How to Punch a Heavy Bag without Hurting Your Hand

Punching a heavy bag with poor form could lead to injury, so in this video Kickboxing Coach Vince Salvador gives some pointers on how to avoid hurting your hand while hitting the bag.


Coach Vince Salvador:
Coach Vince from The Arena, this is my striking tip of the week.

When you throw a punch, you got to turn the punch over and land with the two knuckles on this side, on the front part of your hand, so you don’t hurt your hand. When you hit the bag, the impact should be at the end of the punch, turned over, keeps your shoulder up. That shoulder will protect you on that side and you will get hit in the face.

Also, it’s good to hit the bag at least once a week, bare knuckle, just so you learn how to punch and not hurt your hands and that’s going to help you in the long run.

The Basics of Holding Focus Mitts for Boxing

Focus mitts are a great tool to develop accuracy and proper mechanics in boxing, but if used wrong, they can also develop poor and just plain wrong habits. In this video striking Coach Charles Martinez teaches how to properly use them, as well as how not to.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hello, this is coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and this is your tip of the week. This week we’re going to be discussing the use of focus mitts. Now focus mitts have lots of benefits. They could also have lots of detriments depending on how you use them. Focus mitts are designed for accuracy. You can build proper body mechanics, proper responses, proper condition responses to strikes, but they’re often done badly. First and foremost, mitts should never be this far apart. This is just two people standing near each other you’re trying to hit. So when I hold focus mitts for a person, the first mitt stays out, second mitt staggers back, so they can touch with the first one, rotate with the second one. So this reinforces the proper range, proper mechanics. So if he just throws one, two, and I stagger the mitts this way, he’s forced to rotate to reach the second mitt.

What you commonly see is this. I don’t know why I’m hitting so hard, but very common. Also, it shortens his right hand, and teaches him the wrong range. It makes him flare his elbow out. Doesn’t let them rotate his body to extension. So very common mistake. Open and hit. Wrong. So if I stagger, I still want to give resistance so he gets the satisfaction of hitting into the target instead of getting jammed, but I want him to make sure he rotates. And then all the complex combinations you see on pads are just a combination of simple things put together. So I let him throw the one, two. I let him have success. I make him rotate. Then I check them. I make him get his body weight back. I made him bring his hand right back to his face. One, two. I don’t do it every time, because before he gets used to it.

And then we start to pick up speed. There’s a big difference between one, two, one, two, and one, two. See? If I start to travel, then he has to start traveling. So one here, right in range. That means he was able to hit his opponent without ever having to cover any distance. That’s fine if we’re working the mechanics of rotating the hips from one punch to the other. The reality is, most people move when you’re trying to strike at them. So this is great for learning the mechanics or the punches, but occasionally you’re going to have to give them one, two, and they’re going to have to give them, so that they learn when they need to travel their feet to get to the target. But first, you should be reinforcing proper mechanics. One, two. Then proper mechanics, and forcing them back to their fighting stance. Then you can start stacking the combinations to make them better. Like one, two, slip. Good. One, two, slip, two. Good. One, two, slip, two. Add a hook. Again. Add a slip. All right, easy. That’s your tip of the week.

Commonly Used Counter Punches in Boxing

Understanding when to throw counter punches and which punches to use is extremely important in Boxing. Coach Joe Vargas goes over some of the most common counter punches used and explains when and how to use them.


Coach Joe Vargas:
I’m Joe Vargas, one of the head coaches here at The Arena. We’re going to be working today on the counter punching. First counter is the left hook counter. I come with an overhand right or a straight right, then he counters with the hook.

The other one is if I throw a left hook, he throws a right hand straight. A lot of us want to throw a left hook when we get left hooked, but my hand’s up. The only thing that makes sense is the straight right hand. Boom, boom. There you go.

Left body shot is a right uppercut from him. Boom, boom. Why? Because when I come here, simulate it, my hand is open. On the same thing on this other side. Boom, boom. I come here. It’s there.

Left hook on top. There you go. Right hand on top. Good, don’t reach. I’ll do it again. So body, good. No faster than that. Use your legs. Plant your legs. So, that’s the counter punches. And that’s your tip of the week.

How to Land Mid Range Body Shots in Boxing

In Boxing you can attack from short range, mid range or long range. In this tip Coach Joe Vargas talks about attacking from mid range, specifically to land shots to the body.


