What I learned after 4 months of punching the heavy bag

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JowGaWolf

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What kind of bag are you using? Get a harder bag!!

I know there are a lot of bags that are very soft for whatever reason, I hate that kind of bags. It's like punching air, it dent in like 5 to 6".
I'm not sure, it's one that the gym got. I'm going to speak with them to see if they can prep a harder bag for me. Most of the people who use the bags don't know how to punch with correct technique. And I'm not being "kung fu arrogant" when I say this. They literally have really bad basics simply because no one has shown them how to correctly make a fist and punch.. They normally punch the bag 5 times and then walk away. My guess is that they hurt their hands in the process. Because of this these bags are what I would probably put a first time puncher on. Most use the boxing gloves and the punching becomes worse. The speed bag was like that until a few weeks ago. We tore the first speed bag up, it was soft like a sponge. Now it's packed the way that it should be and it feels much better too.

But for the heavy bags. They should have at least 2 for the experienced members. I'll put it this way. It doesn't take much for me to move the bag. I kick the bag into the wall all the time, so I have to put something in between the wall the bag. This causes me to get more feedback than I sometimes enjoy but it keeps from breaking the window and stops the bag from putting holes into the wall.
If you can make a big dent on those bags I have, maybe you should practice less and you are punching very hard, no need to practice that hard anymore!!!
Yeah I'm going to follow the advice that was given here and lower the power level of my strikes. I will still will ask the gym if they can pack one of the bags better So I can have only one row of knuckles digging into the bag per punch.
Now I see, you are using the bag in the gym. EXACTLY the same in my case when I was talking about bags that are soft. It was in the gym also. Why people want soft bags? The only reason is they are for boxing where people wear huge gloves.

In my case, it's even worst, they gym hang the bag on a stand and use weights to hold it in place. The bag cannot swing freely. Can't exactly do kicking as the bag got nowhere to swing. You might really want to consider hanging bags at home and not relying on the gym. There must be people that prefer soft bags.

I am looking at the RED 80lbs Everlast. I had a chance to punch on one in my friend's house, it's hard enough and the covering seems strong enough to hold up. I never have problem with EverLast canvas and leather bags, they last about 3 years for me. Do NOT get Toughware, I bought the black color that looks like cloth/canvas, I broke two new ones within 2 weeks, I thought the first one was defective, I went and exchanged. But the second one was exactly the same. I returned both. Do NOT get vinyl cover, they don't last. I notice the gym changed quite a few bags at the time, they kept buying those vinyl or some plastic that is a little shinny. Some are even worst, they drag on the floor.

I have to buy a new bag soon, The white 70lbs got enough duck tape on it already, it's ready to go any time. I am seriously considering the red 80lbs one and take my chance. Too bad they don't sell the white canvas one anymore. Not all canvas bags are the same, the Everlast canvas is very thick and rough.

Yes, I agree totally to punch bare hands. You don't get a feel using gloves. I can literally punch without holding the fist with gloves and won't matter. Try punch bare hands without holding a fist, that won't end good. I punch bare hands for decades for the better or the worst. I like the feel of the punch.

Against conventional believes, I never hurt my hands, wrist punch bare handed. In case people question whether that will damage the hands in long run. I can tell people I am a guitarist, I can still run high speed picking after decades of punching. Only thing that really hurt my hands was the IRON PALM training that I regret even getting into. I told that story a few times here already. My problem is the skin on the knuckles that don't heal.

Good luck, hang your own bags at home. When you break the bag, do NOT dump it away, you might need those stuffings to stuff the new bag. Particularly the top part, it's always soft. The harder you stuff, the longer they last before it cracks.



EDIT: I kept talking about canvas bags ONLY because that's the one that need to be changed for me. The EverLast LEATHER bags are good too. It's just a lot more expensive. My 100lbs is leather, I have to tape it up, but no where in sad condition as my canvas one. If you don't want to tear the skin on the knuckles, go with the leather bag. It's better for the skin.
They only sell the white canvas bags empty. You'll have to stuff it yourself unfortunately.
 

