What I learned after 4 months of punching the heavy bag

MTguy

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Most people don't understand how to use the heavy bag. Some people posted good advide above. Just because the bag is heavy does not mean you have to hit is heavy every time. I usually start the round with light work but good contact and up the intensity and force and work my way back down. When I do 9-12 rounds. I spend about half of it on footwork and moving around the bag to work on angles. I would say that since I'm mainly a Muay Thai guy that my round kicks are 75 percent full bore for shin conditioning as well as elbow work. My persoanl bag has sand and rags in it at the right areas. Little softer where punches are and heavy packed where kicks go. shin conditioning is the step child of training yet one of the most viscious weapons available.
 

Flying Crane

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Most people don't understand how to use the heavy bag. Some people posted good advide above. Just because the bag is heavy does not mean you have to hit is heavy every time. I usually start the round with light work but good contact and up the intensity and force and work my way back down. When I do 9-12 rounds. I spend about half of it on footwork and moving around the bag to work on angles. I would say that since I'm mainly a Muay Thai guy that my round kicks are 75 percent full bore for shin conditioning as well as elbow work. My persoanl bag has sand and rags in it at the right areas. Little softer where punches are and heavy packed where kicks go. shin conditioning is the step child of training yet one of the most viscious weapons available.
There are many approaches that can be taken in using a heavy bag. Different disciplines that have different goals will place emphasis in different areas. My opinion is that they are all potentially good, if it moves you toward the goals that are important to you.

I recently had a debate on a different forum with a fellow who believes that Western boxing actually invented the heavy bag (which I do not believe is true) and there is really only one correct way to use the bag in accordance with boxing methods, that would include using wraps and gloves, and anything other than that is amateurish and dangerous and simply the wrong way to use the bag in an absolute sense.

My opinion: use the bag in accordance to how you have been trained and within your comfort levels. I would never insist that someone needs to train in a way in which they are not comfortable, and in which they are not confident that they are safe from injury. However, just because they are comfortable with one way, does not mean that others are not perfectly capable and can train safely in other ways.
 

Alan0354

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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.
OK, here is the video of my practice. Don't laugh, remember I am 69, I don't kick high because of my chronic back problem. Let me know if you have any suggestion.

I started and ended with punching to shoulder level. I just want to show it's so much easier to punch at shoulder level, the bag doesn't move nearly as much and I can stick into the bag much better. Problem starts when I punch higher, the bag just start jumping. Gets worst when adding kicks into the mix.

 

Alan0354

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Anyone has comment on how I should improve my bag work? This is the first time I even record my workout. The first thing I notice is I move my right hand before I punch out, I need to stop doing that, it's like telling people my punch is coming. If you see anything I should work on, let me know.

I was looking for videos on bag work, this guy is really good, talk about speed and power.

Don't think I can even come close to this guy in this life, maybe next. When he punches, the bag hardly move, all the power goes into the bag, no waste energy in pushing the bag. The speed!!!!

Only thing is he still punching low, barely at shoulder level. It's so much easier to punch good at that level. Punching above the forehead is a completely different animal all together.
 
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Tony Dismukes

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OK, here is the video of my practice. Don't laugh, remember I am 69, I don't kick high because of my chronic back problem. Let me know if you have any suggestion.

I started and ended with punching to shoulder level. I just want to show it's so much easier to punch at shoulder level, the bag doesn't move nearly as much and I can stick into the bag much better. Problem starts when I punch higher, the bag just start jumping. Gets worst when adding kicks into the mix.

Hay Alan, here are some of the top things I would have you focus on during your bag work.

You are flaring your elbows way out when throwing straight punches. This telegraphs the punches, robs you of body connection and power. and gives more openings for someone to counter you. Get those elbows in.

You have a little bit of body rotation, but your punches are still being powered mostly by your arms. Turn your hips more and you'll generate more power with less effort.

You are completely ignoring every aspect of defense. Always pretend that the bag can hit you back. Some possibilities to improve this are:
  • Keep your non-punching hand high to protect your head
  • Move your head off-line with each punch
  • Keep the elbow of your non-punching hand in tight to protect your body
  • Keep your chin tucked
  • Use footwork to take your body offline to a different angle after or even during each combination
  • Start out of range, step into range with your first punch, then immediately exit range at the end of your combination
  • Place your forehead against the bag while throwing close range hooks and uppercuts. This simulates putting your head against your opponent's shoulder to make it hard for him to punch you.
  • Use head movement (slipping, bobbing & weaving) between punches
  • Keep a tight guard with both hands in-between punches
I was looking for videos on bag work, this guy is really good, talk about speed and power.

