Functional Training for Muay Thai, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts

Muay Thai

Pad-holding Tips

Coach Vince pads TiequanTips on How to Hold the Thai Pads

    • 1

      Assume a fighting stance with your body angled at 45 degrees, feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your hands up and your chin down. Your weight should be evenly distributed across both legs, just as if your were fighting. Keep the pads turned inward at 45-degree angle, towards your body. Your student may only strike whenever you turn the pads to where the striking surface faces him. This will help to train his hand-and-eye and foot-and-eye reflexes.

    • 2

      Simulate the exact position of the opponent in order to make the drill more realistic. When feeding for a jab or a straight (cross), hold the pad next to your face, not in front of it. You don’t want the fighter to get used to punching a shorter distance than he will have to in reality. That goes for all punches. Don’t feed a hook too far in front of your face, too high or too low. Feed it at chin level where the actual target could be. Feed the uppercut at chin level, too, unless you want the target to be the stomach in which case you hold at stomach level. Holding it too high will condition him to overextending and leave himself open for counters.

    • 3

      Hold one pad downward (protecting your groin) and the other outward (almost like an L-pattern) to feed for push kicks and clinching knee strikes. The outward-facing pad is the target. Make sure you hold the pads together tightly, otherwise the kick may separate the pads and you may get hit in the stomach or groin.

    • 4

      Hold the pads so that the top inside corners are touching, making a V-shape with the pads. Tuck your elbows into your sides, bringing the pads closer to each other upon impact. This is for feeding the round kick. Get into a stable stance with one leg forward and bent, and the other leg extended behind. It should be a somewhat deep stance. As the kick connects, lean into it, resisting against the kick. If your arms are relaxed and you don’t lean into the kick, your arms can be knocked in the direction of the kick and the pads may hit you in the face.

    • 5

      Unless you are an advanced and experienced trainer, avoid holding the pad next to the outside of the thigh for leg kicks! With the arm extended in this manner, it can easily be broken if the kick misses the pad. Either allow the kicks to hit your legs lightly, block them (with shin pads) or use a different type of pad like a leg pad.

Boxing pad trainingTips on How to Hold Boxing Focus Pads (Mitts)

    • 1

      Position your arms at a 45-degree angle by your sides while holding up the pads. Stay relaxed as you instruct your student or training partner with single or multiple punches (combinations).

    • 2

      Stand at a regular fighting stance within legitimate striking distance, emulating a real fight scenario. Hold the pads in front of your face. The distance between pads should be the width of your head, simulating a real target.

    • 3

      Don't wait to absorb your partner's punches; rather, mirror his or her movements by moving the pads in by about an inch to meet his or her punches. For a more advanced workout, counter some of your student's punches with quick but light punches to the head or body, or moving around laterally, simulating a real fight.

    • 4

      Tilt the pad to the angle of the punch that you want your student to hit, ie., turn the right pad facing downward at chest level for a right uppercut. Make sure your student can see the bull's eye on the pad (the little dot in the center) before attempting to throw a punch. Discourage blind punching as it is ineffective in terms of technique and dangerous for you, the pad-holder.


Evolution of Martial Fitness

Black Tiger Fight Fitness SystemVince Soberano,  founder and master instructor of Black Tiger Muay Thai and Fight Fitness  Studios

The Black Tiger Fight Fitness System comes with a long history of martial arts and fighter conditioning training, since the first Black Tiger Gym opened in San Diego, California in 1992, by the original founder and certified Muay Thai master instructor Vince Soberano. Now, Vince has evolved his system to pioneer the term "Martial Fitness" - a new concept of functional fitness training using components from Muay Thai, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and functional training. It is a fitness, strength and conditioning system for fighters and non-fighters alike.

There are different training programs that Black Tiger Fight Club & Fitness Studios offer. They range from simple weight-loss exercise programs to hardcore fighter conditioning training as well as certified trainers courses and corporate programs.

Modern Muay Thai (MMT) Fight Conditioning

This is the mainstay program at Black Tiger.  It is a fitness and conditioning system based on the training that Muay Thai fighters use or MMA bouts. It consists of all the practical Muay Thai training for MMA which includes wrestling and ground-fighting conditioning drills and strengthening exercises. The MMT Fight Conditioning program focuses primarily on the conditioning and fitness training, although students may learn fighting techniques through the various drills and exercises. It is also enhanced with functional training equipment such as kettlebells, resistance bands and medicine balls.

The Black Tiger MMT system is very practical for fitness and functional training because it consists of total-body movements from a stand-up position to a ground position. It covers all ranges of fight conditioning and works muscular and cardiovascular systems that are normally not used by boxers and wrestlers individually. In this system, all the striking and grappling drills are combined into a fluid functional fitness regimen.

MMT System Breakdown (Basic to Intermediate Levels)

  1. Striking
  2. Wrestling
  3. Ground-Fighting
    1. Ground-Fighting Positions
    2. Ground Strikes
    3. Escape-to-Standup

Black Tiger Martial Fit Certified Trainer Program

The Martial Fit Certified Trainer Program is a complete system of training trainers at various levels. There are 5 levels of certified trainers in the Martial Fit program:Black Tiger Certified Trainers

  • Level 1 Basic Muay Thai Fitness Trainer
  • Level 1 Basic MMT Fitness Trainer
  • Level 2 Advanced MMT Fitness Trainer
  • Level 3 Expert Black Tiger Martial Fit Trainer
  • Level 4 Muay Thai Fitness Master Trainer
  • Level 5 Black Tiger Martial Fit Master Trainer

The Ranking System for Trainers consists of the following:

  1. Level 1 - Blue Band - Basic Muay Thai Fitness Trainer
  2. Level 1 - Blue-and-White Band - Basic MMT Fitness Trainer
  3. Level 2 - Red Band - Advanced MMT Fitness Trainer
  4. Level 3 - Black Band - Expert Black Tiger Martial Fit Trainer
  5. Level 4 - Black-and-White Band - Master Trainer (Muay Thai Fitness)
  6. Level 5 - Black-and-Red Band - Master Trainer (Black Tiger Martial Fit)