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How To Hold Pads for Muay Thai Correctly

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Holding Thai pads is beneficial to not only the striker but also the pad holder. The pad holder's job is to provide good targets for their partner with an aim of making the striker better. In doing so, the pad holder has to work on their timing, concentration, and accuracy. If you actively hold pads for others, here are some basics you should keep in mind during your next training session.

General Tips

Stance - Make sure you are in a solid fighting stance. Use the opportunity to also develop your footwork.

Positioning - holding pads in the wrong position may cause injury.

Gear - make sure your Thai pads are in good condition and are fastened securely. If you need help, ask your partner to tighten them for you.

Technique - the goal of the pad-holding session is to improve the striker's technique. Some power is necessary, but should not be the focus. Having said that, keep combinations simple.

Communication - let your partner know that they're strikes are on point. Conversely, if they're not getting it right, let them know. Communication doesn't have to be verbal. If they keep dropping their hands, stick them with a jab or two.

Holding Thai Pads For The Jab, Cross

When holding Thai pads fo the jab or the cross, start by holding the pads at eye level to the left and right of your face - in front of you, not to the side. This presents more realistic targets for the striker. Keep your arms tight close to the moment of impact. If your arms are loose and paired with a strong puncher, you'll likely get hit in the face with those pads. At the moment of impact, push slightly forward to give the striker some feedback in the way of resistance. This will resemble what they experience in the ring. Make sure you only meet their punches. Don't jam their punches. This will not only frustrate them, but make it tough to figure out range. Keep the combinations simple and practical. In most cases, a fight will be determined who has a more solid grasp of their basic techniques.

Holding Thai Pads For The Hook

The same general rules apply for holding Thai pads for a hook. Keep your pads at eye level. If they are throwing a lead hook (assuming both of you are in an orthodox stance), you would receive the punch with your left pad - turning the pad to meet the punch.  The opposite is true if they are throwing the rear hook. If you are working on body hooks, the best way to hold the pad is with your fist on your hip. In this case, you will use the pad on the same side as their punching arm. Of course, if you have a belly pad, that is preferred for body shots.

Holding Thai Pads For The Uppercut

When holding for the uppercut, meet the strikers punches with the opposite hand. If they throw a lead uppercut, you come down with the lead pad. As with the other punches, direct your pad downward, but do not jam their uppercut. Let them meet your pad instead of you trying to meet their punch. Your pads shouldn't have to move too far. Their uppercut should be landing at about your chin level.

Holding Thai Pads For The Round Kick (Te Tat)

Round Kick We'll assume you are holding pads for the body kick. Hold the Thai pads close to your body. The top of the pads should be touching. When the kick comes, absorb it. Let the striker do most of the work. This will force them to turn over their hips. If you hold your pads too low or move downward to meet their kick, you don't allow them to get used to throwing the full technique. Keep your head pointed towards your partner. I see a few people looking down at their pads. If your partner is fairly strong, those pads will end up hitting you in the face.

Holding Thai Pads For The Teep

If you're using Thai pads on the teep or front kick, hold the left pad horizontally (parallel to the floor) with the right pad stacked vertically on top. The striker should aim to hit the top pad with the ball of the foot. Move into range, bracing for impact. Be cautious of their range. They're leg should be virtually straight when the foot lands. If it's bent up, that means either you moved in too much or they kicked too late. If you do not feel like you are being pushed straight back, there is something wrong with their mechanics.

Holding Thai Pads For Knees

Just as with the teep, the goal of the knee it to push the opponent back. If you're using the Thai pads, the same rule applies. Stack your right pad on top of the left. A lot of people get lazy with this technique. Make sure your partner is lifting their knee and pushing with their hips to hit that top pad. The target for this technique is the belly button area.


Make Realistic Targets

When holding for punches, keep the pads at eye-level, next to your face. If you're holding for a round kick (te tat) to the body, the pads should be at your rib-level.

Remember that you are simulating an opponent in this situation. The striker should have to punch and kick where they would in a fight.

Also keep in mind that not holding the pads in the right position lends itself to possible injury.

Focus at The Point of Contact

When your partner kicks, punches, elbows or knees, you want to meet the strike.

This action helps the striker judge their timing and their range. Meeting their strikes right at the point where they should land is the optimal timing. If you meet them too early, you'll inhibit the natural range of their strike and will likely disrupt their flow. If you meet their strikes too late, you are giving them weak targets with little resistance.

If you meet them too early, you'll inhibit the natural range of their strike and will likely disrupt their flow. If you meet their strikes too late, you are giving them weak targets with little resistance.

If you meet their strikes too late, you are giving them weak targets with little resistance. This could also lead to injury.

Simple is Best Even with more seasoned partners, simple combinations are usually best. Be sure to check out these videos we did a few years back which cover the basics: https://youtu.be/F0rCtvRY6SA https://youtu.be/FbxrHA2kEmk   Thanks for reading! If you found this article useful, please share it on your preferred social media. If you are in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) or plan to be, make sure you take advantage of our free 14-day trial!

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