Kickboxing is a stand-up fighing sport where martial-arts-style kicks and boxing-style punches are used to defeat an opponent in a similar way to that of English boxing but using four points of contact (fists and feet) instead of two. Being a standing sport Kickboxing does not allow continuation of the fight once a combatant has reached the ground.

Male kickboxers are bare-chested wearing shorts and protective gear including: mouth-guard, hand-wraps, 10-oz. boxing gloves, groin-guard, shin-pads, kick-boots, and optional protective helmet.
Female kickboxers will wear a tank top and chest protection in addition to the male clothing/protective gear. In European kickboxing, where kicks to the thigh are allowed using special low-kick rules, use of boxing shorts instead of long trousers is possible.

Kickboxing usually is full contact but amateur rules often allow less experienced competitors to use light or semi-contact rules, where the intention is to score points by executing successful strikes past the opponent's guard, and use of force is regulated.

Kickboxing usually refers to one of the following kickboxing styles: American, Japanese or European-style:

American Style Kickboxing

American Style Kickboxing rules apply to both American Kickboxing and Australian Full Contact Karate. The boxers are allowed to strike with their fists and feet, but only above the hip. Elbow strikes and kneeing is not allowed in American Style of kickboxing, but the shins are allowed only in some competitions. Bouts commonly are 3 to 12 rounds of about 2 -3 minutes each with 1 minute in between.

European Style KickBoxing

European style kickboxing originated from Muay Thai and Japanese kickboxing and evolved into three different disciplines: semi-contact, light (or medium) contact and full contact. Bouts are five rounds, of 3 minutes each. Punches and kicks are allowed to the front and side of the head, the front and side of the body (above waist) and sweeping is also allowed. Striking with elbows and knees is forbidden. Some amount of neck-wrestling is allowed but throws and head-butts are forbidden.

Japanese Kickboxing

Japanese kickboxing closely resembles Muay Thai kickboxing, except for some minor differences in the rules: interval between two rounds takes only one minute in kickboxing (as in English boxing) and punching is worth less points in Muay Thai as compared to kicking. As in Muay Thai, the competitors are allowed to strike using their elbows and knees. Kicking in the lower half of the body is allowed other than the groin. Neck-wrestling is allowed, but head butts and throws have been banned since 1966 to increase boxer's safety.

The term 'kickboxing' is something used as an umbrella term to refer to all types of boxing where at least four points of contact are allowed. See: kickboxing styles.
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Kick Boxing
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Photos by Gregory Brophy (hand wraps), Gerville Hall (TaeKwonDo girl and mixed martial artist kicking), Lucian (Karate fight).
Reproduction strictly prohibited.
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