Kickboxing combines the style of boxing blended with the grace of kicking. Kickboxing is a standing sport which is stopped by the referee once a contestant has any other part of his body touch the ground other than his feet.
Kickboxing is often practiced for self defense or fitness training and as a full contact sport. In the full-contact sport the male boxers are bare-chested wearing shorts and protective gear including:mouth-guard, hand-wraps, boxing gloves, groin-guard, shin-pads, kick-boots, and optional protective helmet (usually for those under 18). The female boxers will wear a tank top and chest protection in addition to the male clothing/protective gear. In European kickboxing, sometimes called Low Kick or International Kickboxing, kicks to the thigh are allowed using special low kick rules and the use of boxing shorts are mandated instead of long pants.
In addition, amateur rules often allow less experienced competitors to use light or semi-contact rules, where the intention is to score points by executing successful strikes past the opponent’s guard, and use of force is regulated.
The equipment for semi-contact is similar to full-contact matches, usually with addition of head gear. Competitors usually dress in a t-shirt for semi-contact matches, to separate them from the bare-chested full-contact participants.
Kickboxing is often confused with Muay Thai also known as Thai Boxing. The two sports are similar; however, in Thai Boxing, kicks below the belt are allowed, as are strikes with knees and elbows to any part of the body.