Kickboxing is a sort of hybrid martial art. It was founded relatively recently, as these things go. Whereas many martial arts have centuries-long traditions attached to them, the kind of kickboxing London classes display has only been in existence for the last few decades, since the Second World War. It was formalised by some of the soldiers who had been stationed overseas in the Far East and had seen the superior techniques used by the men they met there. They learned and exported back the punching, kicking and blocking and turned it into a simplified style suitable for teaching in a Western class.
This isn’t to say that other martial arts don’t have a lot to offer. However, kickboxing has been intentionally designed to be comparatively simple and useful for certain situations. Many of the Eastern styles, such as tang soo dau or the different types of kung fu, have elaborate patterns of movements, plus techniques with historic but very specific applications. Some are derived from the kind of place they grew up in (such as rural farming communities), and are of interest and are part of that style when studied comprehensively but are not directly needed today.
Kickboxing has stripped out much of this material, keeping the basics of punches, kicks, blocks and footwork. In that respect, the ‘syllabus’ is quite limited, meaning that you can learn it fairly quickly, then moving on to becoming proficient in these moves, putting them together in combinations, and in sparring, or fighting under controlled conditions (with pads, and to strict rules).
For this reason, kickboxing is good for self-defence, as well as all-round fitness – strength, speed, stamina and flexibility. You would rarely find these things in the same discipline, making it fantastic cross-training. With the awareness and self-defence techniques comes improved confidence and eased stress, something valuable in today’s high-pressure work environment.
So, kickboxing offers much besides learning to fight. A kickboxing club is a great place to get fit, socialise (you will meet lots of like-minded people), work out some stress, and gain some confidence. Once you have learned the basics, there will be opportunity for sparring, but that’s always up to you – there’s generally no pressure on you to go beyond your comfort zone. At least, not too far: a good instructor will push you to achieve your best without going too far!
Please visit http://www.zendokickboxing.com/ for further information about this topic.