore, when it comes to effectiveness in street fights, Kickboxing takes the points in its favor.

Which is Better for Self-Defense?

The ball is in the court of Kickboxing again.

Starting, the best approach is to avoid any such confrontations. But many a time it might seem inexorable. In such cases, the knowledge of any martial art will help you immensely in escaping the situation if not defeating your aggressor.

Boxing is a perfect MMA type for self-defense, but Kickboxing is better because of the numerous moves that a person can wield if he has proper training of the same.

Although Kickboxing might not be as good as Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but trust me it is more than enough. Kickboxing is not about running away from the fight; it is about aggression and fighting back with everything you got.

Kickboxing is excellent for self-defense with a proper training:

Feinting – Kickboxers employ feinting moves like no one else in the room; there is absolutely no comparison. Feinting means trapping your opponent by distracting him with some activities and then throwing at him a completely unexpected move.

Timing – Timing is the key in life and martial arts, especially in Kickboxing. So how to use it in your favor? Kickboxers are trained in time management and being precise, along with timing their attacks accordingly. This trait can come in very handy when attacked in a narrow marooned lane.

Muscle Memory – After a proper training regimen, Kickboxers pick up the art in such a way that it becomes almost an involuntary reaction from the body. This can prove to be very useful because when attacked in the middle of the street, you really won’t have any time to think. In such a case, muscle memory will help you react without even thinking about it.

Therefore, it is safe to say that Kickboxing is better than Boxing when it comes to self-defense.

Which is More Popular?

Fig: A representative graph showing the popularity of Boxing and Kickboxing over a span of five years in the United States

The red line in the graph represents Kickboxing, while the blue line in the graph represents Boxing. Boxing is more popular than Kickboxing, and the reasons for this may be numerous.

Kickboxing is still finding its footing in the United States and is in its infancy. On the other hand, Boxing has had a substantially better longevity period and has remained in demand for quite some time. Boxing is more accessible to the market because people know about it more. UFC, TV Shows and movies have also helped in its popularity.

Boxing in itself is an excellent source of workout and more than enough for defending oneself in an unpleasant situation. Due to these reasons, Boxing is more popular than Kickboxing in the United States of America.

Which is Easier to Learn?

For a novice who is just starting, he/she will take somewhere between six and twelve months to get basic training in the punches and kicks of Kickboxing. To become an expert, it will take at least one more year. Boxing, in comparison, is comparatively more comfortable as it takes around six months for a person to learn the basics while around eighteen months to become an expert.

What Should You Choose?

When choosing a martial art form, it is essential to understand your needs and decide why you want to learn whichever martial art you have narrowed down on.

So, why do you want to learn Kickboxing or Boxing?

Do you want to shed some extra fat? Or to want to stay fit? Oh, you want to grow some muscle? Or, so that you could defend yourself when caught up in the middle of an unwarranted situation?

Ask yourself these questions and then make a decision. Before choosing any one, know about your strengths and weaknesses and the pros and cons of the martial arts you are considering.

No matter what you choose, always remember the three D’s – Determination, Devotion and Dedication. You will have to give in your hundred percent in whatever you choose. Both Boxing and Kickboxing are incredible and almost work on the same lines.

If you want to train both your arms and the legs, go for Kickboxing. If not, Boxing should be your choice. It all boils down to your objectives and preferences.

No matter what you choose, be true to yourself and the martial art form you are learning.

More Comparisons

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

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