All this boxing talk is probably making you wonder why you haven’t tried this sport yet.

Like previously discussed, people take up boxing as a sport and aim to compete in the ring. Others are just looking for new and creative ways to work out and start to take kickboxing classes at their gym.

Who knows, it may even become your new hobby or sport and you can become famous like these amazing female boxers!

Whatever the reason is, learning something new is always exciting and can open you up to new experiences.

Something that is thrilling, releases stress, keeps you in shape AND has plenty of health benefits? Why not!

Now that you have accepted to try it, which form of boxing is best for you? Or what should you know before starting boxing lessons?

Did you know that there are six different types of boxing practiced by women?

This shouldn’t be overwhelming to you; instead, you should try each one and see what type of boxing will be your favorite!

Before you do so though, reading a bit more about it may help you pick which type to do try first. The most popular types of boxing practiced by women so far are:

  • Kickboxing
  • French boxing
  • English boxing
  • Muay Thai boxing
  • Burmese boxing


Two women kickboxing
Kickboxing is practiced for self-defense, general fitness or as a contact sport. Source: Eric Langley on Best Running

When it comes to kickboxing, everyone has heard it. If you have a limited understanding of boxing, this may be one of the few types of boxing that may come to mind.

Kickboxing may be hard to explain because there are different types of kickboxing throughout the world such as French, Japanese, American or even Dutch kickboxing.

Kickboxing, as the name already gives it away, uses kicking techniques. Again, depending on the country, they may incorporate only the feet or may include shins and knees.

Japanese kickboxing, for example, is a stand-up combat sport that includes kicking and boxing and came about by mixing boxing and karate. Where as French kickboxing, which we will discuss later, includes only feet techniques.

Kickboxing’s main purpose, as a lot of the other boxing types, was mainly for self-defense, but now it is also practiced as a contact sport or general fitness.

Kickboxing has become very popular as a fitness class due to its techniques that incorporate the whole body, thus making it a great “all body workout”.

French Boxing

Two men in a boxing competition with savate boots
Boxing can have multiple benefits such as increased cardiovascular health, improves body strength, better coordination and decreases stress. Source: IRGlover on Best Running

French boxing originated in France and is also known as savate, which is a French word for “old shoe or boot”.

French boxing is also known by other names such as French foot fighting, French boxing, and French kickboxing.

The difference in French boxing is that this type of boxing uses hand and foot techniques.

It incorporates graceful kicking technics where only the foot can be used to kick and not the shins like Muay Thai boxing.

One way to distinguish this type of boxing is that competitors wear special boots designed for this type of boxing. French boxing will also require the use of boxing gloves.

Women who practice this type of boxing are called a tireuse, which is a female French word meaning “shooter”.

French boxing is practiced all over the world. In countries like the United States, there are national federations devoted to promoting the practice.

Even though French boxing is now considered a sport worldwide, it did not begin as a sport. French boxing began as a form of self-defense and was fought on the streets of Paris and Marseille.

If you are learning to box as more of a way to discover new self-defense moves then French boxing may just be your top choice.

If you are practicing French boxing for fitness purposes, then you may already be familiar with this type of boxing as this is one of the most common forms of boxing practiced at gyms, the famous type: kickboxing.

Generally, if gyms offer boxing classes, kickboxing, is usually the most common type offered.

English Boxing

Red boxing gloves set up on a boxing ring
Boxing gloves aren't worn to protect the faces of the opponents, but to keep your own hands & knuckles safe. Source: KWDesigns on Best Running

English boxing, otherwise known as western boxing or just boxing, is the first type of boxing ever created and dates back to Ancient Greece.

Like we have previously explained, English boxing is a combat sport in which two opponents throw punches at each other for a set amount of time in a boxing ring.

English boxing only uses stances, punching and defense moves. Stances are how boxers position themselves on the ring. This can be upright, semi crouch or full crouch.

Punching techniques can range from jab, cross, hook, and uppercut.

One thing to always keep in mind with any boxing is finding the correct glove size as men and women's boxing gloves are slightly different in width and length.

Some of the defense techniques, to name a few, are cover ups, blocking and pulling away. Because English boxing is the most traditional form of boxing, this may be the type of boxing that plenty of people start with as a sport.

When it comes to workout terms, generally speaking, gyms tend to offer kickboxing above any other type of boxing. If you want to learn the basics, however, beginning with English boxing can be a great start.

Thai Boxing

Two women competing in thai boxing
Thai boxing is also called the art of eight limbs as you use a combination of both your fists, elbows, knees and shins. Source: wales_gibbons on Best Running

Thai Boxing, also referred to as “Muay Thai Boxing” originated from, where you can assume by the name, Thailand.

That was a bit of a given, but did you know that Thai boxing is also known as “the art of eight limbs”?

The reason for this very interesting name is because in Thai boxing you use eight of your limbs, both of your fists, elbows, knees, and shins.

Now there’s a way of changing things up with your boring workout routine! This form of boxing, like any other form, came about for self-defense.

As you can imagine, because there are eight parts of your body that serve a purpose in this form of martial arts, there are more techniques to be learned. Whether you are taking it up as a sport or workout, you are guaranteed to see results.

Your coordination will be drastically improved due to the need to learn a longer list of techniques. You will also see changes in your body such as toning and flexibility.

Elbow strikes however are only saved for Thai boxing. They are also considered the most dangerous form of attack in the sport and they can be horizontal, forward or reverse, among others.

If you want to work on that flexibility, start practicing those kicking moves such as straight, diagonal or jumping kicks.

You heard us right, jumping. Thai boxing does include some moves that require you to jump, such as, kicking, foot thrusts or elbow strikes.

Thai boxing incorporates knee movements as well such as curving, diagonal or horizontal knee strikes.

This form of boxing is definitely not made for the weak-kneed!

There will be plenty of people that say Thai boxing is dangerous, but if you are mostly practicing Thai boxing for fun and fitness, you are training on a bag, pad or a partner who is also there for the workout.

If you are wearing protective gear and have a trainer present, you shouldn’t fear of getting hurt.

Burmese Boxing

Two men practicing burmese boxing
Burmese boxing is considered to be one of the most aggressive martial arts in the world because the fighters fight bare-knuckles with only the use of tape on their hands. Source: mrsteven on Best Running

If you thought “the art of eight limbs” sounded intense, let us carefully introduce you to “the art of nine limbs”, also known as, Burmese bare-knuckle boxing, Myanmar traditional boxing, and Lethwei.

Burmese boxing is considered to be one of the most aggressive and brutal martial arts in the world, mainly because it is practice with no gloves, just tape around the hands.

You may have an idea of the nine limbs part. Like we previously discussed, Thai boxing, uses eight limbs, the fists, elbows, knees, and shins.

As far as Burmese boxing, these eight limbs are used as well, including the ninth limb, the head. The use of head-butting your opponent is encouraged in Burmese boxing.

This unusual form of boxing originated in the country of Myanmar. In traditional Burmese boxing, there is no point system and the only way to win is by a knockout. At the end of the match, if both fighters are still standing then the fight is declared a draw.

Burmese boxing may not be a common type of boxing that you will find at your gym, mostly because of safety purposes.

If this type of boxing interests you then you may need to join a specific boxing gym that practices this form of martial arts.

If this is more your route, you will also enjoy training with professionals who specialize in Burmese boxing.

When you want to use boxing as a form of fitness, you will probably stick to your more traditional types such as, English or French boxing.

Your gym will most likely offer at least one of these types.

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A California native, reader and writer who is enthusiastic about traveling, cooking, cinema, and yoga.