Cardio Kickboxing: Exercise or Self Defense?

One of the best advantages of cardio kickboxing is the ability to take what you need from the sport in order to get the most out of it. Cardio kickboxing is essentially a twist on the old traditional workouts used by kickboxers all over the world.  The most intense of these stems from Thai Boxing, or Muay Thai as it is known.


Cardio kickboxing, by definition, focuses mainly on the cardio benefits to the body. It has been adapted to provide an intense, high-energy workout for the entire body, but without the sparring or actual physical combat that more traditional thai boxing workouts incorporate. As the fighting techniques of kickboxing use the legs and knees as well as the arms, cardio kickboxing workouts can be the most intense workouts you can subject to your body.

Self Defense

As with any martial art, the techniques used in cardio kickboxing can be used in situations where self defense is called upon. Proper techniques in punching, kicking and kneeing may be taught, but this can depend a lot on the instructor leading the classes. For a more in-depth knowledge of the fighting techniques, a kickboxing class would be more valuable if self defense is the primary goal.

Cardio kickboxing differs in that it is more intent on the movements and raising the heart rate for effective calorie burning, rather than perfecting the techniques of the sport itself. This makes it more appealing to a wider range of people wanting to get fit and lose weight.

Increased Confidence and Flexibility

Learning how to utilize parts of the body in generally unfamiliar ways, moves like blocking and attacking with the knees, can make people more aware of the capabilities of their own bodies, and that in turn can build confidence in what to do if they are attacked. The added flexibility that cardio kickboxing workouts provides to the body is also of great benefit in any form of self defense.

So overall, cardio kickboxing should be looked upon primarily as a fun an interesting way to keep fit and burn calories, and a good introduction in the techniques of kickboxing.  Signing up for actual kickboxing classes will teach more effective an in-depth methods if self defense is the main objective.


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  • Ramon Martinez

    Cardio kickboxing is NOT a martial art. Learning to punch and kick is not the goal and very few instructors have even minimal martial arts background. Even when punches and kicks are actually taught in a safe and correct manner, self-defense/fighting skills cannot be obtained without skill specific training and practice. The cardio kickboxer presents the most danger to him/herself.