Coach Joe Vargas:
What’s up guys? My name is Joe Vargas. Today’s tip of the day is going to be how to attack the body, short range, mid range. For the most part, when boxers work distance, they work distance with range. This would be my short range, mid range, and long range. Today, I’m here to tell you when you attack the body with a straight jab or a right hand to the body, you want to attack, this is high range, mid range and low range.

The point of this drill is to attack from a mid range. I’m going to attack Mr. Londa without telegraphing what I want to do. If I start from here and I jam here and I dip, he could catch me with a straight left or a jab to my face. But if I come from the mid range and just shoot, I’m already there. I want to end up at a mid range, lower range as I’m attacking the body. This is a bad move. Because I’m up high. But if I’m mid range… That’s your tip of the day.

How to Use and Throw a Jab in Boxing

The jab is the most basic and important punch you can throw in Boxing. In this video, Coach Joe Vargas shows not only how to throw your jab, but also how to bring it back properly.


Coach Joe Vargas:
My name is Joe Vargas. I’m a coach here at The Arena. Today we’re going to be talking about the jab. The jab is one of the most important punches in boxing. It creates distance and it helps you with your timing. A lot of guys throw the jab, they don’t bring it back properly, comes out wrong. Today we’re going to work. Put it out there, bring it right back for the counter punch. Put it out there, bring it right back for the counter. It kind of looks kind of like this and right back. That’s your tip of the day today.


The Importance of Boxing Feints

In this Tip of the Week video, The Arena Boxing Coach Joe Vargas shows how and why to use feints in boxing.


Coach Joe Vargas:

My name’s Joe Vargas. I’m a boxing coach here at The Arena. Helping me today is Adam Chartois, a boxer out of The Arena. Also from Sweden. We’re going to be showing the benefits of using the feint. So most boxers, when you’re standing, you feint and then you jab. So he’s going to feint, and then he’s going to catch me. The point of that is to make them bite and then counter them, and that’s your tip of the day today.

Boxing Uppercuts for Speed and Power

In this Boxing Tip of the Week, Coach Joe Vargas breaks down to different uppercuts. One comes from your gun holster level and used for power. The other comes from your armpit level and is used for speed.


Coach Joe Vargas:
My name is Joe Vargas, I’m one of the head boxing coaches at The Arena. Today we’re going to be discussing, for the tip of the week, the uppercut. The uppercut is thrown from two different angles for me, two different levels. One is the gun holster and one is the armpit. When you’re being attacked, you’d bring it from the gun holster up, up. Yeah, they’re closing the gap, they’re closing the quarters. So what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to generate the most power that you can in a short distance. That’s why that uppercut comes from the holster. You’ve created momentum from a short stance. When you’re pressuring, you throw it from the armpit. That’s a quick uppercut, quick uppercut. Doesn’t matter what stance you do it from. The armpit uppercut is just to create speed to set up your right hand or your left hook behind it. It’s a quick punch. The holster uppercut is to create more momentum in a short distance, so you’re dropping your hand and picking up that momentum. That’s what separates both shots. One is speed and one is designed with power. That’s your tip of the week.

Student Learns How to Box After Getting Bullied in High School

After getting bullied in school, Tim decided to join The Arena Boxing Program to learn to defend himself. Hear what he has to say about his experience at the gym training under Coach Joe Vargas.


Tim D.:

My name is Tim. I’ve been training here for about six months. Started training here cause I just wanted to defend myself. That’s just inspired by where I grew up in high school just getting bullied. It’s kind of been tough for me so I just came here. I signed up and been training here ever since. First impressions, I came in, it was really packed. There was a lot of people just training and working hard, getting a sweat in. Then saw some dude just hitting the bag really hard. I was like, “Whoa, it’s for real here.” Joe is a great coach. He’s one of the top coaches here in San Diego. He teaches you the fundamentals. I eased right in. They start you with fundamentals, and then they ease you into different combinations. On Friday, you come here to spar. You get to apply all those fundamentals and he’s there to coach you through it. I met a ton of people here, a bunch of friends. Everyone’s really inviting and friendly. They give you advice, too, when you’re training. They take it easy on you so it can progress you slowly until you get real good.