Alan0354

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I'm not sure, it's one that the gym got. I'm going to speak with them to see if they can prep a harder bag for me. Most of the people who use the bags don't know how to punch with correct technique. And I'm not being "kung fu arrogant" when I say this. They literally have really bad basics simply because no one has shown them how to correctly make a fist and punch.. They normally punch the bag 5 times and then walk away. My guess is that they hurt their hands in the process. Because of this these bags are what I would probably put a first time puncher on. Most use the boxing gloves and the punching becomes worse. The speed bag was like that until a few weeks ago. We tore the first speed bag up, it was soft like a sponge. Now it's packed the way that it should be and it feels much better too.

But for the heavy bags. They should have at least 2 for the experienced members. I'll put it this way. It doesn't take much for me to move the bag. I kick the bag into the wall all the time, so I have to put something in between the wall the bag. This causes me to get more feedback than I sometimes enjoy but it keeps from breaking the window and stops the bag from putting holes into the wall.

Yeah I'm going to follow the advice that was given here and lower the power level of my strikes. I will still will ask the gym if they can pack one of the bags better So I can have only one row of knuckles digging into the bag per punch.

They only sell the white canvas bags empty. You'll have to stuff it yourself unfortunately.
Go to a sporting goods store and check the bags out, Don't stuff the bags on your own. Not all canvas are the same, the Everlast canvas is very heavy. The picture of Bruce Lee punch a big dent on the canvas bag, I think it's for show, you don't know what stuffings was in it. I bet that bag won't even last a week if he punch it like that.

Check out the leather ones. I can't find the exact same bag in the Everlast site, so I cannot recommend anyone of those 100lbs leather bag. I can't even find the 80lbs Never Tear red bag that I want to buy either. Maybe I should go buy the one on display in Big-5 near me before it's sold out.

It's NOT easy to find a heavy bag, went through that over and over already.
 

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Ive got an Everlast, weighs about 85 pounds and I believe it is a vinyl material. So far it has held up well, Ive had it for at least 15 years and it has spent a lot of time in the garage.
 

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There are different "vinyl" material, I can't speak for any particular one. I just had vinyl bags before, it cracked fast. Attached is the picture of my 70lbs white canvas bag. The bottom is vinyl. You can see it ripped and have cracks even though I don't punch the bottom. I might be kicking 10 kicks to the bottom a week to practice groin kicks. Not heavy use at all. You can see how clean the canvas it this area to prove I don't kick or punch that area. The rest of the bag is all taped up already.


Vinyl cracks.jpg


That's my experience with vinyl. This bag is about 5 years old only.
 

Alan0354

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A quick note... You can still condition your hands and not tear the skin up nearly as badly if you just use thin leather (or similar) gloves, like driving gloves or light work gloves.
I don't know about very thin gloves, I have all sort of gloves, thick and thin, it's not the same.
 
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Flying Crane

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The problem with canvas is that they tend to tear the skin of the knuckles if you have any lateral movement at all when you impact. Then you end up with scabs that take a while to heal and you cant train with those, without tearing them open and bleeding on the bag. Vinyl is much more forgiving. Ive had very very few problems of that sort. It happens on occasion, and is very minor, but its a fraction of what was happening when I had a canvas bag.
 

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I even want to go one step more extreme. Remember the scull is hard under a thin layer of skin. When in fight, opponent move, you might aim at the face(softer), but if he dug, you hit the skull. If your hand is not conditioned, you can break the knuckles.

I was playing with people in breaking boards. I worn a thin bag gloves and attempted to break 3 boards by punching. I broke them......so was my big knuckle. That was like 17 years or so ago. After I recovered, I started practice punching 6X6 wood pole, starting very light, but I kept doing it for all these years. My knuckles are much stronger now.

Now, I am not doing it for show or anything. I don't punch and kick that hard. Only do it twice a week and 15 to 20 reps each.

BTW, you see my 70lbs canvas bag in the background, it was still newer, no black tape towards the bottom. The lower bag did not crack yet!!! This was recorded about a year ago.
 

