Welcome to the world of kickboxing. If you’re new to the sport (which I assume you are, since you are looking to learn the slang of the initiated), the first thing you’ll notice is the language. To a beginner it might feel like a different language altogether. But fear not, I’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to all the kickboxing terms you need to know.
Most of the words are identical or similar to the slang of boxing, which is basically like an older brother. Just do me a favor and don’t overuse it, nobody likes a smartass. Also if you are interested in the visuals of most kickboxing moves, this guy put a lot of effort in his text & video article.
So, let’s start with the most commonly used words for arms and legs.
Vocabulary of Basic Techniques – Hands
- Jab: A quick, straight punch thrown with the front hand. It’s like a friendly handshake, only with more force.
- Cross: A power punch thrown with the back hand. It’s like a handshake from your boss, only he’s angry and you’re about to get fired.
- Hook: A curved punch thrown with either hand, designed to catch your opponent off guard. It’s like a sneaky hug, but with fists.
- Uppercut: A vertical punch thrown from below, usually to the chin. It’s like a punch to the gut, but higher up.
If you have a bad memory, remember at least these four words. Good thing about kickboxing (and boxing for that matter) is that it has far smaller vocabulary than MMA.
Vocabulary of Basic and Advanced Techniques – Legs
- Roundhouse kick: A circular kick, usually aimed at the head or body. It’s like a giant hug, but with feet.
- Front kick: A straight, thrusting kick aimed at the opponent’s body. It’s like a friendly greeting, but with a foot to the gut.
- Side kick: A sideways kick aimed at the opponent’s body. It’s like a friendly wave, but with a foot to the ribs.
- Spinning back kick: A 360-degree kick that can be aimed at the head or body. It’s like a friendly spin, but with a kick to the face.
Four horsemen of kicks. If you are just starting out, you’ll get familiar with front and side kicks. roundhouse and spinning back are used by advanced fighters only and even there it’s a rare sight.
- Shadowboxing: Practicing your techniques and movements without an opponent. It’s like playing air guitar, but with punches and kicks.
- Heavy bag: A large, filled bag that you hit to build power and endurance. It’s like hitting a pillow, but with a lot more resistance.
- Speed bag: A small, hanging bag that you hit repeatedly to improve hand-eye coordination. It’s like playing whack-a-mole, but with punches.
- Pad work: Practicing techniques with a partner holding pads to simulate an opponent. It’s like playing catch, but with punches and kicks.
Remember Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) in the Real Steel (2011) movie, the last match when Atom got his voice recognition system damaged? Charlie shadowboxed outside the ring, with the difference that Atom copied his boxing in an actual fight. I’m telling you, boxing robots can’t get here soon enough.
- Ring: The enclosed area where kickboxing matches take place. It’s like a boxing ring, but with more room for kicking.
- Referee: The person responsible for enforcing the rules and maintaining safety in the ring. It’s like a traffic cop, but for fighting.
- KO: A knockout, when a fighter is unable to continue due to a blow to the head. It’s like a power nap, but with less rest and more pain.
- TKO: A technical knockout, when the referee stops the fight due to a fighter being unable to continue. It’s like a time-out, but with more punches and kicks.
These will certainly go a long way if you are going to watch a live kickboxing match. Now you actually know what the heck are the commentators talking about.
There you have it. A comprehensive guide to all the kickboxing terms you need to know. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, I hope this guide has been informative and also entertaining. Happy kickboxing!