The combat sport of kickboxing has a long history – bringing influences and inspirations from boxing traditions across the globe. From Muay Thai kickboxing to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo to full-contact Karate, from English boxing to French savate, all of these different combat sports were brought together to form the thing that we, in the west, now know as kickboxing.
To this fact, we owe the beauty of the sport – as well as its potential complexity and heterogeneity. American kickboxing does not necessarily follow the same rules as Dutch kickboxing, just as different world championships – run by different organizations – do not have the same rules either.
So, Glory kickboxing will not be precisely the same as K-1 kickboxing, as each has its own specific regulations. And it should go without saying that Muay Thai boxing and savate are essentially different sports. Find out more about the different types of kickboxing here.
But, for those of you who are looking to get started in the sport – or who are just interested in hearing what it involves – we’ve put together a guide of the essential things you need to know about the sport. And, the important thing here is that we are going to be focusing on the Glory rules, as this is probably the largest kickboxing association in the world right now. This article can be your full guide in getting started around kickboxing. We've also linked additional articles that can help you learn more about kickboxing. It's a great sport if you're looking for something new or want to be able to get in the ring. It provides so many great benefits regardless of your experience level in the sport. Kickboxing can also be done anywhere. You don't necessarily need equipment to get started. You just need your body and a good open space. Follow our guide to start your journey around kickboxing.
Benefits to KickBoxing
Before we mention the rules about kickboxing, we thought it would be great to list the benefits of kickboxing. There are so many great benefits to start kickboxing. It's the perfect sport for anybody. Everyone, from all backgrounds and ages, can enjoy it. Kickboxing is also something that can require no equipment. Of course, having gloves, guards and a heavy bag is a great addition to your training, but you can start kicking boxing with just your bodyweight. Here are some of the benefits to motivate you to start kickboxing.
Exercise - We all know we should exercise to live a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard motivating yourself or finding the type of exercise you enjoy. Kickboxing workouts can be intense and challenging and they're incredibly enjoyable. It's a lot of fun throwing kicks and punches as well as learning new moves. Kickboxing workouts incorporate strength, cardiovascular and functional training. If you need a workout you'll enjoy, the answer is kickboxing.
Stress Relief - We all can have stressful days or even weeks. The important thing is to find ways to de-stress. It's never a good idea to hold on to unwanted stress. Kickboxing is perfect for stress relief. It feels good to be able to hit something or throw kicks and punches safely. You'll instantly start to feel the stress melt away. Kickboxing can be very technical as well. You'll have to really focus on what you're doing and your stressful thoughts will disappear.
Mental Benefits - Kickboxing can offer you lots of mental benefits from confidence, self-esteem and a few other things. Having the ability to defend yourself will create confidence and self-esteem. With Kickboxing, you'll also start to notice changes in your body like weight loss or more muscle gain. You'll feel great physically and mentally when you start kickboxing.
The benefits of kickboxing are endless. There are lots of great reasons to start. The important thing is making that first step and start kickboxing. You'll instantly experience the benefits it can provide. We're confident after your first session you'll love kickboxing.
Here we go. These are the essential rules you need to know before embarking on your kickboxing training. And then check out the health benefits of kickboxing!
A Guide to Kickboxing Rules.
To the uninitiated, kickboxing – like every martial art – just looks like two people beating the hell out of each other. This, in fact, is precisely not what kickboxing is.
Rather, the bouts are defined and regulated by a very specific set of rules, which outlaw particular moves, which value particular moves over others, and which provide the structure which allows the fighters to be ranked.
Like all martial arts, kickboxing is more about the elegance of the techniques and the agility of the fighter. Just slinging punches and low kicks are never enough.
What’s the Aim of a Kickboxing Bout?
Let’s start with the fundamental question: what exactly is the point of a kickboxing fight? How do you win it?
Whilst many things depend on the particular association under which you are playing, the central aim of essentially all kickboxing matches is the knockout. Quite simply, here, you are aiming to knock the other person out.
This can happen in a number of ways. The first, simply, requires that one of the fighters can’t resume the fight – either within a count to ten or before that if the fighter needs medical assistance.
Otherwise, in Glory kickboxing, there are numerous ways to achieve a technical knockout: if your opponent submits, if the referee determines that your opponent is just totally outclassed if a doctor says that your opponent cannot continue – or if you have knocked your opponent down three times in around. This is only a sample of the ways, by the way.
