Boxing, Kick-Boxing or Muay Thai: which combat sport to choose?


I’m Greg Gothelf, director of the Fushan Kwoon club. I have been practicing martial arts and combat sports for 30 years.

When I started martial arts, the choice was quick: Karate, Judo, Aïkido, Kung Fu (not everywhere), English Boxing and French Boxing (if we were lucky).

But that was before ! Nowadays, in the big cities of France, there are easily more than twenty different martial disciplines.

So how to choose ? How to end up there for the neophyte ?

This is what we will see in this article.

I will touch on a few things at the end that I think are important in choosing a good club.

The embarrassment of choice, embarrassing ?

This whole variety is very appreciable but it also makes the choice much more difficult. Some will want to do everything while others will be overwhelmed by so many possibilities.

You should know that there is no wrong choice, you can choose a style that does not suit us and change later.

There are 4 main classifications to differentiate martial arts and combat sports:

  1. martial art
  2. combat sport
  3. percussion style
  4. grip style

We will therefore explore these 4 families in more detail.

Martial Arts

We will see what constitutes a martial art. Some elements are common to combat sports.

In martial arts, we generally find:

  • a greeting specific to each discipline or origin
  • a specific outfit
  • an aesthetic dimension in techniques with a search for great precision of the gesture
  • presence of forms: kata, tao, pomse, …
  • not
  • a high degree of contact from nothing
  • not necessarily prohibited blows

The learning method is often based on repetition. Depending on martial art, there will be more or less work with partner.

Not all martial arts practice sparring (training fight). Indeed, some belong to the two families, martial arts and combat sports since they offer competitions.

We will therefore qualify those who exclude the traditional martial art competition.

Depending on the style practiced and the teacher who teaches it, the degree of contact may be more or less important. This is something that can help make your choice.

Some seek contact, others for various reasons, wish to learn with little or no contact.

In Fushan Kwoon, here is the list of our martial arts lessons accessible to all:

Here are those with a slightly more strong degree of contact:

In any case, before giving it a try, I invite you to inquire with the club or the professor about this element.

Combat Sports

Here is what generally characterizes a combat sport:

  • the possibility of fighting in competition
  • not always a specific training outfit
  • not always formal salvation
  • no learning forms: katas, taos, poomse, …
  • a medium to high degree of contact
  • certain blows are prohibited

There are certain exceptions such as Muay Thai, also called Boxe Thai and the French Savate Boxe which can be considered martial arts. They both have a salvation.

Although the level of contact is often higher than in traditional martial arts, this does not mean that the courses are violent. Far from there.

I often hear it said, “Ah no, I can’t do this course, it’s way too violent ! “. From my experience, a good teacher with a good pedagogy will not do a course only accessible to the tough, not to Fushan Kwoon anyway !

Our courses are all public. Some are more physical than others, the fights more rough but you will not come out with a broken nose or whatever.

I advise you to flee the clubs in which there is an atmosphere of badass, it is really not conducive to good technical development and long-term practice.

Here are the combat sports we offer:

  • Kick Boxing
  • English Boxing
  • French Boxing Savate

Percussion styles

These are the martial arts or combat sports in which strikes have been found.

They can be subdivided into several categories depending on the type of techniques used

  • only the arms
  • arm dominance
  • leg dominance
  • balanced

These subcategories can help in the choice of course.

Here is what we offer to Fushan Kwoon:

Only the arms

  • English Boxing

Dominance of Bras

Dominance of Legs

  • Taekwondo


  • Muay Thai
  • French Boxing Savate

Prehenation styles

These are the martial arts of seizure without hitting techniques (percussion).

We find in particular:

  • the Judo
  • The Free Struggle and Roman Greco

Mixed styles

Some martial arts and combat sports offer both percussion and gripping techniques. The sport that has experienced the greatest growth in the past 15 years is one of them, the MMA

Here is the list of courses belonging to this category taught at Fushan Kwoon:

The styles of Self Defense

Some martial arts or combat system are more oriented than others towards Self Defense. Even if the vast majority of martial arts and combat sports will help to better defend themselves, it is not all their primary goal.

For others, it is a priority like:

  • the Krav Maga

Martial arts for children

The majority of parents are not martial arts practitioners. So the same question often comes up:

Isn’t it too violent ? The answer will always be: NO !

You cannot do violent lessons for children in France. So be fully reassured.

