Muay Thai & Thai Pads Training
While many of us are familiar with kickboxing, even some may confuse kickboxing with Muay Thai, both these arts of fighting are different from each other, though. There is a thick line dividing Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Kickboxing has rules that allow fighters to kick and punch above the waist. On the other hand, kicking and punching legs, knees, and elbows are allowed in Muay Thai. Additionally, clinching and grabbing the opponent’s leg that throws the kick are also permitted in Muay Thai.
What is Muay Thai?
As the name suggests, Muay has got to do a lot with Thailand. It has a long history in the country and is also the national sport of Thailand. It is practiced in many parts of the world.
Muay Thai is a form of hand martial art that is referred to as the Art of Eight Limbs. This is because hands, elbows, shins, and knees all are extensively used in this sport. The practitioner strikes using eight points of contact. This is different than two points of contact, i.e. fists in western boxing; and four points of contact, i.e. fists and feet in other sport-oriented forms of martial arts.
A practitioner of this Thai art is called Nak Muay. One thing that sets this sport apart from all the others is the use of Thai pads in training. These pads help in sharpening the aim and velocity of a Nak Muay’s kicks and blows.
Muay Thai Technique
To have a detailed look at the Thai boxing gear, it is first essential to know the techniques that are followed in the sport. By having a prior idea of the technique, one will be able to understand the stuff that would be needed in the game, therefore, understand the boxing gear better.
Here is a peek into the Muay Thai art technique:
Punches were initially limited in this art. With increasing contact with western boxing and martial arts, full-fledged punches have now become a part of the sport.
However, hammer fists, back fists, uppercut, hook, lead jab, and corkscrew punches are a few names of punches among the list that have not become a part of Muay Thai art.
Elbowing is the most dangerous form of attack in the sport. The attack may be executed in several ways including diagonal-upward, diagonal-downward, uppercut, downward, horizontal, backward spinning, and flying. Among these methods of attack, diagonal is the fastest but not very powerful.
Common kicks in the Muay Thai art include the kicking upward in a triangle shape cutting under the ribs and arms and the roundhouse kick. The Thai roundhouse kick uses the rotational movement of the entire body.
Mainly, it is used as a defensive technique in Muay Thai as a measure to control distance or block attacks. These are to be thrown quickly and with enough force as to knock off an opponent.
Clinch & Neck Wrestling
In Muay Thai, knee and elbow techniques are used in the clinch technique. For both defensive and offensive purposes, small amounts of stand-up grappling are employed in the clinch. Intertwined fingers are not used as they may incur injury. Therefore, the front clinch is performed with the palm of one hand on the back of another.
Variants of clinches in Muay Thai include:
- Side clinch
- Arm clinch
- Low clinch
It is not rocket science. The meaning of the word is rather common sense. From what we watch and observe from our normal boxing shows and tournaments, we all have a slight inkling of what boxing gears are. Even if we cannot put in words, we pretty much have the idea.
What do people in a ring wear? They wear shorts as simple as that. And the shorts are not ordinary ones like the one you would wear on Sunday afternoons. These are made of high-quality material that soaks the sweat and fits well enough to allow free and maximum movement.
Gloves are the second equipment that comes to mind when we watch a match. Some people also like to wear a cap to keep out the sweat from trickling down their forehead and into their eyes. This blurs vision so it can be a must for some people.
Likewise, the boxer needs a groin protector and if it is a she, then she will need a chest protector too. Similar is the boxing gear used in the Muay Thai art.
Muay Thai Boxing Gear
The Thai boxing gear includes many things similar to boxing of the western style. Some of the primary equipments are highlighted below:
Gloves are the basic equipment for boxing. A good-quality glove should fit your hand well around the wrists and fingers. It should not feel like a burden that tires you out or forces your hand to have a particular shape. Comfort is essential. Another sign of a good glove is that it does not lose its stable cushioning even after a couple of blows. It has to be sustainable and should not flatten really quickly.
Muay Thai Shin Pads
Shin pads protect the practitioner’s shins. They have to be not only comfortable but also super protective. A thin layer of the pad that does not absorb the shock of the blow is completely useless. Also, good shin pads are durable. If the cushioning dies after a few kicks, then it is a poor-quality shin pad.
Muay Thai Belly Pads
A Muay Thai belly pad is used to help absorb the shock of kicks, punches, and impact from knee attacks that are aimed at the practitioner’s midsection. Without this, you would go home feeling the full implications of the blows thrown at your stomach. The goal is to train, not punish. The aim is best achieved by employing the Muay Thai belly pads during training sessions.
