An oriental form of boxing in which the boxers are permitted to throw punches with gloved hands as in boxing and to kick with bare feet as in karate.
The term "kickboxing" can be used in a narrow and in a broad sense.
The narrow use is restricted to the styles that self-identify as kickboxing, i.e. Japanese kickboxing (with its spin-off styles or rules such as shoot boxing and K-1), Dutch kickboxing, and American kickboxing.
In the wider sense, it includes all stand-up combat sports that allow both punching and kicking, including Muay Thai, Kun Khmer, Savate, Adithada, Lethwei, Sanda, and certain styles of karate (especially full contact karate).
The term kickboxing itself was introduced in the 1960s as a Japanese anglicism by Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi for a hybrid martial art combining Muay Thai and karate which he had introduced in 1958.
The term was later also adopted by the American variant. Since there has been a lot of cross-fertilization between these styles, with many practitioners training or competing under the rules of more than one style, the history of the individual styles cannot be seen in isolation from one another.
The French term Boxe pieds-poings (literally "feet-fists-boxing") is also used in the sense of "kickboxing" in the general meaning, including French boxing (Savate) as well as American, Dutch and Japanese kickboxing, Burmese and Thai boxing, any style of full contact karate, etc.
Kickboxing is a group of stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing. Kickboxing is practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a contact sport.
Japanese kickboxing originated in the late 1950s, with competitions held since then. American kickboxing originated in the 1970s and was brought to prominence in September 1974, when the Professional Karate Association (PKA) held the first World Championships.
Historically, kickboxing can be considered a hybrid martial art formed from the combination of elements of various traditional styles. This approach became increasingly popular since the 1970s, and since the 1990s, kickboxing has contributed to the emergence of mixed martial arts via further hybridization with ground fighting techniques from Brazilian jiu-jitsu and folk wrestling.
There is no single international governing body. International governing bodies include International Combat Organization, World Association of Kickboxing Organizations, World Kickboxing Association, International Sport Karate Association, International Kickboxing Federation, World Kickboxing Network, among others.
Consequently, there is no single kickboxing world championship, and champion titles are issued by individual promotions, such as K-1, Glory and Kunlun Fight among others.