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Traditional Martial Arts.  Real Self Defense.  Proudly Serving the Community Since 1977.

Taekwondo-Ameris Blog

Taekwondo-Ameris Blog

How to Hold "Pads"

Philip Ameris Jr.

Editor's Note: The following post is an excerpt from our Fit 2 Fight Instructor Guide

Pad work is an incredible way to increase cardiovascular output and learn Kickboxing.  Ancillary benefits include stress relief while building a sense of camaraderie throughout your class. 

Teaching each student how to hold pads keeps them accountable to their classmates and provides an active recovery between rounds of work.  Having your students hold pads for each other also frees up the instructor to roam throughout class - helping students as needed, providing motivation and encouragement.  

As a side note, teaching your students how to properly hold pads allows you to see which one of them has potential at being an instructor and somewhat preserves you as a coach from getting banged from holding pads all the time.

A good pad holder can make a workout.  A bad pad holder can ruin one.  Please understand that holding pads is a both an art and a science that takes some time to develop.  Follow these tips to help teach your students how to hold pads properly.


Pad Holding Tips

1. Safety First:
Safety starts with properly paring up partners and/or expectations.  First off, size matters.  It is unrealistic to pair up a grown man that is 6’5, 200+ pounds with a woman that is more than half their size. 

Secondly, experience matters.  Advanced students should be able to work with anyone.  New students should work with people of their same experience level OR people with loads of experience in order to help them along the way.  Lastly, manage expectations.  If you are forced to put together a bigger and smaller person or a new person with a more advanced student - be sure to be very clear what you expect from them.  Slow things down and be more hands on. 

2. Pay Attention: This may seem like a given, but it should never be taken for granted.  A true story from famous MMA Coach Mike Winklejohn should be enough of a warning for anyone ever holding pads.  One training session, Mike was holding pads for one of his professional level students.  During this session Coach’s attention lapsed for just a second to talk with someone off the mats and in that split second, his student’s foot came around the target - missing the pad - finishing with their toe in Coach Winklejohn’s eye, resulting in permanent damage.  Remember - if it can happen to the best, it can happen to the rest.  Always be attentive when holding pads for someone, period.

3. Play Paddy Cake:  The easiest way to get in the groove of holding pads is by thinking of the old paddy cake game.  For the vast majority of techniques performed in F2F - the limb catching the technique should be the same as the limb throwing the technique.  For instance:

Left Punch - Left Pad        Right Punch - Right Pad

Left Kick - Left Pad        Right Kick - Right Pad

There are some exceptions to the rule once you get moving with advanced combinations and foot work, but for about 90% of the combinations or techniques performed in F2F - think Left to Left, Right to Right.

4. Your the Boss:  Like so many things in life, mindset is key.  Its simple - the pad holder is the boss.  As the boss, you set the pace for the round, the distance at which your partner attacks, and even the heights at which the pads are being attacked.  Understand when you are holding pads, your partner is at your mercy and their workout depends on your ability to perform.

5. Be Engaged:  The way that F2F is set up, we do a lot of partner drills - don’t be a dead fish.  The worst thing that you can do to your partner (even worse than holding the pads incorrectly) is not giving an effort.  In partner drills, specifically pad work, your partner is depending on you to provide “good work”.  Take that responsibility seriously and be active, attentive, and encourage.  There is a big difference between a person that doesn't know how to hold pads and a person that is not trying.  When all else fails remember the golden rule, “treat others as you would want to be treated”.

6. Smooth is Fast:  Once you get up and running and a general feel for how to correctly hold pads and work with a partner - the initial reaction is going to be more! faster! harder!  However, technique is and always should be first priority.  The better the technique, the smoother the combination.  The smoother the combination, the more speed.  More speed equals more power.  More power equals higher output.  Higher output equals more calorie burn!  Which is exactly why the majority of people are there.  Take your time, develop the technique, and everything else will fall into place.

Tae Kwon Do's Self-Reliance Training

Philip Ameris Jr.

One of the distinct  advantages of training in Traditional Martial Arts is developing Self Reliance.  In order to achieve rank and perfect technique, each student must take individual responsibility and put in the time and effort.

