What Is Japanese Shootboxing? A Guide For Beginners


It’s a shame that a new generation of combat sports fans is not familiar with Shootboxing, and how exciting and unique this sport is. But if you want to learn more about Shootboxing, its rules, fighters, and history, you are in the right place.

Shootboxing is both, a combat sports promotion that has emerged in 1985 in Japan, and a standup martial art. It is a mix of striking and grappling techniques, and standing submissions. Fighters are allowed to strike using kicks, punches, knees, elbows, execute throws, and submit the opponent with standing chokes and locks. In some way, you can look at it as a mix of kickboxing and shoot wrestling techniques put into one style of fighting.

Keep reading this article as we are going to explain everything about Shoot Boxing in more detail.

History Of Shootboxing

The name Shootboxing has two meanings. First, it stands for a combat sports promotion founded by Ceasar Takeshi in 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. Takeshi was a former top kickboxer and a former “Asia Pacific Kickboxing Federation” champion. At one point in his career, Takeshi started to train in pro wrestling with Satoru Sayama. At the time, Sayama was a famous name in the wrestling world and the two used to train together in the Super Tiger Gym.

After spending enough time on the mats, Takeshi decided to create his own style of wrestling. Yet, his initial project was a failure, but soon after, he would get another unique idea. He created a new combat sport that is a mix of techniques from shoot wrestling and kickboxing. The final result of his work was Shoot Boxing, and he held the first event on September 1, 1985.

What Are Shootboxing Rules?

The rules of Shootboxing are very simple and easy to understand. Here is a list of all major rules:

Fighting area– fighters compete in a square ring, the same as the one in kickboxing or boxing. The size of the ring ranges from 18 to 22 feet square, and the ring platform is around 3–4 feet from the ground.

Duration of the match — Shoot Boxing matches have two classes. The first class is an “Expert” class where matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long. The second class is the “Freshman” class where matches have 3 rounds, with each round being 3 minutes long. There is a 1-minute break between the rounds.

Ways to win a matchfighters can win via knockout, technical knockout, doctor stoppage, submission, or disqualification.

Techniques — Shoot boxers can strike both above and below the waist using punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. They can also fight in the clinch and execute various trips and throws to take the opponent down. Also, they are allowed to use standing chokes, wrist locks, and joint locks to submit the opponent.

Forbidden moves– fighters are not allowed to strike the back of the head, spine, groins, and throat. Kicking or punching the grounded opponent is also not allowed. A fighter is grounded if at least one hand or a knee is in contact with the ground.

Scoring– Shoot Boxing matches include three judges sitting beside the ring. They score the fight round by round using the famous 10 point scoring system taken from boxing. The winner of the round gets 10 points while the loser gets 9, 8, or 7. After the fight is over, they sum up all the points from each round to determine a winner. There are no draws as if the fights are equal in points, the judges must decide who won.

Uniform and protective gear — Shoot boxers compete wearing shorts or leggings, mouth guard, and full padded gloves.

Is Shootboxing Effective For Self-Defense?

Shoot Boxing is an effective form of combat and its techniques are very practical when it comes to self-defense. It is a versatile system that trains and prepares you to deal with any threat on the streets. Here is a brief explanation of why Shoot Boxing is so effective for self-defense.

First of all, Shoot Boxing is a standup martial art where fighters use all limbs as weapons. They learn how to strike using kicks, punches, knees, and elbows both from the distance and inside the clinch. The striking aspect and concept of training is very similar to the one in kickboxing and Muay Thai. But on top of that, Shoot Boxing adds the basics of grappling like trips and throws. And trains its fighters to utilize standing submissions like chokes, joint locks, and wristlocks.

Street fights are often chaotic, all over the place, and include a lot of grabbing and pulling at close range. Shoot Boxing techniques fit well here because you would have a weapon to use no matter where the fight takes place. If the fight ends up in the clinch, you would know how to do damage with brutal elbows and knees. This is a position from which an average person would have a hard time escaping.