Don't think I can even come close to this guy in this life, maybe next. When he punches, the bag hardly move, all the power goes into the bag, no waste energy in pushing the bag. The speed!!!!
Don't worry so much about his speed and power, study his technique and compare it to the suggestions I just gave you:

He keeps his elbows in tight, he maintains his guard at all times, he keeps his chin tucked, he powers his punches with hip rotation, he frequently takes his head offline during punches, he changes his angle sometimes, and he fits in occasional elements of head movement in-between combinations. He doesn't use every single one of the options I listed for maintaining a strong defense in this particular short clip, but I'll bet he does use the others at times, depending on what his training is focused on that day.
 

Alan0354

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Hay Alan, here are some of the top things I would have you focus on during your bag work.

You are flaring your elbows way out when throwing straight punches. This telegraphs the punches, robs you of body connection and power. and gives more openings for someone to counter you. Get those elbows in.

You have a little bit of body rotation, but your punches are still being powered mostly by your arms. Turn your hips more and you'll generate more power with less effort.

You are completely ignoring every aspect of defense. Always pretend that the bag can hit you back. Some possibilities to improve this are:
  • Keep your non-punching hand high to protect your head
  • Move your head off-line with each punch
  • Keep the elbow of your non-punching hand in tight to protect your body
  • Keep your chin tucked
  • Use footwork to take your body offline to a different angle after or even during each combination
  • Start out of range, step into range with your first punch, then immediately exit range at the end of your combination
  • Place your forehead against the bag while throwing close range hooks and uppercuts. This simulates putting your head against your opponent's shoulder to make it hard for him to punch you.
  • Use head movement (slipping, bobbing & weaving) between punches
  • Keep a tight guard with both hands in-between punches

Don't worry so much about his speed and power, study his technique and compare it to the suggestions I just gave you:

He keeps his elbows in tight, he maintains his guard at all times, he keeps his chin tucked, he powers his punches with hip rotation, he frequently takes his head offline during punches, he changes his angle sometimes, and he fits in occasional elements of head movement in-between combinations. He doesn't use every single one of the options I listed for maintaining a strong defense in this particular short clip, but I'll bet he does use the others at times, depending on what his training is focused on that day.
Thanks Tony

I really have to work on the elbow. I think one of my problem is I try to punch 7 to 8 punches. That not only make it harder to use the body, it really slow me down. Like the guy only punch 2, max 3. I find it easier to use body and increase speed because I only need to turn the body forward and reverse once. It's when I have to turn back and fore multiple times that make it slow and harder. I wonder whether it is useful to punch many punches at one time.

Another thing I find very hard is the front kick. I find it's the hardest kick to master. A lot of people ending up pushing the bag rather kicking the bag. It should really be like a punch that snap in and penetrate, not a pushing motion. Still long ways off for me.

Thanks
 
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Flying Crane

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Thanks Tony

I really have to work on the elbow. I think one of my problem is I try to punch 7 to 8 punches. That not only make it harder to use the body, it really slow me down. Like the guy only punch 2, max 3. I find it easier to use body and increase speed because I only need to turn the body forward and reverse once. It's when I have to turn back and fore multiple times that make it slow and harder. I wonder whether it is useful to punch many punches at one time.

Another thing I find very hard is the front kick. I find it's the hardest kick to master. A lot of people ending up pushing the bag rather kicking the bag. It should really be like a punch that snap in and penetrate, not a pushing motion. Still long ways off for me.

Thanks
I believe that people tend to misunderstand what a push is and is not, and often call something a push that is not a push.

A push can land roughly and continues through with the intent of displacing the object. But a strike that lands hard and continues into the target is not automatically a push. It is a damaging strike that continues through and causes displacement. That displacement can cause additional damage depending on the target. A strike to the head can cause trauma to the neck if that penetration and displacement is done, for example. A deep penetrating strike to the torso could drive someone back and drop him onto his butt or back, as well as cause deeper injury.

I often see comments about hitting the bag and wanting a loud pop with minimal movement of the bag. I dont automatically agree.
 

Alan0354

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I believe that people tend to misunderstand what a push is and is not, and often call something a push that is not a push.

