Kickboxing is a generic term for a sporting martial art that, while similar to boxing, uses the feet as well as the hands for striking. Kickboxing can be practiced for general fitness, or as a full-contact combat sport. The male boxers are bare chested, bare foot and wear a boxershort. The female boxers sometimes wear a tank top and shorts. Kickboxing is sometimes practiced as an independent style however in many cases kickboxing is just an event and set of rules of by which martial artists of other styles may compete openly. Typically kickboxing in many competitions is a standing fight sport and does not allow continuation of the fight once the fight has reached the ground, however some styles may still train in this component for example; san shou especially in the military and police and so must be adapted for kickboxing tournaments as well as many Japanese martial arts. Kickboxing can be attributed to K series of fighting styles. There are different rules for different kinds of kick-boxing.
Forms of kickboxing that have been labeled under this term include:
- Adithada (Indian kickboxing) — A form of kickboxing that uses knee, elbow and forehead strikes
- Pradal Serey (Khmer kickboxing) — A possible predecessor of Muay Thai
- Muay Thai (Thai boxing) — Traditional Thai martial art of which has now grown into a popular kickboxing event with strong emphasis on knee and elbow strikes
- Savate (French kickboxing) — Allows the use of shoes
- San Shou/Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) — The applicable component of wushu/kung fu of which Takedowns and throws are legal in competition as well as all other sorts of striking (use of arms and legs).
- Lethwei (Burmese Kickboxing) — Any part of the body may be used to strike and be struck
- Japanese kickboxing — Similar to Muay Thai, but different point system is taken
- Full Contact Karate — Most of the time padding and in some cases body armor is used and is the applicable component of karate like many other styles which also include routines training. (also in some cases of traditional Thai boxing)
- Shoot boxing — A Japanese form of kickboxing which allows throwing and submission while standing similar to San Shou
- Yaw-Yan (Filipino Kickboxing) — Sayaw ng Kamatayan (Dance of Death) is the proper name for Yaw-Yan, a Filipino martial art developed by Napoleon Fernandez. The art resembles Muay Thai in a sense, but differs in the hip torqueing motion as well as downward-cutting of its kicks.