A reactive PVC wooden dummy

A cheap hand-made training dummy

In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we use various kinds of training dummies (made of wood, metal, fabric, etc.): each of them has different peculiarities and workout goals (read for example 6DKF’s speed training with the wooden dummy).

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

The one we want to describe in this article is vaguely similar to the classic Muk Yan Jong (or Mu Ren Zhuang) of Wing Chun (but also of Jeet Kune Do, of Choy Li Fut, etc.) and it is called “6 Dragons Kung Fu’s Reactive Dummy”.

A reactive dummy

Let’s see some of this effective training tool main features:

  • It is very cheap – It is composed entirely of recovery material (metal, PVC pipes, wood, etc.)
  • It is reactive – It has the remarkable advantage of having mobile arms able to elastically respond to our stresses (in a way not entirely predictable)
  • It is (relatively) robust – Although it is not done to be hit at full power it is relatively stable and durable
  • It absorbs the blows and can rotate – It absorbs the bumps by slightly vibrating (it is rather heavy and it can also rotate on its Y-axis)
  • It can be easily replaced / fixed up – In the remote case of breaking, it is always possible to build another or to replace a single part

A note by Master Kongling – About the predictability, it all depends on our focus. As for many other kinds of training tools, if we work with the idea of learning a scheme and repeat it, we are only wasting our time; if instead, we practice with the idea of emptying our mind and searching for difficulty and variety, even a simple cylinder can become a source of infinite possibilities. It all depends on the perspective we choose.

What is this dummy’s purpose?

The practice with this tool is extremely varied and the idea is not to try to replace the original wooden dummy (read The Wing Chun dummy); the 6 Dragons Kung Fu Reactive Dummy has been developed to allow the practitioner to:

  • Develop tactile feel of opponent’s arms – They can be pulled, moved, hit (etc., read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light)
  • Increase the functional speed of the lower and especially upper limbs – The speed of this dummy automatically “adjusts” to ours (as for example, for the hanging speedball training, read Basic tools: the Hanging Speedball)
  • Increase spatial intelligence – In terms of close combat, it can affine the precision with which we grab, touch, etc. (read The most important skill in combat)
  • Increase coordination – It forces us to work with the left and the right side of our body simultaneously and in a combined way (read Learning to have coordination: the cyclical concentration)
  • Use both upper and lower limbs – We can work with arms and legs simultaneously (eg. we can train lower kicks and at the same time,  manage arms contact)
  • Simulate “live” interactions – Depending on the distance that we choose to maintain from it, we could also have to manage its “counterattacking limbs” in dynamic motion (the speed is specular, the faster we attack, the faster we have to defend, read also Speed and quickness)
  • Learn to find spaces and times to attack – We can train our minds to find the timing and discover the spaces / openings necessary for sequential and / or synchronous attack / defense
  • Begin middle-level conditioning – Without covering protections (on its body and arms), we can strengthen our knuckles, elbows, wrists, feet, etc. (read Conditioning check for the impact)

A note by Master Kongling – I had a lot of satisfaction training with this dummy, especially working on timing, sequences of dynamic control and trapping (read Trapping [MINI-GUIDE]). The only delicate part (that I have substituted by a metal one), is the central limb (that simulates legs and/or a third arm). I am using it since 2014 and it is still in good condition.

Final notes

A few notations and tips:

  • The structure does not need glue or bolts, it can be built by anyone, (it does not require special skills, the only difficult part is to find the arms)
  • Although it can be used wearing gloves and with additional protections, it is not suitable for a beginner
  • This is an experimental model in evolution; the central leg is weak and should be improved, replaced or removed
  • In no case, a training dummy can replace a human partner (they are made only to work on specific details of martial preparation, read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons)
  • In conclusion, it must be stressed that, even if this is a fantastic training tool and it can certainly integrate the 5 fundamental technical practices of our school, it absolutely cannot replace them (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)

In the next article of this series, we will see how to build this reactive dummy with the assembly guide, then we will see the other training dummies of 6 Dragons Kung Fu (read All the training dummies).

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  • Have you ever thought about building your own training dummy?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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