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Hard duels under sporting rules

 

In its early stages, kickboxing was known as 'full contact karate'. It is actually a combination of boxing and karate, fought under similar rules as in boxing. This sport was particularly popular in the USA, where it was often practised by the military, they having developed a close-combat variation of it. At the beginning of the 70s, it was developed as a competitive discipline. The most well known patron and promoter for this new type of sport was the American, Mike Anderson.

 

Thai boxing is an equivalent Asian form. It originates, as the name indicates, from Thailand and counts as the hardest type of martial arts that has regulated competitions. Its history can be traced back for a thousand years. Today it can no longer be stated with any certainty whether it arose from old forms of kung fu or from the incessant clashes with the neighbouring Burmese, Khmer or Vietnamese peoples. Today it is not just a Thai national sport practised in every village and no matter how remote, but rather just as much a cultural and a social institution. In the training camps, boys receive a roof over their head, enough to eat and are trained hard at the same time as receiving basic schooling. For many youths, Thai-boxing is the only way of escaping from poverty. This social background strengthens the belligerence of the up-and-coming talents in an impressive manner.

Today, there are several kick and Thai boxing associations across the world. Good fighters try to gain titles in both disciplines from several world associations. When Andy was mainly taking part in karate competitions, he followed the development of the best Thai and kick-boxers closely and analyzed the tactics they employed. From the layperson's point of view, there is no great difference between the two forms of competition. Kickboxing demands more of the conventional boxing skills. In Andy's familiar discipline, karate, there is more emphasis on infighting. With kickboxing, the boxing element results in fighting at a greater distance.

Before he changed over to kickboxing, Andy established from his analyses again and again that leg tactics were not being employed often enough or were having too little effect. Right from the beginning, he was convinced, thanks to his will power, of being able to develop into a first-class boxer, provided he could combine these skills with his leg techniques.

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