London Wing Chun Feature: The Benefits of wooden dummy Training
Everyone who trains in Wing Chun at some point in their life wants to become the proud owner of their very own Wing Chun Wooden Dummy (mook yan jong). In addition to explaining the benefits of wooden dummy training, this article will also give you advice on how to build your very own authentic Wing Chun Wooden Dummy!
The wooden dummy is an integral part of the Wing Chun system and provides many benefits to the Wing Chun practitioner:
Perfecting Your Structure
The wooden dummy will let you know if your structure is wrong. If you deliver a punch to the body of the dummy with poor structure, you will receive feedback (in the form of a buckling wrist or elbow).
For this reason, it is always best to begin lightly when you start training with the dummy, and build up to full speed and power over time.
Footwork, Body Positioning and Angles
The wooden dummy allows refinement of a practitioner ’s footwork, body positioning, ranges, and angles. It allows you to internalize the correct distance and range for every technique.
The wooden dummy is always available to train, unlike a human training partner, and the wooden dummy will never complain if you want to work on the same technique 100 times in a row!
Building Power Confidence
The wooden dummy will allow you to build power and confidence in your techniques. It is one thing to practice a move such as a tan da in the air, but it is entirely different when you are encountering resistance.
If you are ever in a combat situation, you want to make sure your body is used to performing techniques against resistance lest your opponent overwhelms and defeats you.
Practice Forms and More
The wooden dummy has its own form that is usually taught after all the other forms, but one of the commonly overlooked aspects of the dummy is that any technique from any of the forms can be performed on it. In addition to that, improvised free sparring with the dummy will help develop fluidity and crisp technique.
Original Yip Man Wing Chun Wooden Dummy Form Footage:
Not All Dummys Are Equal!
Wooden dummies are traditionally made from hardwood, but there are a few design characteristics to be aware of:
The body should be made of wood or PVC pipe and be between 8.5 and 9.5 inches (21.5cm and 24cm) in diameter. Anything outside of this range will not allow the arms to be set at the correct angle.
The body must also be round. Some dummies have flat bodies, which don’t allow strikes to be made from angles.
The limbs must be made out of wood. Some dummies have PVC limbs, but they will bend or break with use. PVC limbs also do not taper, and the upper limbs cannot be set at the same height.
The top arms must be set at, or very close to, the same height. The shanks (the part of the limb that goes through the body) of a dummy’s limbs must be offset to allow the top arms to rest at the same height. This means that even though the shanks pass above/below one another inside the body, because they are offset, the arms still rest at the same height outside of the body. Many commercially available dummies have top arms that differ in height by 2 inches (5cm) or more! This may cause the practitioner to develop imbalances, as he won’t be performing techniques symmetrically.
How To Build Your Own Wing Chun Wooden Dummy
Wooden dummies are notoriously expensive. Commercial prices often start around $700 (approximately £450) and often that price does not even include a stand.
Fortunately, it is possible to build a dummy that conforms 100% to traditional size and proportion, including a stand, for a fraction of the cost to purchase a new one.
London Wing Chun recommends the book, “Guide to Wooden Dummy Construction” which gives complete, step-by-step instruction on:
- How to obtain the materials you need
- Exactly what materials and tools you need
- Exact measurements for each step
- Precise instruction for cutting each hole
- Step-by-step instruction with all parts clearly labeled with many diagrams and color photos
- Possible variation on the dummy design
Please visit http://www.wingchundummy.net for more info or if you have any questions.