Besides a knockout – technical or otherwise – a fighter can win through points, which are allocated at the end of each round for the quality of the fighters’ fight. If no-one has suffered a knockout, then points are added up at the end. This is how kickboxing matches can end in a draw.
You’ll have noticed, however, that fighters are often listed with the number of knockouts they’ve dished out. This, primarily, is the aim.
Get out-of-the-box boxing classes here.
How Do You Score Points in Kickboxing?
In Glory kickboxing, points are awarded at the end of the fight only if there hasn’t been a unanimous winner through knockout.
At the end of each round, points are noted by the judges – of which there are three or five. Scores for each round are one of the following:
- 10-10, in which there is no discernible difference between the two fighters’ performance.
- 10-9, in which one fighter’s performance was better.
- 10-8, in which one fighter’s performance involving knocking down the other (putting them on the floor [‘takedowns’] rather than knocking them out).
- 10-7, in which one fighter knocks the other down twice.
Besides the number of knockdowns, the points are awarded for a number of other reasons. These are the amount of damage that one kickboxer inflicts upon the other; the number of ‘spectacular’ or simply ‘normal’ techniques that strike the opponent cleanly; and the degree of aggressiveness.
These ‘spectacular’ techniques are those in which ‘flying’ or spinning is involved – such as the roundhouse kick or high kick. And the point about aggressiveness is to encourage action: you ain’t going to do very well if you limit yourself to self-defence moves. Giorgio Petrosyan is famed for his defensive skills, but he has a wicked attack too.
And How Do You Win?
As we said above, kickboxing is won either through a knockout or through the quality of your punching and kicking performance.
Ultimately, this is all up to the judge’s decision – or to the referee’s, if you are fighting at a much lower tier.
Any Other Rules You Need to Remember?
It’s important to keep in mind some of the other rules of the sport. Whilst in Muay Thai you can use elbows and knees to strike your opponent, only the knees are permitted in Glory kickboxing.
The same applies to clinching. This is a common move in Muay Thai, yet, if you want to clinch in Glory, you need to immediately follow it with a knee strike – otherwise, it is forbidden and you will be penalized.
Otherwise, avoid strikes to the knee, the groin, and the back of the head and back.
Glory kickboxing is all about fighting techniques striking with the fists and feet: the jab, uppercut, front kick, hook kick, right cross and sweeps are the sorts of things you are aiming for. In short, punch and kick.
What is Classed as a Foul?
Anything that is not a legitimate move will be classed as a foul. This includes elbow strikes, biting, head butts, or moves from judo or wrestling. Kickboxing is not really a game of grappling.
However, you’ll be penalized for a whole range of other things too: passivity, ignoring the ref, spitting out your mouthguard, ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’, or continuing to strike if your opponent is on the ground.
Honestly, these are all pretty legitimate. And if you do this stuff, it’s really not a great look.
Why Do Kickboxing Rules Matter?
Rules in Kickboxing ensure the safety and security of both fighters in the ring. It allows for a fair fight where everyone in the ring has an equal shot at winning. Of course, you can't have fighters doing as they please in the ring. It would heavily dangerous to both of the fighters in the ring. Having rules keep everyone safe and allow for both fighters to have ease when they're in the ring.
We've outlined numerous rules above for kickboxing that are all important and are necessary to have. For instance, kickboxers cannot punch or kick the back of their opponent's head. Hitting the back of your opponent's head has been deemed extremely dangerous and can result in serious brain damage or death. This isn't only in Kickboxing, all forms of fighting have banned hitting the back of the head. It keeps everyone safer. Kickboxing rules are there for a reason and each rule has lots of information around why it's a rule. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be able to perform their sport safely and having everyone on the same page allows this to happen.
Some Notes on Kickboxing Ages and Weights.
If you are looking to turn your personal training in kickboxing into something more competitive, then you need to know a few things about the structure of the sport and the different categories under which you might fall.
The main ones regard age and body weight – and, again, they are fairly legitimate. It’s not really on if, as a lightweight black belt you enter the ring with a super heavyweight. Whilst you might be in the best shape, there’s not much chance that you are getting up from a straight punch.
How Old Do You Need to Be to Start?
The same applies to age – and there are three age categories that you need to be aware of in Glory kickboxing.
