Getting R.E.A.L. with equipment training – Wooden Dummy

Posted: August 12, 2011 in Videos

Hi all!

Equipment training is important but absolutely no substitue for a real, live partner! I train with various striking equipment.  You know, the usual: pads and bags.  For pads, I like focus mits and kicking shields.  Each of these offer different focus and striking opportunities.

One of my favortie tools is the Wing Chun Wooden Dummy!  I was mesmerized with this tool from seeing all the Shaw Brother Kung Fu movies (Master Killer being one of my favorite, along with 5 Deadly Venoms! LOL!).  Just hitting it, and hearing that sound gets the juices going.

When I train, I always use sound conceptual principles.  After putting it through the R.E.A.L training process, then, and only  then, I link it and adopt it ot my own game.  Here is how I use R.E.A.L. when training with the Dummy:

  • REPLICATE – all techniques you see in this clip, at a snap shot, resides in some kind of labelled style that I have studied and referred to.   For example- I used some Wing Chun concepts while banging away: bong sau, larp sau, jut sao, fook sau, chain punches.  I’ve also incorporated some elements of Muay thai, Karate, Mantis, JKD, and Boxing, along with Clinch work MMA.   Whenever I am not sure about something, I will double check with my sources (teacher, instructor, sensei etc., book, manual, dvd, website…) to ensure the correct body mechanics.  I am big on body mechanics…it has to have the right flow.
  • EXAMINE – I have critically looked at each of the techniques displayed here under the microscope for it’s purpose.  Blocking, striking, re-directing, jamming, trapping etc.  Could I pull  this off under fire? Maybe…Maybe not… all depends on the energy that is given to me at the time, along with my mind set at the time.
  • ASSESS – All of these techniques and methods displayed here have been stress tested to death under alive scenario training and sparring.  This took many years to do.  Over the years, I have taken techniques from Wing Chun, Mantis, Boxing, JKD, Karate, etc…and sparred with it, played with it under various scenarios and mental/physical conditions.  The results of this assessment step will be listed in the section below (see Results – Strenghths, Weaknesses, and Next Steps).
  • LINK – After R, E, and A above, I have encorportated these techniques into my game, and realized that a lot of the Dummy techniques, as-is, are ineffective at longer ranges and when you have unattached hitting.  Dummy techniques, say from the Wing Chun genre, are good, from my experience, in the clinch/grappling range.  The complicated switches and traps that Wing Chun and Mantis offer, say, can be definitely utilized in a more simplistic manner in clinch and on the ground. For example, say you are in a tight spot, and an arm is in your way, you can “pak” it, “larp” it, “fook” it, “bong” it (my ‘Wing-Chun-ese”) to manipulate into position….so at the end of the day, you do whatever you can, take whatever you can, in order to increase your odds for success…and that often means you will undergo any kind of limb manipulation from any style to put yourself in an advantagous position.

                                                 Results – Strengths, Weaknesses, and Next Steps to Dummy


  • you look cool! :)
  • you can say you learned all that from the IP Man movies! lol. :)
  • isolates techniques, body mechanics – provides an opportunity for you to get creative and flow accross systems of training
  • conditioning of joints, limbs
  • provides a bit of resistance training: you work your muscles and they do tire after a while
  • a bit of “static” target practice (this has short term benefits, but you’ll need to spar and do scenario eventually)


  • no timing!
  • you’re hitting a static object that is not moving
  • you don’t have real feedback – you need a partner or many partners to thrash your senses and force yourself to respond and react realistically under pressure
  • can cause major arthritis and joint inflammation – no matter if you use “Jao” or any external/topographic analgaesic ointments
  • It gets in the way! – if you see me below, I get jammed up sometimes…this will happen realistically too, but with a limb, you can destruct it or move it…with a wooden arm…good luck!

Next Steps:

  • free style your techniques
  • don’t stick to a pattern of movements
  • keep an emotionless mind set, and simply visualize yourself being under a violent attack, you simply must react without emotion…it’s purely mechanical

Ok, so here’s the clip:

Thanks for reading and watching! Please leave your thoughts and send this to anyone whom you feel might benefit from this.  You can do that by clicking on the button below that says something to the effect of “send email” or whatever….



  1. GodfreyGlasson says:

    Hi Chris,

    Interesting video. I assume that your dummy in mounted on a large board to keep it standing upright when you hit it. Is that correct? Do stand on the board to give it extra support?

    As an aside, I prefer to use my iPad for my martial arts research because its more convenient to carry around than a computer. The video viewer you use seems to be Flash based which means it can’t be viewed on an iPad. I was wondering whether you might be able include a separate link to YouTube videos (as well as embedding it for other users) where appropriate to make it easier for us iPad users.

  2. GodfreyGlasson says:

    Thanks Chris. I’ll check them out.

  3. Nice Chris! :-) As I remember Paul Vunak once saying, you don’t memorize 108 movements on the dummy – you workout on it as a boxer works out on a heavy bag.

    • Chris Hanson says:

      Thanks Trev! Nothing special there bro…just freestyling. If you read my article, the idea is to be as functional as possible. Many instructors have different ideas of what “functional” is. From the brief exposure to your material, I definitely know that we’re more or less aligned on this definition….this is neither good nor bad. As Bruce would basically assert…do whatever works for you. I’ve observed some JKD’ers, however, totally morph into the Wing Chun world where trapping is the key thing. A while back I had a huge “hard on” lol…for trapping man….looked cool, sounded amazing, and honestly, I still think it’s fun to do….but when I put it into CONTEXT of all the possible ways you can fuck up trapping in a real confrontation….then the original trapping exercises/energy drills….pak sao, pak da, hubud, chi sao, etc., and even tai chi push hands….they merely end up having a “patty-cake-patty-cake” flavor to it….very stylized, too safe, predictable etc…..this is absolutely unhealthy for the martial arts….again…my argument has been realized by many other “functional” guys out there…so again, I speak nothing special here….

      I have great respect for your work….and i often refer to Vunak, Matt Thornton, Dan Inosantos, late Ted Wong, Bruce’s stuff (…umm…duh…lol), and Burton name a few…

      Anyway bro….keep doing what you’re doing! Keep in touch and all the best to you and your family my man!


Leave me a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s