Muay Thai Shorts
Shorts are must. If there is one thing that you need to know about Thai shorts, it is that they are shorter than the standard shorts for other games such as boxing. While the style and size are your preference, you need to keep in mind that a good pair of Muay shorts has to be comfortable, and should allow maximum mobility. It also has to be lightweight and of course, durable.
The aim is to withstand the blow of a direct hit aimed below the belt. For a good protector, make sure that it protects well and fits well. Also, it does not lessen your comfort.
Muay Thai Headgear
Another essential of the Thai boxing gear is the headgear which protects against severe head injury. For one, it has to be comfortable. For beginners, getting used to this equipment can be a little harsh. You would not fall in love with it the first time you try it on.
Secondly, it has to fit well. Otherwise, with a blow, it will lose its position and hinder your performance. Visibility is another important factor to consider when selecting a headgear. It should allow enough visibility to see the punches coming your way. Coverage is yet another factor. The headgear should cover your forehead, cheeks, chin, and side of the heads with each section having a different padding for varying levels of protection. Also, look into the weight before getting a headgear.
Thai pads are the most versatile piece of equipment in the Thai boxing gear. This gear sets the Muay Thai apart from other martial arts. The purpose is to improve a student’s aim, speed, and power.
Factors to consider when buying a Thai pad:
While small and thin pads are good to hold, they do not provide enough coverage and offer inadequate protection. Ideal Thai pads are thick enough to protect you against an injury and absorb the shock of the blow.
Mostly these pads come in sizes ranging from small to extra large. Select a size according to your need. Otherwise, you may end up with a bruised arm.
Some pads are thick but short; the downside is that these pads can be less forgiving if the student does not hit the target aimed. Other pads are longer and thick, but these can be bulky.
The hybrid pads are a cross between boxing and Thai pads. The demerit of this type of pad is that they are thinner than the Thai pads. It means that you feel the pain of each blow thrown at the target.
It is generally better to opt for curved pads for Muay Thai than the straight ones. This is so because it is difficult to strike with straight pads. Moreover, it takes time to adjust to hitting the straight Thai pads.
Importance of Thai Pad Training
There are lots of advantages of Thai pad training. Some of these are mentioned below:
One of the Basic Steps
Thai pad training is basically a paramount step in Muay Thai. It is a part of the basics. This is how you start learning the art. Not knowing how to hold your Thai pads is like not knowing the sport at all.
Thai pad training is the closest depiction of a real fight. The target is set, and the trainee has to hit the spot that is shown to him; much like a real fight. The student can sharpen his target skills using Thai pad training.
Technique of Throwing a Kick
During Thai pad training, the students are trained how to throw a kick in a certain style. This prepares them for real fights.
Developing Speed & Power
Thai pad training is important because it works to develop the speed and power of the practitioner. You start slow, and slowly learn to increase the speed and intensity of your strikes.
Protection of the Pad Holder
Needless to say, the person training the practitioner is protected against bruises and injuries with the help of Thai pads.
Learning to Use Your Body as a Weapon
You never know when danger strikes. If you have the skills, Thai pad training enables you to get to use your body as a weapon; always ready for attack.
Developing Coaching Skills
Learning how you are supposed to properly hold Thai pads develops your coaching skills. This becomes very advantageous once your skill level is amplified.
Developing a Better Relationship with the Practitioners
Not knowing how to hold your Thai pads reduces the level of your skills to that of a beginner. This annoys many partners as this is the fundamental step in learning the art further.
Making You More Alert
Thai pad training warms you up for the actual fight. You learn when and how to strike and which movement should be immediately followed by which. As a result, your focus is sharpened. Thai pad training is thus necessary to make you more alert for the next stage.
Teaching You How Much Pressure to Apply
Thai pad training teaches you how much pressure to use at the contact point to hold your pads. This is significant in not only protecting yourself, but also to give your partner a tough workout.
Learning How to Block Attack
It is also important to teach you how to block the blows of the other person without getting yourself hurt. You learn to handle the ferocity with which you are struck at.
Improvement of Your Skills
Thai pad training is essential to improve your skills. There is a lot to learn. It gives you a chance to take notice of your errors and master your flaws. Therefore, Thai pad training is beneficial for both the players.
Bonus: Stay Fit
Thai pad training also helps you stay fit and maintain a good physique. If you are a beginner, it is of utmost importance to ready your body for the next stage.