Human Punching Bag Makes a Living by Letting People Punch Him to Relieve Stress

For the last 11 years, “Turkey’s first and only stress coach” has been making a living by letting people punch him, without ever punching back.

Hasan Riza Gunay started working as a human punching bag in 2010, after finding inspiration in Turkish director Kemal Sunal’s classic movie “Sark Bulbulu” (Eastern Nightingale), in which the protagonist voluntarily allows himself to be beaten. He realized that while some people relieve stress by exercising, meditating or sleeping, other need to let off some steam by screaming, or better yet, hitting someone. So he turned his realization into an unusual business, allowing himself to be punched by strangers, for money. He has been working as a “stress coach” for a decade now and hopes to train others to pick up his role before he becomes too old to take a punch.

“Most of my clients suffer from depression or panic attacks or are overwhelmed because of their daily routines,” Gunay told Turkish news agency Anadolu. “I would like to train other potentially interested people as ‘stress coaches’ and hand over my gloves to the new generation.”

The licensed stress coach has multiple methods of helping clients relieve stress. Most times, all they need is someone to take their anger out on, and he’s more than happy to oblige, but sometimes he has the right condition for his “treatment” to work. He will put on a mask from the printed photo of the person the client is upset with, and encourage them to swear at him and let out all their frustration.


Things can get pretty heated, but Hasan Riza Gunay never takes it personally. He always thinks of his stress-relieving sessions as scenes in a movie, with him and the person hitting him as protagonists. So he never takes offense at being punched or the slurs uttered toward him.

Most of Gunay’s clients are women (about 70 percent) whose strength is equivalent to that of boys 12 to 14 years of age, so he doesn’t really worry about getting hurt. Plus, he almost always puts on protective gear and works out regularly to keep in shape.


The stress coach dedicates about 10 to 15 minutes per session and only accepts up to four clients per day. He also likes to the people interested in his services, because he doesn’t let just anyone punch him. If he doesn’t feel like someone has a good enough reason to be there, or if they’re in it for the fun, he won’t accept. He’s a stress coach, not an entertainer.

Hasan Riza Gunay makes all his clients sign a document stating that he does this voluntarily so that the customer can relieve stress, without the added stress of potential legal consequences, in case of physical injuries.


The Turkish stress coach has his own website, and regularly posts videos on YouTube, in case you want to follow his exploits online.

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