Wooden Dummy Techniques of WingTsun Kung-fu

The wooden dummy (Muk-Yan Chong) is one of the features of WingTsun™ kung – fu that has made the art famous.  Bruce Lee was a famous user of the wooden dummy as a training tool.  It was again featured in the recent “Ip Man” movies.

The wooden dummy training has been applied in different ways according to the interpretations of the individual trainee and Wing Tsun, Wing Chun or Ving Tsun lineage.  Some want to use it to build strength and toughness in the forearms and legs.  Some use it in the context of a martial art other than that of Yip Man.

In the Leung Ting WingTsun® system, the 116 Wooden Dummy techniques are taught in the later part of the 2nd Level Technician stage and lasting throughout the 3rd Level to 5th Level Technician stage.  Along with the wooden dummy movements, the applications of those movements are taught, as is the case with everything we do in Leung Ting WingTsun®.  Most instructors, including our school, teach a few drills on the dummy earlier on to correct certain problems with a student’s technique or to build certain attributes.

Wooden dummies were supposed to have been used by the ancient Shaolin monks.  Specifically the legend goes that they were a part of the 108 Shaolin Wooden Men Hall.  The hall was supposed to have been a testing area where monks graduating the training were to defend themselves against mechanized dummy that would fly out of the walls or be otherwise triggered by the steps of the trainee as he (or she) walked down the hall!

Other martial arts such as Praying Mantis, Choy Lee Fut and Hung Gar use a different design, all of which were supposed to have been derived from Shaolin Monastery traditions.  We say “supposed-to-have- been” because there is only verbal traditions and very little solid evidence.

In Leung Ting WingTsun®, the wooden dummy training represents the culmination of the previous training.  It represents the coming together of aspects of the previous three forms performed against a solid object to build distance, timing and positioning all without a live partner. It does not replace a live partner but it does offer some things a live partner mostly will not and one of those is, the willingness to stand there while you hit with full power if desired!

The Leung Ting WingTsun way is to use technical skill in practicing the dummy.  To build technical skill, one does not emphasize power but rather finesse. Power is a natural consequence of hitting a heavy wooden object for long periods on a regular basis.  One learns to transmit power out of one’s limbs without affecting your body’s WingTsun structure.  If you don’t transmit power, the inertia of the solid object will cause your limbs to hurt.  In other words, a hand that hits a stack of bricks will be injured if one does not break that stack of bricks!

A full treatment of the wooden dummy techniques can be had by reading the book 116 Wooden Dummy Techniques by Dr. Leung Ting.

©Copyright Keith Sonnenberg.  All rights reserved.

Theory of the origins of wooden dummies is contained in these books …

Part 1

Part 2