By Sean Fagan
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“It’s not daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
Making a mistake means you’ve wasted a portion of your time, or worse still, you’ve set yourself back so far that you must now spend even more time correcting and making up for your mistakes.
We want to minimize tail chasing during your heavy bag training sessions by developing a NOT to-do list, because what you don’t do determines what you can do. Time to save time. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Note: For each mistake listed, there will be a correction that comes with it. If you’re impatient simply read the corrections and the bold.
All the below mistakes will in some way relate to this, so pay attention.
Don’t just hit the bag though it were a piñata, it’s not. The only goodies you’ll get out of doing that is the build up of an ego, and then the hurtful fall when you get knocked out because you wasted time on just trying to smash the bag. Pure repetition isn’t enough in the same way that reciting textbooks won’t help you understand a college course.
Proper heavy bag training enables us to understand and learn, to figure out why techniques work which then allows us to broaden our striking toolkit, to find principles so then we can create our own methods.
Correction: Set one clear goal to work on.
Not having a clear course charted means you’ll be sailing wherever the wind blows ya, which is great if you’re not looking for any particular destination, but most of us are. Therefore, we must set a goal. The goal could be as simple as moving in with a combination and exiting with a pivot.
You can go simple or complex, just pay attention to your technique, or better yet, film your training to evaluate later.
Remember, the little things make the big things happen, something as simple as a better pivot can spell the difference between you getting knocked out or you dodging strikes like you’re Samart Payakaroon.
If you stand stationary during your heavy bag workouts, you’ll end up being the punching bag in a fight… and we don’t want that do we?
Then let’s think footwork and angles or, better yet, let’s think entry and exit.
Correction: Work on footwork and angles.
Every successful strike or combination has in it a proper set up (entry) and a proper exit.
Remove the set up/entry and you’ll pay for it (think Anderson Silva leg break). Remove the exit and you’ll also pay for it.
Although both are important, I’d like to emphasize the exit given it’s lack of emphasis by most.
No strike or combination is finished without a proper exit (hopping or taking a step back after a strike or combination isn’t an exit, nor is moving back in a straight line), you may have gotten done punching and kicking but you’re still in the red zone if you don’t get to a safe spot. What’s the simplest method for steering clear upon exit? It might just be the pivot.
Eat the same few meals over and over again and you’ll tire of it eventually, repeat the same Muay Thai techniques over and over again and you may just get bored. Mastery of fundamentals is awesome, however you should add a little creative spice to give yourself some flair.
Correction: Get creative!
Heavy bag workouts are one of the only times you won’t be getting limbs thrown at you. Time to take advantage of that (don’t forget to work on defensive techniques of course, i.e. exiting).
Play around with fancy timing, try a new set up, or visualize an opponent in front of you and think about what he/she would do.
How would this fella counter? How would they attack? There are times to stick to the gameplan and there are times to play, this can be one of those times. Throw what you’ve got at the wall and test it out in sparring to see what sticks.
And those, my dear friends, are the mistakes and their corrections. Should you find that you’re doing one of these naughty not to-dos, time to change course and hack away at the unessentials.
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