There is a lot going on in the world of Kickboxing and we appreciate that it can be a little daunting sometimes, so we put together this FAQ to help you find the information you need as quickly as possible!
We have broken the FAQ up into three main categories to make finding what you need easier: About Kickboxing, Competition Structure and Sporting Governance.
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FIGHTING ARTSPoints – a stop-start style of fighting originating in Karate/Kung Fu, where a bout is stopped each time the officials deem a point scoring technique to have landed. Typically, strikes with the hand score one point, with kicks to the head scoring more and jumping kicks scoring more still. Although the vast majority of Points is done with controlled contact where the goal is timing, speed, technique and accuracy, some Semi-Pro and Professional Points bouts are done where there is no restriction on contact. Continuous – more akin to Western Boxing or Muay Thai, Continuous is a non-stop fighting style where points are accumulated over the course of a round (or several rounds), with the winner being the fighter with the most points or, in the case of a draw, the most dominant. Again, much of Continuous is light-contact, but Semi-Pro and Professional bouts are most often fought under full-contact or even Low-Kick/K1 rules where kicks to the leg and other techniques not typically permitted in a Kickboxing bout can be used. In both cases, knock-outs are only considered an instant victory in full-contact rule bouts; if the contact is meant to be controlled, knocking your opponent out (unless the technique was deemed not to have been thrown deliberately to knock out your opponent) will often result in a disqualification due to excessive force.
DEMONSTRATIVE ARTSForms – in the same way that most combat sports have their basis in Karate Kumite or Kung Fu Sanda (the sparring parts of their respective arts), Forms has its foundation in Kata or Patterns. Originally a means of teaching and practising a variety of moves in sequence, these choreographed routines are typically passed down through generations. Modern Forms, sometimes referred to as Freestyle Forms or eXtreme Martial Arts (XMA), are choreographed by coaches for individuals or teams of competitors and are typically very fast, dynamic and complex. The closest comparison from other sports would be a gymnastic floor routine. In fact, Forms also typically incorporates Martial Gymnastics, which is to say the dazzling array of advanced flips and tricks typically reserved for Martial Arts films; while some fighters are able to use these in combative bouts, they are generally seen on the Forms areas or on stage as part of a Tricks Battle (basically, who can do the most impressive trick or trick combination). Weapons Forms – A natural extension of Forms, Weapons Forms provides all of the above with obvious addition of a weapon. Typically light-weight (and non-combat ready) variations on traditional Japanese, Korean and Chinese weapons including staffs, swords and nunchucks. Weapons forms requires an incredible amount of dexterity and is a unique way to demonstrate your skills as a Kickboxer. Self Defence – it is widely argued that any student of any combat style or Martial Art should be able to defend themselves. Although providing “street realistic” situations at competitions would be impossible without placing all those involved in serious danger, one way that Kickboxers can display their defensive skills is through choreographed routines. Considered a part of Forms, these Self Defence sections at competitions are performed in front of judges and aim to show both practical defensive manoeuvres as well as more fanciful and complex scenes, similar to those you might see in films.
- all techniques must be controlled; full-contact blows will incur warnings, point deductions or disqualification
- deliberately knocking out or injuring your opponent will result in an immediate disqualification
- strikes landing on a target area (head or front/side of body) score 1 point
- kicks to the body score 1 point
- kicks to the head score 2 points
- jumping kicks add a point (i.e 2 to the body and 3 to the head)
- successful sweeps (must be performed boot-to-boot) score 1 point
TournamentsMost amateur Kickboxing tournaments are "Open" events; this means that they do not require membership to a particular organisation, nor do you have to qualify by first competing at another event. "Closed" competitions, by contrast, have restrictions on entry that will vary from event to event. Some tournaments operate on a round-robin basis, meaning that you get the chance to fight everyone in your section to decide an overall winner, but most are "knock-out" style events. Of course in this case by "knock-out" we don't mean that people will actually try to knock you out (unless you're competing in full-contact), it just means that winning each bout allows you to progress to the next round, whereas losing typically removes you from the competition. There are a few tournament series with a league format, meaning that an eventual Grand Champion winner is decided at the end of the year by pooling together each fighters' performances throughout the year. Almost all amateur tournament focus on Points (Semi-Contact), Continuous (Light-Contact) and the various types of Forms, although some events, like our own British Championships, do also include Full-Contact sections. You will compete in a given category or section (see: "How are competitors matched at tournaments?") against anyone else who entered the same section on the day. You will generally have to pay to take part in these grass-roots style events, although some offer the chance to win prize money or free equipment for winning certain sections. The aim of competing at this level is to gain as much "mat time" (that is to say, experience in a competitive environment) as possible, so they are well worth it! You never know who you are going to be up against at a tournament, which is half the fun, so it teaches you to adapt quickly to different styles and more easily spot (and exploit) weaknesses.
Fight NightsIn contrast to tournaments, Fight Nights pit you against a "matched" opponent; this is typically someone with a similar record to you (e.g. a record of 2-0-1 being two wins, no losses and one draw/no-contest) or, if you're looking to rise through the ranks and challenge yourself, a better record. Not only does fight matching help to ensure that fights are fair, it also allows you (and your opponent don't forget!) to prepare tactically, mentally and physically for the specific challenges posed by that individual. Perhaps your opponent is a renowned kicker, or maybe they have a tendency to counter-punch? By researching your opponent not only do you stand a better chance of claiming the victory, but you also get to work on strengthening specific aspects of your own game. Another difference is that Fight Nights are generally free to enter. Not only that, but most promoters offer up prize money or even an appearance fee. Most Fight Nights focus on Points (Semi-Contact), Continuous (Light-Contact) or Full-Contact/K1, although some also include XMA demonstrations or Tricks Battles between bouts.
- Novice = White, Red and Yellow Belts
- Intermediate = Orange, Green, Blue and Purple Belts
- Senior = Brown and Black Belts