Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wing Chun Wooden Dummy

Legend has it that in the Shaolin Temple there was a tunnel filled with 108 wooden dummies in order for the monks to complete their training they had to pass through this tunnel. Each one of these dummies performed a certain technique, which the "graduate" monks had to neutralize on their way out of the temple.

When the Shaolin Temple was destroyed, Ng Mui, the creator of Wing Chun Kung Fu, escaped and she incorporated a training set using a single Wooden Dummy into her new fighting style. The Wing Chun Wooden Dummy Set contains 108 combat techniques, each one supposedly to represent the 108 dummies that were in the Shaolin Temple.

Whether or not these legends are true we cannot say for certain however in Wing Chun Kung Fu the Wooden Dummy set is an excellent way to develop your positioning and your techniques. It is important to remember though that the wooden dummy cannot develop your feel and contact sensitivity which need to be developed in order to fully appreciate how the Wing Chun system works, this is done through Chi Sau.

You can practice and develop all of the Wing Chun techniques on the wooden dummy as well as working on your footwork in order to understand the correct distances at which each technique is most effective.

There are basically two kinds of wooden dummy: fixed and floating. The floating one is preferable as this enables you to strike it and have the dummy "give" so that it does not transfer all of the rebound energy back into your striking arm/leg.

Also I recommend that you use a wooden dummy where the upper arms are at the same height so that you can practice the same techniques from both a left and right lead stance.

by Glenn Hodgkinson


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