I saw some practitioners who hang ropes (in different sizes) or sheets from the ceiling down and work with them as if they were boxing bags. Are there any benefits of using ropes or sheets instead of bags? Is the size of the rope/ sheet important? Are there any references for videos or pictures for practicing it?
Practicing striking a rope or sheet differs from striking a bag primarily in the area of resistance. The rope or sheet will give you feedback as to whether you hit it, but will not impede your strike. Some of the advantages are:
- No penalty for missed or badly executed strikes - This is primarily useful in my opinion for practicing kicks, where you're more likely to be thrown off balance, particular initially, if you don't execute the technique accurately. For boxing, this usually only comes into play if you're not properly stacking your wrists in the strike, where a missed strike could lead to a sprain or worse.
- Accuracy - Particularly with a rope, you are dealing with a smaller target area. Practicing striking that smaller area may aid you in accuracy training.
- Cost - Ropes and sheets are cheap and easily replaced. Striking bags are not.
- No resistance - The flipside of there being no resistance to injure you is that you're also not training to strike against resistance, which means that you're more likely to be unabalanced or even injure yourself when striking an actual target or opponent.
- Rope burn/tangle - This is more an issue with kicking again, but striking a rope at high speed risks having it loop around the striking limb, potentially either causing a friction burn as it releases or tripping you up if it catches.
I found great benefits in using the paper and string.
Cheap and easy - Hang paper on a string wedged between ceiling tiles or spotlight fittings. Small thin note cardboard I found to work best. Rope can be trickier, but still very simple to rig up. I had one in my office, stand up have a few hits (after a stressfull phonecall) , sit down calmly.. keeps you on your toes at least ;)
Speed - In terms of speed this is next one up from floor to ceiling ball. This is because it doesn't have bottom support. so to have any chance of a workout using this method and have a few hits in a row, you do need to be super fast as not to make a mess of your target practice.
Accuracy - The best hits seem to be the ones that POP. Literally. You can really tell the difference between a good snappy paper target punch (or kick) and a lousy one: pop vs. push > tangle
Distance. - It's super tricky to get a good pop on a paper target from a long distance. Practicing this will have you catching houseflies mid-flight in no time.
Recovery - keeping covered and recovering properly becomes more important as the entire punch doesn't work if you don't begin and end the punch in the same stance really quickly. Keeping covered also comes into focus, perhaps slipping, parrying etc. while whipping out popping jabs.
Yes it could benefit you a lot in many different ways, as an: athlete or boxer and even your physical fitness will increase. This method allows you to aim the target much more and if you didn't hit the rope, your stamina will increase as your strength goes depleted. And as time goes by, you are more aimed than any of the boxer because the target you were practicing is less than in size so it is difficult to hit.