Alan0354

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The problem with canvas is that they tend to tear the skin of the knuckles if you have any lateral movement at all when you impact. Then you end up with scabs that take a while to heal and you cant train with those, without tearing them open and bleeding on the bag. Vinyl is much more forgiving. Ive had very very few problems of that sort. It happens on occasion, and is very minor, but its a fraction of what was happening when I had a canvas bag.
That's where leather shines. It's just more expensive, like double the price. They last at least as long as heavy canvas if not longer. They don't crack, you wear out holes. I use duck tape and it last quite well so far.

Don't get suede type, of leather. They don't last as well as the smooth leather ones. They tend to make holes easily!!! Don't ask me why, it's Everlast also.
 

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Are you training at one of those Title type facilities where they have fitness classes all day that don't teach actual kickboxing techniques except if you hire a personal trainer? I mean you can come in and do your own work. I helped manage one and got fired for teaching my classes 'too much knowledge and it hurts personal training'. The last session I had with a guy, the steroid owner came and said we don't need you anymore and I said oh well, this is my last class here ( I had a real job lined up) and he stepped towards me and stopped. He knew I could kick his butt. he was a 10-0 professional boxer but that was years ago and he thought MMA wasn't real fighting.

What I was getting to is man, for longevity, you should not be hitting the heavy bag without at least hand wraps. Unless you are fighting a guy with a titanium head, you are likely to break your hands if you hit him on the skull anyway. I don't see any benefit to this training. Don Wilson, was a side kicker so he will probably have a hip replacement. Have you seen him fight thais in thailand? kind of embarassing though some of the kicks kept the thais off him for a minute. hand wraps and or MMA gloves would be better for your tendons and ligaments than bare fisted.
 

Alan0354

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Are you training at one of those Title type facilities where they have fitness classes all day that don't teach actual kickboxing techniques except if you hire a personal trainer? I mean you can come in and do your own work. I helped manage one and got fired for teaching my classes 'too much knowledge and it hurts personal training'. The last session I had with a guy, the steroid owner came and said we don't need you anymore and I said oh well, this is my last class here ( I had a real job lined up) and he stepped towards me and stopped. He knew I could kick his butt. he was a 10-0 professional boxer but that was years ago and he thought MMA wasn't real fighting.

What I was getting to is man, for longevity, you should not be hitting the heavy bag without at least hand wraps. Unless you are fighting a guy with a titanium head, you are likely to break your hands if you hit him on the skull anyway. I don't see any benefit to this training. Don Wilson, was a side kicker so he will probably have a hip replacement. Have you seen him fight thais in thailand? kind of embarassing though some of the kicks kept the thais off him for a minute. hand wraps and or MMA gloves would be better for your tendons and ligaments than bare fisted.
I am 69, I punch heavy bag for over 3 decades, I even punch 6X6 wood pole shown in post #28 above. My hands are fine. I particular use my hands in delicate work, I play guitar, my picking slow down only because I don't practice anymore, I still can play quite fast though not as fast as 12 clean notes per second quick(out of practice, not physical hand limit). I do a lot of soldering of micro electronic components that I have to use magnifying glass to do, this require a lot of hands coordination. I have absolutely no problem. Like I can take a mechanical watch apart without damaging anything.

I just had x-ray on my left hand, no arthritis at all.
 

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I absolutely agree with @Alan0354. If you are smart about how you train, there is no problem with training without wraps and gloves. I also have been doing it for decades, with zero injuries or debilitations from it.

There certainly are reasons for training with wraps and gloves, but if those reasons do not pertain to you then you do not need to do it.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Go to a sporting goods store and check the bags out, Don't stuff the bags on your own. Not all canvas are the same, the Everlast canvas is very heavy. The picture of Bruce Lee punch a big dent on the canvas bag, I think it's for show, you don't know what stuffings was in it. I bet that bag won't even last a week if he punch it like that.

Check out the leather ones. I can't find the exact same bag in the Everlast site, so I cannot recommend anyone of those 100lbs leather bag. I can't even find the 80lbs Never Tear red bag that I want to buy either. Maybe I should go buy the one on display in Big-5 near me before it's sold out.

It's NOT easy to find a heavy bag, went through that over and over already.
I'll see if I can find the link with the canvas bags. I think I bookmarked it.
 

