Fightstore Pro testing ground: Revgear thigh pads
If you've ever trained Muay Thai you'll be familiar will the regular thwacking of pads, the impact of shin on leather (because you're all using good quality pads, right?), and also the peculiar situation of not actually being able to low kick properly with Thai pads alone despite it being the most prominent strike in the art. Often when you're using Thai pads the kicks will generally be aimed to the mid section so the kicker can generate full power and use all of his anatomy to produce solid output. This is a great way to develop technique for power and explosiveness, the turning of the hip, the rotating of the standing foot and all that good stuff that will hopefully help you come fight time. However, the glaring weakness in my eyes is the lack of low kick functionality.
Jordan Watson low kicking the kick pad via Your MMA on FacebookEverybody has different ways of dealing with it - you can use one pad and a kick shield to work jab - low kick, or hook - low kick for example, and this is very useful when you're working on throwing power kicks after your strikes. However, it limits the ability to cater for different attacks. I know guys that hold the pads down to their thigh so a kick can be delivered but that's fairly awkward and not a solid position. Sometimes the kicker will throw full power shots everywhere else but just place the leg kicks. All of these methods have their limitations. In come the thigh pads. Here you only really had the bulkier options like the Fairtex thigh pad until now. I will say that they are an excellent piece of kit. Very sturdy when you pay for quality like that; they can absorb a lot of force, and they leave your arms free for everything else. If someone was trying to boot my lead leg off I know I'd love to have them in my kit bag. As a coach it's a great way of conserving your body and giving your student the full range of strikes at their disposal, and the full range of power. It comes with one limitation - the size makes movement for the padman really awkward - it's hard to throw your own kicks to make them defend, and shuffling around isn't that easy. This is where the Revgear thigh pads pick up. Much more slimline, they don't hinder movement at all and provide all of the benefits listed above at the same time. You can kick an actual leg which means your accuracy and placement will be much better. They're also pretty versatile - they can go outside, inside or on the shin or calf - watch Erik Paulson detail how he uses them. They're durable, robust and about half the price. The only doubt I had in my mind was whether they'd stand up to the rigours of hard kicks so I had to put it to the test. In the few weeks since filming that video I've been padding guys using these thigh pads and they make life so much easier. They don't offer quite as much protection as the Fairtex (though the are vey good in that respect), but what you give up slightly in that area, you make up for in movement and versatility. Unlike in the video which was filmed mostly to show the protection they give, I will also combine these with my own shin pads for firing back shots and making them react, check and block. It's easy to do with the slimmer pads as opposed to bigger ones which inhibit the movement and mean it's very difficult to get any higher than the waist. In terms of realistic situations in pad work, these will get you the closest to sparring possible whilst allowing high force generation. I was conscious of the size of them as they started quite narrow but the 'formfit' technology means that they get better with every session and now they're almost perfect, moulding more to the size of my thigh than what they originally began like. It's always a product I thought would be more prominent but getting good quality kit isn't cheap. From a coach's perspective I'd advise you to buy decent Thai pads first, and then look at these along with belly pads when you have the funds. If you've found you've had the low kick problem then there's no reason why they can't fill that void for you. If you're local I hear that the staff at the Fightstore Pro Newcastle store will be happy to kick you in the leg as many times as you want if you want to check them out! Stay up to date with FightstorePro on Twitter and Facebook, and you can find my Twitter HERE.
- Jay Furness