How many Kickboxing Techniques do I need to know?
I’ve seen this question time and time again. What Kickboxing techniques do I need to learn? Kickboxing is a unique sport that stems from a number of disciplines. From the Asian martial arts like Kung Fu, Muai Thai Taekwondo, or Karate to Western systems like Sambo, Dutch kickboxing, or Capoeira. Practitioners of these styles and many others can compete in kickboxing competition with brutal effectiveness, and they all contribute their own array of kickboxing techniques.
But with all of these disciplines, there are so many techniques involved and it can become overwhelming. However, we can boil it down to a total of 8 kickboxing techniques that will be a core focus of your training. From there, the variations and combinations of kickboxing techniques are pretty much limitless.
So let’s get started with 8 pillars of Kickboxing Technique
Jab – This is absolutely the first thing you need to know. The jab is the basic straight lead hand punch. It doesn’t have a whole lot of power compared to the others, but it does have reach, and speed, making it the technique you will use most often. This is a great starter for most combinations you will be executing. The execution will vary depending on situation, angle, and distance, but overall it’s a pretty simple and literally straightforward punch.
Cross – This is the straight punch thrown from the rear hand. This is usually your power hand, and as such is very often a strong KO punch. If you ever watch MMA matches, you will probably see a lot of straight right hand punches thrown for the knockout, and this probably leads to more knockouts than any other kickboxing technique.
Hook – This punch is another haymaker that is a favorite for KO’s. This punch is usually executed by throwing the hand around your opponent’s guard to the side of the head or jaw. When one of these babies connects to the temple, or the tip of the jawbone (I call it the magic button), it’s lights out!
Uppercut – This is extremely powerful… IF it’s done correctly. However one of the biggest mistakes I see is when someone drops the hand to wind up for a huge knockout punch. This is bad, bad, bad for a couple of reasons. One problem is you are opening your guard way up to eat your opponent’s fist. Not fun. The other problem is that you are trying to generate all the power from the arm and shoulder, and not so much from the legs or core to put your body into the punch. However, when executed correctly, this Kickboxing Technique hurts like hell. It’s horrible to receive one of these to the ribs, and can drop your opponent when executed properly. It’s also common to see this executed from the clinch, but it’s not as powerful because you can’t generate as much power from the core and hips.
Front push kick – Commonly called a Teep in Muai Thai, but also common in Karate and Taekwondo. This kick is fairly simple, and in my humble opinion, a very under-utilized kickboxing technique. This kick is not very damaging or painful compared to others, but it is awesome for creating distance, knocking your opponent off balance, and setting up some devastating combos, or following it up with a…
Roundhouse Kick – You will see many debates on how to execute this kick because there are several variations. I recommend you choose one variation, and drill it until you can execute with accuracy. Once you are comfortable you can branch out and develop on the other variations. This is THE most common kick you will do in any striking style, and at least one version should be a pillar in your arsenal of Kickboxing techniques.
Knees – These are vicious, and they hurt like hell. As such, they are not legal in all competitions. In MMA, knee strikes don’t always knock your opponent out, but they do some damage, hurt like hell, and often lead to a TKO. Knees to the head, body, and even legs will disable your opponent to a point where you can finish them off. If you are just going into kickboxing, do some research on the rules of the ring. You don’t want to be disqualified for throwing this at the wrong time, or if they’re not legal at all.
Elbows – Another devastating kickboxing technique, elbows are often not allowed in some rings of kickboxing or MMA. However, if you are allowed to use them, it’s recommended. Obviously only for short range, the elbows are great for generating power, and can often lead to fight-ending cuts. Unlike the blunt ball and chain that is your fist, elbows strike with a large solid bone that splits open foreheads and eyebrows. These cuts often end fights due to blood loss or potentially disrupting the fighter’s vision with blood in the eyes. Elbows will rarely stop a fight, but it hurts like hell when on the receiving end, and is often a great setup for the finisher. It happens occasionally, but the most common KO’s are from a strong cross, hooks, or roundhouse kicks.
That’s every Kickboxing Technique you need to know.
So there you have it. Once you learn to execute these kickboxing techniques, and understand the mechanics, you can start to put these together in an unlimited number of combinations. In fact, many of the world’s top fighters will never use more than these 8 kickboxing techniques. Some may not even use that many. It’s fun to learn all the flashy spinning heel kicks, reverse backfist, flying knees, etc. But those are all icing on the cake. Stay tuned and I’ll go over some guidelines for creating your own combos using these kickboxing techniques.