Pad work is arguably the most representative and important part of training in Muay Thai. Unlike many gyms in the West, pad-holding is a task that is more commonly performed by a trainer and not a gym partner. It is a role that is taken seriously by the Thai trainers. This is one of the most intimate moments in training where a trainer gets to shape and sharpen the style of a fighter. Something that cannot be achieved with only partner training.
Benefits of Pad work
Pad training begins just as soon as one embarks on the journey of learning the art of 8 limbs. Here are some benefits of pad work in Muay Thai.
Pad work can be as intense, maybe even more intense, than an actual fight. A trainer may choose to mimic ring action with 3 to 5 rounds of 3-min pad training or stretch this up to 8 minutes. This helps to build up a fighter’s cardiovascular endurance so as to ensure tip-top performance. They are the best tools in Muay Thai for improving overall fitness.
For those about to enter the ring, trainers often study the fighting style of the opponent and simulate it during pad work. This helps prepare a fighter in developing the necessary defensive and offensive strategies for the fight.
By reacting to the instructions or actions of a trainer, a fighter can sharpen his reflexes with pad training. This is a gradual process that improves over time. A fighter can react faster through repeated practice and training.
Contrary to misinformation, shin conditioning is not done with wooden bats or kicking banana trees. The hardness of these objects can cause serious damage especially to beginners. Along with heavy bag training, pad work can help in conditioning a fighter’s muscles and shins.
Types of Kick Pads
There are 2 types of Muay Thai kick pads. Focus mitts can sometimes double as kick pads for young children but strictly speaking, they are boxing mitts. Belly pads are almost always worn by trainers for protection but may allow students to practise knees, teeps, or roundhouse kicks.
Standard Kick pads
The standard kick pads are the most versatile tools in a trainer’s arsenal. Their usage is only limited by the trainer’s imagination. Kick pads can be used for practising almost every technique in Muay Thai.
For beginners, a pad holder calls out the technique and the student executes accordingly. This minimizes the risk of injuries for both student and trainer. As a student progresses in the training, the pad work also shifts into a more advanced mode. Instead of calling out a technique, the trainer simply moves the pads into a position and the student responds with an appropriate technique.
There is an even more advanced pad work on the part of the pad-holders. In some camps, the trainers are so experienced that they are able to catch whatever technique that the students throws at them. Both Kru Manop and Kru Petchdam at YOKKAO Training Center Bangkok are experts at this form of freestyle pad work.
Low kick pads
Low kick pads allow fighters who favor the low kicks to train in a more realistic flow than just training on the banana bag. They are a supplementary training equipment and less often used compared to standard kick pads. However, low kick pads are mandatory in all self-respecting Muay Thai gyms. When utilized properly, the low kick is a destructive weapon that have ended many fights.
YOKKAO Training Gear
YOKKAO offers the complete range of training gear and equipment for Muay Thai, kickboxing, or striking in general. For individuals, there are protective gear like shin guards, head guards and body vests. Fight gyms essentials like heavy bags, belly pads, and kick pads of the highest quality can all be found at YOKKAO online store.
Train and fight like a beast. Leave the rest to YOKKAO.