cardio kickboxing for self defense

Is Cardio Kickboxing Good for Self Defense?

I’ve been wanting to address this whole “Cardio Kickboxing for Self Defense” question for a very long time. I’m commonly asked this question by soccer moms who are looking to get a good workout and prepare themselves in case a situation ever arises where they need to defend themselves. There are many angles we can look at this from, technically cardio kickboxing does involve kicking and punching, which are strikes that could deter an attacker. However, it really depends on the level of instruction and how relevant they gear the class towards self-defense.

Is Cardio Kickboxing good for self-defense? The short answer: yes, cardio kickboxing can be beneficial for preparing yourself for a real-life situation. However, I wouldn’t feel too confident in a real-life situation with only a few classes of cardio kickboxing under my belt. Cardio Kickboxing is mostly geared towards Women looking to break away from the normal boring workout, it’s main focus isn’t self-defense. Before we dive into why or why not cardio kickboxing is useful for self-defense, let’s talk about what Cardio Kickboxing is.

What is Cardio Kickboxing?

Typically, cardio kickboxing is operated similarly to a group fitness class that combines some martial art techniques. Most cardio kickboxing classes will involve loud music with a high-paced cardio workout. This type of high-energy workout isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s a great workout if you’re looking to lose weight and stay in shape.

An experience kickboxing instructor normally teaches the class by demonstrating technical kickboxing and boxing movements such as punches, kicks, and even knee strikes. These are all great workouts because they work nearly every muscle of your body, plus it breaks away from the feeling of a boring normal gym workout. The part I love about cardio kickboxing is that no one is staring at you or judging you, everyone is there for the same reason.

cardio kickboxing for self defense

The thing I love most about cardio kickboxing class is that you’re learning some useful self-defense techniques while losing weight and feeling great. The loud music being played will normally give you the energy to punch and kick the heavy bag.

Cardio kickboxing has the ability to transform many people’s lives because it’s an amazing cardiovascular workout that is extremely motivating. There are many benefits from training cardio kickboxing that don’t necessarily involve self-defense.

The Benefits of Cardio Kickboxing
  • Losing weight. Cardio kickboxing will shed off weight faster than many other workouts because it’s a very hard and intense workout.
  • Learning kickboxing and boxing techniques. You will learn basic kickboxing and boxing techniques that are useful in many situations.
  • Improve cardiovascular strength. Your stamina will be better than ever, this is useful for many things in life! Cardiovascular health is important if you want to remain healthy.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety. This is one of my favorite benefits, many are surprised to learn just how much a good workout can do for your brain health.
  • Basic self-defense technique. You won’t learn all the tools needed to defend yourself, however, you’ll have a good solid base to grow in the future.
What to Expect from your First Cardio Kickboxing Class

For your first class, you’ll want to get there 15 minutes early so that you can meet the instructor and introduce yourself. Normally at the beginning of class, you’ll do a warm-up that will usually involve jumping jacks or jumping rope. Typically a kickboxing instructor will also incorporate other exercises that involve your core, such as crunches or planking. Don’t be surprised if you start punching the bag right away, make sure you’re prepared with proper cardio kickboxing gloves.

Cardio kickboxing upper body techniques:
  • Jabs
  • Crosses
  • Hooks
  • Uppercuts

These are actually great Boxing techniques that take many years to master. This type of upper body movement is great for cardiovascular strength.

Cardio kickboxing lower body techniques:
  • Knee strikes
  • Front kicks
  • Roundhouse kicks
  • Low kicks

These are great Muay Thai and Kickboxing techniques that take years to master. These type of movements can be energy draining which is great for losing weight and staying in shape.

Is Cardio Kickboxing Good for Self Defense?

cardio kickboxing for self defenseI stated earlier that technically cardio kickboxing can be useful for a self-defense situation. This is true, it’s much more proactive to learn cardio kickboxing than just normal weight training when it comes to a real-life self-defense situation. However, cardio kickboxing won’t give you all the tools when it comes to defending yourself. The reason why I say this is because cardio kickboxing’s main focus is to lose weight and get in better shape. It’s normally not the instructor’s main goal to prepare you for a self-defense type of situation.

The reasons why cardio kickboxing can be good for self-defense is because it involves basic striking techniques that you could use in a self-defense situation if your life depended on it. Low-kicking someone in the street can be one of the most useful strikes to deter an attacker. This type of strike is also useful if you find yourself in a street fight scenario that you can’t talk your way out of.

Does this mean you shouldn’t take cardio kickboxing classes? No, it just means that you shouldn’t take these types of classes if you’re ultimately seeking the psychological security of knowing you would be prepared in a real-life situation involving an attacker. You’re better off buying a can of mace or possibly taking other MMA classes for self-defense.

Better Self Defense Alternatives

I personally recommend anyone who wants to be prepared in a real-life situation to take a few martial arts classes such as Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Muay Thai is basically like cardio kickboxing, except its primary focus is striking and defending. There’s still a focus on cardio and stamina, however, this is primarily through learning strikes that will hurt your opponent. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also a fantastic Martial Art to learn because it helps you subdue an opponent on the ground through submissions such as rear naked choke, armbar, and much more.

If you’re interested in Martial Arts and aren’t sure about which one you would be interested in, I highly recommend visiting: “Which Martial Art Should I Learn First?”

The fact that you’re here reading this shows that you’ve already taken the initial step into furthering your self-defense training. I know that trying new things can be stressful at first and I hope that I’ve given you the knowledge needed to make the right decision when it comes to your self-defense training. Cardio kickboxing is a good first step, however, to fully defend yourself from an attacker you should continually be proactive when it comes to martial arts training.

2 thoughts on “Is Cardio Kickboxing Good for Self Defense?”

  1. Fos Pestilencia

    If you add pad and bag work to “cardio kickboxing” and supplement with some strength work on alternate days, it can be very good for self defense.
    It is easier to develop and retain some basic kicks, punches, strikes than it is to retain grappling or jiu jitsu techniques.

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Fos,

      Thanks for the comment, I definitely agree. Adding pad and bag work to cardio kickboxing training is certainly beneficial from a self-defense standpoint. I believe the classic Muay Thai “teep” is one of the best strikes when it comes to self-defense. It allows you to keep an attacker at a safe distance and can be followed by a combination if need be.

      The Guru

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