theMALC

On Your Own - Part 3

By Mark Brosten
Published on Jan 31st, 2011

A training tool that is available almost everywhere is the heavy bag. They come in different sizes weights and styles. A bag can be purchased from a store or homemade by tightly rolling up an old futon mattress and duct taping it in place. Other bags can be made using a burlap sack or an old military duffel bag filled with rags, foam padding, sawdust, etc. I have found that it is a good idea to mix the filler and layer it, to prevent settling. Having the bottom become as solid as a rock and the top as soft as a pillow makes it hard to train and easy to injure yourself. I highly recommend using wraps and or gloves to protect your hands.

If you have shop capabilities a great heavy bag can be made by welding or bolting one end of a truck spring to a tire rim. On the opposite end of the spring bolt or weld a base plate to attach a post. Attach a four inch fence post to the plate using two large lag wood screws. The post is wrapped with whatever padding you choose. I like foam held in place by a piece of tractor inner tube making the diameter of the bag about eighteen inches and the height about four feet. This makes the total height, post included, about six feet. A great way to get feedback is to wrap the bag in bubble wrap, so it pops when you hit it. To make the bag more stable when striking, the rim can be filed with cement. You could bury the rim in the yard, if you do this, use a taller post. For indoor stability, try bolting a sheet of plywood to under side of the tire rim or try welding legs to the rim. This bag is very versatile in that arms and legs can be attached to it, making it more dynamic. The truck spring allows the bag to move, creating a more challenging training tool than a swinging or stationary bag.

Training full speed and full power without a bag can be harmful to the joints and bones. A great element of bag training is that you can hit it as hard as you want. The tendency is to do too much too soon. Remember as Mr. Parker said, “Flow first, power later.” I recommend starting with light contact and working up to full power. Give your body and muscles some time to adapt to the training.

So how do you want to use the bag in training?

  1. Stance work while striking
  2. Principles of Self Defense
  3. Vocabulary of Motion
  4. Closing distance
  5. Foot work drills

Here are some exercises that you might find useful.

  1. From a right fighting stance starting with your right hand next to your right ear, launch in with a step drag and a right inward hammer 2) As you settle into a right forward stance strike with a left reverse punch 3) right front cross out and switch stances. Now you are in a position to work the left side.
  2. From a right fighting stance starting with your right hand on your left shoulder launch in with a step drag and right outward back knuckle. 2) As you settle into a right forward stance strike with a left reverse punch 3) right front cross out and switch stances. Now you are in a position to work the left side.
  3. From a right fighting stance starting with your right hand in a guard position, launch in with a step drag and a right jab. 2) As you settle into a right forward stance strike with a left reverse punch 3) right front cross out and switch stances. Now you are in a position to work the left side.

Using Upper Body Motion only

Start from a horse stance to limit the use of your lower body motion. Start by striking the bag with a right inward hammer and continue through to your left hip. 2) Strike with a left reverse punch.3) from your left hip and with your right hand strike using a whipping back knuckle following through to your right hip. 4) Strike with a left reverse punch. 5) From your right hip strike with a right reverse punch and lift back to your hammering start position.

Coordinating Upper and Lower Body.

1) Starting from a right fighting stance, strike the bag with a right inward hammer and continue through to your left hip. 2) As you strike with a left reverse punch transition to a right forward stance. 3) Strike using a back knuckle from your left hip with your right hand and follow through to your right hip as you whip the back knuckle return to a right fighting stance. 4) Strike with a left reverse punch and transition to a right forward stance. 5) From your right hip strike with a right uppercut punch returning to a right fighting stance and back to the starting position or switch stances. Now you are in a position to work the left side.

Evolutions of this idea

  • Try using different foot maneuvers instead of in place stance transitions
  • Change the step drag maneuver to a pull drag kick
  • Try using upper and lower case motion.

    UPPER CASE MOVEMENT --- This term refers to the analogy that movements, like the letters of the alphabet, can have UPPER (CAPITAL LETTERS) and LOWER (small letter) CASES. UPPER CASE movements are defined as movements that originate from the more distal (further from the body’s core) part of the weapon.

    LOWER CASE MOVEMENT --- This term refers to the analogy that movements, like the letters of the alphabet, can have UPPER (CAPITAL LETTERS) and LOWER (small letter) CASES. LOWER CASE movements are defined as movements that originate from the more proximal (closer to the body’s core) part of the weapon.

  • Explore controlling distance with various stances and foot maneuvers.
  • Train emphasizing certain Principles like posture, anchoring, dimensional stages of action, etc.
  • Use covers, switches and twists to connect the right side to the left and make the drill one exercise.

Employ ideas like: 1) the Equation Formula 2) Body Fulcrums 3) Relaxation


Filed under Techniques and Tutorials

Author Bio :: Mark Brosten

Mark Brosten began his Martial Arts teaching career as an associate instructor in Missoula, Montana. After Serving with the Military Police in Kuwait and Iraq during the first Gulf War, he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to continue his training. Mark was promoted to 1st Degree Black Belt by a Board of Examiners for the International Kenpo Karate Association. While in New Orleans, Mr. Brosten continued teaching, working with a diverse group of students from artists and architects to law enforcement and military personnel. Mark also developed a summer program for children, ages 4 to 5, for the Isadore Newman School in New Orleans.

An exceptional athlete, Mark is committed to training and competition. He competes in Martial Arts events throughout the United States and has placed within the top three, each time he's competed internationally. Since his return to Montana, Mark regularly teaches seminars at various martial art studios. Mr. Brosten successfully tested for advanced Black Belt rank in October of 2007. In 2008, Mark taught his first international seminar at The World Kenpo Karate Championships in Jersey, Channel Islands U.K. His practical experience and no nonsense approach to Kenpo have served him as a student, competitor, and teacher for nearly 25 years.

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