How Kickboxing Became a Global Phenomenon

You’ve probably heard of kickboxing, or even taken a class or two, but do you know the history behind one of America’s favorite – not to mention most effective – fitness regimes? Whether you’re a kickboxing pro or haven’t yet stepped foot in a studio, there’s no question that kickboxing has become an exciting sport to both watch and practice over the past several decades.


The Unique History of Kickboxing


While karate has been practiced since the 19th century, kickboxing as we know it today evolved in more recent decades. The term “kickboxing” was created by a Japanese boxing promoter named Tatsuo Yamada in the 1950s, who invented the term to refer to a combination of karate and Muay Thai boxing.


‘I know karate, but what’s Muay Thai boxing?’ you may wonder. As the cultural martial art of Thailand, it dates back several hundred years. In those days, Muay Thai used the body to mimic the weapons of war – the hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. Just like kickboxing today, the goal is to disarm the enemy for the win.


After success in Japan, the term began to pick up steam in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. Dissatisfied with the scoring limitations of tournaments, American full-contact karate practitioners decided to take their bouts to the boxing ring. The era spawned many such kickboxing legends as Benny “The Jet” Urquidez and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. The sport became even more widespread once ESPN began broadcasting matches in 1979. It was further popularized 19 the 1990s with movies like “Kickboxer” staring Van Dam. Since then, kickboxing has exploded in popularity not only in competition, but in fitness and self-defense.


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Kickboxing Today


Today, there are several unique styles of kickboxing practiced around the world. Because kickboxing training regimens are so effective at whipping participants into shape, kickboxing workouts have become extremely popular among fitness enthusiasts who perform kickboxing techniques, like jabs and roundhouse kicks, at a fast pace to high-energy music. By incorporating the cardio component of a fighter’s workout, kickboxing classes provide a great calorie burn and teach participants authentic kickboxing moves.


Discover iLoveKickboxing


At ILKB, our goal is to get you in the greatest shape possible in the least amount of time possible, using proven kickboxing techniques in a fun, motivational setting. We provide passionate, inspiring instructors who will help you to overcome your limits, and reach your goals fast. If you want to discover what all the buzz is about, visit our website today at


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