T Nation

Heavy Bag Technique Feedback


#1

Hey guys, just after some feedback (good and bad) on a round on the heavy bag.

Brief training history so you know where I am at…

Trained muay thai for a bit over 12 months (and a LITTLE bit of boxing), had two fights. Then had six months off all training while I was backpacking. Came back and went to a boxing gym (as it was 45 minutes closer to my house) for about 7-8 months. The last five months I have been living abroad in Canada so no training except the last 3 months I have hit the bag once or twice a week, so no trainer or even training partner.

With that in mind, I know I am rusty and my work rate is down because apart from snowboarding I am doing nothing else training wise so fitness is pretty low.

Just after some feedback for things I may have not noticed, as well as the things I am doing right, as this is the first time ever watching myself back.

Things I have noticed - my lead hand drops pretty early on, I do bring it back when I am aware of it, and the bag is coming toward me but for the most part it is down. I also don’t always pivot on my lead hook, I don’t always get on my toes when I kick, my footwork coming back from the switch kick is a bit sloppy as are my combos, I am not thrusting enough when kneeing.

That said, quite a bit of that I feel (hope haha) is due to still not being very sharp through lack of practice.

I was hoping for feedback from the boxing guys as well, I know the footwork and head movement obvs isn’t there, but things like my general striking, am I getting my hands back quick enough etc


#2

Some quick comments:

The good:
-you used your jab a decent amount, while you were still fresh, to lead and control distance

-your round kicks look like they’ve got decent pop on them

-you exited out on an angle a few times

-you generally bring your right hand back to recover after you throw it

The bad:
-you drop your left hand when you throw your right (common mistake)

-you wind up/retract your arm before throwing your hooks (both left and right)

-you drop your hands and leave your head wide open when you throw your round kicks

-you do not close the distance to the bag with footwork but instead walk into range of always wait till the bag comes to you; a real opponent would have hit you coming in, moved, or tied you up most times you tried that. You need to practice maintaining a realistic fighting range and then closing via footwork and firepower (or at least the threat of it) and then clearing back out to safety or clinching to minimize your chances of the opponent launching a counter offensive against you.

-you should try to set up your kicks with your punches and vice versa.

Hope this helps.


#3

Hey man - sounds like you’re leading quite the vagabond life lately - good for you. Live it up and enjoy that shit.

Here’s my two cents … just keep in mind I don’t know shit about kicking and kneeing, only boxing. So that’s all I’ll comment on.

Good stuff:

  1. You seem to snap your punches well. Not a lot of pushing going on, and you retract them quickly.

  2. You flow smoothly on basic combos like the 1-2-1 and 1-2-3. Those are essential building blocks for everything that comes after.

  3. You pivot out at sharp angles occasionally - good. Do more of that.

  4. Your elbow shots are smooth and you seem to have good technique with them. Nice.

Shitty stuff:

  1. You drop your lead hand after throwing combos and keep it there. Get that shit back up to your face… some sparring will fix that quick (as you know) but still good to rectify it now.

  2. Your elbow flares out too much when you’re throwing the right hand. This robs you of power and shortens your range. Keep your elbows in tight, and throw that shot with the elbow down, not out. And don’t wind up on the hook - snap the punch straight across.

  3. You’re tall and lanky, which means you can hit the body without dipping much. That’s pretty cool. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get down and coil up for body shots - they’ll land with much more force if you lower your body and get more torque. Plus you’ll leave yourself less wide-open for counters, which is what you’re doing when you’re shooting a body shot from the upright position.

  4. Don’t, don’t, DON’T cross your feet when moving to your right. There were times you almost walked across the face of the “opponent” - break that habit right away.

