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The Basics of Kickboxing

Cairo West Magazine caught up with international Kung-Fu champion Sherif Bendary to learn the basics of kickboxing and how to optimize your body for serious fitness. Bendary is the Egyptian Kung-Fu national team captain and has won second place in the China Fighting Championship (CFC) in 2015 in Xián, China and first place in the 2015 Arab-African Championship held in Cairo.

Warming Up

Your warm-up exercises should last around 8-10 minutes or in 3 rounds of 3 minutes. This involves light movement and exercises to steadily warm up all areas of your body. When you break into a light sweat that’s a good indication you’ve warmed up, this means the blood flow has increased and the body temperature has risen. You are now ready to stretch. Stretch all your major muscles head-to-toe, each of these stretches should last for a duration of 10 to 30 seconds depending on stiffness. Make sure you focus your stretching on the specific muscle groups used for boxing.

When was the last time you jumped rope? It’s cheap, portable, and burns more calories than you might think! You’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope. It can actually burn off the calories from a candy bar after 15-20 minutes of exercise. It also improves cardiovascular fitness while toning muscle at the same time.

Squats obviously help build your leg muscles, but they also create an anabolic environment which promotes body-wide muscle building. When performed properly, squats can be so intense that they result in a release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body. These two hormones are vital for muscle growth, and will also help improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs. Squats can help you improve both your upper and lower body strength, but you have to do them correctly. When you squat, you should hinge your hips so that your butt moves backwards during the downward phase of the squat, your knees will no longer protrude over your toes. The pressure of the move should be on your heels, not your toes, gaining more depth in your squat.

Pushups are known for their ability to develop a muscular chest, shoulders, and arms. Get on your hands and knees making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders. Shoot your legs back, get into a pushup position and hold. Your hands should remain under your shoulders.

 

Basic Kickboxing Moves

Hand wrapping is extremely important before wearing boxing gloves. Not doing this step may result in injury like tearing open your knuckles and possibly breaking one of the many little bones in your hands.  There are a few different methods of wrapping. Some people like a tighter wrap or one with the wrap coming between each finger. Either one will do the trick preparing your hands for boxing.

One of the most basic punches in kickboxing is the jab – a fast, straight punch to your opponent’s head or body that is used to set him up for further blows and propels him backward. Use the jab in conjunction with other kicks or punches to double up on power.

The uppercut is a short punch that is useful when thrown at close range where it causes more damage. Relax the arm as you release the uppercut and tighten the hand on impact, keeping your elbows down and your palm facing you throughout the move. Stay on the same leg as the punching arm during the uppercut. This allows you to get under the uppercut, gaining more leverage out of the punch and generating more power.

A hook punch is performed by turning the core muscles and back, thereby swinging the arm bent at an angle near or at 90 degrees in a horizontal arc into the opponent. A hook is usually aimed at the chin, but it can also be used for body shots, especially to the liver.

A left hook isn’t just pretty, but also the most devastating punch in boxing. It connects perfectly with the side of the jaw and its effects are downright brutal. The resulting head snap from connecting with the jaw is what causes a knockout. The bigger the fighter, the more knockouts that tend to occur.

The horizontal knee kick is used for targets like the ribcage and trunk. The move requires the boxer to grasp and pull one side of his opponent’s neck with one fist and raise the knee to the level of the target, thrusting it sideways to hit the target. The knee move has to be parallel to the floor making it horizontal. There are two ways to do this move. First by using the rear horizontal knee and the other is to use the lead horizontal knee.

A roundhouse kick (also known as swinging kick, power angle kick, or a round kick) is a kick in which the attacker swings his or her leg around in a semicircular motion, striking with the front of the leg or foot. This type of kick is utilized in many different martial arts and is popular in both non-contact and full-contact martial arts competitions.

The technique of a Superman Punch (or Flying Punch) involves bringing the rear leg forward to simulate a kick, then snapping the leg back while throwing a straight punch. This results in greater power behind the punch and probably causes a knockout of your opponent. The Superman Punch needs a large gap between the two fighters in order for the leap through the air to work.

Cooling Down

There are three aspects to this routine. These are gentle exercise, stretching, and refuel. They work in tandem to repair and replenish the body after exercise. For an effective cool-down, carry out a low-intensity exercise for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes and follow this with a stretching routine. After your heart rate has slowed, stretch all major muscles, particularly the ones that have just been worked on. Every stretch should last for at least eight seconds, with longer stretches and repeats for those muscles that feel particularly sore.

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