The wooden dummy (whose name in cantonese is Muk Yan Jong) is a training tool - made of wood, steel or plastic - used by the Southern Chinese martial arts. Its appearance varies according to the fighting style.
Its use may date back to the 15th century.
"Muk" means 'wood'; "Yan" signifies 'man'; and "Jong" may be translated as 'pillar'.
In Wing Chun, it consists of a wooden cylinder supported by two crossed beams which suspend it from the floor, with two arms extended at the shoulder height, another arm at the waist level and a leg extended out with a curve similar to a bent knee.
It is used to train the forms, or when there is no training partner.
The practitioner should practice the concepts of Centerline (using correctly the useful distance between him and the dummy) and Chi Sao (not losing contact with the dummy between movements, adhering with his whole body).
The practitioner should not hit too hard or too fast, to avoid hurting himself or leading to an excess use of muscular strength.
The Muk Yan Jong will then help to improve coordination, to position the body as a unit, with power of adherence, fluidity and flow of hands and legs in harmony.
Photo: SergeyWDS/Wikimedia Commons
The modern design was created by grandmaster Yip Man in Hong Kong to fit the needs of training in an apartment.
Yip Man organized the movements on the Wooden Dummy into two versions. The first one had 108 movements and eight other techniques were later added by him, creating 116 movements.