Pad Man work with the focus mitts

Here’s a clip I recently made during my Sanshou class. I’m the pad man and am using the focus mitts to drill in some basics with some of my students.

Some more info on why I’m doing the specific work with each student:

Simon:

  • Simon’s still in his early development as a fighter and has a couple of technical issues he needs to work on (releasing the hips and rear shoulder for one) but that wasn’t my focus in this round.
  • The goal was footwork: I wanted him to feel the contrast between stepping in and out with a punch, stationary striking and moving forward continuously. These are three very different things.
  • This forces him to become more fluid in his stance and footwork, which is the most important issue he needs to work on right now.

Kevin:

  • Kevin has a tendency to “launch” his techniques instead of driving them from his feet through his body, to the arms or legs. As a result, he often has a hard time controlling them. This in turn leaves him vulnerable to counters every time he has to put extra effort in staying in balance before retracting a technique. Power is great but it’s nothing without control.
  • That’s why I made him do knees and middle kicks on the focus mitts, right after he does the punch. This forces him to stay in balance during the punches or he won’t be able to perform the kick or knee strike.
  • I have to correct him a few times on his loss of balance (hanging in the right cross, switching feet during the cross) because otherwise the whole goal  of this round is out the window.
  • As a pad man, the way you correct somebody is just as important as the fact that you’re doing it. You see me quickly demonstrating both the mistake and the correction, along with verbal cues to be as clear as possible. This is the approach that works best with Kevin right now. As he progresses, he’ll learn to take corrections with just a few words from me or a quick demo of the mistake alone.

Yannick:

  • Yannick has fast footwork and moves well enough so I didn’t have to focus on those issues with him. His biggest issue right now is a tendency to retreat as he defends against a punch or kick. That’s not necessarily bad but it does make it more difficult for him to counter-attack.
  • I had to cut half the footage with him because we went out of the camera frame for a long time. But you still catch it in the end: I tell him to stay put and then immediately advance with the punch.
  • This forces him to do something he isn’t comfortable with right now and gives him the confidence to slowly implement it into his game.

The whole purpose of being a pad man is not just holding the focus mitts in the air and let your partner or student hit them. On the contrary, you have to think about it and have specific goals in mind when you work with somebody. These goals and the methods you use to achieve them are always tailored to the individual in front of you. That takes some effort on the part of the pad man but it’s a crucial issue. Otherwise you’re just going through the motions or you make him train something that’s not a priority for him at that time.

For lots more information on how to hold the focus mitts and other equipment, check out my Pad Man instructional video.

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Comments

  1. garry hodgins says

    I found this post very informative as I have been re acquaiting myself with pad work as I am training a couple of chaps in my garage during the week. Its a funny thing but when you are training for a competition you dont need to think about the routines that you are doing nor the tempo of your workout because your coach does all that for you. I’ve found myself expecting my training partners to automatically hold the pads at the right height and width for different techniques and to judge the distance correctly for holding the pads at long, medium and close in punching ranges. Then, because despite my mature years I am still a moron, I find myself getting frustrated with them and myself for not doing it the way I want it done ( I do it for them the selfish f…s ). The point is that I’ve been expecting too much of them, eager to get a good pad workout for myself, but after watching this can scale back and simplify the training so everyone gets the benefits and I dont get frustrated. This should have been self evident but it took this post to make it clear to me. Thanks again for all the good advice. Garry.

    • Thanks Garry. The real funny part is that I made the Pad Man video for the exact same reason: I was tired of having to explain myself over and over in class. Students just didn’t “get it”. So I researched the hell out of the subject. I re-examined what I knew already, looked at how other teachers use the pads and then started putting it all together. The video is the end result of all that.
      The benefit for my students is that now, I teach them to hold the pads right away. I follow a specific methodology in teaching it so they pick it up at the same time they learn everything else. It’s always a work in progress but so far it seems to help.

      Wim

  2. garry hodgins says

    I found this post very informative as I have been re acquaiting myself with pad work as I am training a couple of chaps in my garage during the week. Its a funny thing but when you are training for a competition you dont need to think about the routines that you are doing nor the tempo of your workout because your coach does all that for you. I’ve found myself expecting my training partners to automatically hold the pads at the right height and width for different techniques and to judge the distance correctly for holding the pads at long, medium and close in punching ranges. Then, because despite my mature years I am still a moron, I find myself getting frustrated with them and myself for not doing it the way I want it done ( I do it for them the selfish f…s ). The point is that I’ve been expecting too much of them, eager to get a good pad workout for myself, but after watching this can scale back and simplify the training so everyone gets the benefits and I dont get frustrated. This should have been self evident but it took this post to make it clear to me. Thanks again for all the good advice. Garry.

    • Thanks Garry. The real funny part is that I made the Pad Man video for the exact same reason: I was tired of having to explain myself over and over in class. Students just didn’t “get it”. So I researched the hell out of the subject. I re-examined what I knew already, looked at how other teachers use the pads and then started putting it all together. The video is the end result of all that.
      The benefit for my students is that now, I teach them to hold the pads right away. I follow a specific methodology in teaching it so they pick it up at the same time they learn everything else. It’s always a work in progress but so far it seems to help.

      Wim

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