WHY WE MOVED BEYOND THE PUNCHING BAG
Let's start with the biggest problem in the boxing studio: punching bags filled with trash.
Our mission to create an inclusive, science-driven, future of combat athletics, meant that we had to re-think every aspect of the modern day boxing studio experience.
We pulled together some of the brightest minds in Sports Science and Design, and gave them a simple brief: Let's re-engineer every product that is likely to cause injury, and let's transform it into something that people love to train with.
Punching bags haven't changed much since the Ancient Olympics.
A lack of improvement to the structure of conventional punching bags means that they are hard, they cause injury, and thus create a need for expensive punching gloves in order to mitigate pain.
In our mission to create a future where all people felt welcomed into the transformative world of combat athletics, we knew that we had to challenge an industry that's broken at its core design level.
Outdated cultural norms drive the false narrative that punching hard objects makes the fighter stronger.
Yenēsthae understands that this idea holds no scientific merit: evidence suggests that punching hard surfaces causes injury and arthritic repercussions, but has no correlation with power gains, speed or stamina.
While it's true that quality punching bags need to be adequately heavy in order to create resistance (35kg at minimum), failure to innovate means that, after 2,000 years, manufacturers still rely on users to fill their punching bags with trash and sand.
A lack of advancement to the hanging methodology of punching bags, forces manufacturers to choose between either animal leather, or ecologically hazardous PVC vinyls – as sustainable leather options are not yet strong enough to hold weight without tearing.
Boxing-specific alternatives, such as rubber marine buoys filled with water, go some way towards improving pain symptoms: however, they too are limited in their impact absorption capabilities. (They also exclude martial arts that use kicking techiques, such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Tae-Kwon-Do and Karate).
At the heart of this market failure lies an engineering conundrum that has eluded the combat sport industry for decades: "How do we create an impact-absorbing heavy bag that is simultaneously soft and heavy, yet still slim enough to use in a normal setting – and how do we upgrade the surface material without tearing?"
Overcoming these obstacles would necessitate the creation of a completely new product, as every aspect of the punching bag would need to be internally and externally redesigned. This requires significant investment into R&D, and the development of sophisticated in-house manufacturing processes – as incumbent manufacturers currently lack the skills necessary to build and iterate large, complex, soft goods.
The punching bag of the future will need to prioritise user safety over profit – as it's currently more profitable to sell cheap and hard punching bags, and shift the onus onto users to buy expensive boxing gloves in order to protect their hands, thus maintaining the industry's status quo.
A true punching bag of the future will also need to recognise the catastrophic effects of sweatshop manufacture, and have its impacts on the environment and society carefully considered.