Under the age of twelve, you’re not permitted in the ring. So, take it easy and wait a while if you are any younger than that. From the age of twelve, you’re classed as an ‘Aspirant’ – and you’ll be fighting people up to the age of fifteen.
Kickboxers between sixteen and eighteen are juniors, whilst fighters between nineteen and 49 are seniors. Not though, people, that you can’t start to kickbox competitively if you are over thirty. That means that the first fight of all boxers should be before their thirtieth birthday.
Which Weight Class Do You Fall Into?
Glory kickboxing runs fights in six different weight classes:
- Featherweight (max 65kg)
- Lightweight (70kg)
- Welterweight (77kg)
- Middleweight (85kg)
- Light Heavyweight (95kg)
- Heavyweight (over 95kg)
Whilst other associations have classes for bantamweight, Glory kickboxing do not.
People in a particular weight class will only fight others in the same class. The boxing gloves that opponents wear need to be the same in weight – and competitors need to be ranked similarly too.
How Does Ranking Work for Kickboxing?
You might be interested in finding out how different kickboxers are ranked. Because, a bit like tennis, sure you can say ‘he’s the best in the world’ – but where does that actually come from?
Obviously, to be a world champion, you need to have won a world association championship. But how does a kickboxing champion gets ranked among all the others?
Check out some of the biggest names in kickboxing!
The answer, in Glory rules at least, is through ranking points. These are a little complex.
Throughout a year, during each fight, you earn or lose ranking points. If your opponent has x number of points, if you win, if receive twenty-five percent of their points (or thirty-five for a KO).
If you lose to someone with fewer ranking points than you, however, you lose twenty-five percent of the difference between you and your opponent’s points.
All clear? Good. Now you can learn everything else you need to know about kickboxing.
How to Start KickBoxing?
Now, that you know the rules and benefits of kickboxing, you may be asking yourself how to start. There are going to be a number of ways to start kickboxing, Your first step is deciding on where you want to train. You can kickbox in your home, at a gym, or find a club near you. There is no wrong way in starting, so we'll break down each place you can at. You can then make your own informed decision about where to start kickboxing.
Chances are if you're are looking into the rules of kickboxing you likely want to join a club. Clubs can be one of the best ways to start. You'll be under the guidance of a professional coach and you'll be able to meet like-minded people. Joining a kickboxing club, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about kickboxing from the fundamentals to having strategies in the ring. Knowing the rules is also going to be fundamental in joining a club. You want to be able to play by the rules and be safe. It may a good idea to review the rules we listed above before stepping into a kickboxing club.
Kickboxing classes are growing in popularity. Like we mentioned above their fun and great workouts. A lot of gyms and personal trainers have been offering kicking boxing classes. If you're looking for a good workout and to have an understanding of kickboxing joining a gym might be the option for you. By joining a kickboxing gym class you won't have the option to be able to get in the ring, but if you will have a great workout. It can also be a good place to meet other like-minded people.
Kickboxing can be done right in the comfort of your own home. There are lots of different online platforms that offer kickboxing classes. You'll be able to learn the fundamentals or have a great workout. A lot of kickboxing coaches will offer classes virtually as well so you can still get guidance from a professional coach. The important thing to note when kickboxing at home is making sure you have the motivation to continue and have lots of space. It can be hard working out at home. You need to have the diligence to be able to workout. It can be easy to talk yourself out of kickboxing when you try it at home. You also want to ensure you have space. You'll need room to jump and move back and forth without hitting furniture or the walls. A good rule of thumb is if you are worried about hitting something you need more space. You should be focused on kickboxing and not on hitting walls.
If you are looking to kickboxing at home Superprof has 100s of kickboxing coaches all over Canada that are ready to help you. They have the experience and knowledge to teach you everything about kickboxing from the fundamentals to staying in shape. They'll even be able to teach you the rules of kickboxing. Superprof coaches also offer lessons online and in-person giving you the freedom and flexibility to learn how to kickbox when you want to learn.
Join a Kickboxing Class
So, that’s it. What are you waiting for?
Get down to your local gyms and join some boxing classes. With sparring and using the punching bag, you’ll get your heart pumping and you’ll reduce stress. Get fit and get in shape through kickboxing! It can nerve-wracking starting, but after your first session, you'll be glad you joined. You can start experiencing all the benefits of kickboxing such as exercising, mental benefits and stress-relief. You just need to make that first step and join a kickboxing club or class today.
Find out what kickboxing equipment you will need!