FanPost

The Different Styles Of Kickboxing

There's been a lot of kickboxing talk in the past few months with K-1's return and guys like Stephen Thompson and Justin Lawrence getting in the UFC and on TUF. The problem with that is that there's a lot of disparity between all the styles that get lumped in together and just called "kickboxing". I made no secret when Stephen Thompson became the flavor of the month that I wasn't sold on his hype and the relevance of his undefeated kickboxing record due to the style he competed in. So after one of my (countless since saturday) "patting myself on the back, told you so" sessions where I'd explain to every one that would show even a remote sign of interest in listening me that Thompson was in no way a "world class kickboxer" or even a particularly good striker, I figured I spent enough time being a dick about it and decided to try to make this kickboxing stuff less of a mess for guys just starting to get into it by writing this fanpost presenting the different styles of kickboxing.

First, we need to define kickboxing, I went with the definition of what we call "boxes pieds-poings" here in France(literally feets-fists boxing), a term I like because it allows a distinction between kickboxing (the style) and kickboxing (the whole "family" of combat sports). So by that definition kickboxing would be any form of combat sport practiced in boxing gloves, allowing kicks and full contact fighting (A KO is a victory and not a DQ due to excessive contact) and prohibiting ground fighting.

Now that we have a broad definition of what is kickboxing, lets take al look at some of the styles that fit that description.

Kickboxing:

I'll start with the obvious first one. Kickboxing as a style generally refers to a competition where kicks are allowed on all striking levels (low, middle, high).

Rules: Generally contested over 5x2 minutes rounds but that can change depending on the competition. I've seen it done over 3x3 minute rounds, 5x3 minute rounds or 7x2 minute rounds. Punches on all striking levels, kicks allowed on all striking levels, direct knees (without clinching) allowed in "japanese rules", backfists may or may not be allowed.

So what does it look like?:

Kamel Jemel (Muay Thai) vs Samir Mohamed (Full Contact) in a kickboxing match.


Kamel Jemel vs Samir Prince II ~ Part 1 par


Kamel Jemel vs Samir Prince II ~ Part 2 par

Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

I'll stick with guys that claim kickboxing to be their style and are not based in another style so the list will be a pretty short one: Cro Cop, Thiago Michel in Bellator.

Full Contact:

Full Contact is short for Full Contact Karate, it originated in the US in late 60's early 70's when karatekas,notably Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace,frustrated with the no contact rule in Karate decided to put on boxing gloves and fight with full contact rules. It was brought to Europe by Dominique Valéra who started fighting in it after being banned from the French Karate Federation for punching a ref at the 1975 world karate championship in Long Beach. It then followed two different paths. In America Full contact stayed pretty close to its Karate roots stylistically whereas with the devellopment of Muay Thai in Europe in the late 70's and 80's, "Fullers" evolved under its influence adopting a stance closer to boxing than Karate.

Rules: Generally contested from 3x2 minutes rounds to 7x2 minutes rounds. Punches and kicks above the beltline allowed, no low kicks but footsweeps are allowed.

So what does it look like?:

In its European form:




In it's American form:


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Rick Roufus, Duke Roufus, Benny Urquidez, Stephen Thompson, Justin Lawrence, Jérome LeBanner.

Muay Thai:

Thailand's national sport, Muay Thai originated from Muay Boran which was the Thai Army system of unarmed combat.

Rules: 5x3 minutes rounds. Punches, kicks, elbows and knees allowed on all striking levels from distance and from the clinch. In some parts of the world elbows are prohibited unless the fighters (Nak Muays) wear elbow pads.

So, what does it look like?:


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Buakaw, Yodsanklai, Saenchai, Rob Kaman, Ramon Dekkers, Peter Aerts and plenty others.

K-1:

K-1 isn't a style per se but a competition which was created in 1993 by Kazuyoshi Ishii, founder of Seidokaikan Karate (a Kyokushin derivate), to determine who was the best stand up fighter and which was the best stand up style. The K-1 WGP and MAX Titles are two of the most prestigious titles in Kickboxing.

Rules: 3x3 minutes rounds with a possibility of one or two extra rounds in case of a draw. Punches kicks and knees allowed on all striking levels from distance. One knee strike allowed from a one-handed clinch, (knees from the clinch used to be legal but rules were changed over time).

So, what does it look like?:


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Jérôme LeBanner, Andy Hug, Semmy Schilt, Rémy Bonjasky, Mark Hunt, Masato, Buakaw, Andy Souwer, Albert Kraus, Giorgio Petrosyan, Genki Sudo, Duane Ludwig, Kid Yamamoto.

Shootboxing:

Often called the "standing vale tudo", Shootboxing is paracticed in shootboxing pants and allows standing submissions.

Rules: 3x3 minutes rounds or 5x3 minutes rounds with the possibility of one or two extra rounds in cas of a draw. Punches, kicks and knees allowed on all striking levels from distance and from the clinch, thrown and submissions allowed.

So, what does it look like?:


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Andy Souwer, Buakaw, Albert Kraus, Toby Imada.

Savate:

Savate (also called boxe française) is a kickboxing style originating in France in the XIXth century. It's practiced with shoes on (Savate means old shoe in French).

Rules: 5x2 minutes rounds. Punches and kicks allowed on all striking levels but kicks must hit with the foot and not with the shin. Punches are scored but only the first punch in a combination counts, to get more points from punches a kick must be thrown.

So, what does it look like?:


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Ernesto Hoost, Farid Khider, Enoch Effah.

Sanda/Sanshou:

Sanda/Sanshou is a form of kickboxing competition originating from China, It's particularity is that it allows throws and takedowns.

Rules: 2 to 5x2 minutes rounds, sometimes best of 3 2 minutes rounds. Punches and kicks to all striking levels (knees and elbows used to be allowed in intermilitary meetings but were banned in the first world championships in 1991) knees have apparently been reintroduced in Pro Sanda, throws and takedowns allowed.

So, what does it look like?


Guys that fought in it you might have heard of:

Cung Le, Thomas Diagne (maybe?).

I hope this introduction to the different styles of kickboxing helps fans just getting into kickboxing and those that are not fans yet but are interested in getting into it as much as the similar article I read a few years back when I was getting into combat sports helped me. If you're interested in kickboxing the K-1 youtube channel has lots of fghts available for free: http://www.youtube.com/user/K1. I apologize for any english mistakes and typos that surely have found their way into this and would appreciate if you could point them out to me. Thanks for reading!

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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