Air Training vs Bag Training

PhotonGuy

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When practicing striking techniques, they can be practiced either in the air where you don't hit anything or you can hit a bag or some other solid target. Does anybody prefer one method over the other? As for me, I do both and I think both methods have their own benefits. I've met some practitioners who like to hit solid targets so they don't do much, if any air training but I do believe air training has its value so that's why I do it in addition to bag training.
 

Dirty Dog

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You can punch air anytime, any where (nearly...). Bags certainly have their advantage, and I think training without hitting anything is a mistake, but there's plenty to be learned from drills without a bag.
 

Tez3

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Punching air can funnily enough be more damaging for the puncher than punching a bag. If you fully extend your elbows when punching air you can damage your elbow joints and even dislocate your shoulders. I've seen the latter done, if he'd hit something where a bag or person his shoulder would have be fine the doctor said. Still a karate belt is good for immobilising the arm/shoulder until you can get them seen, the doctor then used it to pull the shoulder joint back in, he asked if he could keep it as it was perfect for the job so we said yes.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Punching air can funnily enough be more damaging for the puncher than punching a bag. If you fully extend your elbows when punching air you can damage your elbow joints and even dislocate your shoulders. I've seen the latter done, if he'd hit something where a bag or person his shoulder would have be fine the doctor said. Still a karate belt is good for immobilising the arm/shoulder until you can get them seen, the doctor then used it to pull the shoulder joint back in, he asked if he could keep it as it was perfect for the job so we said yes.
This is why I never throw high kicks or roundhouses in the air. Will only do it if there's something for me to strike.
 

WaterGal

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I think kicking in the air is good for practicing your balance, and it can be good exercise. But generally I prefer hitting an actual target, for a lot of reasons.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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When I punch/kick into the thin air, I don't get the same kind of satisfaction that I can get from my heavy bag training. Besides the correct way to punch/kick which is important, to be able to take the counter force that come back from your target is also important.

If your kick can stop a 100 lb heavy bag that swing toward you, you know that your kick may stop a 200 lb guy who runs toward you and tries to knock your head off. When you kick into the thin air, you are not too sure about your kicking power.
 

JowGaWolf

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I punch and air for unrestricted flow of strikes, I punch super hard objects like metal and trees with rough bark for control. I punch bags for impact conditioning. Joints, ligaments, tendons, bones, and muscles must all be conditioned through impact for the purpose of withstanding the impact and bags make a really good training tool for conditioning all of the components related to a strike.
 

Danny T

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When practicing striking techniques, they can be practiced either in the air where you don't hit anything or you can hit a bag or some other solid target. Does anybody prefer one method over the other? As for me, I do both and I think both methods have their own benefits. I've met some practitioners who like to hit solid targets so they don't do much, if any air training but I do believe air training has its value so that's why I do it in addition to bag training.
Shadow boxing.
Great for warming up, great for going over and re-enforcing good fundamentals, great for smoothing out all of your movements and footwork, great for working on timing, rhythm, and coordination.
 

Buka

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Bill Wallace only kicked/punched air and people, never bags.
Joe Lewis only kicked/punched bags and people, never air.
Both guys seemed to know what they were doing....so, I dunno'.
 

Andrew Green

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Bill Wallace only kicked/punched air and people, never bags.

I have no idea how true that is from when he was competitive. But he has done a video on how to hit pads:

He also seems to like BOB a little:

those little clappers aren't quite a heavy bag or thai pads, but to say he never hit pads of any sort I think is a little misleading.
 

Buka

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I have no idea how true that is from when he was competitive. But he has done a video on how to hit pads:

He also seems to like BOB a little:

those little clappers aren't quite a heavy bag or thai pads, but to say he never hit pads of any sort I think is a little misleading.

Yeah, I know, but that's what he always said and what he always did (or didn't). Never saw him kick anything other than people or air - as part of his regular training, anyway. Haven't seen him in twenty years, so I don't know what he hits now, but did a lot of training with him back in the day. Some traveling, too.
 

marques

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I prefer striking people rather than bag (with the required cautions, specially the head/brain/eyes...)
Bag rather than air.

Striking people properly requires people, because every target is different from another, and all are quite different from a bag...
 

Andrew Green

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When practicing striking techniques, they can be practiced either in the air where you don't hit anything or you can hit a bag or some other solid target. Does anybody prefer one method over the other? As for me, I do both and I think both methods have their own benefits. I've met some practitioners who like to hit solid targets so they don't do much, if any air training but I do believe air training has its value so that's why I do it in addition to bag training.

Different things for different purposes. Hitting air should be done at moderate intensity so as not to wreck your joints. But it's good for cleaning up form and making things flow.

Heavy Bags are good for working power in a way you can't with just air or a partner (unless you really dislike them I suppose)

Partners move and react, giving you timing, strategy, rhythm, distancing, etc. But you generally can't go all out with power on them, and with them hitting back it's not the best for really rapping out and refining your form.

Focus its, thai pads, speed bags, double end bags, etc. Proper tool for the goal you are going for.
 

marques

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@Andrew Green, Actually I prefer your answer rather than mine. Far more accurate. :)
I just don't value power so much, since it is the last thing I train (In contrast, a lot of people is tough with a bag and completely lost against people).
And a good strike in the right spot usually works without much power (against average non-ufc fighters...).
 

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One of my (many) issues during sparring is that I get off balance quite a bit, especially during spinning kicks (TKD). I found that the heavy bag helps with that because, like someone else above said, I get feedback from the hits. I generally prefer pads and bag over air but we do a fair amount of air kicking in the dojang.
 

JowGaWolf

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One of my (many) issues during sparring is that I get off balance quite a bit, especially during spinning kicks (TKD). I found that the heavy bag helps with that because, like someone else above said, I get feedback from the hits. I generally prefer pads and bag over air but we do a fair amount of air kicking in the dojang.
You need to work on your stances more. You aren't rooting your kick. If you spinning kick is one that leaves the ground then you'll always be unrooted meaning your opponent will always be able to knock you of balance. If you do a spinning kick then you have to do it at the right moment when your opponent can't take advantage of you being in the air.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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One of my (many) issues during sparring is that I get off balance quite a bit, especially during spinning kicks (TKD). I found that the heavy bag helps with that because, like someone else above said, I get feedback from the hits. I generally prefer pads and bag over air but we do a fair amount of air kicking in the dojang.
This is one issue for the bag training. Sometime people may over commit and always assume the target is there. I don't like to depend on my feedback from the heavy bag. What if I miss my kick in sparring?
 
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