What Is the Difference Between Muay Thai Pads?

The ancient art of Muay Thai has long been called “the art of eight limbs” due to the use of fists, elbows, knees, and feet in fighting. You need the right Muay Thai gear to practice this skilled technique.

Muay Thai originated in Thailand on battlefields hundreds of years ago, later becoming a sport that has spread to 130 countries around the globe. It is practised by thousands of fighters, known as nak muay.

To become skilled in the art of Muay Thai, you need sturdy and reliable pads, gloves, and protective gear that can take a beating from all of the kicks and strikes that go into training.

Read on to learn more about Muay Thai protective gear and the difference between different kinds of Thai pads.

Finding the Right Muay Thai Gear

Ancient Muay Thai fighters may have wrapped their hands in hemp rope, covered in crushed glass and ash to injure their opponents’ eyes, but you don’t have to.

Some equipment you may need to practice Muay Thai is:

  • Shin, knee, and elbow pads
  • Chest pads
  • Muay Thai gloves
  • Headgear
  • Steel cup for groin protection
  • Pads for training kicking and punching

The benefits of Muay Thai are that it helps you build strength, burn calories, and improve your self-confidence. It also boosts your mental alertness and gives you a sense of discipline. Don’t forget, it is also fun, and you will meet plenty of new people who love the sport as much as you do.

Check out our blog here on the benefits of martial arts for adults.

It is best to buy good quality equipment that can take years of abuse and bear the brunt of all the kicking and punching it will face. Look for brands that are well-padded and made from genuine and long-lasting leather.

You also want to look for reinforced stitching around all handles and stress points.

What Are Thai Pads?

Thai pads are used during training to help martial arts students practice their kicks, strikes, and punches. 

Pad work is the most crucial aspect of training in Muay Thai as it provides the primary conditioning for shins and muscles. It also allows the student to practice blocking and weaving without fear of injury.

A Thai pad can come in different shapes and sizes. It is filled with foam padding and has straps where the instructor can hold it. At first, your trainer may instruct you on the strike to use as they move the pad around.

Later on, the coach will adjust the pad position, and the student will follow, and training takes on a more freestyle aspect.

Curved Thai Pads

A curved Thai pad is ergonomically fitted to the forearm of the trainer. This makes it easier to hold during training. It also allows the trainer to keep balance and is light enough for the trainer to move it around for jabs and hooks.

Many fighters prefer curved pads for kicking, arguing that the curve helps catch the kick better.

Fairtex regularly rates as one of the top curved Thai pads, while Drako Cyclone Thai pads are excellent for more intermediate and advanced fighters.

Flat Thai Pads

The more traditional straight or flat pads are sometimes preferred for boxing. Their flat surface relies more on accuracy and timing and gives off a rewarding thud sound when struck.

Their large surface area is well padded to absorb shock. They can be adjusted with velcro for comfort during long training sessions.

Leg Kick Pad

A perfectly timed and brutal low kick can drop an opponent to the ground. This is far more painful to watch than a dramatic roundhouse kick to the head due to its unexpected power. With a low kick, you target the shin, ankle, or thigh of your opponent’s leg.

A leg kick pad may be used less often than a standard Thai pad but is perfect for training low kicks.

Focus Mitts

Focus mitts were developed for traditional boxing but are used for a variety of martial arts training.

They are padded targets that are worn like gloves over the trainer’s hands. Their advantage is that they are smaller and more portable than traditional Thai pads. However, their small size means they are not as well suited to kick training.

Have a look at our popular and excellent quality Fairtex and Drako products, which are by a long shot the best focus mitts for Muay Thai. 

Shin, Head, and Body Pads

In Muay Thai, padding is not just used for training but also as protective gear. 

Read here for more about Muay Thai shin guards, which will protect your shins and your training partner.

No matter how experienced a nak muay you may be, don’t forget to cover your most sensitive spots. Quality equipment like this Fairtex Extra Vision headgear will protect you from dangerous concussions.

And for men, don’t forget to protect the family jewels. The last thing you want is a powerful kick or knee landing below the belt. Ladies, you also need to protect yourselves with this breast protector from Drako.

Getting Ready for Muay Thai

The right Thai pads will enhance your training, while the correct protective gear will protect you from injury. Now that you have a list of all the necessary equipment, you are ready to get fit and fight. 

Check out our website for more high-quality Muay Thai gear and Muay Thai training tips.