The cloth training wraps that are so common in the West aren’t necessarily all over the place in Thailand. You can buy them at virtually any shop that sells equipment, sure, but they’re not used by all the Thais training at the camps. A lot of Thai boys don’t wrap their hands at all. Those who do, in my experience, often favor these cloth “fight” wraps that are more like gauze-linen and don’t have a thumb loop or Velcro. The western boxing style training cloth wraps we’re used to are expensive and, the more I’ve trained, the more they seem cumbersome and bulky. It’s just too much cloth. As you can see, the fight wrap leaves the palm very open, which I like:
Take into account two additional things: my hands are really small, so those thicker training wraps go around my little bird hands and wrists a bunch of times, and the cloth width is just not conducive; secondly, I’m a clinch fighter so I’m not keen to bulk up my hands with wraps in the first place. A smaller wrap is better for my purposes. I also have been training bare-fisted for many months now so the supposed additional support from boxing training wraps is not entirely necessary, as my wrists have gotten very strong – all my bagwork is barehanded. But these fight wraps are not just for experienced fighters; Legendary trainer Andy Thomson when up at Lanna Muay Thai would put beginners on these kinds of wraps, as he really liked the conformity and fit.
Below: a short video on how I wrap my hands using these Thai style wraps:
So, the actual pattern of how I wrap my hands – which fingers I go through, padding the knuckles, going around the thumb, etc. – is the same as I used to use, but I’ve changed what I use for gloved padwork. What I use now are the wraps used for fights (I prefer to wrap my own hands for fights now as well), which is somewhere between cloth and gauze . It’s not gauze like what’s used in my experience in the US, instead it’s, again, like a really cheap linen (like, low thread count) and pretty stiff when you first open them up. When you first wrap with them a few of the threads kind of come off the edges like floss and you can just rip those off. When you re-roll them to use again, the first 3 to 5 times, there will be additional threads that are bit like corn silk spooled up on the ends and you have to rip that off – but snap those off, don’t unweave the wrap edge too much. After a few uses the problem goes away. You kind of “break them in” for a few days. After training when you hang them to dry make an effort to un-twist and flatten them out so they will dry well and be easy to roll the next session. They dry really quickly. These wraps should last you at least several months – I never get to see how long they last because the boys eventually will permanently “borrow” mine when I hang them to dry, or the wraps will get used for my next fight. They make a great wrap because they’re not bulky at all, get softer as you use them, and offer a nice balance between tight and loose for support and yet not constrictive. For fights I tape under and over this same wrap.
You can buy these wraps at most shops that sell Muay Thai stuff in Thailand. They sell them at my gym, along with tape, Vaseline and boxing lineament, so it’s super easy for me. But if your gym doesn’t have them you can buy them in bulk from boxing supply stores. They’re 30 Baht each where I live, so less than $2 for a pair. Because my hands are small, the first time I wrap my hands with a new pair I do the wrap until it’s “right,” then just tear the fabric and throw away about a quarter of the length of the wrap. I don’t need it. Just extra bulk for me. For bigger hands you might need the whole length, I don’t know. And they stink after a while so you can just give them a rinse with some soap and hang them to dry, then roll them again. They really last pretty well given how flimsy they seem.
Thanks to the redditor GoodSamaritan_ who asked the question about this wrap that sparked the video, and now the blog post.
If you train with regular training wraps, this was my How I My Hands Video using those.
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