"In conjunction with a set of gloves, a heavy bag is the single most important
piece of martial arts equipment that you can own."
A good heavy bag will enable you to build power and speed in every single striking technique available, while also building your footwork as you chase down/ run away from a swinging bag.
Think about it... what other object can you find that will give you an object to rip into with your fists, that actually mimics the relative weight of a human body.
In addition to building impressive upper body musculature and jaw shattering power, you are FORCED to move with the bag, the whole time while throwing strikes. Now not only are you simulating a human target, you are simulating human movement.
Combine those things with a whole lot of hard work, and you will build gnarly fighting skills, and a hell of an impressive physique. If you do enough heavy bag work, even the strikes that your opponent BLOCKS will scare the crap out of him.
Here are the bags that I recommend
(These links should lead you to the best price available. Scroll down to read about why these choices are the absolute best ones for an aspiring fighter.)
Now HANGING your bag properly is also important...
Bungee cords slowly stretch and break. Chains (without a spring won't absorb shock, so your whole house will shake and it's LOUD. Here are the items you need for a perfect bag hanging:
Here are the things you really need in a heavy bag:
- The bag absolutely must hang from the ceiling. If it just stands in place like the "Wave Master" or that stupid thing that looks like a torso, you don't get to build your footwork, and you end up reinforcing a FAKE idea of what fight movement actually feels like. Then, when you actually need to move around in a fight, you're tired because your legs have no idea how to move yourself around.
- The bag must hang to a few inches above the ground. Many traditional heavy bags only hang to the waste... but that doesn't help you build your LOW KICKS. It takes months of shin conditioning to be able to throw that strike with reckless abandon, heavy bags give you that ability. After years of clubbing on the bottom of a heavy bag, your shins become gristled and hardened weapons of individual destruction. That's what you want.
- Your bag should be shipped STUFFED already. People get confused when they see a great deal on a heavy bag, and they get a shriveled empty sack in the mail. A flaccid heavy bag is depressing. Yes, you can stuff a bag with shredded clothes from a thrift store, but you'll probably never get around to it, and just end up with your shriveled sack sitting in a corner collecting dust. That's no way to build your skills.
- Your bag should be hung properly. A heavy bag attached directly to a joist (ceiling beam) can make it sound like your house is being torn down. These vibrations will make your other family members hate you, and it creates an unpleasant training environment. Plus, it's bad for your house, and it's bad for your bag.