Practice with the Wooden Man gives a number of benefits. Firstly, the Dummy provides the trainee with a partner when no one else is available. All blocks strikes and kicks can also be executed with full power transfer without fear of injury to a live partner. As the Dummy does not move much, the student learns mobility while circling around the dummy in conjunction with blocking and striking hand techniques. Wooden Man training develops use of the Centerline to attack and defend from all angles. This angulation and proper use of the Centerline can enable a smaller weaker person to overcome a larger force, by "borrowing power" and diffusing strength with body positioning and Structure.

Mook Yan Joang training clearly illustrates applications of the three hand forms under perfect conditions. This is due to the structure of the Dummy itself. Because of the perfect Angle Structure built into the Dummy, the trainee is naturally drawn to execute his techniques with equally perfect Angle Structure. Any structural defect in the trainee's motion tends to be magnified by the Dummy and can therefore be easily identified and corrected. In addition, if a technique is performed improperly, it will usually cause some excessive pain to the trainee, signaling that the angle of contact or the striking surface of the hand, arm or leg is incorrect.

Another advantage of training with the Wooden Dummy is the toughening of the skin and bone of the hand, arm shoulder, foot and leg. This is accomplished through "Tapping", also called "Energy Packing". The Dummy should not be hit with full force initially but instead should only be tapped. Tapping the Dummy's wooden surface in this way, combined with the use of Leen Goang Jau (herbal liniment) will eventually "pack" Chi into the bone cavities, preventing bone brittleness in old age. Although at first the trainee may experience a small degree of pain and bruising, after a short time he will be able to execute all movements sharply and crisply without any more discomfort, having developed an "Iron Bridge Hand", or Teet Kiu Sau. Once the trainee has a toughened arm, not only can he block an opponent's punch or kick but can also damage the arm or leg he is blocking. This is a part of the Simultaneous Attack and Defense principle of Wing Chun (Leen Siu Dai Da). A toughened arm is less likely to be injured in combat and can withstand more impact if necessary to block a heavy weapon. A student with an arm toughened by Wooden Dummy training can also train for longer periods with harder contact in drills with a live partner without suffering pain or bruising. Toughening skin and bones does not mean callusing or deforming the hand, nor does it mean bruising the bones. This conditioning must be performed gradually; the conditioning becomes a little longer and harder with each training session until the desired result is attained.

Wooden Dummy training simultaneously develops the student's ability to transfer power into a stationary object while avoiding choppiness between motions and drills many of the motions of the system with the added element of contact. As the techniques are executed in a more realistic manner than in the first two hand forms, flowing smoothly from one to the next, up and down, left to right, while completely releasing the power of each into the "core" of the Dummy the trainee will develop the ability to continually strike from any combination of angle and level while maintaining good balance and posture. This also enables the practitioner to flow directly from one movement into another without interruption of power, momentum and speed. Although it may appear that the movements blend into each other, in actuality each motion is completed and its power totally released into the Dummy before the next motion is begun. This will be apparent in the rhythmic sound produced by the correct flow of motion. In fact, a true master of Wing Chun can actually detect faults in the Structure of a student's Dummy form simply by listening to sound of the wood, without actually watching

Written by Conrad Howard — November 22, 2012

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