Is Kickboxing Dangerous? (Injury rates & statistics)


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Danger comes with the territory when we consider most contact sports or martial arts. After all, the goal is often to subdue and gain victory over an unwilling opponent, a potentially dangerous situation. But is kickboxing dangerous?

Here’s what I discovered:

Kickboxing is dangerous. On average, it has an injury rate of 40 out of 1000 minutes of practice time or 2.5 injuries an hour. This is higher than the average for other martial arts, where the average is 1 injury per hour. However, the injury rate for professional fighters is double that for amateurs. 

(source)

In this article, we will find out if kickboxing is safer than boxing, how many people have died from kickboxing, and what kickboxing does to the body.

But we’ll also look at whether it is okay to do it every day. And we’ll conclude by looking at what martial arts have the most deaths and serious injuries, so you have something to compare to.

Let the fun begin…

Is kickboxing safer than boxing?

Boxing is safer than kickboxing as kickboxing has an injury rate of 2.5 injuries per hour compared to boxing’s injury rate of 17.1 injuries for every 100 matches. Kickboxing is less safe because it involves kicks to the head and body in addition to punches.

(source)

Blows to the head can be lethal and can lead to all manner of complications. The concussion rates in kickboxing are low relative to that in boxing.

The brain is the powerhouse of the body.

It directs and controls everything, and once it is impaired, it is almost impossible to fix! The aim in boxing is to repeatedly hit the rival in the head until they lose consciousness.

It is known to be responsible for CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), a degenerative brain condition that often results in dementia! (source)

Now having said that boxing may have more long-term negative effects.

After all brain damage, dementia, and other neurological effects are typically things that develop over a long period of time and may not even be counted in the injury statistics.

How many people have died from kickboxing?

There have been 3 documented deaths in kickboxing matches going back to 2010. These deaths occurred in professional or semi-pro matches against an opponent. 

Let’s find out a bit about the deaths.

In 2010, in Orlando, Adrienne Simmons died after a three-round bout. She was KO’ed even though she wore headgear. The cause of death was not listed.

In 2011, Mark Fowler, a British kickboxer, died after fighting for five rounds. He collapsed and failed to regain consciousness. He died from head injuries.

In March 2014, Dennis Munson Jr. collapsed and died after his first kickboxing bout at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee. It was an unregulated fight, and the autopsy revealed that his death was caused by brain damage which triggered organ failure.

Say you’re thinking of signing up for Karate or Kickboxing, which one’s better?

Go for kickboxing. Why? It’s a combination of Boxing, Muay Thai, and Karate. It’s a distillation of the most effective moves in these different martial arts, resulting in a more effective system for defending yourself.

In a recent article, I shared more reasons why Kickboxing is the way to go. In it, I revealed the most effective martial art and whether a Kickboxer can beat a Karate fighter.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What does kickboxing do to your body?

Kickboxing improves cardiovascular health, muscle strength, balance, weight loss, confidence, and self-esteem. It can help you sleep better and is believed to have a positive effect on mental health. 

(source)

However, like most contact sports, the possibility of injuries is ever-present.

One’s cardiovascular health would be increased by participating in kickboxing at least three times each week.

A study shows that it increases maximum oxygen uptake. The maximum oxygen uptake is a measure of the amount of oxygen one could use during physical activity. The higher it is, the more efficiently the body is using oxygen.

It also helps with increased muscle strength. 

It’s an intense full-body workout, so this shouldn’t be surprising. It strengthens and tones your core, glutes, legs, and arms. You’re constantly moving as you train. Naturally, you’re also burning calories. So, it’s great for weight loss, too.

Don’t be surprised if the extra- belly and love handles fade away in time. 

But, if you’re not very careful, you could also be injured. The most common injuries are strains in the back, shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles.

Torn between Kickboxing and Muay Thai? I understand.

Muay Thai is better than Kickboxing because it offers you more weapons, as it were. It’s an 8-point system, while the latter is a 4-point system. I explained this and a lot more in a recent article of mine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it OK to do kickboxing every day?

In most cases, it is not advisable to do kickboxing every day. For physical fitness, training 3 to 4 times per week is ideal. That way, the body has time to rest and recover in between workouts. However, for those with the goal of competing professionally, training at least 5 times a week is ideal.

2 to 3 days a week is adequate if the goal is to keep fit. That’s approximately 2 to 3 sessions at the kickboxing studio. It would give your body enough time to rest.

This is in line with what the American Heart Association recommends: That one gets at least 150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

They suggest that either or a combination of both, spread out over a week, is ideal.

What if you’re planning to be a pro kickboxer or at least become highly proficient in it within a relatively short period? You can do it every day.

But, there’s a caveat: 

You must have enough time to rest, and you may also need to adjust how you train. The reality is that all training sessions are not created equal.

So, you could alternate between days when you’re in a high-intensity mode and days when your training sessions are a bit less intense. That way, you’re not overexerting your body each day.

Is kickboxing bad for your knees?

In a recent article, I explained why it’s not bad for the knees. Properly practiced, it can make the knees stronger. The following are some of the themes I also explored: how to protect your knees, kickboxing’s effects on your joints, and exercises to avoid if you’ve got bad knees.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What martial art has the most deaths?

MMA fights have resulted in 7 deaths since 2007, and Muay Thai has had at least 3 deaths in the past decade. However, head injuries, which are common in both, often create complications that can lead to deaths, but because of the delay, they are often not counted as deaths at the time of injury.

Boxing, of course, isn’t considered a martial art, but it certainly has the highest number of deaths, with 923 deaths over the past century. (source)

Muay Thai is followed by boxing, with about 11 deaths each year. MMA has an average of 1 death per year.

The rate for Muay Thai is exceedingly high and could be inaccurate.

But, it might not be, considering that Muay Thai is highly dangerous, and a lot of the fights in Thailand are enacted under conditions that leave a lot to be desired.

What about boxing’s rate of 11 deaths per year? 

On average, a death each month! It’s not surprising at all because, as I hinted at earlier in the article, the goal in boxing is to knock out one’s opponent.

As you know, that’s a euphemism for making them lose consciousness. Lethal blows are repeatedly trained at the rival’s head. And, some do lose consciousness, never to regain it!

Kickboxing vs. MMA, which one’s better? 

MMA is better because it is a more well-rounded sport, and it almost always involves Kickboxing.

But, it’s more ideal if you’re thinking of competing professionally, while Kickboxing is awesome for fitness and has some self-defense applications. In a recent article, I shared more reasons why MMA is the way to go.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

We checked out if kickboxing is safer than boxing.

But we also looked at how many people have died from kickboxing, what kickboxing does to the body, and whether it is okay to do it every day.

And, we concluded by looking at what martial arts have the most deaths.

But what if you’re pregnant? In a recent article, I get into all the limitations and restrictions that may be needed to train in that condition.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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