What is kickboxing?
Kickboxing is a martial art form that combines both kicking and punching techniques with the goal of dominating your opponent. Using both hands and feet is actually a very broad definition and can include many different forms of martial arts.
Kickboxing was first introduced in an official capacity back in the 1960’s in Japan and has evolved very rapidly ever since. Depending where in the world you are, you will see different variations of kickboxing that have been influenced by other martial art forms.
Different types of kickboxing
You’re likely to see types of kickboxing like “Dutch Kickboxing”, “French Kickboxing”, “Chinese Kickboxing”, and more. Each one of these different types usually has nuances related to the rules of engagement in official matches, and techniques in the kicks and punches.
When it comes to the techniques in kicks and punches, you’ll notice a difference in approach to:
- An emphasis on either one of boxing or kicking
- The fighting stance
- Whether low or high kicks are encouraged
- The role that knee strikes play in the form of kickboxing
At KONGA, you’ll notice that we put a heavy emphasis on the Dutch style of kickboxing, which has its roots in the well-known Muay Thai form of martial arts. With this form, you’ll see an emphasis on:
- More boxing combinations
- Wider stance
- Low kicks
- Knee strikes
What does kickboxing teach?
Beyond just teaching combinations of kicking and punching, kickboxing teaches the fighter how to defend and be aggressive in different capacities. Just like most other martial arts, kickboxing is a great way to instil confidence in yourself and your children. It does this through discipline and respect for others around you.
Specifically, if your kids decide to learn something like the Dutch style of kickboxing, they will focus on:
- Protecting themselves from injuries as opposed to exposing themselves to more
- Increasing their agility both mentally and physically
- Picking up a wide range of techniques and will be comfortable with different styles of fighting including Muay Thai, Boxing, and Karate
- Most important of all, building their confidence and developing discipline
What age can kids start to learn kickboxing?
Kickboxing looks different for people at different stages and goals in their lives. For kids, the focus is usually on developing a strong foundation of movements that will enable them to master the sport as they grow older. In addition to strengthening their foundation, there is usually a heavy emphasis on using kickboxing to develop confidence and discipline at a young age.
How kickboxing looks at the age of 4-5 years
Thinking of having your child enrol in kickboxing or any martial arts before they hit elementary school?
At such a young age, kids are in the middle of rapidly developing their cognitive, emotional, and physical capacities. For kickboxing to have a solid impact on children from these three perspectives, we usually recommend semi-structured sessions that allow coaches to work at the level of each of the kids.
Getting kids used to using their hands and legs with basic punches, kicks, and fighting stances will be important. Just as important will be the opportunity for kids to learn this through play. Expending energy while picking up on the skills subtly is usually the best way to train and build a solid foundation for children.
One of our parents started sending their daughter to our kids classes at the age of 3. Throughout the pandemic, all this little girl knew was her home and parents. She started with low social confidence.
For her, we knew that forcing her to partner with another kid for activities, or drilling some of the techniques aggressively just would not work. Instead, she was able to learn and practise the skills she found interesting while her father was with her.
A few months down the road, she’s now more comfortable playing other children, and has picked up a high level of competence in basic kicks, punches, and takedowns.
In addition to the confidence building environment, we like to put an emphasis on discipline and healthy eating habits. We’ve seen children of all stripes come in through our doors and one thing is for sure: the better their diet and the more active their lifestyle, the stronger their confidence is.
How kickboxing looks at the ages between 6 and 12 years
In addition to confidence building activities, you can expect your kid to start mastering basic and intermediate level techniques. As children grow, it is important to take advantage of their energy and drive to learn more.
If your child is enrolled in a Dutch style kickboxing class, then you’ll see them focus on
- Learning to master different boxing combinations
- Focusing on knee strikes and low kicks
- Controlled and safe sparring
- Much more structured and rigorous sessions
Can kids compete in kickboxing?
While the main goal for kids taking part in any martial art form, including kickboxing, should be to increase their confidence, discipline, and health, there is always room for healthy competition.
If you or your children are keen on participating in organised competitions, then the WAKO (World Association for Kickboxing Organisation) Canada is a great place to start. WAKO is a global organisation that, among other things, helps to facilitate healthy competition and provides avenues for those wishing to pursue a professional future in kickboxing.
Are kickboxing competitions safe for kids?
As we’ve mentioned earlier in the post, the benefits of learning Dutch style kickboxing is to help protect you or your children from injuries. It is a safe sport, and by participating in organised competition, your children are bound by strict rules that will ensure their safety and will prevent any form of serious injury.
Can Konga help my kids prepare for a competitive kickboxing tournament?
In short, yes! We pride ourselves on being a family first environment, and for working closely with each of our members on a custom plan to help them reach their goals. If your kid is planning to take part in a tournament, we can work with them to make sure they are prepared for the tournament in the best way possible. Our emphasis will always be on the value of kickboxing beyond the ring, but we do believe that healthy competition is good for development.
Do you need gloves and other attire for kid’s kickboxing?
Kids kickboxing is not an expensive sport. Typical attire you can expect to pay for your kids kickboxing classes are:
- Pair of gloves
- Shorts/track pants
- A few shirts
- Shin pads
What to look for in a gym or kickboxing centre for your kids
Here is a quick yet comprehensive guide to picking the right gym to help your kids excel in their kickboxing endeavours:
- You don’t want to drive across Ontario just to take a class, but you may want to be flexible within a certain km radius. Giving yourself options will only help you make the right decision for your kids. If you’re in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Etobicoke or Milton, feel free to give us a call and we’d be happy to place your kids in the perfect program for them
- Gyms are designed in all sorts of ways. Some have a very strict focus on body image and appearance. Others are hyper competitive. Some offer a more family friendly environment with a healthy competitive balance. For children, we always recommend finding a gym that will work with your children at their level in an environment that is welcoming to all
- Approach to teaching/training/coaching
- You’ll want to find a gym that really does care about the level of skill and confidence your child is at. Some gyms will take a blanket approach, and your child’s needs may get lost in the crowd. Others will ensure that they work to build each child up at their pace while maintaining an acceptable pace of class progression
All in all, kids kickboxing can be a great way to build your child’s confidence, discipline, and physical/mental strength. Regardless of where you live in the GTA, there are many gyms that offer kickboxing services for kids. Take the tips and insight offered in this article, and make the best decision for your kids this summer!