Commonalities between kickboxing and guitar playing/practice


By Miika Korte

As someone who is interested into fighting sports for a few years now, I cannot help but notice parallels and commonalities between fighting sports and learning to fight, and playing guitar and learning to play the guitar.



If you want to learn and improve a combination of punches and kicks in kickboxing, you need to develop the right feel for rhythm. Same as with a guitar riff or a guitar lick.

You need to listen to how the rhythm of your punches, to find out if you have the right timing in the same way that you need to listen to your strums or strokes on your guitar. You can even try to vary the rhythm, to sound more surprising to your audience… or to surprise your enemy.

To bring this comparison even further:

If you are experienced in kickboxing, you could even use the accents of any given kick-punch-combination to use that rhythm as a rhythmical basis for a guitar riff.

Listening to the rhythm of a kick-punch-combination can even enhance your ability to understand the techniques better!


Flow of techniques

In improvisation, it is very important to be able to switch and combine different techniques fluently without stumbling and without being repetitive and predictable.

This is even more important, if I may claim so, in kickboxing, because if you stumble here or if you are repetitive, it could result in you getting knocked out, opposed to listening to an improvised guitar solo, where the worst that could happen (given that nobody plays around with the volume) is, that you might hear something unpleasant.

The more you practice combination of your techniques, the more freely you can jump from one technique to the other.

Learn how to combine your techniques and always challenge yourself, to get more out of one and the same technique.


Creativity is important in music. It is the essence of musicality.

But how is being creative in fighting sports of any use?

If you tend to do the same all over again, in the same rhythm, in the same order, with the same intensity, guess what happens?

Your opponent will find a weakness and use it against you!

It is okay, to only know a few techniques in kickboxing, but if you do not learn how to vary them and how to mix them up, chances are, you are not the one who stands victorious.



Especially when you are jamming with other musicians or you play a live show with your band, you need to be alert 100 percent of the time, else you play the wrong part at the wrong time, or you stand in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The same goes for standing in the ring facing your next opponent in a fight. If you don’t watch out, your opponent will have an advantage over you.

So, both require a lot of focus.


Reading your opponent

To know what happens next, is an important requirement in music. You need to be able to anticipate, where comes the next chord change, where is the next accelerando, where does the rhythm change, where is the intensity going up.

Imagine you are in the middle of a fight and you would have that ability.

Would that make you unbeatable?

You cannot go along, of course, and ask your opponent for a song sheet about his fighting strategy.

But you can learn to pick up cues of your opponent about how he might change gears next or how exhausted he is and what strategy is best for you to use, so you do not miss your cue. 😉



Preparing for a fight takes the same as preparing for a live show:

Practice, practice, practice.

Practice in different settings, practice with different partners, practice in different ways and work on different things.

About the author:

Kitaristi Tampere provides guitarists from Finland with focusing on helping students with their practice strategies, to get maximum results for their students.