So you see all the fitness magazines full of articles with pics of fitness models having big fun doing kickboxing workouts, but where do you start?
Videos and pics of people punching and kicking often make kickboxing workouts look so easy, but you try it and suddenly you feel like a dork. Turns out that much like salsa dancing or snow skiing, it’s going to help a lot if you learn a bit of technique to get you started. The good news is that you don’t need to know a lot in the beginning. You can learn as you progress, but you’ll want to start by learning a couple of basic techniques in order to make sure you get started on the right foot. Learning to punch and kick fluidly will help you to get the most from your workout. This will help you to begin developing some rhythm so you can really get in the zone and feel great doing it.
The place to start is with a basic stance and some basic footwork. Believe it or not, for most people, the boxing part can be more challenging than the kicking at first.
A great rule of thumb is: “You can’t do it fast if you can’t do it slow!” It pays to take your time at first and develop a bit of technique before you start trying to speed it up to warp speed.
Begin by focusing on your straight punches; jab (straight front hand punch) and cross (straight rear hand punch) at first. Think of keeping your opponent away at arms length. To do this, our hands are up in front of our face and punches extend straight out (all the way out) and come straight back without dropping.
In boxing you punch with one hand at a time. One of the most important things to keep in mind when punching is to develop the habit of always keeping your other hand back near your face where it can be used to block and it’s already in position to throw the next punch. Did you ever see the gag in an old movie or cartoon where the person is flailing away like a windmill and the other (usually larger) person is just standing with their arm extended and hand on their head holding them away, untouched by the punches? This is what it begins to look like if we drop our hands or wind up when we punch.
Basic Straight PunchesWhen you hit the heavy bag, extend the jab & cross all the way out and make sure our wrist is straight when we make contact with the bag. Bags are called heavy bags for a reason. If you hit it with your wrist bent or at a funny angle, you will hurt your wrist or hand. You should always wear hand wraps and good bag gloves, but you still need to pay attention to what you’re doing and learn to hit it straight. Best to start on a stationary bag first if possible. Since they don’t move, they are easier to hit and they are usually a bit softer and more forgiving. A hanging bag is more challenging because it provides a moving target. When the bag swings, you’ll need to develop your timing in order to hit it squarely. First learn to stop the bag with a straight jab or cross as it begins to swing towards you. You’ll want to learn to step into your punches by pushing off your back foot and then push back to recover your fighting stance
Hooks and upper cuts are quite a bit more challenging to do properly. You have to learn to move into the correct position and you are much more likely to tweak your wrist if you hit a bag or focus mitt incorrectly.
For kicks it’s similar; start with the straight kicks (front kicks) first. Though there are a lot of
variations, basically your front leg front kick is your foot jab and your rear leg front kick is like your cross. When you do a front kick your knee comes up and chambers first. Then pull your toes back and kick with the ball of the foot (though sometimes you may kick with the heel or even the whole flat of your foot). Learn to balance with your knee chambered up high and hands up, then thrust your hips when you kick out. Check out this video: