So you want to be the undisputed champion of the world ? What about trying full-contact boxing?

More technically oriented and violent than its french counterpart Savate, full contact, which we can also call American Boxing is based on close distances and lethal shots.

Well respected by many fighters all across the globe, this type of boxing uses all parts of the body to inflict damage and points.

Concentration and dedication are the building blocks for any fighter, especially in this sport where a KO is always around the corner! Of course, rules must always be respected!

Superprof takes you on a tour of everything you want to know about full-contact American Boxing! 

American Boxing  or Full-Contact ? Let's take a look!

Looking for thrills in your training routine ? Want to become a pro? Full-Contact American Boxing has something for you!

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American kickboxing has become a popular sport
Discover a new world of fighting with Full-Contact American Boxing.

The rules governing Full-Contact American Boxing are quite different from its counterpart French Boxing (Savate) and Thai Boxing (Thai style Boxing) as Full-Contact American Boxing places an emphasis on a closed quarter fighting situation between the two competitors. 

Proximity between fighters is not only allowed, its encouraged. This close style combat makes it so that reflexes and concentration must be extremely polished and responsive.

Born in the Land of Uncle Sam, Full-Contact American Boxing, has a name that says it all: The contact and the fighting is no holds barred. You may immediately notice the difference between other contact sports such as Karate, Ware polo or even Hockey where players can hit each other in moderation.

Since the KO is allowed and the practitioners may as well collide with each other but also with various objects present in the boxing club (here, the ground), the risk of infections preventing blood circulation are much stronger than in other amateur combat sports.

Before starting this free fight or  MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), it will therefore not only be a good physical preparation that will save you, but also the expectation that you will take a few shots that may endanger your health!

Boxing is not the only sport to apply a full contact policy: Lacrosse, American football and  Rodeo are also considered as such. Leave it to the United States to go hard or go home!

A History of American Boxing

It was during the 1960s that Americans discovered a passion for the various martial arts!

The locals, curious to see this practice with their eyes, quickly set about organizing boxing tournaments to observe the techniques of boxing at a closer distance. But we are still far from full contact boxing: the martial arts, and more particularly karate, take place without contact and therefore without major risk for the participants.

The first idea to start martial arts with contact comes from the famous actor and brilliant fighter Bruce Lee, who encourages the real fighting with shin guards, boxing helmet and of course, the famous boxing gloves!

The United States is therefore the cradle of Full Contact Boxing,  also the country having bred undisputed stars of boxing, free fight or kickboxing:

  • Mike Tyson,
  • Floyd Mayweather (You might remember Money's big pay day and recent KO of  Conor McGregor),
  • Joe Lewis,
  • Mohamed Ali (One of the most known sports figures in History),
  • Rocky Marciano,
  • Evander Holyfield,
  • Joe Frazier,
  • Jack Dempsey,
  • George Foreman,
  • Joe Louis, etc.

In the 1970s, journalists began to use the term "American boxing" or "full contact" boxing to describe the recent phenomenon of this close combat sport. The greatest athletes are fond of boxing in full contact, loving the feeling of freedom it offered!

As fights are increasingly watched and commented by Americans, the world is starting to take an interest in the sport. It was not until the mid-1970s that other countries adopted American karate, the predecessor of American boxing, and kickboxing as official sports. They have a loyal US fan base to thank!

Since the 1970s, American boxing has struggled to find a place in the internationally acclaimed martial arts circle and yet it is regularly staged in the many world tournaments of close combat!

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The Rules of American Full-Contact Boxing

The rules of this sport, unlike classic MMA, are in place to avoid any serious and long lasting injuries to the participants. 

Having respect for your opponent is an important part of American kickboxing
Respecting your opponent is a pillar of any respectable contact sport!

An excellent physical condition is required to avoid injury from a punch or kick by your opponent. American boxing is thus far from being an amateur boxing style : it is generally practiced after a few years of intensive combat sports, such as kung fu, taekwondo or jujitsu.

Taking up the codes of Classic Western Boxing (punches allowed) and classical martial arts (kicks allowed), such as krav maga (self defense), aikido or viet vo dao, American boxing focuses on head, torso and feet, which are eligible targets.

Nevertheless, this combat sport prohibits many practices such as :

  • Grabing an opponent,
  • Attack an opponent who is already on the ground,
  • Continue to fight after the "stop" of the referee,
  • Attack any body part not mentioned in the regulation,
  • To give blows other than punches and kicks,
  • Turning your back on the opponent,
  • Lifting or throwing his/her opponent,
  • Attacking a boxer caught in  the ring ropes, and many more technical rules for every level of competition.Trainers and Coaches in the corner are also subject to strict rules to ensure respect for others in all circumstances!

To begin an apprenticeship in American boxing, it will therefore be necessary to take care to follow the rules imposed under the risk of strong sanctions, penalties or possible disqualification. Warnings, loss of points, cancellation of the match or even exclusion from the sports club or federation are to be expected in case of violation of the official rules!

As you may have gathered American Full-Contact boxing is a sport which relies on honor and high sportsmanship! 

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What are some of the styles and techniques of Full-Contact American Boxing?

In order to become a champion of this sport you must absolutely learn and build upon the foundations of western style Boxing!

Practice your hand eye coordination to become a pro at American boxing
Your hand eye coordination and your footwork are essential tools in your journey to becoming a force to be reckoned with!

US boxing is not only there to let off steam: the athlete must understand the methods of combat and train regularly and with high intensity to get the famous black belt, so desired by neophytes of boxing. A great technique will be the assurance of winning a few extra points and impressing the jury in the amateur or professional boxing fight.

Here is a small non-exhaustive list of techniques used by American boxers:

  • Punching techniques: uppercut, direct, hook, back fist, overcut, jump-punch,
  • Classic kicking techniques: side kick, front kick, reverse kick, back kick, sweeping, hammer kick,
  • Returning or flying kicking techniques: front-kick jumping, side-kick jumping, hook-kick spinning, back-kick spinning, back-kick jumping.

If you have already done other boxing or Asian martial arts, you will logically know all these techniques of American boxing!

Above all, do not forget to study, in addition to combat techniques, the defense techniques, crucial if you don't want to be knocked out early in the fight.

Passive defense and active defense will be useful to easily counter the best offensive techniques of your opponent and to earn extra points every round. With a good counter, you can destabilize the opponent and take the lead in just a few seconds.

Beginners can be inspired by the greatest in their particular sport by going to see for themselves their first professional boxing fight! It always beats Pay-per-view!

There are many places that you can visit in order to study the different techniques which you can later add into your arsenal!

Here are some suggestions and tips from French Savate Boxing.

How do I train and learn American Full contact Boxing?

Here is some of the equipment you might want handy when beginning your journey into this incredible sport!

Let's take a look!

Adding weight training into your workout will help to build upper body strength for boxing
Weight training is an imperative part of any training! The Weight room is your friend and the more you sweat in the gym the less you bleed in the ring!

First and foremost, you must acquire quality boxing equipment in order to master the melee sequence on the tatami or boxing ring. The boxer's outfit is essential: choose carefully your bear paw gloves, your under gloves (Wrap) and your mittens to deliver quick and effective punches.

Do not forget to buy a kimono, boxing shorts or a combat outfit that will make you feel comfortable, as well as boxing shoes to move freely in the ring.

A Jump rope, punching bag and shell will be mandatory for warm-up and strength training from home without the presence of an instructor. Many boxers practice cross-training in the gym or at home to train the different parts of their body: you will also have to supplement your boxing equipment with  classic sports equipment!

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Where Can I learn Full-Contact American Boxing ?

What if you could train with some of the best Full contact American Boxing teacher in the world?

There are many places where one can learn and sharpen their skills: 

  • a Martial arts dojo
  • a Private boxing club
  • a gym or training facility
  • an agency specialised in this sport
  • a personal trainer at home
  • a community center or rec center that might offer weekly courses
  • a specialised Full contact American Boxing association

There are a number of gyms and fitness classes that offer kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, Muay thai kickboxing or even fitness kickboxing classes which offer a great and intense cardiovascular workout to help you get in shape. Besides being a great workout, learning kickboxing also helps you learn self defence.

Of course it is clear that having a teacher come to your home offers the possibility to advance quickly and at your own pace! The ability to choose from a tailored training regime which can focus on your needs whether beginner, amateur or professional! On Superprof, the average cost of one hour of training is $42,99, and this can be done directly in your home or at a place of your choosing!

Leg training, footwork, bag work but most importantly Self-confidence; these are the skills learnt in this art of  fighting. Did you know that 92% of our tutors offer a first lesson for free? So why not get a free course going to see if American Full-Contact boxing is the sport and lifestyle for you?

So get out your wrap, gloves and mouthguard and get in the ring. It's time for your first lesson! 

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For a roundup of the different styles of boxing, see here.

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