Monday, August 17, 2009

Benefit From Training Muay Thai Without Pads

If you subscribe to my YouTube channel you've probably already seen the above clip, what I don't mention in it is the importance of training without pads.

We can all agree that thai pad and focus mitt drills are vital to any muay thai or mma curriculum, but it does have a few drawbacks - including reinforced bad habits and a false sense on security in one's skills.

Striking pads is actually a very different sensation from hitting a real person. Aside from the actual impact, the entire interaction is entirely different when you strip away the pads, gloves, and other protective gear. I'm not saying that you go all-out on someone else. I suggest you learn to play with your combinations and get a feel for where the true targets lie. This is especially important for those of you who are learning close quarter combat (self defense) systems.

So, what do you really get out of this? Here's the truth: you can master any fighting system, but when it comes down to it: when you find yourself in a fighting situation in the street, your subconscious, reptilian brain is going to rely on a handful of strikes or combinations. All of those fancy, technical - fine motor skill - small joint locks are going to wash away with the adrenaline rush.

Repeated drills such as the one in the video can help you train your subconscious mind so that when its called upon, your animal brain won't freeze on you. It becomes a natural reaction. John Grissom, author of the combat blog, 1Urban Warrior and fellow Muay Thai Academy International alumni covers this topic extensively. Dave Grossman's book, On Killing also provides some interesting insights into the application of the fight or flight mechanism in combat.

Other variables including target selection, environment, and the unpredictability of your attacker all factor into the equation. And that only adds to the importance of training your subconscious mind. Oh boy, I'm gonna have to expand on this a little later.


  1. Nice article sir and thank you for the thing we all as instructors need to be careful of those is the mindset of our students if they take the gloves off and practice their strikes in this manner.

    As you already know and understand self-defense is a completely different animal. Whether high road or low road one can not warm to the task, one must be all in from the "get".

    This is where 2 additional things can help us training for instantaneous action.

    First off : The training bob is an excellent resource for mimicking human flesh (the feel and the sound. Students may want to invest in one of these (especially since they are inexpensive)With the Bob you get the human feel and you can go "all out". Movement in most cases is not a big issue under the unique circumstances of self-defense. Besides if the guy is moving around to much we know he adrenalized and is fixing to get what he deserves for picking on us anyway.

    Secondly: Students and instructors alike should (at least several times a month) focus their attention, focus and mindset on performing self-defense movements from a cold start position. No warm up, no nothing just getting use to the simplicity and the violence. The wham,Bam Thank you of the event.

    Quick and easy techniques, brutal intent and powerful effects. What we will find from this 'cold starting is that our heart rate will increase extremely quickly. Kind of like waking up in the morning and sprinting out of your house and down the block. Boom we ill find ourselves in the gross motor skill category in no time. This allows us to at least practice our breathing control and helps develop soft-wiring for all in barrage.

    Thanks again for the mention

    Be Real, Train Real
    Johnny G.

  2. Nice one guy's, this system hits the nail on the head.

    Hands high, dont go flat on the back foot throw yourself through the innitial attacks to come off in a better position for close combat tactics. AWESOME.

  3. No kidding Grissom can write? Didn't know he could read.....