Basic Kickboxing Moves for Beginners

Published by Jason Narog on

Basic Kickboxing

As a personal trainer I work with a lot of people who have never tried kickboxing before. I’m not a martial arts coach, but I do love Muay Thai, so I like teaching some basic kickboxing moves to my clients to help them get the cardio benefit. Most of my clients are complete beginners when it comes to kickboxing so we work our way through the only the basics.

Measuring the Stance for Kickboxing


Funny thing here, I learned the Cuban style measurement for boxing and the Muay Thai measurement for Thai Boxing (kickboxing with knees and elbows) but wound up being thrown for a loop running across a variety of different ‘stances’ people can take on.

So, there’s the ‘bladed stance’ and the ‘square stance.’ I learned about bladed stance in relation to making yourself a much smaller target if someone is coming at you with a weapon.

[end tangent]

For the sake of kicking a bag or pads let’s go with the square stance. Facing your bag or partner put your feet together. Now rotate your dominant foot (right if your right handed) 90 degrees away from the body. Now 90 degrees behind your body. Then rotate the toes away from the body 45 degrees.

Double check that your back toes and front heel won’t collide with eachother and that your feet are a bit more than shoulder width apart. Go soft in the knees keeping your weight about 60 percent on the back leg. You want to feel agile and mobile in this position so you can move at a moment’s notice to strike like a cobra (kai.)

Hands should be up protecting your face.

Basic Strikes for Cardio Kickboxing

If you’re a beginner at this you only need 4 moves to get a good workout in. You have the jab (a punch with your non-dominant hand), the straight (a punch with your dominant hand), and then the non-dominant and dominant kicks.

Punching for beginners

Punching power comes from the hips and the shoulders. You need to be rotating. If you’re trying to punch only from the arms you’re going to tire yourself out.

On the jab you’re going to slightly pop your non-dominant hip forward while slightly pulling your dominant shoulder back. If right handed it’s the left hip popping forward and the right shoulder pulling back. Whip your left hand forward bringing the left shoulder up in front of your face to guard (while also keeping your right hand up.)

Pull yourself back at the hip and shoulder. In this movement your left hip is pulling back while your right shoulder is starting to push forward. This motion will prime your body to make the straight that much more powerful. You’ve already loaded your body through the rotation. There will be a slight pivot on the right leg to allow more rotation through the hip for the straight.

Kicking for Beginners

The biggest part of kicking comes from the initial setup. If you stay square (right in front of) the bag, pads, or person you’re about to kick you lose some mobility in your hips. When kicking with your dominant (we’ll call it right) leg the first move is to step to the outside of what you’re doing with your left leg first. Take a step out. Your hips are now more open.

Rotate through your hip as you whip your leg at the bag. At the same time you want to turn your (right) shoulder towards what you’re kicking. Your shin (not your foot) is what will make contact with the bag.

For the non-dominant (left) kick, step outside of your target on the right side then follow the exact same movement as above. Your left foot will become your back foot and your right foot will be your lead foot for this kick.

There are additional ways to throw this kick later on, but hey, this is a beginner’s guide to kicking things.

Here’s a visual example or what to do and what not to do

That’s honestly all you need to know to work up a good sweat on a bag or with a partner when doing some cardio kickboxing. Now go burn some calories.

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    Categories: Boxing

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