Why You Should Stop Punching Bags And Pads
Punching. A simple act of striking something with your fist. But is it really that simple?
After training in different Martial Arts for the past 20 years, Karate Shotokan in particular, competitive but keeping the traditional path when not competing, I can say I have learnt how to punch in a way that protect my body and injures the body of my opponent if choose to do so.
And one of the things I have learnt in these 20 years of punching anything from a human body to walls and tree bark is that you should never, ever punch anything until you know how you punch in the air, how to hold a fist, how to use your whole body to punch and until your body is prepared.
Doing a few kickboxing sessions, particularly the ones focused on high intensity training and weight loss, is not enough to learn this.
If you learn a superficial technique, superficial results is what you will get.
Why I don’t agree for most of you to punch bags and pads at the gym. There are many reasons:
1. No matter how much weights you lift your body is not accustomed to the impact of punching another object and if your body has not adapted to the correct technique you will be using your body in the wrong way which damages the body.
2. For every action these is an equal and opposite reaction.
We get so caught up with punching and releasing stress, we hit the pads as hard as we can, with the wrong technique and unprepared and we burn calories but at what expense? Weight comes and goes, a damaged body is more difficult to heal, if it ever heals.
Remember is it the pressure at the wrong angle, the wrong technique, that damages the body.
3. Focusing on high intensity for weight loss means forgetting technique, if there was any to begin with, and in time injuries start to show up.
If you punch bags and pads and your shoulder or elbow start hurting chances are it’s from your punches.
4. If the elbow goes out the impact is even more destructive. Nerves can be affected.
5. If you punch from your shoulder, you will damage your shoulder. Read bellow for a few guidelines.
6. In those bulky boxing gloves few people even know how to actually hold a punch.
Do you know? Did anyone with real experience teach you how to hold your fingers? At Every Karate session we practice the simple punch over 1000 times. Yes, we did the numbers.
Learn how to hold a punch, the wrist, the elbow, how to move the arm, how to use the body and then, only then you can think about gloves and pads.
There are other reasons, but I will stop here.
And now few things you should know, practice and repeat thousands of times before you start punching pads and bags:
1. Learn how to hold a fist without the gloves
2. Punch using the two first knuckles: index and middle fingers.
Even when you do a round punch, which, by the way you should learn how to do it properly so you don’t damage your shoulder, the rotator cuff.
Most of the gym people and PT’s don’t know how to punch properly. Study boxers’ movement and you will see.
A “boxercise” qualification and a few years of punching pads does not mean someone knows how to punch or teach.
I am sure there are trainers out there who come from a Martial Arts background and how how to punch and teach it correctly, no doubt about that. There are.
3. Wrist is on the same line as the arm and first
4. Elbow should stay down, the twist comes from the wrist.
See Japanese Karate masters. This protects the nerves going down the arm.
5. Arm never goes out to the side.
A beginner’s mistake when working with pads. You can do a round punch without the arm going out to the side. This protects the shoulder rotator cuff.
6. The punch must come from the back heel.
The force starts at the heel, goes up to the hip, side of your body, arm and out through the fist. A punch does not come from the first, arm or shoulder.
7. Body is kept straight.
Distance can be achieved through different tactics. Body alignment should always be taken into account to minimize the muscle tension and stress on stabilizer muscles.
What about professional boxers and Karate competitors?
When you compete you trust that your training was enough to get your body through the stress of usual movements, twists, bends and aggressive impact.
If, when you train, you nurture your body, in competition your body will be ready and will respond to the training.
If body alignment is a habit for you then you will carry that with you on a street fight or competition.
I know this because I used to focus on training hard and fast. Now I train harder, faster and smarter than ever before.
I have made greater progress in 1 year in England than in 10 years with my former Karate squad. Yes, correct body use which came through others sports and forms of training, is that powerful. Just because I brought the elements of efficient body use and mindful control into my Karate.
I have reduced the risk of injuries and when I do injure myself I can get back to training in a matter of days.
Thus, make sure you actually learn how to punch and then punch bags and pads. Same goes for kicking, which is actually worse, I haven’t seen anyone doing a correct kick outside martial arts classes. Maybe because we all focus on burning calories instead of looking after our bodies and learning something properly
Punching in a correct way is something easy to teach, the pure technique. Although I do not teach Karate yet I am certainly qualified, as a 3rd Dan Black Belt to teach you this.
I can teach you the correct technique over a 30-45 min call. Contact me to book the FREE call and I will show you how to punch in the proper way.