Martial arts are excellent for younger people, here is a non-exhaustive list of what it can bring to your child:

  • coordination
  • concentration
  • respect
  • discipline
  • build character
  • taste for effort
  • self-confidence
  • channel
  • know how to defend yourself

Child and teen lessons at Fushan Kwoon :

The well-being

We get out of the subject a bit even if we find some martial arts there. Well-Being practices are booming and complementary to the practice of Martial Arts and Combat Sports.

We find in particular in this category:

  • the Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • the Chi Gong

Physical requirements

A fear that comes up often is the physical:

  • do you have to be flexible ?
  • do you have to be in good shape ?
  • muscular ?
  • must have 3 lungs ?

If you do nothing, you are generally not in good shape. To become one, you have to start at one time or another. We are not going to ask you to arrive knowing how to do the splits and ready to run a marathon.

Of course, some courses are more physical than others. But with regularity and will, anything is possible. The professor is there to push you but must also recognize your limits.

Flee from clubs where you confuse surpassing yourself with suffering. If you are pushed to vomit, it is because you have gone too far. It’s absolutely bad for the body and does nothing beneficial. On the contrary, you will recover less quickly and therefore progress more slowly.

Be careful, I am not saying that in my lessons there are not regularly some hypoglycaemia and vomiting. The difference is that it is not I who is pushed the person to go so far but he who has done this to himself. This is also how you learn to recognize your own limits.

To summarize, don’t worry too much about the physical aspect, choose above all the course that you like and motivates the most. Do things at your own pace and physical fitness will come.

Choose your club

The choice of club is another problem that arises before or after choosing which discipline to practice. As a longtime practitioner and director of a Martial Arts club since 2002, here are some tips for detecting good clubs.

Test course

This is essential for me. When I see a club that doesn’t offer a trial class, it makes me mad. I therefore advise you to go to a club which offers a free and if possible test course like at Fushan Kwoon.

During this course, the professor must take good care of you to make you comfortable and help you get started.

Since our opening in 2002, we have offered a free trial course in each discipline to help make the right choice. This is very important to us.

In addition, we have confidence in the quality of education of our teachers.


More than once, I have entered clubs where you don’t necessarily feel welcome. Already that it can be intimidating for an uninitiated, if in addition nobody pays attention to you, leave!

This is also one of the reasons why the test course is important. Beyond the chosen discipline, the teacher’s pedagogy and the group of students play a decisive role in learning in good conditions.


Some clubs especially highlight the teachers’ charts. Being a good fighter or competitor does not mean that you will be a good teacher. Practicing and transmitting are two very different things.

So do not let yourself be impressed by a title, look rather at how the course is built, if the explanations are clear and above all, at the end of the course, there is only one question for me to ask: Ai- I had a good time ?

If you are not sure, do not register. Chances are you will drop the course quickly.


An important parameter is the compatibility of your schedule with that of your workouts. It is a dropout factor when you have to run all the time to be on time for your training.

Preferably choose a club close to your home or your workplace.

Obviously, sometimes we have no choice:

  • no club nearby
  • not the discipline you want
  • a particular teacher with whom we want to learn

Everything will be a question of motivation. At Fushan Kwoon, we have many students who come from far away for the atmosphere and our teachers.

Frequent errors

I often see the same mistakes in those who start. Here are the most common.

Do too much

You can be ultra motivated at the start and get a little too excited. Either by wanting to do too many workouts when the body is not ready or register for too many different courses.

I do not recommend practicing several disciplines that are in the same family or too close when we start. This will make learning the basics and setting up automatisms much harder.

This is why we do not offer a subscription including all the courses. We prioritize the quality of student learning.

This is also why we have a great atmosphere in our lessons, the teachers know their students well and friendships are created between the students. Impossible if the members change discipline all the time.

To be discouraged

Some progress very quickly, others more slowly. The main thing is to be regular and patient. You should not measure your progress or level to that of others.

If for any reason you have a period of absence, don’t give up because you think you are too late, otherwise that means that you are still comparing yourself to others. If you like it, keep it up !

If you have done too much, are tired or hurt, take a break and come back more motivated than ever !


I didn’t think this article would be so long when I started it but I couldn’t stop. It’s my job but above all my passion. I could talk about it for hours !

You now know a lot more about martial arts and combat sports. Your choice should be easier I hope.

Fushan Kwoon is located at 11 rue Ernest Laval 92170 Vanves. We have the metro and bus next door.

If you are near us, I will be happy to welcome you for a free trial course. You can book it online by clicking the button below.

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