Kickboxing has come to be known around the world as a martial arts variant that requires a tremendous amount of stamina, discipline, and concentration. The practice of kickboxing can be utilized as a self-defense mechanism, a way to increase your general level of fitness, or a competitive sport. When kickboxing is practiced in a competitive manner, there are gloves, shin protectors, and kick-boots to help protect the combatants from the opponent's forceful strikes.

Throughout the world, there are many variants of kickboxing that are practiced. American kickboxing, Japanese kickboxing, and French boxing are just some of the interpretations of this Japanese-oriented sport. The major difference between American kickboxing and Japanese kickboxing is no kicks are allowed below the waist, except in a low-kick style.

There are also various styles of kickboxing that can be practiced by those wishing to do so. o­ne of the most popular is Muay Thai, which has become a popular tactic used by successful MMA fighters. Muay Thai is a form of kickboxing in which elbow and knee kicks are heavily emphasized. Shoot boxing, a variant of Chinese boxing, has also become popular in Mixed Martial Arts competition due to the allowance of throwing and standing submission moves. It is shoot boxing that most people today would associate with UFC and other MMA competitions.

In international competition, there are also different sets of rules depending o­n the level of physical contact you wish to incur. Full contact allows strikes to any part of the head as well as the front and side of the upper torso. Sweeping (taking an opponent's legs out using your own leg in a sweeping motion) is also allowable in full contact competitions. Semi-contact, contrastingly, focuses more o­n the athletes ability to score points using light, controlled kickboxing movements.

As mixed martial arts has become increasingly popular in the United States, the amount of people utilizing kickboxing for cardiovascular workouts as well as a means of self-defense has allowed an increased number of people to obtain a greater knowledge of kickboxing and its intricacies.