Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zen Shin Kickboxing Styles & Techniques

Zen-Shin academies are an association of British martial arts schools located in the Birmingham area of England. Led by Shinan John Richards, a seventh degree black belt since 2001, they offer shotokan karate classes for children and adults along with a number of kickboxing training options.
Style of Kickboxing
According to its home page, Zen-Shin academies teach western competitive kickboxing for defense, athletic development and competition. American kickboxing coach Bill Packer states that western kickboxing is an amalgam of Thai kickboxing and French savate, further influenced by the traditions of full-contact karate tournaments. Western kickboxing requires the use of head gear and gloves and does not allow joint strikes, eye or throat strikes, elbowing or any kind of grappling. Specific bout and scoring rounds will vary by event.
Weight Classes
Zen Shin kickboxers regularly compete in regional kickboxing tournaments, which observe International Kickboxing Federation, or the IKF, weight divisions. The IKF recognizes 17 weight classes. For each class, an athlete must weigh no more than the listed weight in kilograms: 51, 53.18, 55.45, 57.72, 60, 62.27, 64.54, 66.8, 69.5, 72.3, 75, 78.2, 81.4, 84.5, 88.6, 97.7, Unlimited. To compete in the unlimited division, an athlete must weigh a minimum of 97.8 kilograms. In many amateur fights, kickboxers will fight up or down a weight if they have no opponents available in their home weight division.
Key Techniques of Zen-Shin Kickboxing
Zen-Shin, and other styles of western kickboxing use western boxing punches, including jabs, straight punches, crosses, hooks and uppercuts. With the exceptions of jabs to probe and harass, most punches are thrown as part of a combination. They also train in straight kicks, roundhouse kicks and knees strikes. A kick virtually unique to kickboxing is a low roundhouse kick aimed at the thigh of an opponent. Well-placed, the kick will seize up the muscles in a fighter's thigh, severely limiting mobility for the remainder of the round.
Ladies Kickboxing
To encourage women's participation in the sport, Zen-Shin offers women-only kickboxing classes. According to personal trainer Marc Severn, some women prefer working only with other women. Some prefer the less aggressive environment. Others are less worried about their own safety, especially in combat sport classes. Still others don't like the "dating bar" feel of some co-ed workout spaces.
Fitness Kickboxing
Zen-Shin also offers fitness kickboxing classes, applying kicboxing movements and techniques to a group fitness environment. Fitness kickboxing first became popular during the 1990s with the rise of Billy Blank's Tae Bo program. Despite using kickboxing movements, fitness kickboxing is not a form of combat or combat sport training.

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