What is a Wooden Dummy

three wooden dummy


The first wooden dummy’s creation dates back nearly 1500 years ago, during the Ming Dynasty, when it was first used to train monks in the Shaolin Temple’s Lohan Hall. Legend states that there were 108 different wooden dummies used as a final test for aspiring Martial Art Masters, with each dummy presenting a unique fighting situation and challenge. One of the monks who had passed the test and gone through all 108 dummies, Ng Mui, during the mid 17th century, would later embark on the task of creating Wing Chun, an entirely new fighting style, to her student Yim Wing-Chun.


Understanding the many purposes that wooden dummies serve to learning techniques and training, Ng Mui quickly used her knowledge of the 108 dummies from the Lohan Hall to create ONE wooden dummy that would incorporate all the lessons on positioning and technique that she was taught. The creation of this wooden dummy would set the traditional structure for the countless Wing Chun wooden dummies that came after. Because the traditional Wing Chun dummy is an amalgam of all 108 dummies from the Lohan Hall, the primary dummy form taught in Wing Chun is called the 108.


The Wooden Dummy consists of three arms and one leg that all extend from one longer post. The first two arms are placed slightly apart and above each other to represent a left and right punch aimed at shoulder/head height. The third arm is placed much lower to represent a low punch aimed at the user’s gut. The leg of the dummy is curved and angled outwards, representing traditional fighting stances that have one leg forward and one leg back. The Wooden Dummy is purposely structured to simulate a real fighter in the closest way possible. Perhaps the most unique attribute of a Wing Chun dummy’s structure however, comes from how it is held. Instead of having its post, (the body,) held to the ground, the dummy is held up with two slabs of wood that are connected to two other posts. As a result of this mounting, the dummy has a springiness when hit, similar to how a person would react when struck. The dummy is also subject to moving to the left or right, depending on the angle of attack. One of the more modern Wooden Dummy designs that we proudly present, even features a Wooden Dummy that can either be mobile, moving back/to the side from every hit, or set to lock down in one position.  

The “live” aspect of the wooden dummy, and its ability to move, forces practitioners to reposition themselves when the dummy moves left or right, to lock his or her stance when the dummy springs forward from a direct hit, and to advance when it is forced back. The dummy also teaches basic angles for blocks and attacks, as wrong angles do not have the same effect and often direct a brief shock to the user. The dummy is also great for practicing sequences and follows up, with speed of execution entirely to the user’s discretion and familiarity. But lessons on technique, positioning, angles, and sequences aside, the dummy also serves a very basic but important use, conditioning. Because of the dummy’s inherent hardness, any regular practitioner will quickly notice that areas on his/her arm or leg that make contact with the dummy will quickly become insanely hard. The constant contact and conditioning ensures that users have a massive advantage in an actual fight, easily inflicting pain onto opponents the second contact is made, whether in an attack or a simple block. Outside of fight scenarios, this sort of strength-training also protects the user from everyday accidents and collisions that would hurt most people.

ULTIMATELY, the Wooden Dummy serves as an easily accessible,  personal master for you to have right in your own house! It teaches techniques, sequencing, and a type of strength training that can only come from training on the Wooden Dummy. To put it simply, it provides the complete package for anyone that wants to properly defend themselves or keep physically fit and healthy.