Next, let’s not forget that most average people don’t know how to grapple. Blocking a strike is a natural reaction and most people know how to cover their head. But one has to spend many years to learn how to defend a takedown or any type of grappling attack. And this gives you a big advantage in a fight. If the attacker grabs you or gets in your face, Shoot Boxing teaches you how to take them down using throws and trips or neutralize with a submission.

The only downside is the fact that Shoot Boxing is not that popular around the world. It’s almost impossible to find a gym outside of Japan.

Do MMA Fighters Use Shootboxing?

No, MMA fighters do not use Shoot Boxing techniques inside the cage, neither there have been fighters with a strong background in this martial art. This doesn’t mean that Shoot Boxing techniques do not work in cage fighting. In fact, it is the total opposite of that as its standup techniques, as well as throws and some standing submissions are very effective. 

The thing is, Shoot Boxing is not that popular in the western world, and there are maybe just a few gyms where you can learn it. Most Shoot Boxers go to kickboxing and vice versa, and you can rarely see them switching over to cage fighting. Instead of Shoot Boxing, most top strikers in the UFC are trained in martial arts like Muay Thai and Boxing as these two arts are very popular and well spread all around the world. 

What Is The Difference Between Shootboxing And Shootfighting?


Shoot BoxingShootfighting
History and OriginsShoot boxing is a Japanese martial art created in 1985 by the former Kickboxer, Caesar Takeshi. It is a hybrid mix of techniques from kickboxing and shoot wrestling. Shootfighting is a martial art and a combat sport that emerged in the early 90s. It has origins in martial arts like Catch Wrestling, Kenpo, Muay Thai, and Jujutsu. 
Emphasis and strategiesShoot Boxing is a standup martial art where fighters strike using all limbs. They can also perform grappling moves and standing submissions.Shootfighting is a hybrid combat system that is very similar to the modern mixed martial arts competition. The emphasis is on mixing striking, grappling and ground fighting together.  
TechniquesKicks (low/high), punches, knees, elbows, trips, throws, sweeps, standing submissionsKicks (low/high), knees, elbows, headbutts, open hand palms, slaps, takedowns, joint locks, and chokes. 
Duration of the matchExpert Class matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long and there is a 1 min break between.
Freshman class matches have 3-3 minute rounds with a 1-minute break between the rounds. 
Shootfighting matches last 30 minutes and there are no rounds or time-outs. Amateur matches are 10 minutes long.

What Is The Difference Between Shootboxing And K-1?


Shoot BoxingK-1
History and originsShoot boxing emerged in 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. The founder of this combat sports promotion was Ceasar Takeshi, a former kickboxer. 
Shoot Boxing is also a martial art that has origins in kickboxing and Shoot wrestling. 
K-1 is the most famous kickboxing promotion founded in 1993 in Japan. The founder of this promotion was Kazuyoshi Ishii. 
During the 90s and 2000s, K-1 was the most popular combat sport. Its rules would later become an official style of kickboxing. 
Emphasis and strategiesShoot Boxing is a versatile martial art where fighters compete in standup. They use all limbs as weapons to strike, but they are also allowed to take the opponent down and execute standing submissions. K-1 is a style of kickboxing where the emphasis is on fighting at a high pace, throwing high output of punches, hard kicks, and always pushing for a knockout. 
TechniquesKicks (low/high), punches, knees, elbows, throws, trips, sweeps, and standing submissionskicks (low/high), punches, knees
Duration of the matchesExpert Class matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long and there is a 1 min break between.
Freshman class matches have 3-3 minute rounds with a 1-minute break between the rounds. 
K-1 matches are 3 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long, and the rest period between is 1 minute.
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What Is The Difference Between Shootboxing And Thai Boxing?


