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When a student has something to hit proper technique disappears. Punches are cocked, heels come off the floor, arms flail, etc. To avoid these and other bad bag habits, avoid the following problems.
- Exaggerating movements in an attempt to hit harder. Always concentrate on "clean" and proper techniques when training. Strike a bag with the same perfect form used when performing a pattern. Exaggerated, sloppy movements do not make you to hit harder, but they do increase the chances for injury. When you focus exclusively on hitting hard, you forget everything else. Just hit properly and the power will take care of itself.
- Telegraphing techniques. Telegraphing is presenting obvious preparatory signals prior to a kick, strike, or movement that inform the opponent of your intentions, such as cocking your fist before throwing a punch or dropping your guard before your kick. Because the heavy bag does not fight back, it is easy to forget the importance of being able to hit your opponent without signaling your intentions. Do not move anything that is no involved in an attack, unless you intend it as a distracting movement.
- Dropping guard. Since the heavy bag is an unresponsive target that does not fight back, it is easy to develop bad habits that may carry over to sparring or fighting. Keep your hands up and protect yourself at all times. Move into range, hit the bag, and then move out again. Imagine the bag is a living opponent attempting to hit you.
- Pushing instead of hitting. A common mistake when hitting a bag is to follow through too deeply and push, rather than hit, the bag. A punch or kick accelerates, generating speed and power, from the time you initiate it until it is fully extended, so you should strike the bag at a point near full extension. Penetrate the bag no more than two or three inches. If your technique were to miss the bag, you should be able to recover quickly and attack again without losing your guard or stability. If the bag swings wildly, you are pushing it. If you kick it, there will be a popping sound and the bag will tremble. If you push a technique and it misses the bag, you may hyper extend a joint and injury it.