By Tom Olson
Heavy Bag Safety
At Authentic White Tiger Kung Fu there is an awesome opportunity to train with authentic and highly effective training devices. One of these is the heavy bag. The heavy bag used for training are quite heavy and contain a rather hefty about of rock sand. They aid in training the body to impact heavy objects, build ginn, and assist with its flow in major ways. The health and martial benefits that come from these bags are immense and would require a completely different article to list.
As stated these bags are heavy and as such present some interesting safety situations and considerations when training with them. First and foremost, trying to lift one of these bags by your self is a risk in its self. These bags require specific methods for maintenance, and none of them require a person to pick one up either off of the floor or from the chain. When trying to lift one, it is essential that their be three to four people just to assist with the lift. If you are asked to assist, please confer with a senior student who is experienced with the process before you even begin.
When training with the bag its self, it is imperative that you begin your training slowly and not even touching the bag. As the training progresses and a student becomes more comfortable and skilled with striking, they then can increase the speed and impact power on the bag. Its quite common for someone who is new to the school to view the bag as a “punching bag” that contemporary western boxers or mixed martial arts fighters use and they would be wrong. And while more experienced students might be striking away at the bag with great power, they all began training the same way, slow and easy.
Another safety tip to keep in mind about the bag is to take your time, and strike it squarely. While you will receive lots of instruction on how to best make a fist, how to hold the fist, and the proper way to strike the bag, all the while remember to strike it so the fist hits solid and is not sliding. Often this is caused by being in a hurry, and not timing the spinal compression and decompression with the punch. The upward or downward motion causes the fist to slightly slide upward or downward. The skin then tears slightly. If you notice this, please make sure you point this out to your Sifu, or a senior student. Once the skin is torn, no more impact can be made with the bag until the skin is healed completely.
Finally, when practicing with the bag, ensure that you are utilizing Dit Dar Jow copiously. Apply it before, during, and after practicing, ensuring that you are rubbing it in properly and slowly. If you have any questions about the proper application of Dit Dar Jow, or if you have not been instructed how to do so, please make sure you ask your Sifu or a senior student.
Following these tips and paying attention to your Sifu when training with the heavy bag will keep you from having to miss training time or being injured. Being safe will keep you training and enjoying yourself through out it. And it only makes sense to keep safety first!