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September 22, 2021

Starting Martial Arts: What to Expect at Your First Kickboxing Class

Marc Beerline

Starting Martial Arts: What to Expect at Your First Kickboxing Class

Starting any new fitness or martial arts endeavor is daunting and challenging; as with the spirit of something new, it requires courage, curiosity, and the willingness to learn and be vulnerable. Great job at being open to trying something new! In this post, we’ll provide a brief overview of what to expect at your first kickboxing class.

We’ll explore:

  • Preparation
  • Class Format
  • Instructor Takeaways
  • Finishing Class

Let’s get started.



Be sure to check the schedule for classes and call the location ahead of time to plan for your first class. Expect to be placed in an unfamiliar setting. Starting something new is intimidating, but that’s okay. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t say they were nervous or uncomfortable their first class. Be willing to mess up, look silly, and fail. We have all been there and we understand. Be proud of challenging that fear to better yourself.

You will need to sign a waiver and the front desk will want to get a quick headshot of you to create a member profile. This is common with most schools and allows us to get to know you, your goals, and what you hope to get out of training. Plan to show up at least 20 minutes early before your first class so you have enough time to feel ready to rock! Be sure to hydrate beforehand and don’t come on an empty stomach.

The front desk will provide rental hand wraps and gloves for your first class. Understand people will be training from all backgrounds and experience levels. Not everyone will be at your level. No one will progress the same way you do.

Comparison will kill your drive and motivation. Focus on your journey alone.

No questions are “dumb.” In fact, questions help the coach improve how they teach. Be open to ask for clarity/instruction. We want to hear from you. Sometimes a move will feel “off” even when you are doing it correctly. Getting confirmation that you just need more repetition and time truly helps. Talk to your instructor. They are there to help you have the best experience during your journey.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring comfortable workout clothes, a full water bottle, and be ready to be barefoot on the mats. Come ready to sweat, smile, and learn!

Class Format

Expect your first kickboxing class (and all classes) will last exactly one hour and each coach has a wide array of cardio and technique drills that they want to share with each class. Our Kickboxing curriculum operates on a 12-week system, with each week integrating a distinct technique of focus for the week, so each week will be something fresh and new to help equip you with all the tools you will need in your toolbox.

At the beginning of each class, we line up (usually according to rank, as best we can) to provide an outline for the class, the focus for the week, and what to expect. We begin each class with a ‘Wai’ or bow to show respect to ourselves, our teammates, the academy and our coaches as well as to open up the space and time for training.

The first 15-20 minutes of class are spent getting the body warmed up and ready to start developing our skillset. Warmups typically consist of running on the mats, shadowboxing, and calisthenic exercises to sharpen, strengthen, and condition the body. After the warmup, you will grab a drink of water, your striking gloves, and a partner to begin focusing on your technique for the week.

As you work through the focus for the week, remember to be kind to yourself: not everything will make perfect sense the first time. This is a martial art that develops learning through repetition, so be ok with imperfection. You are here to have fun, get your sweat on, and learn. Trust your coach and the process, and it will come with time and hard work.

two martial arts students who are kickboxing


Instructor Takeaways

Each instructor will provide different and individualized guidance for each new student according to their fitness, experience, and skill level, so be sure to let your coach know if you are new to Kickboxing or the academy so they can best help you! Each class has several people and letting them know that you are new(er) to the sport helps them provide a unique experience for you.

Work on what was taught in class, out of class. Practice footwork and shadow boxing at home. This will help build your muscle memory and allow you to gain comfort with the movement so you can focus on technique and form.

Finishing Class

The instructor will usually close out class about 5 minutes prior to the hour to line everyone up, provide an overview of what was covered in class as well as any academy updates and a speech of the week. This is an important opportunity to ask questions on the technique(s) covered in class, provide a summary of what was learned, and leave you with something to think about/focus on for the week.

Like the technique for the week, the speech of the week changes and will vary week-to-week and coach-to-coach. Instructors will be available after class for any questions that you may have, but be ready to move off the mats, because the next class is usually ready to get started!

Understand, as a person who now trains, we are a work in progress – forever. We are never “done.”

Your coaches still train and progress, as do their coaches. There will always be something to improve, adjust, alter, quicken, and refine. Make short and long term goals as you go!

Now that you know what to expect at your first kickboxing class, we look forward to welcoming you and helping you get started on your journey!

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