I’ve been asked by a lot of friends why I follow kickboxing like I do. In pretty much the entire Western Hemisphere the sport of kickboxing is as much of an afterthought as Judo and Sumo wrestling. When most people think about kickboxing they think of Billy Blanks and soccer moms in local gyms doing cardio kickboxing. I’ve decided to write a sort of introduction or guide to newer fans or fans that have drifted from K-1. With K-1 airing on HDNet in the US now, now is as good of a time as any to watch kickboxing.
If you are reading this, there is a very good chance you are a fan of combat sports; MMA, Boxing, Pro Wrestling, etc. If so, when you think kickboxing it is most likely the stand up game in Mixed Martial Arts. MMA fighters do indeed practice a form of kickboxing, but much like boxing, when you watch MMA you aren’t getting the full spectrum of the sport. MMA is simply different than boxing and kickboxing, both in that grappling is involved so more has to be defended, but the pacing and strategy will be completely different. I’m not going to be one of those writers that says MMA fighters aren’t as talented as a kickboxer or boxer, they are simply trained differently.
With the boom of MMA, I’ve often wondered why MMA fans don’t spill over into kickboxing more often, especially with a large emphasis being on long, back and forth stand up battles. When tuning into your average K-1 show, you are bound to see a few exciting fights which of course exclusively feature high level kickboxing.
A lot of kickboxing matches will go the distance and go to the judges’ scorecards, but that does not mean that the action always relents or that the fight was boring. In reality, some of K-1’s most legendary fights have been long, drawn out battles of will and even had to go into the extension rounds to clearly pick a winner. Very rarely will a close fight be decided in a dismissive fashion, as long as it was a close fight, there is a good chance that the fighters will fight another round.
Kickboxing fights in K-1 are exciting, features top level talent pitted against each other in classic battles and of late get aired on HDNet in the United States (as well as make their way onto the internet).
Still to come: K-1 MAX, K-1 vs. MMA