Kickboxing is an excellent martial art for beginners: it provides a solid striking foundation on which other styles can be added; it’s easy to learn the basics; it’s a reasonably safe style if you adapt your training, and it requires minimal equipment making it affordable.
Kickboxing provides a solid foundation to study as your first martial art. It’s a striking style incorporating a wide variety of punching and kicking techniques. However, unlike Muay Thai, knees and elbows are not allowed.
Kickboxing involves long, medium and close range striking techniques allowing you to tackle an opponent at varying distances from you. One weakness of kickboxing is that it does not involve ground fighting. In order to become a rounded fighter, you may want to consider adding in BJJ or wrestling training in the future.
A number of UFC fighters have kickboxing as their foundation martial art. For instance, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
The pedigree of fighters that have their fighting style revolve around kickboxing shows just what an effective martial art it is.
Quick to pick up
It also very easy to learn the basics in kickboxing.
Humans have been fighting with their fists and feet for hundreds of thousands of years. Perhaps for this reason, standing up and using kickboxing techniques feels very natural.
Contrast this with BJJ techniques which are typically highly technical. In addition, being so close to an opponent in a grappling style can feel quite alien to the inexperienced. It can take quite some time to make progress in BJJ.
Kickboxing has a fixed number of punching and kicking techniques. Of course, it can take a lifetime to master them and to use them in effective combinations. However, the basic elements of each technique can be learned quickly and practiced. It takes only a few lessons to understand how to throw a cross and jab.
It’s very safe
Kickboxing can be a very safe sport.
There are opportunities to spar with an opponent as part of your training. This will involve practicing striking and blocking techniques with a live opponent. Typically you’ll use much less force than you would in an actual fight. The idea is that you get used to responding and reacting to another fighter.
Once you’re ready, you can also start to compete in actual fights in a ring. These competitions are governed by various regulations which will define such things as weight divisions and the weight of boxing glove allowed.
However, there is no requirement to spar if you don’t want to. You certainly don’t have to compete. You can simply take part in the other aspects of training: heavy bag training, pad work, calisthenics, skipping and cardio work. You can still improve your kickboxing techniques in this way.
Other martial arts aren’t like this. It’s very difficult to practice BJJ or wrestling without a partner: you can’t work on your techniques without a live opponent. However, in kickboxing you can work on your strikes by using a heavy bag.
Kickboxing requires limited equipment. Certainly to begin with, most clubs will let you borrow a set of gloves each time you train so you only really need to turn up in loose fitting exercise gear.
In time, you may want to invest in your own boxing wraps, shorts and gloves but as a beginner you don’t need to buy these straight away.
For all these reasons, kickboxing is an excellent martial art to learn for beginners.