A push can land roughly and continues through with the intent of displacing the object. But a strike that lands hard and continues into the target is not automatically a push. It is a damaging strike that continues through and causes displacement. That displacement can cause additional damage depending on the target. A strike to the head can cause trauma to the neck if that penetration and displacement is done, for example. A deep penetrating strike to the torso could drive someone back and drop him onto his butt or back, as well as cause deeper injury.

I often see comments about hitting the bag and wanting a loud pop with minimal movement of the bag. I dont automatically agree.
There's factor of penetration. It's when it penetrates the bag, but not pushing the bag that is better. It's like the target absorbs all the force, but not being pushed backwards.

As for front kick, I really want it to be like a punch, penetrate into the bag and making loud pop. Now it has to be the harder bags, those boxing bags seems to be so soft you can penetrate 5 to 6" easily, it's like hitting air.

I have to go bag shopping very soon, the white one is going to pop any day now!!! :((
 

Flying Crane

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There's factor of penetration. It's when it penetrates the bag, but not pushing the bag that is better. It's like the target absorbs all the force, but not being pushed backwards.

As for front kick, I really want it to be like a punch, penetrate into the bag and making loud pop. Now it has to be the harder bags, those boxing bags seems to be so soft you can penetrate 5 to 6" easily, it's like hitting air.

I have to go bag shopping very soon, the white one is going to pop any day now!!! :((
As I said, some things are a push, but some things that get called a push, are not. It depends. Just because the bag moves does not automatically mean it is a push.
 

Alan0354

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As I said, some things are a push, but some things that get called a push, are not. It depends. Just because the bag moves does not automatically mean it is a push.
Oh, just because the bag move doesn't mean it's push. I've seen a lot of people doing front kick literally push into the bag. Of cause, it is good if combining snap and push, that's good, but I've seen too many people literally push when they do front kick. That was the common mistake I saw in the class I was in.
 

Flying Crane

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Oh, just because the bag move doesn't mean it's push. I've seen a lot of people doing front kick literally push into the bag. Of cause, it is good if combining snap and push, that's good, but I've seen too many people literally push when they do front kick. That was the common mistake I saw in the class I was in.
Gotcha. I just wanted to comment because I am not always convinced that people can tell the difference.
 

Alan0354

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Gotcha. I just wanted to comment because I am not always convinced that people can tell the difference.
I really stopped and think. That's what my teacher taught back in the 80s how to look at a punch. Maybe I should rethink that again. I always take it as max penetration, min movement is good.

I am open for suggestion particular the front kick. I always like front kick, I feel it's easy to throw it, but it's hard to master it. At this point, with my back problem, that's the only kick I can really do. I can do low round house kick to the knee and thigh. I cannot do side kick or high round kick. I don't even want to try, I am just happy I can do this much already.
 

Flying Crane

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I really stopped and think. That's what my teacher taught back in the 80s how to look at a punch. Maybe I should rethink that again. I always take it as max penetration, min movement is good.

I am open for suggestion particular the front kick. I always like front kick, I feel it's easy to throw it, but it's hard to master it. At this point, with my back problem, that's the only kick I can really do. I can do low round house kick to the knee and thigh. I cannot do side kick or high round kick. I don't even want to try, I am just happy I can do this much already.
I think we would all benefit from taking a second look at any of our assumptions.

Do you do a front kick as a thrust, with the heel? You pull the toes toward your knee to extend the heel forward. Lift the knee up and thrust the foot forward. Strike with the heel. When you do it right, it makes a nice sharp smack on the bag, and the bag moves a lot. I train in shoes.

It can be done as a push. Just shove through with the leg when you put the heel on the target. But it also works very well as a striking kick. Thrust hard and land the heel into the target. Penetrate until the leg is straight.

In my opinion, the biggest problem people have with a snapping kick is that they want it to whip back with lightning speed. So they snap it back before it has a chance to land solidly and penetrate enough to do some actual damage. Slow it down and penetrate. Hurt that guy. THEN retract the kick quickly.
 

Alan0354

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I think we would all benefit from taking a second look at any of our assumptions.

Do you do a front kick as a thrust, with the heel? You pull the toes toward your knee to extend the heel forward. Lift the knee up and thrust the foot forward. Strike with the heel. When you do it right, it makes a nice sharp smack on the bag, and the bag moves a lot. I train in shoes.