As an instructor, I want all my students to reach their goals and use Taekwondo to improve every aspect of their life.  It is my goal that every student is healthy, confident, and becomes a better version of themselves through the training they receive at our Do-Jang.  However (as with anything with value) there must be a price to pay.  My father used to tell me, “ there is no free lunch -  if you want something, YOU must work to get it “. 

Over the years, one of the mottos for our Do-Jang has been that "the standard is the standard".  When that saying is broken down, it can simply be interpreted that each student must rise to that standards that have been established and those standards cannot and will not be lower to accommodate the students.  

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Beyond the Belt

Philip Ameris Jr.

Beyond the Belt is a short Documentary Film chronicling Grand Master Philip Ameris' journey through the Martial Arts.  The film features vintage stories from Grand Master Ameris' students, family, friends, and instructors - directed by long time student and AIMAA Black Belt, Stephanie Trainer.

Fit 2 Fight: FREE Home Training Program

Philip Ameris Jr.

HOW TO USE:  This 4 Week Conditioning Program can be used as a Stand Alone Method to get in shape, supplement additional Strength Training, or provide a some what "stop gap" for current Fit 2 Fight Participants.  The only equipment needed is a Jump Rope and Kettlebell.

We suggest participants Train 2X Per Week + Friday Night Kickboxing Class.  We encourage participants to keep a workout log (simple notepad and paper) with them to track progress.  Be sure to note rep counts during circuits and timed exercises* when appropriate. - this will provide a baseline of where your current fitness levels are and where they can be.  

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"Tune Your Technique to Fit Your Physique"

Philip Ameris Jr.

Below is a downloadable article from Black Belt Magazine featuring Grand Master Ameris, Mr. Jacob Cho, and Mr. Philip Ameris Jr.  "Tune Your Technique to Fit Your Physique" offers up expert advice on what techniques and strategies work best for varying body types.

Author: Sara Fagan

Publication: Black Belt Magazine (2002, Vol. 40 No. 9)





Fit 2 Fight: Holiday Holdover (2 Week FREE Workout Program)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Each week consists of 3 workouts.  We recommend that you take at least one day in between training sessions before performing the next workout (ie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday - or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). If you complete all 6 Days, feel free to repeat.

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The 3 Principles of Stand Up Fighting (Sport)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Stand Up Fighting, like any discipline, takes years of development. Over time, practitioners will cultivate their own style based on what works best for their body type, ability, and the appropriate rules of engagement.  But what should a student or competitor look for when seeking to improve - that's when invoking a "fighting principle" comes into play.

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Black Belt Testing (August 7)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Every year, around the end of summer, our Dojang conducts Annual Black Belt Testing. This is one of, if not the biggest event in our schools's calendar year. Black Belt Testing signifies everything that is taught through Martial Arts and displays the many years of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice made by all of its participants.

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The Secret is Sweat.

Philip Ameris Jr.

When it comes to health and fitness, everyone is fighting for something.  Whether that's losing a few pounds, returning to athletic glory,  or simply getting out of a rut - our 12 week "Training Camp" can be your gateway to kicking through the doors of fitness boredom while learning the stress relieving, confidence building techniques of real martial arts.

Our process is simple: Hard Work Equals Results.  The secret lies in the sweat.  Check out the short film below to get an idea of what Fit 2 Fight is all about.

Directed by Stephanie Trainer.

Interview with Grand Master Denny Shaffer

Philip Ameris Jr.

I'll finish with this. If you have been teaching the same thing for the last 30 plus years, then you haven't learned anything in 30 years. Every early master took what he knew and went a step further with it. It got better with each augmentation. But you know, Americans are great innovators and teachers in their own right. The first time someone threw a forward pass, football changed forever. The first jump shot and dunk change basketball forever, and so on with each sport. People are afraid of change. It takes work and it takes admitting you don't know everything. A fate worse than death of some of the Masters, or Grand Masters, some like to be called. You can't hide what you don't know in the street.  Martial arts is not a religion, or to be treated like one.

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Beyond the Belt Trailer

Philip Ameris Jr.

Beyond the Belt is short film by AIMAA Black Belt and independent film maker Stephanie Trainer, documenting Grand Master Philip Ameris journey and evolution as a Martial Artist.

The Foundation: Self Improvement

Philip Ameris Jr.

The foundation is and always should be self improvement.  That may sound simple in terms but in practice can be much more difficult.  Self improvement serves as the foundation of all martial arts training (regardless of style). 

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