Convert “any” type of object into a training dummy

Training everywhere exploiting the environment’s elements

In the 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s workout economy (read 6 Dragons Kung Fu training sessions’ structure), it is very important to alternate the solo and partner training (read 5 effective ways to find a training partner) with the one to perform with a dummy (to hit at full power, to stress specific mechanics, etc., read Training dummies): unfortunately not always we have this opportunity:

  • Because we are far from home (eg. during a trip)
  • Because we have no space to place it (eg. we live in an apartment)
  • Because we cannot afford professional tools (good quality punching bags, wooden dummies, grappling dummies, etc. in certain cases could be very expensive)
  • Because we have no time / instructions to build them (eg. we are not used to DIY)

In this article, we want to share 2 effective methods to solve this problem. The goal is simple: turn every pole, beam, column, pillar, tree or anything else in a training target.

A note by Master Kongling – Although this idea may seem obvious and banal, I rarely see it applied in temporary contexts (sometimes the solution is in front of our eyes and yet we don’t see it). Years ago (on an island), I remember turning a bus stop into a kind of wooden dummy area (after asking permission): it was a lot of fun and the surrounding people were very interested.

The 2 “methods”

Important – These methods are not for a total beginner (they are indicated, at least, for intermediate level practitioners); if we do not have an idea about how to hit and / or dose our strength it is better to avoid this type of exercise (it is very easy to miss the target, hit the wrong way, lose balance, etc.).

These “tips” are useful to those:

Method 1 – Wrapping the object

Even without basic conditioning (hands, feet, knees, etc.), let’s see (in a really trivial way) how to hit a hard surface:

  • Let’s find a cloth (eg. a sweatshirt), an extensive towel (eg. beach towels) or other rags that develop in length (eg. old sheets)
  • Let’s make sure that the fabric is not too thin, too rough or excessively damaged
  • Let’s fall back several times the fabric in the direction that allows reaching the maximum length
  • Let’s wrap multiple layers of fabric around our pillar, maybe at various heights (to simulate head, abdomen, legs, etc.)
  • Let’s put particular attention to the edges and to very uneven surfaces
  • Let’s make a knot on the side that we do not want to hit

Method 2 – Wrapping our hands

An alternative solution (just as easy) is the following:

  • Let’s take some pieces of fabric a bit ‘smaller / thinner than the precedently mentioned (but very long)
  • Let’s wrap our hands several times and in a very firm / strong way (for the feet, elbows, knees etc. is a little bit more complicated but not impossible)
  • Let’s make sure that  our hands are well covered in the points with which we want to hit (let’s imagine to wear artisanal gloves)
  • Let’s tie the knots on our wrists (or ankles, etc.) or the back of the hand (or foot, etc.)
  • In the case of the hands, if the fabric does not allow for knots we can simply use the closure of our fist as a temporary alternative (read also How to tighten the fist)

Final notes

Finally, it must be said that:

  • In both methods, the less we are conditioned, the thicker the layers of fabric must be; eventually we can also mix the 2 types wrapping
  • If we feel any kind of pain and / or discomfort, we have to immediately stop the practice, consult our family doctor and wait for the total regeneration of the damage
  • On the other side, those who have an advanced level of conditioning (read Conditioning check for the impact) should not need any protection; the only recommendation is to check the impact surface in terms of resistance, stability, rebound and roughness, to start then with gradual blows (the rubbing can cause annoying abrasions or splinter infiltrations)
  • In both methods, we can replace the fabric with strong but soft and flexible plastic parts, with ropes (or with what we rationally could use); nothing forces us to avoid professional materials and / or tools
  • Let’s make sure to have the right precision, technical capabilities and minimal conditioning to deliver full power blows without harming our body (wrists, elbows, ankles, etc.); this is the result of years of specific practice and it absolutely not a natural attitude


  • Let’s make sure that we have properly fixed the fabric in the correct way and on a stable object
  • Let’s do not give the maximum power immediately (we have to increase gradually)
  • If we feel pain or any kind of discomfort we must stop immediately (damage our body does not lead to any result)

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you found your temporary dummy?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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