Does Kickboxing Help with Self Defense

Photo Credit: ajari

People who are looking for a good workout routine and would like to prepare themselves for adverse situations often wonder if kickboxing helps with self defense. Any form of training that improves your strength and ability to defend is perfect for self defense. It may be kickboxing or some other exercise. If you try kickboxing or watch some kickboxing tournaments, you’ll understand how effective it is for self defense.

Does Kickboxing Help with Self Defense?

The answer is simply, “Yes.” Kickboxing can help in preparation for a real street fight. Although self-defense is not the primary goal of kickboxing and it doesn’t teach you how to crack or control somebody’s grasp, it can definitely help you avoid be less vulnerable and in control of the situation.

It is as efficient as any other good combat style and better than quite a few in the hands of experts. Its strength lies in its long-term combat development. Whether they are from Muay Thai, American, TKD, or other kickboxing backgrounds, most kickboxers learn how to manage distance and take quick shots while repelling kicks and punches.

However, you need to have proper kickboxing experience for self defense before you become capable of holding your ground in tough situations. We suggest punches before kicks, because while kicks have more strength and range, it is easier to block, counter, and escape while punches are more precise.

Is Kickboxing Effective in a Street Fight?

Yes, it is highly effective. If you’re not ready to fight, take the time to learn some of the primary defenses to make sure you are street-fight ready.

Nothing is certain in a street-fight. You can be stabbed, shot, attacked, bitten, or grabbed. There are no rules, penalties, or cops. There is no referee who would penalize the fighters for cursing, spitting, hitting under the belt, or disrespecting the opponent. On top of that, very often someone would participate in a street fight with an intent to seriously harm the other party. The best way to deal with a street fight is to avoid it in the first place.

To apply kickboxing in a street fight, you must forget the “sporting” aspects and apply basic techniques. Once you realize that you are not training, you will also realize that your typical training sessions at the kickboxing gym are not as useful and may be counterproductive. Slow kicks are likely to knock you to the ground, if your opponent grabs your legs.

Once you notice these differences, you can really see the benefits of kickboxing. Warming up and exercising means you’ll be stronger, faster, and more energetic than the average Joe at the pub. All the kickboxing workouts at the gym will definitely come in handy when you realize that your stamina far outpaces your opponent.

Kickboxing Techniques For Self Defense in Street Fights

Knee Strikes

Generally, a stronger opponent will try to approach you fast or knock you down. A knee kick in the stomach can have him/her retreat quickly, or at least stop his/her attack, creating space in the process. Knee kicks are a great kickboxing approach for street fighting because it also prevents withdrawal attempts.

Low Kicks

A good kickboxer can paralyze your leg with a single or a few hard low kicks. In street fights, you should know that the opponent expects you to aim for their face or upper body. No one will immediately think of any impact to their lower body. Low kicks can be one of the most effective street fighting technique. However, it should be kept hidden, never thrown at close range. Surprise your opponent whenever possible.

Here’s a compilation of a few low kicks in the ring just to show you how detrimental they can be.

Jab Cross

A jab cross is a common strategy, but you will prevent the opponent from shortening the distance. They can only slow him/her down, but don’t worry, a good cross to the nose, chin, or even eyes could do the job. Just hit hard enough so that hopefully your opponent backs down. Remember, your aim is to defend yourself, so if you see your opponent backing down just calmly collect yourself and walk away.


The hook is an urban style technique. However, be aware that many people will expect this approach. You must hide it correctly.

  • Keep your elbow tucked in by your side
  • In a single motion, strike your opponent so that when you land your hook, your elbow is at a 90 degree angle.

It’s recommend that you simulate your movement. If someone has at least basic combat skills, the first thing they expect is an attempt to slap or punch. Although hooks have the same movement pattern as slaps or regular punches, it is a must used technique for street fighting.

Final Thoughts

Kickboxing is a martial art that can be used as self defense and sport. For self defense or street fighting, you have to forget about the rules and understand the differences. Just use the techniques to defeat your opponent and defend yourself.

But, if you use it to hurt people, it is not self defense, and you’ll likely be charged and face legal consequences. Use kickboxing wisely, and may the strength be with you!

Learn more about kickboxing in self defence in our kickboxing or boxing for self defense post!

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