How To Use A Muay Thai Punching Bag
Do you need to know about how to use a Muay Thai punching bag? Muay Thai is the devastating combat martial art that originated in Thailand. Also known as Thai Boxing, it is a highly intense form of kickboxing. One of Muay Thai’s nicknames is “The Art Of Eight Limbs.” The reason for this is the fact that, unlike several westernized rules, Muay Thai emphasizes and allows strikes with the knees and elbows, in addition to the use of both hands and feet. Hence the eight striking “limbs.”
To prepare to train in or compete in Muay Thai, it is necessary to have strong limbs. Nowhere is this more prepared than on the legendary Muay Thai punching bag. The punching bag has a unique build. Unlike a "regular" boxing punching bag, the Muay Thai bag usually extends all the way to the floor, with the bottom hanging just a few inches off the floor.
The reason for this is fairly obvious once you watch Thai fighters practice a Muay Thai staple: the low, roundhouse kick to the legs. In order to practice this, the lowest part of the bag has to hang at around the level where the opponent’s thigh would normally be.
Because of the length of this bag, it tends to be extremely dense and hard around the bottom. This allows the practitioner to develop and condition the shins of the kicking leg with repeated blows. In a Muay Thai match, leg kicks are a trademark, and the defense to this kick is sometimes the raising of the leg that’s about to be kicked so that the kick is blocked by the shin or the knee. Kicking the Thai bag helps condition the leg for this incidental impact.
In addition to conditioning of the legs, the bag can also be used as a regular punching bag to allow fighters to train their punches, kicks, knees and elbow strikes. A good trainer will often push their students into doing rounds on the bag for as long as a round would last in a Muay Thai match, about three minutes.
So to use it to its full effectiveness, here are the things you’ll need when using a Muay Thai punching bag:
- Bag gloves or boxing gloves
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
- Shin pads or ankle braces
- A Muay Thai punching bag (also known as a “banana” bag”)
- This round is only to learn to work on your hand strikes. However, since elbows are allowed, you should throw the occasional elbow strike in addition to punches when you get closer to the bag. Focus on keeping your guard up and keeping a tight closed fist. Start with straight punches and as you get comfortable, add hook punches (which curve toward the bag). Do this for a two minute round.
- Do nothing but kick and knee the bag. Like you did with punches and elbows, spend a two minute round warming up your kicks. Start with the low round house kicks to the lower end of the bag. This helps condition the shins. Stay upright and pivot on the ball of the supporting foot. Take your time and practice kicking with both legs. As you get closer to the bag, add a few knees which come straight up the middle. Your knee pads soften the impact. Mix up kicks and knees while alternating the legs.
- Mix up the strikes. After getting comfortable with the strikes, now do a three minute round doing everything you practiced. Mix it up. Use punches and kicks, as well as knees and elbows when you are in close. The goal is now to use your variety of strikes.
- Spend three rounds having someone push the bag at you. While you use your footwork, step around it and evade it so that it simulates an opponent’s movement. This helps you react to the bag’s movement visually as well as to time your strikes against a moving opponent. Use all your strikes in this round also.
As you can see this bag is invaluable not only to hone the skills of the practitioner, but also to condition the body for the punishing requirements of a Muay Thai bout.