We have all seen the offers and videos to sell a martial arts dummy or give away martial arts dummy instruction. There are many versions of martial arts dummies on the market. Some of these altered versions of the original ancient devices may have some benefit to a user if the user is realistic enough to know that this small device is not going to turn them into a master of martial arts overnight. The Chinese martial arts dummy has seen alterations from the original wooden construction to plastic, composites and even metal.

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Rest assured, for all you students and other practitioners in your martial arts training at home, you may use equipment or you may do without it. Equipment can be a great help. However, the particular martial arts style or system will have a lot to do with equipment and what kind, if any. Some styles do not believe in using a mirror, for example.

In part one, back in June, we wrote about equipment. This time we will go through the mental aspects of training.

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Pre-arranged Techniques

It has become common to see videos on the internet showing a series of self defense moves and then the maker of the video claiming that these are the best ways to counter ‘these attacks’ or these ‘ring fighting’ techniques.

In fact, the unfortunate trend in martial arts training has been examining specific techniques for validity versus some theoretical idea of how a street fighter or criminal attacker or ring fighter might attack instead of understanding concepts. For many, many years, martial arts instructors have stated that one cannot learn martial arts from a video and yet here we have a whole generation of internet video fans attempting to do just that.

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One can enter into martial arts training and learn a series of movements only, or one can enter into training and understand what those movements mean beyond function and structure. If you are lucky enough to be in a martial art that has a traceable lineage and a story behind its creation, even better. The history of a martial art is often the clue as to whether the movements have a practical benefit. All martial arts are not created equal.

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In ancient times there never was such a thing as martial art clothing as you might expect. Style-specific martial art clothing only came into fashion when karate was made a sport in the early 20th century in Japan.

In today’s martial arts world, it is expected that one will have to purchase a uniform when joining a club or school. This makes it great because you will not have to sweat in your office clothes or risk getting those clothes damaged.

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Best Self Defense Martial Art

One perspective is that the best self defense martial art is probably the one you are taking right now. This is because if you are currently learning something that bills itself as a self defense martial art and if you stop now and start over to learn a new set of reflexes it delays your ultimate goal of gaining self-defense skill. Self-defense is more than a set of techniques that you drill over and over. It is an attitude that you should be able to turn on and turn off and use instantly if the need arises.

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Martial Arts Training Dummy

One of the most interesting pieces of training equipment in the martial arts is the martial arts training dummy. It almost seems like an obvious training device but there were few such training dummies in existence in the 1960s and 70s when I started in the martial arts!

Along came Bruce Lee and his modified Wing Chun wooden dummy with the metal leg and the rush was on. Numerous manufactures tried making similar devices. Some were just a set of arms coming out of a mounted plate on the wall. Others were full dummies. Read more

Martial Arts Training at Home

Most of the better martial arts instructors have or are recommending martial arts training at home to supplement what the student gets in the training hall. If martial arts students attend a one-hour class twice per week, they get two hours per week of instruction on how to move, how to coordinate body and mind, technical tips and so on. However, the total training time is less than optimal for cardiovascular health according to experts in the medical and fitness fields and should be added to one’s regimen at home.

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Practicing in the Park

Rick and Frank practice at Papago Park, Tempe, AZ in prep for the techniques in the article in the July/August issue of Kung Fu Tai Chi magazine. You can order it here: www.martialartsmart.com .
The article is entitled “Flexible Wing Tsun.”


The Brain on Wing Tsun

The brain on Wing Tsun is about creating ‘muscle memory’ and is therefore a true mind-body exercise.The traumatic brain injury of Arizona U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in 2011 caused by a bullet to the head  highlighted some of the medical knowledge advances born out of soldier injuries during the two wars our country has recently been through. Rehabilitation from brain injuries apparently involves repeated movements that cause the human brain to create new areas that can take over for damaged ones to perform old tasks. According to CBS news, the soldier-patients undergoing the rehabilitation called progress “challenging.” The fact that it is challenging doesn’t take away the fact of their remarkable progress.

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