What Wins a Fight: Kickboxing, Boxing, or Self Defence?

Self Defence North London

Boxing, Kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts rely on a competitive sparring. This develops many fighting skills, but what really wins a fight? How does the answer to this question relate to self defence?

Boxing, Kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts rely on a competitive sparring. This develops many fighting skills, but what really wins a fight? How does the answer to this question relate to self defence?

There are three commonly thought factors that may help you win a fight. The first is Timing, the second is the Control of Distance, and the last is the common belief that taking a punch is key to winning a boxing, kickboxing match or street fight. We discuss all the various factors below and even offer some advice to improve your self defence abiity.

1) Your Ability to Time Your Punch or Kick?

Timing is an essential quality for fighting and this attribute differentiates the elite combat athlete or martial artist from all others in their league. Timing is the ability to throw punches or kicks in a manner that is difficult to stop. Essentially a well timed punch or kick would be difficult to see. In fact, when watching a boxing or kickboxing match the punches that land clearly are the ones that are often well timed.

Timing should be distinguished from speed. Simply throwing a fast punch when boxing does not guarantee that you will land cleanly without hitting your opponent’s boxing gloves.  Good timing is a completely different attribute that is developed from experience and maintained with correct training and coaching.

Speed is physical in nature, but timing relies on a sense of intuition. The ability to predict where the person will move or place their arms enhances your sense of timing. Well timed strikes are seamless and difficult to avoid, even when you see them coming.

Of course, speed and timing makes for a dangerous mixture. But your physical ability to move and react quickly slows with age. However, your ability to time your punches and movements does not. Regardless of whether you are kickboxing, boxing, or practising Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wing Chun, or preparing for Self Defence, good timing is essential.


2) Your Ability to Control Distance?

The ability to control the distance between you and your opponent is also essential in any type of fight, whether a self defence confrontation in the street or a competitive kickboxing or boxing match in a ring. It is essential to control the space between you and the other person to your advantage. This way you are able to strike freely, and the other person is not able to easily punch or kick you.

However, controlling distance relates to controlling the movement of the other person. Good distance control requires you to cut off the space of your attacker, much the same way that you control the centre of the ring in kickboxing or boxing.

If you were to use this attribute offensively when boxing, then you would corner your opponent on the ropes. In contrast, defensively this ability allows you the freedom of movement to strike cleanly and move without being cornered.

In a practical application for self defence, the ability to control distance between you and your attacker will allow you to avoid being clinched or overwhelmed. Regardless of whether you practice Kickboxing, Boxing or Wing Chun the ability to control distance comes from the development of good footwork and an overall strategy for fighting.


3) The Ability to Take a Punch?

Being able to take a punch has very little to do with winning a fight. In fact relying on this as a strategy is foolhardy and risky at best. Everyone has a punchers chance of finishing a fight. So why take the chance in letting someone hit you first?

Your ability to defend yourself revolves around a number of factors that relate to the skill of martial arts, boxing or kickboxing, not your ability to take a punch.


So What Really Wins a Fight?

In practice the ability to control distance combined with the skill to deliver your strikes in a timed manner wins a fight. Good footwork allows you to achieve both. However, you also need expert coaching on how to develop good timing and distance control and that is something that we offer at the London Wing Chun Academy.

Of course, live sparring helps, in particular in Kickboxing and boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, even Wing Chun has a series of exercises or drills that improve timing and distance control. Lok Sao improves timing and Gor Sao distance control. For the ordinary beginner these exercises often produce quicker results for Self Defence application than live sparring in Boxing or kickboxing.

On closing, regardless of what martial art you train, in self defence is the ability to deliver a well timed strike (or series of strikes) combined with good control the distance between you and your attacker will keep you safe at night.



The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing ChunSan Shou KickboxingBrazilian Jiu JitsuWC4 Self DefenceYogaFunctional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick BoxingMembership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>


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