It can be done as a push. Just shove through with the leg when you put the heel on the target. But it also works very well as a striking kick. Thrust hard and land the heel into the target. Penetrate until the leg is straight.

In my opinion, the biggest problem people have with a snapping kick is that they want it to whip back with lightning speed. So they snap it back before it has a chance to land solidly and penetrate enough to do some actual damage. Slow it down and penetrate. Hurt that guy. THEN retract the kick quickly.
I know exactly what you talk about using the heel. Actually I did practice and it can hit hard with sharp smack on the bag. I don't use it often because I lost a few inches of kicking height/reach. It might not be important for taller people, but I am only 5'5", every inch of reach matter. Also I learn TKD that use the ball of the foot to kick. If you look at the video, that's How I kick most often. I don't try to pull back as it does not give penetration. I try to "kick" as oppose to push motion.

I try to kick to the solarplex of a tall guy, It's hard to stick it in when I am short because as I kick higher, the angle become steep to the body and a lot of time, the ball of the foot just slide up the bag instead of penetrating. That's really my biggest issue.

One problem is it hurt the ball of my foot as those Everlast bags are very very hard at the bottom. Forget penetration, you ain't going to penetrate towards the bottom of the bag.
 

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retract the kick quickly.
When you kick, if your

- kick land on your opponent's body, you want your kicking power to go deeply into his body.
- opponent catches your kicking leg, you want to shift weight on your leading leg so it can be hard for him to hold on your leg.
- opponent steps back, you want to land your kicking foot forward to gain the distance.

I can find 3 reasons not to retract the kick. What's the reason to retract the kick?
 

Flying Crane

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When you kick, if your

- kick land on your opponent's body, you want your kicking power to go deeply into his body.
- opponent catches your kicking leg, you want to shift weight on your leading leg so it can be hard for him to hold on your leg.
- opponent steps back, you want to land your kicking foot forward to gain the distance.

I can find 3 reasons not to retract the kick. What's the reason to retract the kick?
When first learned it, the reason was to avoid it being caught. But I agree, there are reasons to not retract quickly.
 

geezer

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I can find 3 reasons not to retract the kick. What's the reason to retract the kick?
Some people like to use snapping kicks almost like a boxer's jab, snapping it out and back to chamber ready to snap out again.

In my WC, we say,"every kick a step, every step a kick" and do not retract our kicks like that. But what you really don't want to do is leave a kick hanging out there in space.

But does anybody ...at least anybody with experience, do that?
 

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In my WC, we say,"every kick a step, every step a kick" and do not retract our kicks like that. But what you really don't want to do is leave a kick hanging out there in space.

But does anybody ...at least anybody with experience, do that?
In the following clip, it's clearly to see that in CMA, "a kick is also a step". Not sure this concept also exist in Karate or TKD.

Han-groin-kick-face-punch-1.gif
 

Alan0354

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Some people like to use snapping kicks almost like a boxer's jab, snapping it out and back to chamber ready to snap out again.

In my WC, we say,"every kick a step, every step a kick" and do not retract our kicks like that. But what you really don't want to do is leave a kick hanging out there in space.

But does anybody ...at least anybody with experience, do that?
I practice the WC step kick to the knee. I've seen people use this in MMA. Very effective. I just did not do that in the video as the thread is about punching. Also, I spend more time working on front kick.

I did practice kicking with heel, like Tony said, it can penetrate good. My issue is like I said, I am only 5'5", I lose like 2" of reach using the heel. I need every little bit of reach. BUT, as I am typing, something comes to mind. If I can stretch more and kick higher, I might still get the height using the heel to kick.

Problem of kicking with the ball of the foot in TKD is if I kick too high on the bag, the angle of the kick is so high that the ball of the foot easily slide up the bag instead of penetrating the bag. Kicking with the heel should not have that problem. I have to try again using the heel, just need to stretch more!! :((
 
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Alan0354

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In the following clip, it's clearly to see that in CMA, "a kick is also a step". Not sure this concept also exist in Karate or TKD.

Han-groin-kick-face-punch-1.gif
I can only speak for TKD, we don't kick like that at all. This really close to the push kick to me. We kick with the ball of the foot and really kick out. In TKD, the kick that combine push is side kick. BUT side kick involves pivot of the hip to generate power. That's why it's about the most power kick in TKD. It's hard to pivot in front kick, it just doesn't have the power.
 
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