The Next Round… Kickboxology


How a Powerhouse fitness franchise is exploding onto the cert scene

    From Fitness Trainer May/June

Kevin Hudson is the Director of Fitness & Kickboxing Education at 9Round, a kickboxing themed fitness program that incorporates functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens, which has developed the new group fitness certification in kickboxing—Kickboxology. 

Group fitness has gravitated over the past several years toward the more ‘boutique’ type fitness brands. You’ll see it just down the block in your hometown; whether it’s a 9Round, Orangetheory, Pure Barre, or Soulcycle that’s popped up next to your neighborhood grocery store or post office.

As a result,the big box gym is rapidly trying to catch up by adding small group classes to retain those clients who would otherwise seek elsewhere. But it can’t be just any run of the mill class, there are just so many times someone can sweat their way through a HIIT-formatted bootcamp. It has to be an offering that’s actually an offering that will challenge the individual on various levels … think not just cardio and strength, but stability, flexibility, agility, and power.

Such offerings need to be instructed by quality trainers who fully understand the intricacies of these modalities, and as you’d have it fitness professionals, there are more options available now than ever for us to extend our reach. But we have to constantly sharpen our pencil and increase our value to the client, to maintain credibility, and to maintain our client share.

With new research and developments arising it’s the fitness professionals’ duty to his or her clients to continue educating herself or himself. The cert you earned 10 years ago, I’m sure, is different than the cert you may earn today.

A Specialty Certification that Packs a Credible Punch

Kickboxology was born out of the need for our new owners to get the best fitness kickboxing education possible in the shortest time period. Many of our new owners may or may not have a kickboxing background so we devised a way to impart the most kickboxing knowledge possible to them in a short time span.

As my brother, Shannon ( founder and CEO of 9Round Franchising, LLC), and I looked outside our 9Round world, to the fitness world as a whole, we saw a need for a credible, solid curriculum in the kickboxing space. Trainers everywhere do some sort of kickboxing curriculum with their clients-some good and maybe some not so good.

At 9Round, in 10 short years we’ve gone from zero stores to nearly 700 stores, still opening two per week. Short intense training is the nature of our business. Since my brother and I both are lifelong martial artist and world kickboxing champions, we knew developing a fitness kickboxing curriculum was a natural project for us.

Shannon and I were in the conference room at our office a few years ago. We were discussing training for our trainers or fitness professionals, who desired to better their communication and kickboxing skills, when the first thought of Kickboxology formed. We envisioned a cert combined with an ongoing educational platform. We are currently working the kinks out of the ongoing educational platform, but the initial cert is primed and ready to roll. We’ve gotten accreditation from ACE, NASM/AFAA, NCSF, and NSCA as a continuing education approved course.

It took quite a while to build out Kickboxology, I believe it’s been around four years, but it was a well spent four years. With the fast growth of 9Round, and all the day to day items that must be done, it’s been difficult to stay as focused as I’d like to have been, but now

we’re at a place where this program has taken the front seat and will drive home all the skills we feel are crucial for a kickboxing instructor. There weren’t necessarily obstacles along the way, just a few tedious spots that may have taken a little more patience than I had at the time. Of course, applying to the different fitness organizations for accreditation is a time consuming activity; but that’s something anyone looking to develop their own cert must consider.

Kickboxology 101

Kickboxology is a 5-hour workshop designed to give the professional trainer the knowledge, confidence, and ability to instruct the techniques of kickboxing and its benefits, either in a class format or one on one. This course is designed by experts in both the kickboxing world and the exercise-science world. Because of its holistic nature, Kickboxology will provide endless value to the fitness professional. It was created to give professional fitness trainers a “Gold Standard” in Kickboxing Education to add to their repertoire of tools in order to assist their clients in the quest to be the best they can be.

*The Basics

Students will be able to communicate effectively and instruct clients how to execute the four basic punches and the three basic kicks of kickboxing in a safe and encouraging manner.

*Program Design

Students will be able to design kickboxing classes for one-on-one training as well as group fitness classes in a safe format. They will have basic options of 30, 45, and 60 minute classes, all including warm-up (tissue prep), main goal outcome, recovery or restoration and cool-down period, which can be customized to fit the current client’s needs.

