He thumped one hand into the other with the striking targets. It was a wordless cue for the simple striking combo the guys were drilling.
Thump-thump. Jab-Cross. Move. Repeat.
My husband Nate teaches students that come to him the most effective ways to stand, how to move properly, how to breathe, and how to punch things. He’s a striking coach, among other things.
People come to train with Nate because they want to get in better shape and because they want a healthy outlet for their stress.
Striking class is like yoga with attitude. They are both similar unions of movement and breath, but striking is more dynamic, and also more training partner-oriented. And the pace is faster and stronger. It’s a great workout for the modern era.
Punching Things is Oddly Satisfying
It’s a little crazy the first time you wrap your hands, put on mitts, and go through striking drills with a coach or a partner. You start to realize what a full-body movement a proper punch becomes with refinement. You start to learn the movements, the timing, the count.
Hitting targets doesn’t have to be about being all macho. The goal is to be able to run through a drill with a series of different punches, and lightly move the target in the right direction with a properly placed and supported punch. Then do it over and over again. You’ll be amazed at how much you have to use your hips and your ribs.
When you finish a striking workout, you’ll feel this warm glow all through your core. And you don’t have to go all out. You can pace yourself and still see major benefits.
Punching Things Teaches You Subtle Things About Yourself
Do a striking workout. It can be shadowboxing, with no mitts and no targets. Just an imaginary series of strikes on targets. Video yourself doing it. Then suspend judgment of your mostly untrained and yet to be great boxing skills, and watch yourself as you progress through the motions.
The way you move will teach you things about the way you think, act, and make love. Watch your lover punch things. It will make you giggle.
Are you slightly hesitant, but use lots of force both to move and to stop moving? Are you sibilant in your movements, slithering in and out of strikes with a fluid kind of motion? Are you wound tightly? Are you stiff at the end of the motion? Do you look like you’re well-connected to the ground? Do you come back to your core easily, or do you struggle with balance? Do your hands look strong? Do you protect your head?
Punching Things Teaches You Stuff
Like footwork, breathwork, self-control, endurance, patience, self-discipline, and core strength.
As you learn to breathe, move, stay centered, and develop the muscle memory for the repertoire of punches, you can learn to move better overall. And the better you move, the more satisfying the workouts.
This means that as you increase your skill with the striking training, you increase your skill as a human being. If you let the training truly change you, it’s pretty cool.
Punching things is a good way to build your self-confidence, build your core strength and engagement, and build your wind — your ability to maintain some cardio while still adulting. Writing this post is making me want to go train right now!
So Get Better at Punching Things
Refine your style to learn how to be a better human.
We live in a world where overthinking is the norm. Sometimes it’s really good just to let the body lead us into a state of greater relaxation.
So next time you sigh with relief at a chance to rest and veg out, pay attention.
You could do the regular — partake of your favorite thing, pick up a controller, turn on the internet or the television, and dive into the world of your head to relax. Finally!
Or you could make the choice to search out a striking workout and spend 30 minutes punching at the air, building character, and hopefully breaking a sweat. You know which one is better for you. What’s stopping you? What’s stopping me? Dammit. That’s a whole other essay.
Ok — I’m going to punch some things today. Bet.