The Energy You Give is the Energy You get

I've mentioned before how my class does mainly pad work and very little bag work. What that means is that every class you are paired with someone who is holding pads for you to hit vs you just doing drills on a punching bag.

As time has gone by, I've started to notice just how much your pad holder can impact your training. There are of course the obvious things like if they are holding the pads correctly, but there is a lot more going on there that I've started to take note of.

One of the biggest? The energy or demeanor of your pad holder. This all really hit me recently when I paired up with a classmate who, for whatever reason, just didn't seem to be into it. While they were holding the pads they were not engaged, frequently lost track of where we were in the drills and were actually yawning (a lot!) during drills. At the time I didn't think much of it, but after class on the drive home I started to realize that their lack of energy (or lack of positive energy) had impacted me. My energy had changed because now my brain wasn't focused 100% on the task at hand. Had I done something that pissed them off? Were they annoyed? Was something going on with them personally? Should I have asked if they were ok? All things I don't want to be dealing with during class.

Through social media I get to see a lot of muay thai content, a lot of which is high-level fighters training. I started to pay attention to the pad holders and noticed something: they are always high energy! Every reaction they have seems to be exaggerated. They are (typically) always talking to the fighters during the drills. They are not only holding the pads, but they are also motivating the fighter through their actions. Here is an example:

The pad holder is constantly moving (showing energy and engagement) as well as using their voice to acknowledge “good” strikes (or corrections).

Another great example:

When I started digging into all of this, a phrase I'd heard before came to mind:

“the energy you give is the energy you get”

While this translates great to this topic (holding pads), it was also a great reminder of how I go about my daily life. Just like my focus was lost, and honestly, my positive energy as well, while I was hitting the pads with a holder who was not super into it, the same can be applied to life. When I go to a negative thought, or a shitty mindset, that carries over to everything else. My interactions with people, how I go about my daily tasks, everything. That is the exact opposite of how I want my daily interactions to be. I want to be promoting positivity and I want to be putting off positive energy for those around me. Just as a low-energy pad holder can bring down a training session, a person bringing in negative energy to a situation can make things worse. Or even worse yet, they can ruin a positive situation by bringing in that negative energy.

Since that class I've added yet another thing to my list to focus on and that is making sure I am engaged, vocal and energized when I am holding pads for others. When they are in their fourth round of pads, and they are starting to hit that wall, I should be across from them helping them push through it. I'm acting as their personal cheerleader for a few minutes a day in an attempt to get them to their next level. And one of the keys to that is that I should be enjoying it! I should be excited to help this stranger hit their personal goals. I should be thinking about how happy I was when I hit goal XYZ and how I'd like this person to achieve that same feeling, with the hopes that they can then do the same for someone else.