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Muk Yang Jong is Cantonese for wooden dummy which is used in martial arts training from China and predominantly associated with the style of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Wooden dummies are traditionally made from wood and were originally planted in the ground for use as training the arms and legs and body positions in martial arts training. It was not until Ip Man developed the stand for its use indoors that this became a feature.
Today, wooden dummies are made out of plastic as well as wood to provide a lighter weight alternative which can be moved around more easily.
This is more suitable for instructors who teach seminars and need a portable wooden dummy for convenience. Dummies can also be placed on a stand rather than wall mounted, again for similar reasons. Here is a picture of my wooden dummy with its hand made stand:
The main problem with the stand is that is doesn’t provide the ‘springiness’ which is given from a wall mounted dummy. The spring, or feedback given by the dummy when practicing techniques allows the practitioner to absorb the energy of the rebounding dummy into their stance, therefore preparing them better for counter attacks and developing their stance. If the stance is too rigid, a force will easily knock the practitioner off their stance.
A wall mounted dummy which offers this ‘spring’ is what is known as an ‘alive’ dummy. A dummy which is mounted into the ground or has a base and therefore no ‘spring’ is known as a ‘dead’ dummy.
Although there are many other types of dummy which have been modified to include swiveling actions, sprung arms and the like, the most popular dummy is the traditional Wing Chun wooden dummy as used by Ip Man and developed for use with the wall mount for his apartment in Hong Kong. A popular story of the history of the Muk Yang Jong is that it came about from 108 separate wooden dummies from the Shaolin Temple which were combined into one dummy.
The wooden dummy form is a set of techniques and movements around the wooden dummy to help a Wing Chun practitioner develop use of energy, footwork and distance. It is usually the form which is learned later in the Wing Chun system after the hand forms have been learned and understood.
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