5 wooden dummy drills / exercises ideal for beginners

A first approach with the Wing Chun wooden dummy

In this article, we want to describe 5 easy and safe exercises / drills for beginners (but not only).

Important premises:

A note by Master Kongling – Do not waste money uselessly. At the beginning you do not need to buy a real wooden dummy, you can even build your own PVC version (read A Wing Chun wooden dummy like in PVC) or use a bench, a stool, a chair (etc.). It is not important the perfect disposition of the limbs, the important thing is to learn to manage them not as obstacles but as fighting opportunities.

The exercises

1. Touch the elements

This exercise is made to familiarize with the opponent’s interactions:

  • To familiarize with the wooden dummy we can start simply touching its limbs with open palms
  • Let’s position us in a guard stance in front of it (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)
  • Let’s simply touch with the hands its core parts
  • Our right hand touches the internal part of the upper right wooden arm
  • Let’s return in the guard position
  • While the right turns back, the left hand touches the internal part of the upper left wooden arm
  • Let’s return in the guard position
  • While the left turns back, the right hand touches the internal part of the upper right wooden arm
  • Instead of going back to the guard position, the right hand go down and touches the lower wooden arm
  • While the right goes down, the left hand touches the internal part of the upper left wooden arm
  • Then (symmetrically) the hand that is down, goes up and the one that is up, goes down
  • Let’s return in the guard position and let’s restart the loop

2. Slip on the limbs

This exercise is made to gain fluidity for the liquid interactions (read The 6DKF’s Liquid and Fluid Contacts). The explanation may appear very complex but in its execution, this practice is absolutely intuitive:

  • Let’s position us in a guard stance in front of the wooden dummy
  • The left hand touches the internal part of the left arm of the dummy
  • The same hand slips on the lower wooden arm
  • At the same time the back of the right hand touches the internal part of the left arm of the dummy
  • Then the back of the left hand goes up and touches the internal part of the right arm of the dummy
  • At the same time the right hand slips on the lower wooden arm
  • Then the left hand slips on the right wooden arm and become a fist
  • The fist hits the “head” of the wooden dummy (the part above the upper arms of the central trunk)
  • Then the left hand touches the left wooden arm
  • Immediately the left hand slips on the lower arm and at the same time the back of the right arm touches the left wooden arm
  • At this point, the right hand becomes a fist and hits the head of the dummy
  • The right hand goes down to the lower arm and at the same time the back of the left hand touches the right wooden arm
  • Then the left hand becomes a fist and the loop continues (it is a circular motion)
  • In this drill our limbs should be in a liquid state (relaxed but active, read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light)
  • The entire movement is managed by the back-and-forth motion of our shoulders
  • Let’s do not forget to execute the drill also in the opposite direction

3. Leg control with a heel kick

This exercise is born to work on legs’ precision:

  • Let’s position us in a guard stance in front of the wooden dummy
  • Our right foot touches the left surface of the wooden leg (the nearest)
  • Without leaning the foot on the ground, the same leg touches the right surface of the wooden leg (the opposite one)
  • Always without leaning on the ground, the same leg kicks on the central trunk of the dummy (at the height of the knee)
  • Each movement should be a loading for the subsequent one
  • Let’s return in the guard position
  • Then let’s symmetrically execute the same sequence with the right leg
  • Let’s return in the guard position and let’s restart the loop

4. Leg control with an instep kick

As for exercise number 3, this one is focused on legs’ precision:

  • The same of exercise 2 but with a small difference
  • The left foot touches first the right surface of the wooden leg
  • The kick is with the instep

5. Upper and lower limbs combination

This exercise is made for coordination:

  • Once we are able to execute the exercises from 1 to 4 without problems we simply have to mix one of the first 2 with the number 3 or 4
  • As in a real combat, we have to simultaneously work with upper and lower limbs

A note by Master Kongling – These are only exercises studied to condition fluidity, speed, resistance, instinct, coordination (etc.): in no cases, they should be seen as practical techniques.

General execution rules

  • When the hand touches the wooden limbs, it must be ready to grab or to move (read How to acquire the Soft Touch skill)
  • All the movements must be performed in sync with our body balance, let’s involve our entire body structure in each motion
  • Let’s move our knees and feet accordingly to the needs, let’s do not stand still in front of the wooden dummy
  • All of this kind of drills / exercises should be performed for (at least) for 10 minutes
  • We can do specific sessions of each of them or we can divide the amount of time dedicated executing altogether (eg. 2 minutes each)

Variations

  • Within the sequences, we can gradually insert random variations (thrusts, displacements, strokes, grips, pauses, locks, etc.)
  • While our ability increase we can add more speed and strength to the movements but without sacrificing fluidity and effectiveness

In the next article of this series, we will see more exercises.

In-depth articles

Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Do you feel pain executing these exercises?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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