Mook Yan Jong: Use and Abuse
Since it's Wing Chun month, I have some questions about the Wooden Dummy. Specifically, about the intended/traditional/authentic use of the dummy in those CMA styles which incorporate it, because based on my limited observations this seems to be an area where a lot of bullshido crops up.
This isn't about the value of the wooden dummy as a training method/device vs. alive training, teaching d34dly moves, etc., but I'm interested in exactly what the intention of the training is in the relevant styles. My interest was raised a few months back when someone posted (or quoted) someone who said that the dummy was used for conditioning, and I remember Tom Kagan replying that such is not the purpose. Some friends of mine attended a seminar where another attendee bragged about how hard he hit the dummy while practicing on it- yes, LOL, etc., and once again I heard a discussion about how it's purpose is not for conditioning.
However, there seem to be many out there that hold to this -apparently- questionable position, typically on the usual suspect forums ie.
The purpose of using the dummy is for conditioning. You see if you work out on a bag or wavemaster thats great, but you only work on stamina, with using the dummy you get a better conditioned work out. The pupose of hiting the wood is for preparing your arms for real blocks.You should do it, Youlll have stronger arms in no time.
I have a wing chun dummy and use it all the time. I use mine to toughen the forearms/shins.
and advertisements as well:
The wooden dummy is also used as a conditioning device to supplement the sand bag for training short range punches, palms, chops and kicks.
So, objective value of appropriate dummy training aside, why do so many seem to think it's for conditioning? If someone says that's its "intended purpose", can we assume they don't know WTF they're talking about in the context of the respective CMA style? All of which ties into the question of what exactly its intended purpose is.
My understanding is that the wing chun dummy is to make sure your positions are correct. There are different wooden dummies in different styles, and, as I recall, the wooden dummy in Choi Lay fut is for conditioning and arm toughening. I once saw a mok gar dummy that was basically a huge piece of bamboo in the middle of concrete that you practiced kicks on. IT was from the old "new martial hero magazine" that was from hong kong in the 70's, and was actually translated into English and sold at your finer liquor stores in Richmond CA.
We do very light arm conditioning on the jong before learning any of the actual form, but that's about it; we're never taught to smash into the thing. It's more about transferring energy into it; as opposed to the loud clattering or the arms you are trying to move the main body of the dummy.
We use it as a tool in reference to proper distance and structure (position).
Tom may recognize the quote "The jong is like a typewriter".
Last edited by Lendo; 9/05/2007 9:53pm at .
In (my understanding of) wing chun, it is used for proper arm & leg positioning, footwork, and connecting the feet to the hands. Conditioning of the arms or legs is not a purpose of the dummy...but rather a natural result similar to conditioning the feet is a natural result of walking long distances.
Similarly, the tri-podial isn't meant to condition the legs, but if you kick poles long enough, your legs will get tougher.
Agree with the wooden dummy usage is not for conditioning.
I was taught it was used for positional understanding, leading to power generation.
Step off centreline, deflect his centerline so you are angled to a side giving you more access with less defense.
In choy li fut, the jong is used to develop various techniques, but it is also geared towards conditioning. Choy li fut uses lots of long strikes and blocks, so the strategy is often to use blocks to smash or drag the opponent's blocking limbs or guards offline so you can smash them with another tool (this is not the only strategy, but it comes up a lot). Conditioning is a defininte plus with this strategy, and we're encouraged to lay into it with hands and forearms. The ching jong dummy (which is probably the closest one to the chun one- there's lots of CLF dummies) has a high arm that moves up and down by means of a big spring or a weight behind the dummy, and there's various pads positioned around the main base. The dummy also develops positioning in a similar way to the chun one- strikes are thrown while stepping offline to either side. It also seems to help in developing the correct energy to block hard and still stick to the limb, but I can't explain how or if this is true (it just seems to be true in my experience). What I dislike is that I'm the only person I ever see at the kwoon working it in a way outside of the form itself. Lately, I use it to practice various entries working underneath an extended strike (for example, from a left lead, I'll check with my right hand and slip right as I throw a left ear slap to the far side of the dummy).
To add to this.
Why would a sensitivity art like WC want to deaden the limbs to condition them? Seems in contrast to developing tactile reflexs. That being said it does impart some tuffing up.
The WC Chong is hard so that you learn to hit and transfer power WITHOUT the brute impact.
As was said it is for refining the angles of the stepps, the coordination of the footwork and hands, for kicking without being rebounded backwards. The WT dummy arms are in loose slots which make different clacking noises based on if you press into the center or to the side. This allows you to "hear" if the forward pressure is on.(note:that would be considered a "secret" in the form, but that is another thread).
The WC dummy also hangs on flexible slats which give a springyness to it. This springyness should effect your relex and teach you about springyness.
An often overlooked aspect is that the top too arms and the middle arm can represent the beginning and ending positions of a move. Example: Apak sau may press the enemys arm down to his stomach, from high to low. Since the dummy arm will not move, you press into it with a pak and it offers resitance. As Southpaw mentioned this forces you to push from the floor up making the pak stronger all around. Then if you turn slightly the pak slipps off and down(along forward energy vector) and pins against the lower arm. This represents a jum sau pin. So the form has many moves the are "suck" representations of others.
A fook on the top arm pressing my actuall be several other arm moves. The arm wont move so you are suck in fook pressing hard. Thsi strengthings the fook, representing a kau, gum, jum, ect...so this can be seen as strength conditioning or resistance training.
"If anything is gained from this, it should be you both wanting to get better so you can make up for how crappy you are now." KidSpatula about the Sirc vs DTT Gong Sau Event
Until the Bulltube is fixed:
DTT vs Sirc
Definitely interesting stuff. So in WC the conditioning is secondary at best to conditioning and structure but in CLF their dummies have more of a conditioning role.
What about doing dummy forms on/with a compliant partner? I've never seen this in person but I have online. Is this a progression or a mistaken attempt at making a two-man form otu of something that is not supposed to be?
Anyone paying $400 - $1100+ for a conditioning/toughening tool is a fucking moron.
Originally Posted by ironlurker
If a CLF or __ng __un dummy were meant for this, then a sadistic friend holding a Louisville Slugger would serve the same purpose.
A dummy is just that: A DUMMY! It's a stand-in for when you don't have a suitable partner up to a given task.
And, a dummy is a rather poor stand-in at that. But, it has its purpose.
Edit: BTW, you took the quote from the MartialArm website out of context. In context, the quote is clear as meaning that 'conditioning/toughening' is a subordinate purpose.
Last edited by Tom Kagan; 9/06/2007 11:31am at .
CDP's write up is exactly my experience of the jong in CLF. I've never used the chun one, can't speak about it...
Originally Posted by CodosDePiedra
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