The wing chun martial arts wooden dummy, is a great training tool, We will be looking at the wooden dummy which is used in Chinese martial arts. Most popular in wing chun and is an integral part of the wing chun system, having a specific form and is used for drills and solo training, Used to enhance your fighting skills.
The Wooden Dummy
Usually made from Fir, Beech, Pine, Ash or Oak can be made of hard wood or soft, hard wood is normally more expensive but is more durable and is less affected by the environment like hot, cold, humidity etc, I would recommend using the dummy inside. The units that are glued together have been known to split, those units are usually cheaper. Good units are the ones where the main body of the unit is one piece. They come in different sizes and this will depend on the person using the dummy, Some dummies can be adjusted for the height of the user, this will involve slight dismantling of the unit. Once the wooden dummy is made sanded including legs and arms, then sanded and tung oil applied giving the martial arts wooden dummy and great finish.
There are 3 main types of martial arts wooden dummy and the best one for you depends on the room you have to install the dummy please see below
- Wall frame wooden dummy ( This unit is secure to a wall and fitted onto a wooden frame allowing the unit slight movement horizontally). Ideal in martial arts clubs or in a garage if you have one with available space.
- Base wooden dummy (those units are stand alone units with weighted base to prevent the unit falling in normal conditions and while training on the unit. This unit is ideal for house or flat in a room can fit into a corner if needed or used for demonstration purposes due to the mobile nature.)
- Classic this unit is also fitted to a frame but, the frame has legs and allow the unit to move slight horizontally while training. Ideal for larger areas like clubs, garages
- Flat board wooden dummy (This is basically the arms training parts fixed to a flat board which is fitted to a wall (I have never used this but is the cheapest option and may be a starter dummy for someone on a budget and lack of space) the disadvantage is there is no leg section to kick.
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Those are the main types and some variations with bases and frame designs.
As mentioned above the wooden dummy is not only used in wing chun but other Chinese martial arts used wooden dummies and they are slightly different designs for the specific art.
JKD wooden dummy
Hung gar/ Mantis
What you gain training on a wooden dummy
They are ideal for solo training as long as you have acquired the skill necessary to train on your own, enabling you to improve you hand techniques and footwork. You improve distance and hand position and due impact there will be a great deal of conditioning to your arms.
Helps you find your positions and be able and comfortable transitioning from one position to another attacking. Feeling the center line and directing your attacks to this area. Using and developing efficiency with the moves performed, keeping energy pathways clear and redirecting force or pressure from your opponent, you’re learning how to move around pressure. Improving stick as you would do in chi sau.
Hand and leg co ordination, helping you use hands and legs together and not individual weapons.
Body structure is improved along with footwork as you start to move around the wooden dummy in this process you will learn angles to put you into a more advantageous position.
The dummy is not for hitting banging, you learn to get your power from the ground once your learn the correct positions.
What training can you do on the wing chun wooden dummy
Basic wing chun shapes changing from one shape to another, is great practice even for a beginner but ensure you are in the correct stances work on those stances and moving around the dummy. This will give you a good foundation for future progression with regard to the wooden dummy.
Moving onto connecting those shapes together in slow changing but flowing movements
Combinations/ drills, this can be 2 – 4 movement (more if you prefer) that you can practice over and over perfecting the moves and techniques, Those combinations can become second nature if practiced enough due to muscle memory.
Freestyle training on the wooden dummy, try to pull out shapes and moves from you past training, don’t be too technical just try to have the movements flowing in short bursts, no thinking. This is great practice for developing your reaction speed.
Wing Chun Wooden Dummy Form (Muk Yan Jong) 116 moves This is the summit for anyone training on a wing chun wooden dummy and is only taught to senior students in most wing chun schools as student has to learn the 1st, 2nd and 3rd forms first and be of a skill level ready to learn the wooden dummy. This form was parts of the original wing chun systems all those years ago and there are slight differences between schools but you can get the original Yip Man form on DVD. This form has many wing chun concepts including from forms 1st and 2nd, Ideal for solo training and practice.
As with most martial arts forms plenty of practice, searching for perfection a long journey with no end, but continuous learning along the way.
A Final word
Martial arts wooden dummy training is great, there are a number of options available for you to purchase your own wooden dummy even if you are on a budget, As a wing chun practitioner its great for all the reasons mentioned above. Just ensure you get the right dummy for you and hopefully the information above will be of help.
”Do not fight with the strength, absorb it and it flows, use it.”
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