Padwork. It’s the most simple but often satisfying part of Bushin training. On the whole I tend to find people are interested in basics and techniques, love sparring, and plod along with the other stuff. However, the pure mindless, Neanderthal approach to hitting pads what really seems to drive people on. Great for a work out, great for stress-relief and very satisfying.
Pads are actually an essential part of training for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it helps conditioning you to contact. It important to condition your wrist and knuckles when hitting. Hitting someone is a lot more painful than you think and if you’ve spent all your training hitting air, you can expect nothing less than a bust wrist and bruised knuckles.
Secondly, it helps you with power. Increasing it and controlling it. You need to be able to hit and hit hard at times…especially if your opponent is twice your size. When doing padwork, many make the mistake of slapping them. Its important to make sure you bang them. Hard. It should sound like a cannon firing not like you’re dusting their jacket. Padwork also helps you control your power so you can understand it better and know how much to use…especially when you are hitting certain weak points. It also improves your ki (internal energy) so you can explore your hidden power and be explosive.
Thirdly, reaction and speed. Reacting quickly to the pad holders commands or movements. The better the reactions the more chance you have of winning the fight. If the pad goes up, that’s your opponent dropping his guard so move in and capitalise. You need to move in fast and move back out fast again. React fast and move faster.
Stance, distancing, footwork. Keep your hands up at all times and return them back quickly after throwing the shots, especially the cross. Checking the guard is the best to make sure your doing this. You need to keep a good distance at all times as well. Follow the pad holder around and stick to them glue. Keep your heels up and light on your feet. Just because you are hitting hard don’t root yourself to the floor so you can’t escape. Be ready to attack and defend at all times.
Technique is really where its at. When you are finished getting all the aggression and tension out, you should actually settle down into a rhythm and start to improve your technique. Tighter hits, keeping your elbows in and throwing from the body and not the arms. Make sure you keep your structure and engage your gluts and traps. Shoulders relaxed and chin down. Work through simple combinations and build up. If its too complicated and your rhythm goes, then change the gear down to pick it up again. Usually 2 to 4 combos are the best. Anymore is not practical in fighting.
Holding the pads is just as important as hitting them. You need to make sure your elbows are in, you push back to provide more resistance (and save your wrists). Plus you need to hold them properly: in a proper fighting stance in close proximity to your face. You need to be clear with instructions and positions so you don’t break the hitters flow. You need to make it challenging: throwing in guard checks, tackles, kicks and moving all around. You are not a pad holder. You are their trainer, so keep them motivated, make them work hard and make them sweat.
Usually 10 mins is more than enough for a workout. However a good 20-30 mins with some technical work is a great way to improve your training dramatically. Try to keep doing it regularly otherwise you quickly lose your conditioning. Just remember, keep focused, don’t lose the pace and work hard…you will reap the benefits.