5 Tips for using the Heavy Bag!
“Bricks don’t hit back” – Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) in Bloodsport.
The same goes for the heavybag, but you want to imagine that it does! Retract the arm as soon as your punch connects (or misses) and make sure to keep that guard up. While doing this you want to keep your chin down and your eyes on the bag. Treat the heavybag like an opponent, which brings us to the next tip.
Move! Stay up on the ball of your feet and keep moving. Circle the bag as you are throwing punches, create angles and move out of the way from the bag. Visualise attacks from the bag and practise moving to the side before hitting it. Wether you’re in a classic boxing stance, a muay thai stance, a sideways taekwondo stance, or a lowered stance ready to defend takedowns, don’t just stand there… move!
Breathe. If you’re knew to striking a heavybag, there’s a good chance you forget to breathe, especially when throwing combinations consisting of 3 or more strikes.
Combine your strikes so one leads into the next for a natural flow. For instance a right cross thrown correctly will put you in the position to twist your body for a left hook. Likewise the rotation of the left hook can lead into a spinning right elbow. Another thing to keep in mind when putting together combinations, is to not only hit but also confuse your opponent. Hit low and then go high, or the other way around to confuse your opponent. Which leads us to the next slightly more advanced tip…
Throw combinations which don’t make sense! But first make sure that your combinations make sense to begin with by practising tip #4. Your opponent will pick up on your patterns and the common patterns of fighting. The 1-2 combination, or the jab cross, works well because the jab not only hides the cross but also leads into it, having said that it’s easy to predict. Establish patterns for your opponent to follow and then change them up. A good way to do this with kicks is to either use a combination ending with a sidekick or a hook kick (for tutorials on these kicks and more, have a look here) and then change it from a sidekick to the hook kick or the other way around, as the two kicks look similar at first but strike from different angles.
BONUS TIP: Use the heavybag to practise striking with more than just your hands and feet. The heavybag is great for elbow and kneestrikes as well and you can even take things a step further and practise striking with a blunt weapon, such as the nunchaku or the bostaff, watch below for some tips on what to focus on when doing this, or simply to get an idea of what that may look like.