Better Punch Bag Practice Times Two

Better Punch Bag Practice Times Two

by Keith Pascal

I often see heavy bags hanging in martial arts workout areas (dojos).

Sometimes they’re just hanging there motionless, and other times, you see a student working over the bag.

Rarely, even when the bag is being used formally in a class exercise, with everyone lined up, do I see what I’m about to describe to you in this article.

Before I tell you the drill … and its variations … let me assure you that the skill you’re about to develop is absolutely essential for mastering martial arts.

If you want a martial arts advantage, then you absolutely, positively need to develop this martial ability. That’s … absolutely, positively!

Okay, here we go:

Step One: A Round of Pounding On The Heavy

Learn to work a heavy bag.

To me, working the bag means continuously hitting and kicking the bag, low hits, high hits, hits to the same target, hits to different targets,

The entire time, you circle the bag, this way and that.

Some would say that working the bag means leaving no part of the bag untouched, except the top where the metal fixtures are. This includes groin kicks to the underside of the heavy bag.

So, Step One is working the bag, even if you don’t have the physical endurance to work it for long.

Step Two: Multiple Targets, Multiple Attackers

In Step Two, you add another target.

You want it close enough that you can reach it without stepping away from your heavy bag workout, but it has to be a different target from your primary heavy bag.

You could hang a secondary bag.

Or put a piece of paper on a string, to practice punch control, at the same time.

You can even hang a whiffle ball on a string as your secondary target.

Now, go back to pounding on your heavy bag. Continue circling the bag, as you hit and kick, but each time you come within range of the secondary target, you hit or kick it, too.

This will send any hanging targets swinging away from you, after you hit or kick them. It will swing away, and then it will swing back toward you.

As it comes into range, I want you to hit it again.


Because you are practicing taking on multiple attackers.

You have to continue hitting your primary source, but at the same time be aware of other targets coming into range.

This type of exercise really does help you to expand your awareness. Developing this kind of awareness is of paramount importance to an accomplished martial artist. Wouldn’t you agree?

Step Three: Taking on a Thinking Enemy

In this step of working your heavy punching and kicking bag, you add an actual human element.

Give a practice partner (or more than one) a focus mitt.

Now, you start working your heavy bag.

At some point, your partner reaches in at a fairly slow speed from behind you, to try to tap the back of your head.

To reset the focus mitt to a further, safer distance, you have to hit or kick the mitt.

Have your partner reach in to touch your back, as well. And even the back of your legs.

The target height varies. The speed changes. And so do the angles of attack.

This is great practice for finding targets on secondary attackers.

And don’t forget to continue hitting the bag. (Wink)

End Note:

This drill is surprisingly similar to the exercise that I created for knife fighting. Here’s a link to the ebooklet that remained at the top of the martial arts best sellers list, when it was first published:

Knife Fighting Ebooklet by Keith Pascal

Remember to stay safe when practicing. This is especially important, when you have more than one target to focus on.

You don’t want the heavy bag to swing back and hit you, while you focus on a whiffle ball.


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