What is Dutch Kickboxing?

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Kickboxing is practiced almost universally, in fact in most towns you are more likely to find a Kickboxing gym instead of a Boxing gym.  Kickboxing has been around since the 1950s, it originated in Japan and although there have been other styles that are similar to Kickboxing, that originated sooner such as Savate, Karate and Muay Thai, Kickboxing is what you think of when you think of kicking and punching. Kickboxing has been so popular that we’ve already begun to see offshoots and different styles of Kickboxing, one of those styles, is Dutch Kickboxing. 

So why is it different?

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Dutch Kickboxing is a noticeably different Kickboxing style for quite a few reasons, the general consensus is that it is an amalgamation of Japanese Kickboxing, Kyokushin Karate, Muay Thai and Boxing. It’s known as a very aggressive, intense style of fighting, with long combinations that will often finish with a heavy, shin splintering low kick. A typical Dutch Kickboxer will have a high and tight guard, with the elbows essentially glued to the body, they tend to focus on heavy damage dealing strikes such as knees, roundhouse kicks and hooks. They will also tend towards being a pressure fighter and throw in volume too. If you want to see how a Dutch Kickboxer stands and fights, watching videos on Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost and Semmy Schilts will help you get a grasp for it. In many Kickboxing organisations such as K-1 and One FC have seen their tournaments be almost dominated by Dutch fighters, just from that, with Semmy Schilts winning the K-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix 3 times in a row, we can see that Dutch Kickboxing is certainly one of the more effective styles of Kickboxing. 

Where's it strong?

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Most of the techniques employed by Dutch Kickboxers tend towards the mid to close range, as the style is based on pressure and damage dealing like I mentioned before. So most Dutch Fighters tend to shy away from being a counter puncher or an up close brawler, unless of course you are Semmy Schilts and you fight everyone at long range because you are literally a vast sasquatch of a man or Remy Bonjasky and your whole body is a weapon that you can throw at your opponent. Because of the pressure they can apply Dutch Kickboxers are often very powerful in exchanges. Their strengths lie in their ability to block incoming strikes and then throw heavy hard strikes back, it tends to be a very explosive style, more so than Muay Thai or American Kickboxing, this is from its roots in Kyokushin Karate which is a very explosive, direct form of Karate. It also has head movement that is better than ‘normal’ kickboxing and more in tune with Boxing head movement due to the ruleset that Dutch fighters will often fight under, which doesn’t allow knees to the head or elbow strikes or clinching of any kind, this means that the fighters don’t have to worry about a knee flying up through a clinch to split their wig, an elbow blasting through their guard to bonk them on the head or a big gloved hand grabbing the back of their head and rag dolling them across the ring. Dutch Kickboxers use of Boxing is also key, as they will often use their Boxing skill to pry apart an opponents defence and then use heavy kicks to deal damage.

Where's it Weak?

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While Dutch Kickboxing seems to be a very hard style to go up against, it does have some weakness’s, like many Martial Arts your conditioning is going to be a key factor in how good you are, with Dutch Kickboxing this is even more so as the strikes are heavy and in volume so your conditioning needs to be at a higher level than a regular fighter, this means that you have to train harder which means more wear and tear on the body. A Muay Thai Fighter often can neutralise a Dutch Kickboxer through use of the Clinch, Tripping and Sweeping, as these are areas that aren’t trained by Dutch fighters, the two styles are actually seen as rival styles due to their seeming negation of each other, if you were to get two fighters with the same attributes and experience except one was a Dutch fighter and one was a Thai fighter, chances are it would be the Thai Boxer that would take home the win, this is purely due to more areas trained by a Thai Boxer, so the elbows and clinches and the sweeps are what will help win the fight as a Dutch Fighter wont train them. Often if a fighter can survive the  onslaught that is the first round, then chances are that the fighter has an ok shot at winning, particularly if they are a counter-striker, as many aggressive pressure fighters are especially  prone to being beaten by a  ‘death by a thousand cuts’ style of fighter. A very good example of this is actually Nokweed Davys famous David vs Goliath fight against Jerome Le Banner, in which Jerome had a 35 kg weight advantage and still lost.

I hope this has cleared up in what ways Dutch Kickboxing is different to other kickboxing styles, but ill do a quick recap here just to be safe. Dutch Kickboxing is a combination of multiple striking based martial arts, that has culminated in a style of kickboxing that is very aggressive and very pressure heavy, it relies on mid range strikes that can be thrown in long combinations. Its strengths are its explosiveness superior boxing skill and powerful shots. its weaknesses are, it requires high level conditioning to be performed properly, is susceptible to counter-strikers and doesn’t have any a clinch work or dirty boxing meaning that that can be exploited by an opponent who has trained those areas.

While there are other more complete styles of striking it must be said that Dutch Kickboxing is up there with some of the best striking styles available and is dominant in so many kickboxing tournaments that a saying has emerged ‘If it aint Dutch, then it aint much’.