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So I work ridiculous hours that prevent me from going regularly to take martial arts lessons. That said, I've always been very interested in them, and when I was younger I did take some Judo lessons.

I really want to learn some more practical arts, but at the same time I find myself so fascinated with all the various forms of martial arts and I can't seem to pick one.

Anyways, the point of the question is I want to start practicing at home, since I don't have the time (and my work hours are inconsistent, so I can't even commit to a set time every week to take a lesson). I am thinking I should get a heavy punching bag, to practice kicking and punching to at least get started in training. I was wondering what kind of bag I should be buying? There are so many options, and as a beginner I don't know what I need. If it helps, I want to also learn how to use a sword, which might mean I should get some sort of staff to practice hitting the punching bag?

Other stuff that might help: I'm 5'11", more of my height is in my legs, and the ceiling is 105 inches above the floor. I also live in an apartment, so the quieter the better, but that said it's a pretty sound-proof apartment so it's hard to hear (I can play fairly loud music without any complaints) through the walls.

Irrelevant stuff: I realize the benefit of training with an instructor and I intend to look around my area to see the different places I could go take lessons. I will find out which ones have flexible hours, and which martial art styles I actually am interested in learning, and will likely start taking lessons as well. But this type of training at home I can do every day, and start to build the muscles, skills, and toughness I will need to succeed. Also, feel free to point in me the right direction for some online learning or proper at-home training techniques.

  • Why do you think you should start with a punching bag? – mattm Jun 29 '15 at 17:26
  • It seemed like a good way to train more specifically toward what I want outside of just physically working out (push-ups, sit-ups, weight training, etc.) which I already do. Plus it seems like a great way to relieve stress. Would you recommend something different? – Kurosawa Jun 29 '15 at 17:29
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I have a couple suggestions for you on this issue:

  1. If you plan on using this for punches, kicks, knees, elbows, and possibly sword work I would suggest getting something like a kendo stick to do the sword work. Kendo Stick on Amazon This will help minimize any damage to the bag that would be caused by a bo staff or a dull sword but still give you the feel of doing sword work.

  2. You say you live in an apartment so I'm willing to bet they wouldn't be too keen on you hanging something from the rafters. My suggestion would be to get a bag stand, Bag Stand on Amazon and then obviously a bag to go with it Everlast Heavy Bag on Amazon. The problem with a bag stand is you don't get the full swing like you would with it mounted to a ceiling joist, but it's better than nothing at all.

My final suggestion is if you're not stuck on one particular art I would suggest going to an MMA gym - though obiously they won't have any sword work. They're usually open from 6am until 9 or 10pm and almost always have someone in there with a modicum of experience willing to help even if they aren't a trainer.

Hope this helped, good luck

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    The apartment units are privately owned, and my landlord is super cool. I don't think it'd be a huge issue, I also live on the top floor. Would it really be that big of a deal to hang a heavy bag from the ceiling? I say this out of inexperience, not out of argumentation or anything of that nature. – Kurosawa Jun 29 '15 at 17:21
  • Most apartments would throw a fit because it's putting holes in the ceiling for the anchor points, but I say check with your landlord first and if they're cool with it then I say go for it. Save yourself the $100 for the bag stand, make sure you have plenty of room for the swinging of the bag, and anchor it to the ceiling. – Matt Lerner Jun 29 '15 at 17:52
  • Are the holes massive? Putting holes in the walls/ceiling was fine to mount TV's or Projectors. Is this going to be much different? Do I have to worry that the 100lb bag will rip something down from the ceiling? – Kurosawa Jun 29 '15 at 17:55
  • Here is a step by step on how to install it. healthyliving.azcentral.com/… Basically it depends on what kind of mount you're using for the ceiling and if you need to reinforce the beam at all – Matt Lerner Jun 29 '15 at 17:59
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    Marked your answer as accepted since you've been so helpful and it more or less covers everything. I really appreciate your extra help. Ultimately, I probably won't get a heavy bag for my apartment. The risk doesn't seem worth it, I will try and find a gym or somewhere nearby that I can stop at after or before work. I really like the 35-lb punching bag idea, only I don't want to have to permanently wedge a pull-up bar between my door frames. – Kurosawa Jun 29 '15 at 19:39
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If you can find a gym (commercial or otherwise) that opens 24/7 or near to, then that's going to be a better option for using an actual punchbag.

Otherwise, I would recommend getting a bob; http://amzn.com/B003QOHSLQ or similar standing thing. it's good for distancing too.

I would recommend you getting some tuition to teach you how to safely punch. I would recommend boxing for this. Stick to a few basic punches and then just practice over and over on your Bob. When you've put around 20 hours of training in. Go back and get adjusted by an instructor, go away and do another 20 hours and repeat this cycle. It isn't as good as getting in person tuition but I think it will keep a focus there instead of just wacking a punch bag occasionally.

20 hours is based on the idea that you can 'learn' something with focused practice in about 20 hours; https://youtu.be/5MgBikgcWnY

Finally, if it hurts. Stop. You are doing it wrong. It's better to get the technique right softly and slowly and build up to powerful punching, than to rip your knuckles apart on day one (learn how to do hand wraps and get some bag gloves too if you are going to do a lot of repetitive punching).

Hope that makes sense.

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