The SMAI Kung Fu / Wing Chun Dummy features a spinning base that allows functional training and conditioning. Mounted onto a 40 cm diameter metal plate with ball bearings to ensure smooth swivel motions at a full 360 degree rotation. For extra durability three sections of wood are combined to make the centre pole.
The SMAI Kung Fu Dummy is a freestanding wooden dummy and must be mounted to the floor for stability.
- Material: solid Rosewood
- Metal plate base diameter: 40 cm
- Centre pole diameter: 21 cm
- Height: 1.62 m
Types of Wooden Training Dummies for Kung Fu and Wing Chun
There are several different types of wooden dummies including:
- Freestanding Wing Chun/Kung Fu Dummy
- Compact Wall-Mounted Wing Chun/Kung Fu Dummy
- Wing Chun/Kung Fu Dummy with Recoil Stand
Freestanding Wing Chun/Kung Fu dummy
Ideal for training spaces where you don't want to, or can't, mount your dummy to the wall and particularly useful if you're training at home or in an apartment. The freestanding dummy also has the additionally benefit of reducing the transfer of noise and vibrations that would normally carry through walls into your neighbours apartment.
On the other hand, cheaper freestanding dummies may not have appropriate mounting and may therefore lose some of the stability that a wall-mounted unit has so ensure that you use a heavy dummy with adequate floor mounting. This is a particular point to consider when shopping based on price, as cheaper dummies are often made from lighter, weaker materials that could reduce the effectiveness of your training.
Compact Wall-Mounted Dummy
Featuring a more compact design then the traditional Wall-mounted Kung Fu dummy, the Compact dummy provides efficient space-saving, while maintaining the stability of a wall mount. The wall mount keeps the dummy securely in place while the back bars allow the dummy to be adjusted for different users specific needs.
There are some disadvantages of this design however. The wall on which the unit is mounted must be strong enough to withstand constant use and force. Additionally, vibrations and noise will travel through the dummy, into the wall and potentially disturb anyone that shares the wall with you, such as in apartments or neighbouring business spaces.
Dummy with Recoil Stand
What sets this dummy apart is its ability to recoil and react to contact. It will always recoil to the centre position after being released. What this means is that the deflection of the arms when blocked gives energy back toward the student in a similar manner to someone defending themselves against an actual strike.
This allows the student to develop quicker reflexes because the dummy “hits back”, allowing the student to take their training to another level. While other types of wooden dummies are stationary, the specially designed recoil stand absorbs energy and pushes back against it. What this does is create a better feeling of what real-life contact would be like.
Benefits of Training with a Wing Chun Dummy
The wooden Kung Fu/Wing Chun dummy is one of the most widely used solo martial arts training devices available, and for good reason. Let’s face it, it can’t always be easy to find a training partner who is ready and available to help by sticking their arms out while you practice your Kung Fu or Wing Chun techniques.
The 'arms' of a Wing Chun dummy are designed to represent obstacles, or energetic pathways around which you can practice your moves, and against which you can practice channelling your energy. Additionally, training on the Kung Fu dummy helps improve your power structure against bigger, stronger opponents. When you make contact with the dummy, you are given immediate feedback of energy which influences your structure. This way, the Wing Chun dummy helps practitioners avoid using force against force. It also helps develop balance, accuracy, timing, mobility and positioning.
How to Train with a Kung Fu Dummy
The Wing Chun wooden dummy is a very specific training tool. Traditional Wing Chun training provides specific time-tested ways on how to train. The wooden dummy form is practised to ensure precise techniques are trained in a definitive order. This form is then divided up into 8-10 sections (subsets) depending upon the lineage.
First, learn the first section of the wooden dummy form. After that, there are numerous other dummy training videos on YouTube that give you important training tips for learning how to train on the wooden dummy.
Common Kung Fu Dummy Training Mistakes
Using the Kung Fu dummy to condition the arms:
The first mistake that many beginners will make is banging on the dummy. While conditioning will naturally occur while training on the dummy, that’s not the true purpose. The purpose of wooden dummy training is positioning and footwork.
Chasing the “hands” of the Kung Fu dummy:
A main principle in Wing Chun is “chasing the centre”, meaning that there are no blocks. Wing Chun teaches to make the most of every second and angle and generally try to always keep the arms heading towards the target. Wing Chun teaches simultaneous attack and defence, meaning that the practitioner should always be attacking.
Many students hit the dummy as if they are trying to knock away the dummy’s “hands”, which is also called “chasing hands”. Wing Chun hands should move into the target in nearly ever dummy action, always being mindful of where the energy is going.
Looking down at your hands and feet:
In Wing Chun this is a problem because the art gains its power through structure. Structure is created by cultivating a relationship of limbs to one another and the rest of the body. It is important that the spine remains straight and head is up and looking at the target. Looking down breaks structure and causes the practitioner to lose power. By making the body a unit with correct posture and structure, you can harness power from the ground. Your power goes where you look.