But aside from all that, what I’d really like to see is you putting more thought into what you’re doing on the bag - as the old saying goes, “You work the bag, don’t let the bag work you.” Try not to just throw random shots at the bag, then stand and wait for change. Throw a few jabs, throw a right hand behind it, then angle out and step away. Throw a double jab, slip his return jab and throw a 5-3-2-3, then step around and jab out. When you get in close, imagine he’s right there with you - catch his hook, shoot a 2-3-2 back, dip, 2-3, frame off him, step around, get back to it … that sort of thing. Just like shadowboxing, imagine there’s an opponent in front of you punching back, framing off you, stepping with you, and actively trying to foil what you’re doing. You want to work your mind as much as your muscles on that fuckin thing.

Altogether good job man. Keep it up.


#4

You basically are living the dream dude.

The bullet points above are perfect for you to review and I wont beat a dead horse.

However, I will reiterate some things that are above because the stuck out like a sore thumb for me and as your opponent I would immediately capitalize on those deficiencies.

  1. You telegraph your right like a motherfucker. Irish noticed your elbow swing out too much. Also, your guard drops when you throw it. Your opponent will identity those two thing in conjunction very quickly and now has a tell and an opening.

  2. You’re kinda flat footed. But you’ve got this incredible reach it seems. You NEED to make your giraffe legs more agile and your footwork deft. With your reach and leg length, combined with great foot work you’d be a terror for a short guy like me. Jump rope, dance, jump on tires (Thai style). Make those feet work.

  3. Your knees are underwhelming. I don’t know if this is something you’ll remember from training in Thailand but, when you throw a knee - “more boom boom!”. Put more hip into it and arch back a little more.

  4. That wife beater. Jk. I have one too. Of course.


#5

Cheers for the feedback guys, it’s all really helpful. There are some things in there I suspected were wrong and didn’t feel quite right about but wasn’t sure why. I have a fair bit more clarity now.

Sento - I actually felt my hands drop a few times before I kicked, which I am thinking might have been a lack of conditioning cos I noticed at the time and it was almost laziness/lack of concentration. Defs something I am going to make sure of from here on in though. Also really appreciate the feedback about following the bag.

Irish - My elbow flaring is exactly the type of feedback I was after from a guy like you, cheers. I had no idea I was doing it. Will work on everything else too. Much appreciated.

Pigeonkak - I haven’t actually trained in Thailand yet, my sister brought that wife beater back for me. Haha. I am going to work in a few months at a thai camp on the end of my current adventure though. Re: knees - I feel like I knee pads a LOT better than the bag. My knees in this vid were very very average, but my first fight I won thanks to clinching and kneeing. Hopefully that is just the rustiness of not training properly in so long.

Thanks again for the feedback guys, I am probably not going to have any gym access for a while after friday (backpacker budget and Banff is an expensive motherfucker) but I will be focusing on all this stuff when I shadowbox. Hopefully at some point I can get some sort of semi-regular training going and properly work on all the things mentioned.

Cheers


#6

Here is the thing about flaring your elbow…

It actually adds power to your right hand, or jab (elbows down means you are essentially doing a shoulder flexion motion which is powered by the deltoids and triceps while elbows flared is a horizontal addiction movement and powered by the pecs); if you really want to throw a maximal power punch, then elbows flared is where it’s at.

But, it does significantly add to the telegraphing of the punch and as a result a good opponent is likely to see it coming and be able to easily defend against it, unless you really set it up well.

So, generally I would advise to take Irish’s advice on throwing the less telegraphic and less powerful “speed” right hand while learning the basics. Later on you can introduce the “power” right hand back into your arsenal for when you really need to throw some bombs, or have a much better understanding of rhythm and timing so you can successfully set it up.


#7

First of all; the points offered by all those above are really very good, so apologies if I’m merely echoing others.

I liked your video. You have a tall lean frame, but get a lot of snap in your shots á la the Kronk fighters. Good use of your height and leverage.
Cardio looks to be decent and flexibility doesn’t seem to be an issue.

If I could offer any suggestions;

  1. You have a good jab; active and sharp, but you throw it from the shoulder.
    There is nothing wrong with this, it is excellent when used in combination, but it will not force
    an opponent to alter his movement or force him back. For taller slim guys like you and I, we
    have to start the jab from the floor, use the momentum of pushing the back fooot forward to
    add your bodyweight to the jab; slowing his desire to move forward.

