Paul Banasiak is a Muay Thai fighter who many people may know for the Muay Thai Athlete blog, or for being one of the two fighters (next to Sean Fagan, who we’ve previously interviewed) who make up the Muay Thai Guys podcast. If you haven’t heard of the podcast before, check it out, it made our list of 5 Great Podcasts For Muay Thai Fighters.
We spoke to Paul to find out a little bit about his favourite gear and training advice.
Hi Paul, before we get started, do you want to give us a quick summary about yourself?
Paul “Reaper” Banasiak. [5-0] Pro [28-3-1] Overall. 9x Muay Thai Champion, 4x North American National Champion, 2x World Gold Medalist. Current Lion Fight Promotions fighter and title contender.
I have always believed health, success, and happiness are paved by the power of our mind. I am here to set a new standard by modeling the example of this, I set my mind and made a decision to pursue my passion of becoming a fighter that scripts his own story. My experiences have led me to a number of achievements and a limitless lifestyle. My choices have given me the flexibility to pursue my passion, to love what I do, to travel the world, and to create an experience for you to witness through the Muay Thai Athlete blog.
So to start off with, what would you say stands out most as your favourite piece of fight gear?
I am a big fan of the newer model of Twin Gloves, the BGVL 6.
[Seen in the training video below]
How long have you been using those, or other products from the same brand?
I have used Twin Gloves in the past, but I was never a fan of the fit, the skinny wrist and bulky padding, the wrist protection was mediocre, the look was below average, but these BGVL Gloves have been serving me well for the past 6 months.
What was the reason behind you getting those particular ones in the first place?
I wanted gloves that had good wrist protection, but were flexible, which seems to be almost impossible to find.
What would you say are the stand-out features of them and what makes them better than other brands?
The added wrist protection, slick design, and they came with a very comfortable fit – as if they were already worn in.
With your fight gear, do you tend to stick to a few select brands, or do you like to mix it up with a nice variety?
I mix up the variety, each brand seems to have their pros and cons in terms of durability, fit, design etc.
Is there any other gear you just love to use when training?
I am a big fan of the Fairtex thigh pads as well, I use them with my clients on a daily basis, those who lack control are tough to hold low kicks for with Thai pads. With the thigh pads both my students and I can keep the intensity high and let the kicks go freely.
How much of your training is dedicated to martial arts/technique training and how much is dedicated to other aspects such as cardio, strength and conditioning?
I train 6-7 hours per day with 4-5 hours dedicated specific to Muay Thai Training, and the remaining hours to strength, conditioning, and boxing.
What are your thoughts on sparring – Should you go in hard and heavy, or keep it light and technical?
I believe that those who aim to keep longevity in their career should be sparring with technical intent, keeping it light – working on timing, angles, and tactics – if you can fake someone at 20-40%, you are more likely to do it at 100% speed. However, and there IS a “however”, each fighter should go through the ringer to find out how they deal under pressure – nothing can replicate the pressure of an aggressive fighter, the lights, the crowd, like work that holds a bit of risk. Perhaps it’s done in the form of a shark tank, I spent my first few months doing heavy sparring and being tested on a daily basis which shaped be as a fighter, being able to perform well under pressure, with time and experience, smarter training takes place.
What pushes you to do your best during training?
The energy in the room and the energy in my heart.
And finally what’s your best training tip for aspiring fighters out there?
Enjoy the journey and if you plan on going far, make sure that you love it, that it is your calling – your passion. Enjoy every variable of Muay Thai, it’s beauty, its darkness, and pay close attention to the people that you meet, you will learn some of life’s most important lessons by following that protocol.
Muay Thai is the absolute test of human potential, tactics, skills, athleticism, and mental warfare, use it as a challenge to improve as a human being – not only as a fighter or practitioner.
Thanks for your time, Paul!