Wooden Dummy Training
This video features a demonstration of the second Wing Chun Kung-Fu wooden dummy form set and several possible wooden dummy applications as taught at the ResilienceMT Wing Chun school in South Melbourne. The wooden dummy technique applications in this video are modern day practical interpretations of the wooden dummy form. While remaining true to Wing Chun principles and technique concepts, they are informed by an extensive experience of western boxing, competing in full contact Muay Thai, and over a decade of working security in bars and nightclubs.
The purpose of wooden dummy form
The muk jong, or wooden dummy form, is an integral part of the Wing Chun training syllabus. A common misconception is that wooden dummy training is primarily a tool used to condition the forearms. This assumption is incorrect. Although wooden dummy training does provide some measure of conditioning, this is by no means its primary purpose. The wooden dummy form is a subtle and highly efficient training method that develops speed, timing, flow, and footwork. Mastery of the wooden dummy form and its applications is not easy, and beginners often struggle with it initially due to its complexity and abstract nature. It requires dedication, focus, and consistent practice to master.
Principles of effective wooden dummy training
The wooden dummy represents the epitome of an immovable opponent of superior strength. When faced with such an opponent, fighting force with force is always counterproductive. Hence, one of Wing Chun’s central principles is to ‘not fight force with force.’ The wooden dummy form teaches the student how to apply this principle practically.
A common mistake that many students make is to equate the concept of ‘not fighting force with force’ with ‘having no force of your own’. ‘Not fighting force with force’ does not mean that you cannot employ force of your own. Instead, it means that one must avoid directly contesting the greater force of a more powerful opponent.
The crucial factor in understanding this principle is that it is the quality and nature of the force that you are generating that is important. The force generated by a Wing Chun practitioner should be soft, flexible, pliant and relaxed, without reliance on hard, rigid muscular contraction. The student must learn to relax, yield and flow around the wooden dummy in a smooth, coordinated manner. One of Bruce Lee’s famous catchphrases was the articulation of the Taoist principle to ‘be like water’. This metaphor is particularly apt for wooden dummy training in that is describes the ideal that one should aim for: be formless, flow around any barrier and conform to any shape. Therefore, you will be able to adapt to the constantly changing and unpredictable nature of combat.