List of Kickboxing Moves

Kickboxing is a martial art based on kicking and punching that has been divided into two distinct styles: Japanese and American. Although the term "kickboxing" usually refers to Japanese or American styles, the word also encapsulates all stand-up combat sports that allow both punching and kicking, such as Muay Thai. Regardless of which style you choose to study, grasping basic kickboxing moves is key to later incorporating advanced moves in your repertoire. Always practice kickboxing moves only under the supervision of a qualified trainer.

A kick boxer exercising outside. (Image: Saša Prudkov/iStock/Getty Images)

Punches

Kickboxing has many kinds of punches, each designed to accomplish a different objective in the ring. One of the most basic punches is the jab, a fast, straight punch to your opponent's head or body that is used to set him up for further blows and drive him back. Because it is fairly weak on its own, use the jab in conjunction with other kicks or punches, such as a right cross or an uppercut. Put your full weight behind a right cross to increase its effectiveness as a devastating counterattack. Fighters often fail to use this basic move, so mastering and integrating an uppercut punch into your close-combat matches may take your opponent by surprise.

Kicks

Kicks are an important part of your fighting arsenal. The standard techniques are the front, roundhouse and sidekicks. The front kick is simple, fast and versatile, and you can use it as an advancing or stopping technique. Perform the roundhouse kick with either leg, but your back leg offers significantly more power. Because it is used on average four times more than any other kick, mastering this kick is crucial for your technique. While you may find the side kick difficult to learn, it is very useful as both an attacking or defensive technique. If you are looking for more advanced techniques, the heel, crescent and back kicks are common variations on these basic moves.

Knee and Elbow Strikes

Knee and elbow strikes are generally only found in Japanese kickboxing, a holdover from its Muay Thai roots. Your knee is an extremely powerful weapon for close-range combat used to attack your opponent's groin, ribs, solar plexus or even the face. The three basic knee kicks are the front knee, side knee and jumping knee kicks. Because the elbow is one of the hardest parts of your body, elbow strikes are very dangerous. Like the knee, it is perfect for medium or close-range combat. The two basic techniques are the front elbow and downward elbow strikes, both used to punch your opponent in the head.

Sweeping

Sweeping is a way of using your leg to knock your opponent off balance or even to the ground. Not all kickboxing styles permit sweeps. The two basic forms are the outside and inside foot sweeps. A properly executed outside foot sweep should result in your opponent losing balance. Follow an inside foot sweep with a punch to your opponent's jaw. You can also practice the spinning back sweep, which you would conclude with a fist to the back of your opponent's head.

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