wooden dummy and wing chun at home

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Hi everyone!

I'm a relative newbie who took a couple lessons years ago and have just started training at home,
not ideal I know but my old teacher has moved away and there's nobody else that teaches wing
chun in my city anymore. I was wondering if anyone could help me with a few questions:

#1 How high should my wooden dummy be on me? at the moment the top two arms are pointing at my head and throat, the middle one to the solarplex, but I've seen people online with them at various levels.

#2 How hard should I be hitting my dummy and what are the steps I can take to prevent athritis? At the moment the entire dummy is wrapped in about 4 layers of very thick bubblewrap (not the arms) and even though I'm pulling my punches (about %25 power) my hands are sore. Not the knuckles but the meat and tendons. I think it's probably normal but I want to make sure.

#3 Is it OK that my dummy is swaying back and fourth when I hit it? It's on a couple pallets that aren't super secure and I feel like maybe the soreness could be from hitting it when it's coming back at me.

If anyone can help me with these I would be super grateful.

Thanks :D
 

KPM

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I'm a relative newbie who took a couple lessons years ago and have just started training at home,

---Are you able to travel for training? Not ideal, but if you can visit someone every month or every other month or so for instruction and then finding a good training partner near you willing to do the same, you can make fair progress without an instructor in your city.


#1 How high should my wooden dummy be on me? at the moment the top two arms are pointing at my head and throat, the middle one to the solarplex, but I've seen people online with them at various levels.

---This varies by lineage. In William Cheung's "Traditional Wing Chun", the guard is held higher to protect the head and the dummy is mounted a little higher as a consequence. It is usually mounted so that when you are in your "fighting stance" the upper arms of your dummy are at your shoulder level. Another measure I've seen used is to mount the dummy so that when you stand in YGKYM, the lower arm is at your navel level. This will put it a bit lower than the first method.

#2 How hard should I be hitting my dummy and what are the steps I can take to prevent athritis? At the moment the entire dummy is wrapped in about 4 layers of very thick bubblewrap (not the arms) and even though I'm pulling my punches (about %25 power) my hands are sore. Not the knuckles but the meat and tendons. I think it's probably normal but I want to make sure.

---The dummy is not a heavy bag! You don't need to hit it hard at all. If you want to give it a bit of "umph" for more realistic contact, then wear a pair of MMA gloves. Get rid of the bubble wrap. That won't let allow you to make solid and realistic contact with the dummy. Oftentimes techniques have more of a "pressing" quality to develop penetrating force rather than a hard impact quality. You can't do that against bubble wrap.


#3 Is it OK that my dummy is swaying back and fourth when I hit it? It's on a couple pallets that aren't super secure and I feel like maybe the soreness could be from hitting it when it's coming back at me.

---No. The dummy should be firmly and solidly mounted for the same reason I noted above.

---There is a lot of things you can work on the dummy short of knowing the actual dummy form. I train a small group of people. We train at a local part as well as at my house. The advantage of training at my house is that I will show them how to apply nearly every drill and technique on my dummy as well as solo or with a partner. So its good that you have a dummy to train on. But is it a "standard" dummy, or is it "homemade"? From your initial description the spacing of the upper and lower arms sound like they may be off.
 

DanT

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1. I can only speak for the various lineages that I've studied, in which the top arms are above shoulder height (around the chin area) WHEN YOU ARE IN YJKYM!!!

2. In terms of hitting the dummy, start light and increase the power every so often. In terms of actually punching the dummy, you should just tap gently (with both your fist, chop, and palm). Very gently and slowly work your way up. I suggest also doing knuckle push-ups and other conditioning exercises. Believe it or not, but bone and knuckle conditioning can actually prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density. I suggest using Dit Da Jow to help with bruising. Go slow. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

3. The dummy should be secured and not swaying.
 

Parky

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Travelling for instruction would be a wise decision. KPM is correct. A couple lessons doesn't lead to dummy training. The wooden dummy is a device to practice what you have learned in the hand forms, not a place to condition your hands/arms (though I realize plenty of people will disagree with me on that). Height of a dummy is important also and a good sifu can help guide you with that. The dummy should not sway either in the way you described. Do yourself a favor and find a good instructor. As KPM said, you can train elements from the other forms without knowing the dummy form, (the dummy form is not really a place with new WC information) but you need to understand the what, why, and how of your practice, all of it, dummy training included. Don't waste precious time on empty training that will yield very little.
 

geezer

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Training on the dummy without some guidance may be fun, but it won't do much to develop good WC. But that's up to you. If you do want to play with the dummy anyway, pay attention to what KPM said about the dummy not being a heavy bag. Remember, WC isn't some extreme hard style where you smash up your hands! If you want to hit the dummy harder, at the very least get some good dummy pads. I've seen them for sale at Everything Wing Chun.

I'm cheap, so instead of buying pads, I just control my contact. ;)
 

geezer

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Dummy height will very according to lineage. In my lineage the saying is that the arms (which are set at equal height) should be at the level of your nipples!

I re-phrase this as "the center of your pectoral muscle". In my experience, nipple height seems more variable and leads to a lot of questions. So, one might ask, was young Yim Wing Chun's dummy much higher than the aging Ng Mui's? :p
 

anerlich

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I'll palm strike the dummy, but always pull punches. There are better ways to condition the fists for striking, wall bags and heavy bags.

You could say that's not realistic, but then you're the one pretending to fight a lump of wood.
 

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