Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Amaizing Bag

Today I’m going to teach you about how to use a piece of boxing equipment that has all but been forgotten by most western style fighters.

Back in the day this piece of equipment was used before the heavy bag, and was thought to be the number one tool to train with.

Bare knuckle fighters swore by it, as it would routinely create savage strikers who could take you out with either hand.

Have I got your attention yet? Good, then it means you’re interested in this information.

Hopefully it will become a part of your training and not be discarded on the junk pile of history.

With this one single piece of boxing equipment you will be able to develop:

· Timing
· Range
· Punching
· Footwork
· Body Movement
· Head Movement
· Distancing
· Pivots
· Blocks
· Bobbing and Weaving
· Slips

And condition your fists for impact and accuracy.

If you’re training for self protection purposes then this is the right tool for you, it will turn you into a very dangerous street fighter.

The Maize Bag
And that powerful piece of boxing equipment was called the “Maize Bag”.

Some today call it the “slip bag”, but if you think that’s all it’s good for, then you’re making a terrible mistake.

This one misconception is what made it almost disappear from the fight game in the first place.

More than any other boxer, when you think of the maize or slip bag you picture Mike Tyson using it to develop his head movement.

It made him a very elusive and dangerous fighter, but this is just one aspect of the maize bag.

How to Make a Maize Bag
To make a maize bag simply use an old large leather speed bag and fill it with corn, beans or sand.

If you don’t have a speed bag get yourself a canvas coin bag, the kind the banks use to transfer coins in.

If you ask politely your bank teller may give you the used ones for free.

Then all you need to do is fill a zip-lock freezer bag with sand and seal it with duct tape and slip it into another zip-lock bag seal it with duct tape then slip it into the canvas coin bag.

The bag will weigh about 15lbs. which is all you will need, but you can fill it with beans or corn instead which will have more give than the sand.

You can also use an old Swiss ball by cutting it in half and putting about 15 to 16 pounds of sand in it, then gather it up and use two to three plastic wire ties to zip tie it, then use duct tape to keep the excess material wrapped together.

You’ll be able to make two maize bags with one Swiss ball.

Next take your maize bag and hang it by some nylon cord so that it hangs no lower than the level of your chin.

Try to hang it from a high ceiling, the higher it is the more it will swing, just make sure that it hangs at about chin height.

How to Use the Maize Bag
Okay, now you’re ready to use your maize bag, but how do you use it? Good question.

Start by swinging the bag and avoid getting hit by it using footwork to get out of the way of the swinging bag.

You or your training partner can push the bag to keep it swinging as you train your footwork, just make sure to stay as close to the bag as you can.

In a real fight if you move too far from your opponents strike you may get set up for a knock out shot, also you won’t be able to counter his strikes as you’ll be too far away.

Practice your shuffle steps, lateral steps, pivots, drop steps or body shifts as you avoid the maize bag.

Bob and weave, slip left and right, duck and parry the bag as you move around.

Do this for a few rounds to develop your footwork and body movement.

We call this dancing with the bag.

Blocks and Shrugs
Next add your blocks, shrugs and deflections to your movements.

And finally start punching it, elbowing it, using your forearms, palm heel strikes, hammer fists and even try head butting and shoulder butting the bag.

All the while making sure you are moving around as you strike, block and avoid the maize bag.

You will find in a few training sessions that your footwork and movement will improve dramatically, not to mention your striking ability.

If you strike the bag bare fisted, which I recommend, you will find that the best way to strike it is with a vertical or diagonal fist.

No hooks or horizontal punches they don’t work to well bareknuckled and can cause serious damage to your hands in a street fight.

Better to use arc punches instead of hooks, striking with the back knuckles of the fist.

Striking the maize bag barefisted will teach you what wearing wraps and gloves wont, and that is which punches work best and are safest for your hands to strike with.

So start using this valuable piece of boxing equipment and you’ll be a-maize-d at how well it teaches you to become a dangerous fighter, whether in the street or in the ring.

Hit and move with purpose using the maize bag, you’ll be glad you did.

Daniel Sambrano


  1. so then I guess its best to not even train the horizontal punch? From what I have been able to tell learning to punch in general my not be the most useful street figting and the other tools of muythai along with some old burmese boxing skills should also be thrown inn. forearm hits and elbows are probably safer and more useful.

  2. Nice article big fella,
    Now I gotta convince my other half to let me disect her swiss ball, lol

    Bradley Vincent

  3. A few years ago I made some very similar bags using 2-liter plastic soda bottles, water, a little foam wrap and duct tape. Get some ¼-3/4 inch foam (a camping mat works great) and wrap it in strips around the soda bottle. Tape the hell out of it with duct tape. Drill a hole in the cap big enough for a piece of thin rope to pass through. On the inside of the cap, thread a washer onto the rope, snug against the cap, then knot it off a few times. Fill bottle with water, put the cap on the bottle and hang it at head height. Use it exactly as you describe the Maize bag, with the added bonus that this is a very solid target to hit. It ends up being roughly 4-5 pounds of water, which does not compress when struck. The harder you hit it, the harder the impact on the fist. Since the surface is round, poorly aligned strikes will roll off and make the bag wobble, whereas a solid strike will drive it straight back in the direction of the strike. The footwork, timing and mobility this provides are excellent. Get 3-4 on a grid and develop peripheral tracking and expanding the attention span. Here's a low-quality example of a grid system of the bottle-bags:

  4. what size exercise ball did you use?

  5. Cotton string bag, hygienic sand/brand new cat litter (for martial artists), plastic bag, duct tape/electrical tape, somewhere to hang the bag safely (like the exact same place you hang your punch bag). Next? Get creative, train, get those hands hard for self-defense and make sure you have fun... I already did 30-45 minutes this evening. Thank you for planting the seed, I love this DIY Sh**!!

    P.S. Don't forget to try cold showers. Check out the university studies. If you are faced with anger in any way, cold showers will shut down your nerves and you'll be singing like a star within seconds. Start warm/cool/hot/cool... then get very hot and very cold.