Alan0354

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I'll see if I can find the link with the canvas bags. I think I bookmarked it.
Let me know, I can't find one so far in the shop. Particular I want to hear how hard it is and how long it last also.

Ha ha, I am into punching bags. When I was still going to class, I found a school that had a bag hanging, it was in another room away from the class. Every time, I got there 2 to 3 hours before class, work on the bag on my own. I was surprised nobody do that at all. Even after I injured my back and quit the class, I hung my bag and start doing at home as soon as my body let me and never stopped since.

Ha ha, you talk bag, I am here all day!!! Experimenting bags, how to hang bags and all!!!


EDIT:

I have been looking at the Everlast NEVERTEAR red 80lbs bag in the store. The cloth is very heavy duty and I tried punching it in my friend's house, it felt good. No guaranty as I did not own it. But that's the one I would take a chance. Go to stores like Big-5 to see whether you can find one and punch before you buy.
 
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JowGaWolf

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The problem with canvas is that they tend to tear the skin of the knuckles if you have any lateral movement at all when you impact.
The way to fix this is to hit softer and learn how to punch directly in and out of the bag. There will be times where you will scrape the skin off the knuckles in the beginning. Simply heal and stop punching. Once the skin heals then punch softer and learn how to punch directly in and pull the fist directly back without any lateral movement. The process will gradually toughen up the skin gradually and keep the person from hitting the bag too hard. It will also force good punching structure because it's so unforgiving. Once the punch has been "perfected" the person will no longer get cut from the bag. For beginners, I think this slow pace is best and prevents them from trying to punch the bag their hardest.

When I first learned how to punch a canvas bag it took my skin. Then I had no desire to punch the bag my hardest or even medium. I think it took 6 months of light punching and developing punches. Over the 6th months I discovered that I was punching harder and that the skin on my knuckles became thicker. I also noticed that my punches were becoming stronger from better punching technique..

Those first 2 weeks were a learning experience. Even now when I think of a canvas bag. I think of this thing.
1655494045340.png



The downside is like you stated. Damage to the skin (the bag will take the skin off if it's not it directly head on). Any cuts on the skin should be treated and taken care of right away. Punching should stop. Allow the skin to heal. Don't train on wounds. Scar tissue makes the worse type of padding.


Training tip for a canvas bag: Get electrical tape and create cross marks that are the same height and locations of the soft parts of your body. Focus on hitting directly into these marks and avoid hitting across the marks. The tape will help to improve accuracy and striking technique. Most people who hit heavy bags really aren't aiming for certain areas. They are just hitting the bags which isn't the best method of training. Not saying it's wrong. I'm just saying a person can improve more by striking with more mindfulness
 
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JowGaWolf

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Then you end up with scabs that take a while to heal and you cant train with those, without tearing them open and bleeding on the bag.
My friend left blood marks all over my bag. I remember having to clean the bag. He never did learn to hit the bag correctly. He was stubborn to hit soft and too eager to hit the bag hard. I think I might not have helped as he was probably trying to hit the bag hard like me.

If I were to train my son on the same bag then I would probably tape square pieces of cloth that would allow him to feel when he swiped the punch without taking his skin off. But then again, he does a really good job with following instructions when I coach him.. So he may not need the cloth.
 

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This is where I different from you guys. I don't stand still, carefully aim to make sure my punch goes in and out straight. Particular as I said before, I punch high because I am short(5'5"). I am NOT willing to give up the head of a tall guy. I want their face and head!!! So there's no way to punch straight in and out on a bag when I punch above my forehead.

Also, I don't believe in standing there, focus and all. I intentionally hung two bags, I punch and kick one bag, turn around, punch and kick the other, then turn back and do the same. The point of mixing in kicks is because I want to bag to move around. When I turn and punch the other bag, I lost track of where the first bag is, then turn around, ACQUIRE the position as fast as possible and start punching and kicking to make the bag swing around. Then turn to the other bag while it's still swinging around to try to stick it to the bag.

All these is to simulate in real life where the opponent is not going to stand still. he likely move around trying to avoid the strike. So it's unreal to take the time to acquire the target to go straight in and out punch. This is real life. The point for me is to practice fast acquisition and able to punch hard. But obviously I am going to miss some too and scrape the skin. Particular punching high, there is no straight in and out.