*The Kickboxing Body

Students will better understand the body’s systems and, rather than as to their relationship to kickboxing. They will have an enhanced knowledge of the skeletal system, connective tissue system, muscular system, and nervous system; along with their relationship to kickboxing.


Coming from a martial arts background we spent most of our lives in a classroom format being cued which technique to do next. In Kickboxology, we discuss the importance of ‘sticky’ cues, verbal and visual cues, as well as cues that tell a story. Kickboxing is a passionate activity and the use of imagination is imperative for a trainer to give his or her client cues that make a difference.

*Kickboxology in the next 5 years

I see Kickboxology as an arm of our 9Round organization, which educates fitness professionals both affiliated with our clubs, either owner or trainer, and those that are not, the latest and greatest fitness tools related to improving their clients’ health and wellbeing. We are looking to expand the Kickboxology footprint strategically, with master trainers located in different locations. They will teach Kickboxology and, potentially, other curriculums we develop.


The Big Hitters

The masterminds behind Kickboxology’s curriculum

Shannon Hudson

Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson, founder and CEO of 9Round Franchising, LLC, is the former IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing Champion of the World. He won his title in 2011 with a sixth-round TKO victory. He trains under legendary boxing trainer Xavier Biggs, brother of 1984 Olympic gold medalist Tyrell Biggs.

Shannon began martial arts at the age of seven and has continued training ever since. He has a fifth-degree black belt in Japanese Shotokan karate and a fourth-degree black belt under Joe Lewis’s Fighting System, JLFS. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina– Upstate.

After over seventy bouts inside the ring, competing in Canada and Europe, Shannon could not find a place where the average person could get the training of some of the best fighters in the world. He realized that if he could take the grueling workouts he did in the ring and create a non-intimidating, convenient circuit workout format, then the average person could enjoy the benefits of boxing and kickboxing without getting hit. He’s the author of Zero to 100, the best-selling book that chronicles his and his wife’s journey to their first one hundred units in the franchising world.


Kevin Hudson

Kevin “Hurricane” Hudson began training in martial art sat the age of eight. At age 13, he decided he wanted to become a world-champion kickboxer and dedicate his life to helping others become better through the discipline found in martial arts.

In 1994, he won the K.I.C.K. World Cruiserweight Kickboxing championship. In 1997, he won a second World Championship. After a brief hiatus, he won the I.K.F. U.S. Heavyweight Championship.

Kevin graduated from the University of South Carolina–Upstate in 1994 with a bachelor’s in business management. He earned his seventh-degree black belt under Grandmaster Joe Lewis, training with Mr. Lewis until his death in 2012. Kevin earned his second-degree black belt under Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, another kickboxing legend.

He is an American Council on Exercise Certified Group Fitness Instructor and is the Director of Fitness & Kickboxing Education at the 9Round Franchising World Headquarters.

John Sinclair

John was named a Top 10 Personal Trainer to Watch 2012 by Life Fitness/fitpro. He is a master performance and health coach, with 15 years of personal training and strength-and-conditioning experience. John has shared his experiences in cities across the world as a master trainer for Technogym, ViPR, Power Plate, and Hyperwear. He travels extensively, delivering energetic, memorable presentations, and offering mentorships.

He has a bachelor’s degree in athletic therapy and sport performance. John serves as a consultant to some of the top companies in the health and fitness industry, including 24HR Fitness, Equinox, NIKE, SKLZ, ViPR, Zumba, PT on the Net, fitpro, and PTA Global.

Currently, John serves as the president of Authentic Health Coaching, based in Sunrise, Florida, and is also the programming director for the Institute of Motion (IoM), based in Solana Beach, California. John is the co-founder of THE HIVE— Performance, Wellness and Education. John has published two books with Seven Movements, a company he co-founded with his co-author, Dan Tatton. The books are Seven Movements to Keep You Gardening for Life, and Seven Movements to Keep You Healthy and Pain Free in the Office.

His certifications include NSCA, CSCS, PTA Global CPT, Applied Functional Science, Gray Institute, XPS, Exos Performance, and Medical Exercise Specialist.