5 Common Beginners Mistakes to Avoid When Punching Pads

5 Common Beginners Mistakes to Avoid When Punching Pads | The London Wing Chun Academy

New students to any martial art, especially beginners in Wing Chun should punch focus pads as part of their self defence training. However, there are 5 common mistakes often made by beginners at the London Wing Chun Academy. Here is everything a beginner at our gym needs to know to improve their punching power, accuracy and timing in our classes.

Many Wing Chun students underestimate the importance of pad work drills for their personal training. Yet, pad work training is a key part of any combat sport such as Boxing, Kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In fact, if you visit any MMA or Kickboxing gym you will find lots of students happy punching and kicking focus pads. So why should Wing Chun training be any different?

To help we have put together a simple video that will highlight the most common mistakes made in the class in order to help you improve your pad work techniques. In this video we discuss various ways in which to improve your training on focus pads. However is an outline of the basic tips in the video:


Tip #1 Form a Fist Properly

Whether you are punching a wall bag in the academy or focus pads it is important to protect your fist by squeezing it tightly when impacting the pad or bag. There are many variations of fist formation within the Wing Chun community, some practitioners prefer not to close their fist or hit with a relaxed hand. This is fine when sparring or doing Chi Sao in the class, but we suggest that you form a proper fist when hitting a focus pad or even a wall bag. Remember the purpose of this form of martial arts training is to develop power and weight in your punch. So, squeeze your fist tightly before you punch the focus pad.


Tip #2 Hit through the Focus Pad

Another common mistake that beginners in our Wing Chun classes make is not to punch through the focus pad. Instead many students simply hit at it. Another problem is often over extending or reaching the arm. It is quite a common for beginners in Wing Chun to overreach when punching the pad. This result in the arm being straight when actually hitting the focus pad (please video of for demonstration). Unfortunately this reduces the transference of weight generated when throwing a closed fist. Therefore, you must hit the focus pad with a bent arm to allow the weight to travel through. In doing so, your weight will be transferred to the object that you are punching.


Tip #3 Don’t Scrap You Knuckles down the Pad

For your safety do not scrape your knuckles down the focus pad or a wall bag in the gym. This happens often when Wing Chun students use Chain Punches, the circular nature of this style of punching often leads to students dragging their fists down the pad or bag. The consequences of doing so will cause your knuckles to bleed. As we mentioned in the video, scarred knuckles may look cool to some, but they are impractical and unhygienic for martial arts training. So please take care to not to scrape your knuckles down our bags. Instead, you should punch into the pad to bag and then relax, this will allow your fist to recoil away from the pad, thereby protecting your knuckles.


Tip #4 Focus on the Pads: Physically and Psychologically

Punching pads are often referred to as focus pads for a reason. This equipment encourages a fighter to focus their punch physically at a specific target. Of course, this is important for all form of fighting whether competitive or self defence. However, one mistake often overlooked is the ability to link your mind with the intention of actually punching an object. The mind body link is vital for martial arts training, even Wing Chun. So look at the focus pad when hitting it. Better yet have some intention to hit the pad when you through the punch. This will make all the difference in self defence applications.


Tip #5 Co Ordinate the Major Joints to Develop Power

Lastly, and probably the most important of them all, you must coordinate your body in order to punch hard. Many beginners struggle to coordinate their various joints in order to transmit power to the punching pad. Note, punching power is derived from the ability to coordinate the body as one unit. Therefore, you must combine the previous tips with the ability to coordinate the joints to generate punching power. If you do so you will generate a tremendous amount of power in your punch.


In Summary

Pad work training is a staple part of training within a beginners Wing Chun class at the London Wing Chun Academy. However, it is important to get the fundamentals right in order to progress to the intermediate Wing Chun class in our gym. Many of the points discussed will help you, but please follow the video as it will develop your ability to better use your Wing Chun training in class.



The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing ChunSan Shou KickboxingBrazilian Jiu JitsuWC4 Self DefenceYogaFunctional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick BoxingMembership starts from £25 per month. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>


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