Kickboxing, as it was known by the name of “Muaythai”‘, originated as the national sport of Thai society, with competitions held as early as 1257-1377 AD.
You might also say that Muaythai was the sport of kings in its early days. King Pha Chao Sua was so involved in the sport he used to disguise himself as a commoner to participate.
He was further so supportive of the sport he ordered his army to be trained in the art, and interest swelled. In 1774, Nau Khanohm Tom, as a captured prisoner of war, fought his way in contest, defeating 10 of Burma’s very best.
The Burmese king, King Mangra, himself so impressed, applauded his achievements, and granted Nau Khanohm Tom his freedom.
Certainly this may have given Mauythai enormous new attention and status to survive in history over the next centuries.
In 1921, although the fighting style had not changed, new transformations were applied with the inclusion and standardization of the 20 Glove 20ft roped ring.
Gloves were introduced as standard in 1923 by order of the police of the interior ministry.
By the 1930s groin protection was introduced. International enthusiasm grew slowly; it was as late as 1995 when the first world Amateur Muay Thai Championships were held.
As a martial art, there is very little equipment required of participants, although it has come a long way since the early days.
Kick boxers will use hand wraps, i.e. pieces of cloth to wrap around their hand beneath gloves.
Today the gloves are much thicker for the protection of an opponent, but light gloves are also available for training against bags.
Shin guards, and groin protectors are also worn. Female boxers may choose to wear a chest or torso protector, although some discussion about these claim they often do more hurt than give protection.
Certainly uniforms should be worn with pride.
Kickboxing is phenomenally popular today. It is possible to find an active kickboxing school near you.
Classes may be offered at your local gymnasium, or police and citizens youth club, alongside all respected martial arts classes.
Certainly a grading system exists today as with other martial arts. Grading and competitions are held regularly.
The grades, called belts, are from white-red-yellow, and then continue to orange-green-purple and blue-brown-back.
You continue to further levels beyond black as a master of the art. Kickboxing as all martial arts, is suitable for everyone from children, to women and men.
Full contact is strictly and safely controlled, and participants do not fight outside of their ability.
Certainly kickboxing training is an ideal exercise that can be performed at your own individual pace and ability. Many classes are offered as either contact or non contact training.
The choice to train casually or to enter world class competitive events is yours alone to make.