A paddle is a training equipment that is primarily used in Taekwondo, but can also be used in any other martial art.
Construction of a Paddle
The inside of the paddle has high density foam, which is covered with high-quality durably stitched PU leather, so that it can withstand intense usage. The paddle has a handle and a padded hitting target, which together measures about 17 inches in length. The padded hitting target has a width of about 8 inches. The paddle is lightweight and weighs about 330 gms. The handle may or may not have a loop. A loop can enable the holder’s hand to go inside, so that the hand can hold the paddle more securely. The loop also ensures that the paddle does not fly off from the holder’s hand, due to the force of the strikes.
Functions of a Paddle
The paddle is mostly used for focusing kicks, and thus it is also commonly known as a kicking paddle or a focus paddle. The main function of the paddle is to improve the accuracy and speed of the kicks. Although not designed to build power like kicking shields or punching bags, yet striking the paddle can somewhat improve the power in the kicks.
For punches, focus mitts or pads are more effective; nonetheless, paddles can also be used to practice punching, especially to increase speed in delivering consecutive punches.
Besides providing extensive kicking practice and to some extent, punching practice also, the paddle can additionally be used to practice blocking, evading, or weaving. For example, with the paddle, the holder can hit the training partner, who can then evade or weave or block the paddle. Since the paddle is made of foam, hitting is safe and non-injurious.
Single and Double Paddles
A paddle can either be a single paddle or a double paddle. The function of both the paddles is the same as they both serve as hitting targets. However, a double paddle can absorb the shock of the strikes a bit more than a single paddle. A double paddle can also produce a greater slapping sound, which encourages the martial artist to kick with more precision, more speed, and more power.
Stationary and Moving paddles
A paddle is essentially used as a target and thus, it can be stationary or moving. Hitting a stationary target is easier than hitting a moving target. Martial artists practice with both kinds of targets.
A training partner can hold a paddle without moving the hand and thus, create a stationary paddle. A stationary paddle can help in practicing any kick repeatedly. It can also be held at different heights. Likewise, two paddles can also be held with one in each hand. For practicing consecutive multiple combination kicks, three or four training partners can hold two paddles each at different heights. For example, if four partners hold two paddles each, then eight different paddles can be kicked in eight different kicks executed at eight different heights.
Similarly, a training partner can move the paddle either vertically or horizontally or randomly and thus, create a moving paddle. Multiple training partners can hold two moving paddles in each hand, and in this way multiple moving targets can be created. Moving paddles provide effective practice for sharpening reflexes and training to fight multiple opponents from multiple directions.
A single or a double paddle is an effective martial arts training equipment and is extensively used in Taekwondo. It should be noted that any martial arts training equipment should be used safely, responsibly and always in the presence of a martial arts instructor.