Muay Thai: when are patterns bad?

I am curious about when Pad training becomes bad in
Muay Thai.

When I trained with fairtex, the instructors seemed
to have a 'theme' for the week. (elbows and boxing week 1, knees and kick combo's week 2 etc) and there were some pad drills they seem to repeat every so often out of personal preference.

(In privates and the intermediate class there were mainly freestyle pad feeds/holds)

While I don't like the 18 counts (it is ridiculous),
I never found any fault with the four counts taught in JKDC.

So, when does pad training become bad or not helpful?
When there is too much of it or when it is always the same?

"So, when does pad training become bad or not helpful?"

1. When the padholder doesn't provide the kind of energy that the fighter is likely to face. Ring, street etc. I.E. Sitting there like a stump.

2. When it's done to the extent that it doesn't leave time for other activities more appropriate to the fighter's individual skill levels.

Example: A Pro fighter may do more rounds of pad work than a begginer for a few reasons. The Pro probably works out longer per day and therefor gets in more time on other activities like sparring, calisthenics etc. (He also has alot more sparring experience I.E. Game!) All those extra rounds of sparring tend to add up. For health reasons many more rounds of bag and padwork may be prescribed to aide his conditioning without suffering more blows to the head, ribs and legs.

However you can walk into many a school and find beggining students practicing padwork to the point where they are no longer getting anything out of it, and then see them spar only a few rounds. Sometimes not at all, or not realistically. Where's the application, where's the game?

3. When it does'nt meet the appropriate goal.

Example: I like to work things like tech., movement, combinations with the begginers on the pads. Usually with an advanced guy, that has those basics down, it would be to allow them to go all out on something they're not going to hurt.

There's more but it's bed time.... ;)


When good patterns go on fox cable at 3am

I took Muay Thai for about 3 or 4 months and never sparred once. Every class consisted of about 1 hour conditioning and 1 hour pad work (half holding, half hitting). I didn't feel this was realistically getting me anywhere so I kinda just stopped going. I have been thinking about going back and taking classes again for a little while just so I can hopefully convince one or two of the guys from class to train with me at home.

THat was the thin that turned me off about one of the Muay thai classes I went to, The 16 count pad work drills.

"Okay guys, you are going to jab-cross-pushkick-lead elbow-upper-elbow-push him- jab-clinch-knee-knee, etc"

It is like doing a kata/hyung/form while hitting something.

Pad work is a skill in and of itself. If the holder doesn't know what he's doing, that person can really screw up your entire game.

If I were a starting student, I'd certainly appreciate the 16 count pad work drills, just to understand what's really involved.

But after a while, I'd like to progress to something a little more free form and responsive.

It all depends on where you are in your development.

Great post Clint, well said.

-Matt Thornton

See Clint I knew you and I would get along fine.LOL


I don't see anything wrong with the 4-count stuff...

...but the 16-18 count stuff is like...whoa...most of the "effort" in doing those is just trying to remember the exact sequence more than anything else.

I agree. I taught an entire class just on responsive pad holding before ( thia, focus mitts, belly pad, etc. )

Whatever encourages spontaneity in combat the better, but how to get a beginner to develop good skills without focusing solely on the development of those skills? The right mix of padwork and sparring is key (obviously), but the question is what should the ratio be? It depends on each student, and moreso on the instructor to identify in that student what proportion of each to use. No sense doing padwork if a person has demonstrated great a higher ratio of sparring should be employed, with padwork there to maintain and improve on power generation and stamina, etc.

I think that pre-determined pad work can be good for getting some of the mechanics down. But as soon as one knows how to flow from one tech to another one should use "freestyle" padwork instead...

I have to disagree with that.

A fighter or student will end up naturally gravitating towards what they are good at, or what they THINK they are good at--and this can be a disaster. Even top pros in Thailand listen to their trainers when it comes time to hit the pads.

When I hold pads I am focusing on what that person needs work on while allowing them to build on their strength. I always try to have them walk away with a new technique, a set up, etc that they can use in shadowboxing, bag work, sparring, etc.