Shoot BoxingMuay Thai
History and originsShoot boxing first appeared in 1985 and the father of this combat sport was Ceasar Takeshi. It has origins in kickboxing and shoot wrestling. 
The first Shoot Boxing event took place on September 1, 1985. 
The earliest records of Muay Thai go all the way back to the 14th century Siam Kingdom. It has origins in the military combat system called “Muay Boran”.
Later on, King Rama V would create a sport version that would become known as Muay Thai
Strategies and emphasisShoot boxers utilize all limbs as weapons to strike, execute throws from the clinch, or set up a standing submission. 
The emphasis is on knocking the opponent out or getting a submission finish. 
Muay Thai fighters use all limbs as weapons to strike at all ranges, including the clinch. The emphasis is on landing hard kicks from the distance and clinch fighting with elbows and knees.
TechniquesKicks (low/high), punches, knees, elbows, throws, trips, sweeps, standing submissions (chokes, joint locks, wristlocks)Kicks (low/high), punches, knees, elbows, trips, throws, and sweeps.
Duration of the matchesExpert Class matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long and there is a 1 min break between.
Freshman class matches have 3-3 minute rounds with a 1-minute break between the rounds. 
Muay Thai matches have 5 rounds and each round is 3 minutes long. The break between the rounds is 2 minutes.
Protective gearShoot Boxers compete wearing open gloves, shorts or leggings, groin cup and mouthguard
Thai boxers compete wearing armbands (optional), full padded gloves, shorts, a groin cup, and a mouthguard.

What Is The Difference Between Shootboxing And Japanese Kickboxing?


Shoot BoxingJapanese Kickboxing
History and OriginsShoot Boxing got created in 1985 in Tokyo Japan. The founder of this unique combat system was Ceasar Tekashi. He created Shoot Boxing as a mix of kickboxing and shoot wrestling techniques. Japanese Kickboxing emerged in the 1950s in Japan. It has origins in karate and Muay Thai, and the fathers of this combat system were Tatsuo Yamada and Osamu Noguchi
Strategies and EmphasisShoot boxing fighters mix striking and grappling techniques to fight in the standup. The emphasis is on striking with all limbs and mixing strikes with throws, trips, and standup submissions. Japanese Kickboxing is one of the most technical styles of kickboxing. Fighters compete at all ranges using karate kicks, western punches, and knee and elbow strikes. The focus is on the high output of strikes while maintaining a high level of technique.
TechniquesKicks (low/high), punches, knees, elbows, trips, throws, sweeps, standing submissions (chokes, wristlocks and joint locks)Kicks (low/high), punches, knees, and elbows. 
Duration of the matchExpert Class matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long and there is a 1 min break between.
Freshman class matches have 3-3 minute rounds with a 1-minute break between the rounds. 
Matches have 5 rounds where each round is 3 minutes long and there is a 1-minute break between the rounds.
Protective gearShoot Boxers compete in a square ring wearing open gloves, shorts or leggings, a groin cup, and a mouthguard. 
Fighters compete in a square ring wearing full padded gloves, shorts, groin cups, and a mouthguard.

What Is The Difference Between Shootboxing And Boxing?


Shoot BoxingBoxing
HistoryShoot Boxing is a modern martial art created in the 1985 by the former kickboxer Caesar Takeshi. 
He organized the first-ever Shoot Boxing event on September 1, 1985.
Boxing is one of the oldest forms of combat and its origins go all the way back to the 2nd and 3rd millennium BCE in Ancient Egypt.
It emerged as a combat sport in Ancient Greece at the 23rd Olympiad held in 688 BCE. 
Strategies and EmphasisShoot Boxing is a versatile combat sport where the main goal is to mix striking with grappling and submissions. 
The emphasis is on high output of strikes, doing damage inside the clinch, getting takedowns and submitting the opponent from a standing position. 
Boxing is a martial art where the main goal is to learn how to mix footwork, punches, and head movement to win the match.
The emphasis is on throwing each punch with a lot of power, and to knock the opponent out. 
TechniquesKicks high/low, punches, knees, elbows, throws, trips, sweeps, and submissions.Punches
Duration of a matchExpert Class matches have 5 rounds with each round being 3 minutes long and there is a 1 min break between.
Freshman class matches have 3-3 minute rounds with a 1-minute break between the rounds. 
Pro boxing matches have from 4 to 12 rounds but the high profile bouts are always 12 rounds. Each round is 3 minutes long and there is a 1-minute break between. 
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