Kicking shields

Kicking shields, also known as Thai pads or focus pads, are essential equipment used in martial arts training, particularly for practicing kicks and strikes. In the UK, these training tools have gained significant popularity among martial artists of all levels, from beginners to professionals.

History and Evolution of Kicking Shields:

The use of kicking shields traces back centuries, originating from traditional martial arts practices in various cultures worldwide. Over time, these training tools have evolved to meet the demands of modern martial arts training, incorporating advancements in materials and design for improved performance and durability.

Importance of Kicking Shields in Martial Arts Training:

Kicking shields play a crucial role in enhancing the effectiveness of martial arts training sessions. They provide a safe and controlled environment for practitioners to practice and perfect their kicking techniques, allowing for repeated strikes without the risk of injury to training partners.

Types of Kicking Shields:

  1. Traditional Kicking Shield:

These are rectangular-shaped pads, typically made of dense foam or leather, designed to absorb the impact of kicks and strikes.

  1. Curved Kicking Shield:

Featuring a curved design, these pads are ergonomically shaped to fit the natural curve of the holder’s arm, providing better stability and comfort during training.

  1. Focus Mitts:

While not exclusively for kicks, focus mitts are versatile training tools that can also be used for practicing punching techniques and combinations.

Key Features to Look for in a Kicking Shield:

When choosing a kicking shield, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, weight, padding thickness, and adjustable straps for a secure fit. Additionally, durable construction materials and reinforced stitching ensure longevity and withstand the impact of intense training sessions.

Benefits of Using Kicking Shields in Training:

Using kicking shield offers numerous benefits, including improving striking power, speed, and accuracy, enhancing cardiovascular fitness, and developing coordination and timing essential for martial arts techniques.

Proper Techniques for Using Kicking Shields:

To maximize the effectiveness of kicking shield training, practitioners should focus on proper technique, including maintaining balance, proper foot positioning, and generating power from the hips and core muscles.

Popular Brands and Models of Kicking Shields:

In the UK market, several reputable brands offer high-quality kicking shields, including RDX Sports, Twins Special, and Venom. Each brand offers a range of models catering to different preferences and budgetary considerations.

Maintenance and Care of Kicking Shields:

To prolong the lifespan of kicking shield, regular maintenance is essential. This includes cleaning the pads after each use, inspecting for any signs of wear or damage, and storing them in a dry, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Kicking Shield Drills and Exercises:

Incorporating kicking shield drills and exercises into training routines helps practitioners improve their technique, endurance, and conditioning. These drills can include various kicking combinations, footwork drills, and partner drills for dynamic training sessions.

Kicking Shields in Different Martial Arts Disciplines:

Kicking shields are utilized across a wide range of martial arts disciplines, including May Thai, kickboxing, Taekwondo, Karate, and MMA. Each discipline may have specific techniques and training methods tailored to the use of kicking shields.

Kicking shields

Safety Considerations When Using Kicking Shields:


  1. Proper Warm-Up:

Always start training sessions with a thorough warm-up to prepare the muscles and joints for intense physical activity. This can include light cardio, dynamic stretches, and joint mobility exercises.

  1. Use Protective Gear:

Both the practitioner and the holder of the kicking shield should wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and shin guards, to minimize the risk of injury from accidental strikes or impacts.


  1. Maintain Control:

Practitioners should focus on maintaining control and precision with their strikes, avoiding excessive force or erratic movements that could lead to injury to them or their training partners.

  1. Communicate Clearly:

Effective communication between the practitioner and the holder of the kicking shield is essential. Clear communication helps ensure proper timing, distance, and intensity of strikes, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

  1. Monitor Fatigue Levels:

Fatigue can compromise technique and increase the likelihood of injury. Both the practitioner and the holder should monitor their fatigue levels and take breaks as needed to prevent overexertion and maintain safe training practices.

  1. Inspect Equipment Regularly:

Before each training session, inspect the kicking shields for any signs of wear or damage, such as tears, cracks, or loose stitching. Damaged equipment should be repaired or replaced promptly to prevent accidents during training.

  1. Practice Proper Technique:

Emphasize proper technique and form when using kicking shields. This includes maintaining balance, correct foot positioning, and generating power from the hips and core muscles to minimize strain on the joints and reduce the risk of injury.

  1. Be Mindful of Surroundings:

Ensure that the training area is free from obstacles or hazards that could cause tripping or collisions during practice. Practitioners should also be aware of their surroundings and avoid training near sharp objects or slippery surfaces.

By following these safety considerations, practitioners can enjoy the benefits of kicking shield training while minimizing the risk of injury and ensuring a safe and productive training environment.

Tips for Buying Kicking Shields:

  1. Consider Quality Materials:

Look for kicking shields made from high-quality materials that are durable and can withstand repeated impacts. Dense foam padding and durable synthetic leather or vinyl exteriors are often preferred for their durability and longevity.

  1. Evaluate Padding Thickness:

Opt for kicking shields with sufficient padding thickness to absorb the impact of strikes effectively while providing adequate protection for both the holder and the practitioner. Thicker padding can help minimize the risk of injuries during training sessions.

  1. Check for Adjustable Straps: Ensure that the kicking shield features adjustable straps or handles that allow for a secure and comfortable fit for the holder’s arms. Adjustable straps enable customization to fit different arm sizes and preferences, enhancing stability and control during training.
  2. Assess Size and Weight:

Consider the size and weight of the kicking shield, taking into account the intended use and the size of the practitioner. Larger shields provide a larger striking surface and are suitable for practicing powerful kicks, while smaller shields offer increased manoeuvrability and are ideal for precision training.

  1. Look for Reinforced Stitching:

Inspect the kicking shield for reinforced stitching along the seams and handles, as this ensures durability and prevents the padding from shifting or tearing during intense training sessions. Reinforced stitching enhances the overall lifespan of the kicking shield.

  1. Research Customer Reviews:

Before making a purchase, read customer reviews and feedback on different brands and models of kicking shield. Pay attention to comments regarding durability, comfort, and overall performance to make an informed decision.

  1. Consider Brand Reputation:

Choose kicking shield from reputable brands known for producing high-quality martial arts equipment. Established brands often prioritize product quality and customer satisfaction, offering reliable products backed by warranty and customer support.

  1. Evaluate Price and Value: While price is an important factor, prioritize value and quality when selecting a kicking shield. Compare prices across different brands and models, considering factors such as materials, construction, and features to ensure that you get the best value for your investment.

By following these tips, you can make an informed decision when purchasing kicking shields, ensuring that you select a quality product that meets your training needs and preferences.


In conclusion, kicking shields are invaluable tools for martial arts training in the UK, offering numerous benefits for practitioners of all levels. By incorporating kicking shield drills and exercises into training routines, martial artists can enhance their skills, technique, and overall performance in their chosen discipline.