Kickboxing is a great workout and self-defense system rolled into one package. You don't have to be violent or feel the need to compete in any kickboxing fights to take a kickboxing class. However, it is important to learn the basic moves and how to do them so that you don't get injured and can have the full kickboxing experience.
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Every move starts in and ends with your kickboxing stance. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, with your dominant side behind your non-dominant side. You don't want to be facing completely sideways or straightforward, try to stand at a diagonal. If you're a righty, your right foot should be behind your left foot and vice-versa. Your hands should be curled into a fist and up at face-height. Tuck your elbows in near your ribs, don't let them flare out. Now you're ready to learn some moves.
While in your kickboxing stance, your non-dominant hand is in front. That's your jab hand. To throw a jab, extend your arm out straight until your fist hits the target. When you make contact, your elbow should be straight. Then, bring your jab hand back to your face.
Unlike the jab, the hook isn't a straight forward punch. The point is to punch around an opponent's defenses and hit them on the side of the body or head. You can throw a hook with either your dominant or non-dominant hand. All you have to do is punch in a curve with your elbow cocked out to the side and forearm parallel to the ground. You should hit the target flat with the top of your fist.
Like the hook, the uppercut can be thrown with either hand. It's a vertical punch, meant to slip under and opponent's defenses. To throw an uppercut with either hand you start by squatting low. As you stand up you punch with either hand straight up, keeping your fist close to your body. The force behind this punch comes from your legs.
This is the most powerful kick because you can put all of your momentum behind it. It can be a little tricky to
The roundhouse kick is made for power but the push kick is made to create distance. You can do some damage with this move, but it's meant more as a defensive or set-up kick. From your kickboxing stance, pick up your back leg and kick straight forward in front of you. Don't kick too quickly, go a little slower and use more power to get a bigger push. When you kick with your back leg you can turn into it, but if you kick with your front leg you don't want to turn too much.
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Elbows are a very short-range attack. You can throw elbows many different ways, but they are most traditionally thrown like punches. Whether you're using your dominant or non-dominant arm, you bend your elbow and try to strike with the boniest part. To make contact you turn into the strike and move in a semi-circular motion, the same way that you would throw a hook.
The best way to throw a knee in kickboxing is to grab the object you are trying to knee with both hands. You're going to need some leverage to lean into the strike, or else it will be hard to generate power. Grab the object, whether it be a heavy bag or a person holding striking mitts, and pull yourself into the object as you drive your knee up and forward. You can also bring your knee around and hit the side of the object with the inside of your knee. You can throw knees from either leg and you don't need to switch stances.