No, I did not even try until late in the 3rd year because I have to at that stage. I practiced almost 3 years on punches and front kick because I believe in it. You can believe what you want, I am just telling it as it is.And this is the reason you're convinced they cannot be used effectively. People who can do X effectively can do X effectively. People who cannot, cannot.
Yes, I did NOT try that hard, After a few times, I just said forget it. If I really want it like I want to perfect the punching, I would have spent months the perfect it. You think it's not frustrating putting 1 1/2hr 3 times a week just on punching the bag?