  2. You left hand does not really come back into guard after you throw. Noobody is more guilty of
    this than myself. Your left arm is your heads first defense, so when not throwing, think about
    keeping it active; feinting, guarding or drawing.

  3. Your arms, like mine, are long enough to reach the body without adjusting.
    But if we neglect to adjust we have our arms travelling south diagonally. This is the method of
    delivery most detectable. easy to spot and easy to counter.
    In going to the body, its a good idea to use your hips to get to that level. That way you can
    deliver optimum power without sacrificing your own defense. Drop the knee to change level
    whether they be straights or hooks.


#8

You’re going to have to explain this more. Because unless you’re talking about throwing overhand shots, it makes no sense.


#9

Ok, no problem.

Linear punches (and in fact all punches) must originate from the shoulder joint (well, technically they originate from the ground, but since we’re talking about elbow positioning what happens below the shoulder isn’t really relevant). However the elbow cannot begin directly in front of the shoulder joint, but instead must begin along some point along an arc ranging from directly below the shoulder joint to straight out to the side (or possibly slightly higher, but that doesn’t really offer much benefit) and then follow an angular path until the arm aligns in an angular line from the shoulder to the target (we call this the “line of force” Dempsey called it the “power line”).

In order to achieve this final position though the arm can travel in a variety of different lines depending on the elbow’s starting point.

If the elbow begins below the shoulder joint then the movement at the shoulder is what is referred to as “flexion” in biomechanics. Flexion is primarily powered by the Anterior Deltoid, with the long head of the biceps brachii and a few of the fibers of the clavicular head of the pectoralis major acting as synergists (the upper traps, pec minor, and of course rotator cuff also help to stabilize the shoulder joint).

If the elbow begins out to the side then the motion at the shoulder joint is called “Horizontal Adduction” in which the Pectoralis Major is the prime mover and the anterior deltoid and biceps brachii are synergists (essentially the same muscles stabilize the shoulder joint). Horizontal Adduction is almost always a more powerful motion than shoulder flexion. Raising the elbow out to the side also internally rotates the humorous and thus better activates the Pec Major and Lats (since both are internal shoulder rotators).

Now, it’s true that as long as you land the punch with the shoulder internally rotated (elbow out to the side rather than down) and the forearm in the “line of force” you will have a solid power structure regardless of how you arrive at that position. However, as we know from experience, opponents don’t usually stand perfectly still when we are trying to hit them (like a wave master or even Thai bag for example) and instead fluctuate distance. As a result how you arrive at the position will have significant affect on the punches “stopping power” should the target not be at the ideal distance at impact. The flared elbow position is far and away superior in this regard. It is also true that more powerful muscles are generally capable of producing greater force/speed, so even from an actual miles per hour standpoint the flared elbow position is slightly superior.

But again, the purpose for throwing the punch and the appropriate situation/set-up will determine which type of right is the better choice.

Hope this is clear.


#10

Well I understand what you’re saying, and it would make sense if he were pushing a heavy weight - not punching.

I don’t understand how this has anything to do with punching, which involves staying as loose as possible until the moment of impact. And even though that movement plane is stronger if you’re trying to push or muscle something - I won’t dispute that - if you punch like that, there’s a bigass energy bleed out your elbow because it’s not aligned with your body.

I’m not asking for a rebuttal or anything - I don’t know the fancy words or terminology to make it sound like I learned from anything other than experience. But what I do know is guys who flare their elbows hit like pussies, and guys who keep it tight generate the most power. So I disagree with what you’re saying wholeheartedly. Just wanted that on the record for the OP.


#11

Well if the guys you know that flare their elbows hit like pussies, then there is something else seriously wrong in their kinetic chain that has nothing to do with them flaring their elbows.

I gaurantee you that I could convince you otherwise in a matter of minutes in person that the elbow flared position is more powerful because I have felt the difference myself, seen and reproduced the same phenomenon hundreds of times with students/seminar attendees, and regardless of whether you are pushing or punching the same musculature moves the body against the force. The only real difference is the velocity at which the limb is moving at the point of contact, the movements in terms of biomechanics are identical.

