A Wing Chun wooden dummy like in PVC

A low-cost wooden dummy substitute in PVC

As every Kung Fu practitioner knows (especially who study Wing Chun or Jeet Kune Do), the wooden dummy (Muk Yan Jong or Mu Ren Zhuang) is a fantastic and fundamental training tool but in most of the cases is very expensive. It is for this reason that we have loved the idea of a PVC made wooden dummy’s substitute (for beginners)

  • It has a very low cost accessible to everyone
  • It is relatively easy to build

A note by Master Kongling – These kind of training dummies are good for every martial art (from Wing Chun to 6 Dragons Kung Fu, Karate, etc.), so we have decided to write this “review”, to have a “deeper” look at advantages and disadvantages (the original idea was on kungfu2u.com but the website, unfortunately, has disappeared).

PVC version of the wooden dummy: advantages

Advantages:

  • It is good to get familiar with the basic movements (not with the feeling)
  • It is absolutely low-cost (it is impossible to spend less than this)
  • It is waterproof (it can be installed outside of a covered area, for example in a meadow)
  • Easily portable / removable (it can be assembled and disassembled wherever)
  • No need for special skills or technical tools (it is assemblable almost by anyone)
  • It can be replaced / repaired easily (if it is damaged it is not a serious problem)
  • The compositive parts can be found by anyone (in any construction warehouse or with recycled parts)

Not a professional tool: the disadvantages

Disadvantages:

  • It is very light and then slightly unstable (in each of its parts, arms, core structure, etc.)
  • It does not simulate the weight-resistance of a human body (this is why the wooden dummy is made of wood)
  • It is not suitable for those who want to work on weight exchange, the inertia of movements, etc. (for example in Wing Chun, in most cases, the idea is to push away the opponents and not limiting to play with his limbs)
  • It is not suitable for those who are able to hit solid surfaces at high power and want to work on advanced conditioning (read Conditioning check for the impact)
  • It has an extremely limited longevity (the holes tend to rapidly be damaged)

A few ideas to improve this PVC version of the wooden dummy

Let’s see some possible improvements:

  • The lower part should be bigger to have a better stability
  • The lower part must be ballasted with sandbags or stone blocks (at least 60 Kg)
  • The lower tubes and the middle may be partially filled with thick sand (gravel or other filling materials)
  • Holes can be protected / reinforced with hard rubber or elastic glue
  • The holes of the protruding limbs can be closed by felt pads for chairs / tables (a sort of plastic plugs)
  • The protruding limbs should cross the central body not only frontally but even from behind
  • The protruding limbs should be locked by various vertical nails (internal and external) to prevent them from moving too much
  • Some parts may be replaced or reinforced with alternative materials (even if this could mean to possess advanced working skills and / or machines)
  • Legs for chairs or pre-made tables could be used instead of PVC arms

A note by Master Kongling – An advanced practitioner cannot substitute the wooden dummy with this hand-made tool but nothing avoid him to adopt it as an alternative training option for different purposes (read The use of unorthodox methods) or as a portable version (for demonstrations, theoretical explanations, etc.).

In-depth articles

Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you ever used a real wooden dummy? What would you recommend as an improvement?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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