Coach’s Corner: The Value of a Good Training Partner


Hey Team! This month’s coach’s corner comes to you from Coach Lance King, who is a blakc belt in muay thai, an instructor here at The Academy, and a rockstar (literally)!

I’ve trained Muay Thai now for over 14 years. The one thing that is probably the single most important aspect of my growth while training was “who I was training with”. The person on the other side of the pads is hugely important to your success and growth; how they hold, how they move, how fluid they are, how relaxed, how rigid or strong they are, all these aspects can create a variation in feel and how the training session goes. Every aspect of what they do will effect your performance and what you’ll learn or what you’ll physically get out of the training session.

There is no doubt some days you’ll come in and you’ll have to go with someone that you’ll be training more than they will be training you. Step into this position positively when it happens, as you are now their mentor for that session. In the beginning when you start training a certain style, you’ll be learning more than teaching, the better you get, the more that will likely change. But regardless of that, when you are in the position of holder, you should consider yourself a trainer, and realize you are responsible for the other persons growth. Of course coaches will step in and point out the things both the hitter and holder need to focus on improving, but the holders eyes are always on their partner, and that makes you very important to your partner’s success.

As the holder, you will be monitoring your partner’s ability and conditioning level and pushing them to their absolute best level they can deliver that day. Some days you’re going to be bursting with energy and some days you may be drained, each is an opportunity to learn and grow if you push yourself and your partner to their max ability. I find that if I’m really drained on a particular day, that is a day I will focus more on “form” and “flow” as opposed to going really hard. It’s good to share what you want to focus on with your partner/holder and how you’re feeling that say do you can be in synch.

In general, holding Thai pads should be done in a focused and aggressive way with a strong stance. This still can be fun and enjoyable, but there is no doubt you will get a lot more out of your workout if your holder pushes you to your best. Quite simply, this action will lock out over thinking things and forces your body to react. A side benefit is you’ll think less about being tired. You’ll be amazed at how much more your body will automatically put into your pad training session.

IF you’re training to be a fighter, then it’s more serious business. But even fighter need to control their aggression as to not hurt their training partners. It’s one thing to be competitive and quite another to loose your temper because of ego and try to inflict damage to your partners while training. There is a fine line between not enough and too much aggression.

Most great fighters are naturally aggressive and they need to train in a more aggressive way because they’re conditioning themselves to go hard and to hit hard “all the time”. However, they also need to continue to train consistently. Injuries happen, but it’s not something that helps consistent training. An injury can take you out of training for weeks or even months, so it’s good to try and avoid them until you’re in the rind or in the street where it’s time to seriously throw down. It’s always important to wear as much protection as you can. Cups, mouth guard, hand/wrist wraps, 16-18 oz gloves, and if you’re going hard, headgear is always a good idea! Remember, you want to have the best training partner possible, so it’s important to be one in return!

-Coach Lance King

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