Tag Archives: punching bag

How to Make a Makiwara!

To make a makiwara…

you need a shovel
a board
and some rope.

You use the shovel to dig a hole
maybe four feet deep.
At the bottom of the hole you put a big rock,
and you slide the board in next to the rock.
This will brace the board
so the hole doesn’t widen while you punch.

The board should be,
as I recall,
about eight feet long,
and it should be a two by four.
The top half should be cut slantwise,
so that the top is maybe one inch,
and half way down,
at the four foot mark,
the board should be intact,
the regular two inches.

cutting the board this way will enable it to bend.
You don’t want something that doesn’t bend,
it’s just too tough on the knuckles,
and doesn’t build your strength properly.

You fill in the hole with dirt,
at the top of the hole
you place a big rock,
on the other side of the makiwara
than the one at the bottom.
will brace the board.

You don’t want to just cement it in.
That is just too unforgiving.
if you want to replace it,
nobody wants to dig up a big chunk of cement.

at the top of the board
you wrap the rope.
I have heard that some people
will put a pad of some sort
under the rope,
they will wrap the pad and board together.
Not a bad idea.

The thing to remember about this,
is that rope is tough on the knucks,
so you might want to look around
and find something
that will not cut the knucks
or rough them up too badly.

I know a lot of people think
that good karate conditioning
is broken knuckles.
That just damages the hands,
and makes punching harder.
Take it slow,
don’t try to damage your knuckles,
just try to improve your punching power.

I said I haven’t practiced on a makiwara,
that’s true.
I’ve hit just about everything else in the world,
short of an elephant
and your granny’s bloomers.

I’ve struck
suspended balls,
large and small,
and that was fun.

When I began,
I tacked a couple of rug samples
to a giant redwood tree,
that was very fun.

Made my own kicking bags,
and there is a fascinating article,
if I do say so myself,
called ‘The Bag from Hell.’
Google it,
see if you can find it.
It’s a VERY good article.

one of my favorites,
hitting tires.
It’s fun to just hang them and whack them.
It’s better to cut a section out
and tack it to a tree
and hit the bulge.
Tires are good.

there are LOTS of other things.
what is extra fun,
they aren’t expensive!
I have nothing against buying a kicking bag,
or maybe the bozo bob thing
with the water base
and all that,
I’m frugal.
So I make my own,
and the thing I try to think about
when making these things
is this:

Does the thing feel like a human body?

Better to just practice on a human body,
of course,
but you tend to run out of students.

But that’s the skinny on making yourself a makiwara,
or whatever.
Just remember,
the rules I list here are not cut in stone.
try different length of boards,
different thickness,
different wraps,
even different stones in the pit.
Come up with something good,
let me know.
I’m always looking for something good to hit!

you guys and gals
have a most delicious work out,
and don’t forget to go to…


If you’re going to be hitting something,
you better know the truth about
what a punch really is.


zen martial arts