This is not conjecture, it’s the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of experimentation, research into human biomechanics, and the experience of some of the best striking coaches in the world. The results are consistently reproduce able, based in human physiology and biomechanical fact, and tangible.


#12

We must be talking past each other here, which I attribute to the internet. I’m not agreeing because I still don’t understand how this would work, but I won’t discount it because, as you said, you might be able to show it quickly in person.

If nothing else, OP, keep your elbow down because it’s going to telegraph the shit out your punch. In a sporting environment, that’s going to murder you.


#13

Yes agreed. ^^^

IMO people should learn the punch first while keeping the elbow down to avoid telegraphing. Especially when first learning boxing your primary objective should be accuracy (the ability to hit your target without missing or getting countered in the process), in which avoiding telegraphing your punches will go a long way. Power is in actuality one of the last things that you should concern yourself with (even though it’s one of the first things most beginners want to focus on).

From a self defense standpoint learning the proper body mechanics for power is a useful skill right from the get go because:

  1. it builds confidence in knowing that you are capable of generating enough force to actually be effective with your strikes

And

  1. most self defense situations or even street fights do not resemble a sparring match or involve highly skilled fighters who are very good at recognizing and countering punches. Most are won by the person who hits first, hits the hardest, and hits the most (uses overwhelming sudden force).

#14

Agreed.

POST MUST BE 20 CHARACTERS. (Jesus T-Nation, can you fix this?)


#15

Cheers for taking the time to watch and provide feedback.

With the above, do you mean a stiff jab basically? So you are saying that from time to time, to mix up the jab with a stiff jab as well as a jab thrown just from the shoulder?

Sento and Irish - Was an interesting discussion, cheers.


#16

Yeah; exactly man.
Some Jabs start combinations.
Some jabs are a deterrent and some jabs are to rock a guy back.

Archie Moore used to preach that combinations were for taking advantage of a hurt opponent only.
He placed single strategic shots to get them there and the simplest Single direct attack would be the jab.


#17

Cheers man, I’ll keep it in mind.

Don’t think I am quick or accurate enough to pick someone apart with single shots though. Haha.


#18

Landing strikes is not simply about being quicker than the opponent, more so it is about throwing off their defensive “rhythm.”

“Attack by combination” is probably the simplest way to teach this to someone because all it really requires is for you to throw a sequence of techniques. For instance, I throw a jab and you cover, so I throw a straight right to your body (which either lands and causes you to fold forward, or brings your elbows down and together to block), and then I throw a left hook around your guard and catch you (or throw a left “head smack” to your temple knocking you off balance and placing your weight on your left leg and follow up with a right round kick to your lead leg, or right inside trip/Ouchi Gari into a takedown, etc…). The idea is that in order to defend one target/line of attack you must open/leave unprotected another one. My attacks are therefore meant to entrap you into eventually giving me the target that I want. Should more than one attack land, great, but on a well designed combination it shouldn’t really matter.

Again though, that’s just one method.

Another simple (but not necessarily easy) one would be a change of speed. Throw two or three jabs as fast as you can (“probe stepping” if you want to minimize risk of getting countered hard), then step in fully and throw another jab slow, heck, even telegraph it by leading with your shoulder. Your opponent’s defensive timing will be set to expect the impact of that punch to occur in the same timing that it did during the first couple/few, and thus will execute their defensive action to thwart that. However, because you slowed down/changed the timing of sequence of moves, their defensive action will be too early and you therefore largely or wholy ineffective. You can’t of course be moving in “slow motion” but must simply take off just enough speed that you come in “the back door.” This is the same phenomenon of a baseball pitcher throwing a few fast balls and then throwing a change up; the batter will react too early and thus be way out ahead of the pitch and whiff.

This is definitely harder to teach and do than combinations though, which is again why it’s generally not taught first to beginners.

And again, these are only a couple ways.