What Does It All Mean?

Learn The Lingo

It can be confusing coming into a new sport and not understanding all the terms. We have covered the differences between the various Kickboxing disciplines and a few basic techniques elsewhere in this section, but for a definition of a few common Kickboxing terms check out our short glossary below.

Here is an example:

Kick – any kind of kick (stop me if I’m going too fast). To be more specific, this is a leg-based technique scored with the foot, but does not include sweeps. Knees are also sometimes classed as kicks, but are not permitted under most Kickboxing rules.


Belt Grades – used to categorise a student’s understanding and ability to apply the syllabus being taught within their club. The most common belt grading order is: White, Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown Black.

Bout – the proper name for a competitive fight, consisting of one or more rounds.

Bout score – either the total number of points scored by each combatant over the course of the bout, the number of rounds won by each combatant within the bout or the total of each round score awarded by the judges.

Clinch – a very basic form of stand-up grappling designed to restrict your opponent’s ability to throw proper strikes. K1 rules also allow a single knee to be landed from a two-handed clinch position or multiple knees from a single-handed clinch.

Coach – at a club this will refer to anyone delivery a session (including instructors, assistants and development coaches). At a competition, this refers to the ring/mat-side individual providing advice and support to a combatant.

Dan Grade/Degree – used to award senior grades (Black Belts) with higher honours, typically displayed as coloured bars at one end of their belt.

Intermediate – typically someone with 1 or more years of competition experience who holds any belt grade between Orange and Purple.

Mat Sports – incorporating Points (Semi-Contact), Continuous (Light-Contact) and Forms (Open Hand, Weapon, Self Defence), Mat Sports are performed on a (usually square) matted area.

Novice – typically anyone with less than 1 year of competition experience and/or who holds one of the first three Kickboxing belt grades.

Officials – sometimes also referred to as “referees”, these include central and chief referees, assistant and shadow referees, judges (combative and forms), table officials and other tournament administrators.

Ring Sports – incorporating Full Contact, Low Kick and K1, Ring Sports are performed in a boxing style ring and occasionally a cage.

Round – a pre-determined length of time for combatants to compete.

Round score  depending on the rules, this is either a total of the points scored by each combatant within the round, or a score of between 7 and 10 awarded by judges (with the round winner given 10 and the opponent 9 or less).

Senior – typically anyone with several years of competition experience who holds either a Brown or Black Belt.

Sensei/Sifu/Master – The Japanese, Chinese and English terms usually used to describe someone who has achieved 5th Degree or higher, but sometimes simply used as an alternative term for a head coach or instructor.

Strike – this typically refers to any hand technique, including punches, hammer fists and ridge-hands.

Sweep – a technique using foot-to-foot contact to unbalance an opponent. K1 sweeps can be performed as leg-to-leg trips as well.

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David Jenkins

Posted by David Jenkins

Secretary and Founding Member of the British Kickboxing Council and the brains behind FightTime, David also contributes to the GiveMeSport website.

Website: http://fighttime.co.uk

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