Posted By Matthew

How to Turn a BOB Bag into a Makiwara

One of the most classic training implements of karate is the makiwara. The makiwara seems simple enough on the surface – a piece of wood stuck into the ground which karateka punch over and over again. However, the value and application of makiwara training is hidden away within that simplicity.

funakoshi gichin makiwara

The actual construction of makiwara devices is surprisingly diverse (and easy to get wrong, believe it or not). Instructors have been finding ways to hang, post, and secure striking surfaces into their dojo(s) for generations. That being said, there are some ground rules that can separate a good makiwara from a bad one. A good makiwara must have the ability to flex with the strike, ideally in a manner that increases resistance the more force the striker puts into it (hence the value of a wooden post secured to the ground). A good makiwara must also have a striking surface that challenges the practitioner but also helps keep him/her safe (ie: no broken glass ala Kickboxer).

As such, smart makiwara construction avoids punching things on walls and punching surfaces that are too hard.

Adding Makiwara Capabilities to a BOB Bag

With the above guidelines in mind, I was able to convert my BOB bag into a mobile, functional Makiwara that did not sacrifice any of the original functionality of the BOB Bag.

To learn how I did it, watch the following video:

As I mention in the video, this is not a perfect replica of what makiwara training provides, especially in the sense of increased resistance. Nevertheless, the convenience of it has helped me integrate more consistent impact training than ever before.

For quick reference, the items I used are as follows: a compressed cardboard hard cover book, duct tape, rough canvas cloth, two T-shirts, and a BOB bag (optional sub-outs include hard wood instead of a book and a potentially added mousepad).