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    Matt
    Matt

    Posts : 76
    Join date : 2008-07-21

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    Post by Matt on Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:53 am

    The penny dropped fairly quickly when I started FFMA that the trick to a good session is not necessarily in your attitude to the striking combinations and drills but more over in your attitude to pad holding and ensuring that your partner gets a good workout. Alan Mc kindly told me this in lesson number one and it has stuck with me since.

    It struck home even moreso recently as I realised, on the train of all places, that when I train there are upto 20 other padholders in the room who want to make me better so although I will think about my own form during a session I know I need to devote energy to making the person I train with better and they will in turn look after me.

    After all that the question is - What can I do to improve pad holding?

    Matt
    Tony Terranova
    Tony Terranova

    Posts : 154
    Join date : 2008-06-15
    Age : 62
    Location : Cheltenham

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    Post by Tony Terranova on Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:23 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Pad holding is actually one of Alan Macdonald’s favorite subjects. I started teaching Alan only a few years ago in my garage. His mind was a clean sheet with no previous martial arts experience (open to all ideas) and he had a strong fitness and military background (with massive intent he just wanted to rip my head off and we are supposed to be mates!).

    Within 12 months Alan became one of the best pad holders I have ever trained with. After a short period of training with me I took Alan to a Peter Consterdine 6 hour seminar and Peter called Alan out to hold the pad for a right cross. Anyone who has seen Peter’s punching will know that he can put you into neversville in a heart beat. Alan held up brilliantly and for me it was a calibration that my pad holding training principles work.

    So I will use some of the building blocks I used with Alan to reply to your question.

    Good pad holding requires total concentration and focus on your training partner. During that drill all that should be in your vision is your partner and the techniques they are doing. I hate it when I see a student holding pads and looking around the room at the same time. This shows disrespect for your partner (and respect is one of the main building blocks of martial arts).

    Ideally you should have just enough tension in the pad so that they are hitting a solid target. The movement is a bit like when you slap hands with someone and to do a high five, it is small forward movement. Too much movement will throw your partners timing out so you must let them come to the pad with you moving just slightly towards their strike. Depending on the drill you are doing always think about the position of your pads in relation to your body shape.

    Example: for the lead jab and right cross keep the pads close as possible to mimic the fact that they may be punching you in the face and that if you slipped the punch your movement would only be small – what I mean is I have seen students holding the pads miles apart for a jab/cross routine and I have asked them ‘who has got a head that wide that you can practice jab/cross on?” (OK one guy said humpty dumpty - fair enough!)

    Example: for practicing a pure hook punch the pad should be held vertically close to the centerline of your face as a real hook punch would be coming across your face either left to right or right to left – The examples for proper pad position are endless.

    Other points are to work at synchronizing your movement with your partners, therefore when they hit and breath out you do same (slight movement with the pad and breath out).

    Take a look at the good pad holders at our club and take specific note of the little details such as how they position themselves in order to be perfectly balanced and maintain good timing with their training partners. Work with different pads, small focus pads, Thai Pads, Kick shields, Sandee pads and so on and each time study a higher grade holding these pads.

    Always give feedback your training partner about how they are doing and ask them for feedback if you are holding the pads correctly. You will find that you cannot apply the same tension on the pads for every student as some are not as strong as others and too much tension and movement on the pad may cause them injury, so talk to them.

    Pad holding is a real skill and it helps to build timing for parrying strikes if you constantly look at your partners strikes coming towards you and it is a good way of conditioning your body. When Alan and I did a seminar for the special forces in Swindon, I remember on my first demo whispering to Alan as he got the focus pads ready for me to demonstrate our first drill, “don’t forget mate if you look bad I look really bad and if you look good I look really good”. That statement is fact, a bad pad holder can make a good striker look bad and a good pad holder can make an average striker look really good.

    Martial arts are just like life, everything is about attention to detail. We have saying in engineering that the devil and the angel are in the details. I remember on one engineering project in Asia an old sage of an engineer was talking to me about details and the importance of looking for the little details when he said “remember elephants don’t bite but fleas do!” – That has stuck with me ever since.

    Good to see you taking such an interest mate
    Regards,
    Tony
    Alan Macdonald
    Alan Macdonald

    Posts : 54
    Join date : 2008-06-15
    Age : 56
    Location : Cheltenham

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    Post by Alan Macdonald on Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:02 pm

    The only thing I would add to that Matt, is that you as a padholder can dictate how hard your partner works. Very often I drill with someone and it is fairly easy to pace yourself through the routines. However, and I'm sure you've experienced this, and if you haven't you will!!, when Mr T holds the pads for you, he makes you work to 100 % of your ability. All padholders have this power and it can be manifested by treating the routine like a fight; keep your partner interested and motivated, encourage him and keep him on his toes. If we all just stood there in the one position, it is both not realistic and there is no variety to angles, distances and speed or power that the striker has. He/she will end up rather mechanically and robotically striking a one dimensional surface right there in front of him. Might as well punch the wall!!!

    Cheers Matt.
    Tony Terranova
    Tony Terranova

    Posts : 154
    Join date : 2008-06-15
    Age : 62
    Location : Cheltenham

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    Post by Tony Terranova on Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:46 am

    Well put Alan - you are a fitness guru mate

    Regards,
    Tony. T

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