Ritchie Yip, head instructor for Infighting Martial Arts in Downtown Vancouver here!
Last night in my kickboxing sparring class, one of my students, Geoff asked me to explain the difference between and a Boxing stance and a Kicking stance.
First off, let me explain the context of what we were doing last night in the kickboxing class so that Geoff’s question is placed into context.
In the kickboxing sparring class, we were working a counter striking drill where one person would feed punches and the other person would counter attack with both punches and kicks.
It’s common to see students having problems combining punches in with Kicking.
Not only is it difficult to coordinate your feet with your hands (or your hands with your feet); but, it’s also problematic to adjust your stance to suit a punch versus a kick.
With Boxing, your stance is slightly more forward. It should almost look like you’re pushing a car.
With a kicking stance, you’re head is leaning back. Your head, your hip and your heel ought to be in one single straight line at the moment of impact for the kick.
With your head leaning back, you’ll achieve greater power, more extension and reach with your kick and you’ll be safe from counter punches to your face since your head will be further away.
The great problem is that these two stances seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Boxing stance is head forward.
The kicking stance is head back.
What generally occurs as students start kickboxing is that they’ll kick like a Boxer- head too far forward; thus, stifling their reach and power.
Or they’ll Box like a kicker- head leaning back while throwing punches.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to explain is that Boxing is a specific skill and Kicking is a specific skill and that Kickboxing is a third completely different skill.
Meshing your punches in with your kicks in a seamless manner with proper form is exceptionally difficult and takes hours of practice.
In my kickboxing classes, students are encouraged to be mindful of their head forward Boxing stance and to be focused with their head back kicking stance.
Typically what happens is that students will throw bunch of punches, move around a bit and then throw a series of kicks.
Segregating your punches from your kicks is completely natural when learning kickboxing.
Ultimately, as your kickboxing skill increases, you’ll want to combine your kicks in with your punches so that your strikes will have a higher percentage of landing when sparring.
A concept that I stress in my kickboxing sparring class is:
“Set up your punches with Kicks. Set up your kicks with Punches.”
For example, in my kickboxing class, we use a classic combination called a 1,9.
The 1,9 is a straight left punch followed by a left hook kick.
From a sparring scenario, as your training partner defends the straight left, they open themselves up for the left hook kick.
To make this combination, or any combination for that matter, practical the strikes in the combination need to follow one another in a smooth seamless manner.
Furthermore, your kicks can be used to set up your punches.
Here’s a quick example: Left hook kick into the straight right hand.
The combination is a little tricky. After a kick your head would be leaning back. In order for your body position to be sound enough to develop power for a punch you need to pull your head forward, engage your abdominals and find balance with both feet on the floor.
The best way to understand Boxing posture versus Kicking posture is to create combinations where kicks and punches are fused together.
You can use any strike you’d like; but, generally, have it go- kick-punch-kick-punch.
Focus on smoothness and eliminate any pause in between the strikes.
Here’s a video showcasing one a highly functional combination along with a cool drill to seamlessly glue your Boxing posture with your kicking posture.
Thanks Vancouver, talk to you soon!
Head Instructor, InFighting MMA, Downtown Vancouver