Skip to Main Content

The Origins of Kickboxing

Originally posted on 12/29/2014

A kickboxer strikes a pad with a roundhouse kickWhen most people think of kickboxing, they imagine some type of combination between American boxing and martial arts kicking.

Surely, that’s what it can look like to an untrained eye, as it takes place in a ring where participants may use kicks, punches, elbow and knee strikes, and sometimes headbutts to disable their opponents. But the history of kickboxing is more storied and advanced than simply a mashup of styles. While the term “kickboxing” has its origins in Japan and evolved from full-contact karate, its roots actually run deeper - all the way to Thailand and the martial art of Muay Thai Boxing.

In this article, we'll take a look at the history and origins of kickboxing.

Origins of Muay Thai Boxing

Muay Thai Boxing is considered a hard martial art, and it dates back to the ancient forms of boxing used by Siamese soldiers in the 11th century. From there, it evolved into a means of physical exercise, recreation, and self-defense and began to be practiced at sporting events, after which rules were established and participants began using gloves and other protective gear when sparring. 

Innovations to Muay Thai - Now the Sport of Muay Thai

Many years later, a Japanese boxing promoter named Osamu Noguchi combined characteristics of Muay Thai Boxing with karate, while maintaining the former’s status as a hard martial art that allowed full striking, unlike traditional karate practices of the time. During the 1960s, fighters studying Muay Thai Boxing began diligently studying aspects of karate to combine with their own form that, eventually, came to be known as kickboxing. A few years later, the first kickboxing organization, the Kickboxing Association, was founded in Japan.

Muay Thai's Transition to Kickboxing

In recent years, kickboxing has steadily risen in popularity. Many Americans enjoy engaging in kickboxing as a sports competition, while others simply practice it for the physical exercise benefits. No matter what brings you to this martial art, there is much for you to experience and much for you to gain.

Learn from Martial Arts Experts at NY Martial Arts Academy

If you’re considering the study of kickboxing, contact the professionals at NY Martial Arts Academy to speak with a skilled instructor who can help you choose a program to begin the healthy and engaging practice of kickboxing.