I have enough blood stains on the top part of the bag from head hunting!!!
Blood on bag.jpg


But I am the only one that punch the bag, so it's not an issue. That's part of the reason I have chronic scabs on my knuckles.

Standing there, focus and punch at shoulder level is too easy, you see the duck tape at the lower part of the picture, that's where my shoulder level(and a little higher) is. I cracked the bag in no time. Surprisingly, those duck tape hold up quite well.

I still punch at shoulder level on and off, when I got discourage in punching and kicking, punching high, sometimes, it's discouraging. Then I punch at shoulder level and hear the loud echo sound and the feel of a solid connection, it's like.......YEH!!!
 
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JowGaWolf

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This is where I different from you guys. I don't stand still, carefully aim to make sure my punch goes in and out straight. Particular as I said before, I punch high because I am short(5'5"). I am NOT willing to give up the head of a tall guy. I want their face and head!!! So there's no way to punch straight in and out on a bag when I punch above my forehead.
Here are some of the things that my son and I have been training on the heavy bag for the past 5 months.. Some of these things we stay in front of the bag other's we move and use our footwork.

1. Stick (hit) and Move
2. Evade
3. Cut Angle
4. Engage and Disengage.
5. Close the gap
6. Strike with shoulder
7. Off Center strikes
8. Bump and Strike. - This is where you allow the bag to swing into you. so that you can recover and strike.
9. Stand your ground - This is where you allow the bag to swing into you, so that you can counter the impact, but not avoid it.
10. Grappling/ Clinch work.
11. Maintain Distance with footwork.
12. Maintain Distance with Arm.
13. Maintain Distance with Kicks
14. Maintain Distance with Punches.
15. Punch / Strike the gaps, (if your heavy bag can swing).
16. Step off center (with and without swinging bag)

I'm always taking a look at how I fight and try to translate it into a drill to use along with the foundational stuff that I do. It helps to keep things from being dull.

My personal thoughts on "Aiming punches" It think it's a must to have that type of accuracy. Well aim punches land. Carefully aimed punch helps to avoid the areas you don't want to hit, like the skull.

Aiming for the head vs Wild swing to the head. Which is most likely to land?
Aiming for the head vs Carefully aiming for the jaw. Which is most likely to result in hitting the skull?

Punch Accuracy and why it's important. Being focused doesn't have to look like a Martial Artist standing in a horse stance punching one punch at a time.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Remember the scull is hard under a thin layer of skin. When in fight, opponent move, you might aim at the face(softer), but if he dug, you hit the skull. If your hand is not conditioned, you can break the knuckles.
This is why I carefully aim my shots. Striking techniques should guide your opponent to where it's the best time and place to hit them. If your opponent ducks then it's because he saw your punch coming or because he thought a punch was coming. If your opponent ducks and you kneed him in the face then its because you knew he was likely to duck or you thought he would duck. If you are shorter than your opponent then it's not likely that a taller opponent is going to duck your punch. People most likely to duck your punches are those who are about the same height as you.
 

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hey JowGaWolf, you gave me more ideas to do with the bags.

Yes, I already do distance type of drill. I always step forward to punch to close the distance pretending the opponent is farther away, not just stand and punch. This make it a lot harder with step forward and punch. Yes, I always aim to the center of the bag(various height, but always in the middle). You see the blood stain all around because with punch kick combination, the bag not only swing, it rotate too. Usually is because when I kick a little off center, the bag starts to rotate. So punching right in the middle become all over the area as it keep turning.

Ha ha, I even do hip throw(judo) by grabbing the bag and turn my body and pull the bag over my hip.

I have to do a video one day and let you give me suggestion. Now, I am not an expert, do NOT expect to see some good skill or what.

Last time you suggested about punching slow, I really did started with that. Even now, I start the bag session punch relax, WITHOUT even touching the bag, just going through the motion the first 30sec. Then tab the bags lightly, slowly increase the force. That goes on for at least like 3minutes before I start really hitting the bag. This give me time to concentrate in how my body move, how my shoulder move and all.
 
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