Shifting Stances to Create Better Striking Angles

In this video Coach Vince Salvador shows how to shift your fight stance to create better angles to strike your opponent. These techniques can be used in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA.


Coach Vince Salvador:
What’s going on. I’m Coach Vince from The Arena. Today we’re going to work on a striking tip that you could use in kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai, boxing, whatever, any kind of striking art that involves using angles to achieve better positioning.



So last week we worked on stepping to the outside using different, the same punches from two different stances to get advantages in angles. We’re doing the same thing. But what we’re going to do today is switch in between so that we’re shifting into this other position and into the other stance from orthodox. So when we’re inside this range, close range, I like to call it a boxing range, kickboxing range. We’re in close. I’m throwing my hook. Last week, we moved over to this side, the weak side, today we’re going to go towards the right side.


I’m shooting my hook to this corner here. My feet are going to shift again like I did the last time. Instead of stepping forward, I’m stepping backwards this time so his hands are up. I’m stepping backward, getting my foot offline. He’s probably going to fire the right hand. I’m shifting off this corner and throwing my hook as I step across the center line.


So one more time. I’m using this advantage to throw to this side. Now I’m on this side. I can throw the cross over the top. I’m a south paw now, so it’s a better advantage from for me. Plus I don’t get hit because he’s already fired his best weapon.


So again, the same thing. We’re inside. I can do it off of a combination maybe and shift. And now I’m in this corner. I can fire here, I can attack the body. If this is an MMA fight, I can take him down. Muay Thai could get a better angle for elbows and stuff like that. But if I’m using it in combination, I shift, I can elbow over the top. Use this in MMA, boxing, kickboxing, doesn’t matter. Good way to get to that angle. It’s a safe way to get to that angle. Thank you.

2 Ways to Switch Your Stance in Boxing or Kickboxing

2 ways to change stances in boxing and kickboxing video

2 Ways to Switch Your Stance in Boxing or Kickboxing

In this video Coach Martinez shows you two different techniques to use when changing or shifting your stances in kickboxing or boxing.

Coach Charles breaks it down showing how to adjust your stance first defensively and then offensively so you can keep the edge and the advantage over your opponent.


Jamarr Coleman:

Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Jamarr from The Arena and I’m here with striking coach Charles Martinez. Hey, coach, I have a question. Hey, I was sparring and I got caught in the eye and this guy kept changing stances on me. So can you show me how to shift and change stances?

Coach Charles Martinez:

Sure. That’s actually a two stage problem. Offense, defense, right? So, if we’re just talking about defense, whichever stance we’re standing in, if we’re mixed lead, if you switch your feet, all right, this is the battle. The battle is lead foot versus lead foot. My lead foot on the outside, I’m winning. Your lead foot on the outside, you’re winning. So it’s a matter of creating a better angle by keeping your lead foot on the outside and putting the person… Getting all your good hard tools lined up with me and taking away my hardest strikes. That’s the defensive aspect of it, is keeping yourself in the right position to land.

Offensively, go back to your stance. There’s a couple of different ways to do this here. You throw the one-two, I pull. All right. Easy to chase, but it’s a good time to shift. If you’re going to shift and change your stance, it should be for a reason. Right, so if I throw the one-two and you give me a little space, you create the opportunity to shift. All right? So it just feels like another jab, right? So it feels like jab, cross, jab. But it’s really not. It’s jab, cross, left, straight. Now my right foot is on the outside of your foot. I’m outside of your power zone, and I could throw and put you back in towards my power side. One option, that’s shifting on my advancement with a step all the way through, right?

Another option would be, I’m throwing the one-two and you’re defending the one-two. All right? You’re defending the one-two. Stepping through on the one-two. All right? That’s just a very simple version of it. But a lot of guys, when you throw one-two, they defend away from their face and they pull at their punches, right? So when you advance that way, a lot of times they don’t expect the punch to be there, right? Because they’re used to this straight line. one-two. Hard, fast. Again, again, shift. That’s what you’re looking for is that that moment where there’s supposed to be a punch to defend and it’s just not quite there. All right. Two very, very simple ways to shift. There’s a million of them, but there’s just two simple ways.

Jamarr Coleman:

Okay, thanks coach. Appreciate it. And there you have it. Tip of the week.

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