Anyone and everyone involved in studying the extraordinary martial art Wing Chun knows that one of the key aspects of training is practicing on a Wing Chun dummy to perfect skill and technique. But, shopping for and purchasing a Wing Chun wooden dummy can be a confusing and complicated experience.
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Top 3 Types of Wing Chun Wooden Dummies
All three types of dummies listed below have various pros and cons, but one of these three should be able to fit your particular needs.
Traditional Ip Man Dummy
A traditional dummy should be made of hardwood. This Ip Man dummy is made from a laminated elmwood, so it is going to easily handle anything that you can give it. Just make sure that all of the parts of the dummy are made from a hardwood and not just the body. The leg and arms are going to take a beating, so you want them to be as strong as the body that is supporting them.
Another thing to keep in mind is the dimensions of the dummy. Most teachers and students alike prefer these traditional Yip Man (or Ip Man) specs. And, while not specifically related to dummies but something to keep in mind is that hardwood is heavy. That means shipping these around is pricey, so if you can find a supplier that offer free shipping and handling, make sure to factor that cost savings into your final decision.
This particular wooden training dummy has a 57 inch body. It’s also very versatile. The arms are adjustable, so you can train with them either in a level or a staggered position. The dummy position is also adjustable. The trunk, arms, and legs are held sturdily in place inside the frame, which measures 63 inches high and and 55 inches wide. If you want to train like the master, than this is the wooden dummy for you.
A Compact Wall Mount Option
Let’s face it; not all of us have our own training or workout room where we can fit a full-sized dummy and frame. As much as we might want one, we need to think about what is going to fit in a more limited space. This compact wall mountable dummy is just that choice.
Like the Ip Man version, and like what you would expect all quality dummies to be manufactured from, this compact version is made from a very sturdy hardwood. It is actually made from ash, which is a very popular hardwood used for a lot of tools, furniture, and sports equipment due to its density and strength.
This dummy has a 48 inch trunk with a flat back which takes up a lot less room than a full-sized trunk. Though the trunk and the wall frame are smaller than a traditional stand, the arm and leg proportions are exactly what they should be.
Wing Chun Dummy with Special Recoil Stand
The trunk is a traditional design, made with a Douglas-fir core and ash hardwood exterior. The dummy is 61 inches tall, and it uses thicker than normal arm pegs. Let’s just say that it can take some serious punishment.
What really makes this unit different though is the forward-thinking recoil stand. Instead of having a training dummy that is completely dormant, this recoil stand absorbs your kinetic energy and then pushes back against your strikes. It better recreates what real-life contact would feel like. Not only that, but this advanced design is actually incredibly space efficient.
No matter which one of the three types of dummies above you choose, you will be getting a fair deal. They are all going to give you great value for your dollar. But what goes into selecting a good wooden dummy?
Let’s be honest, price is always a huge part of anything you or I purchase. In a perfect world we would all be able to buy the most expensive products with no worry or regret, but that just isn’t feasible. All three styles of the Wing Chun dummies listed above are more than reasonable for the quality craftsmanship that goes into them. Are there better wooden dummies for sale? That depends on what you think better is. To really improve on the teak dummies listed above, you get into custom orders, which can run you a lot more money and take a lot more time to get from the supplier to your door.
Traditional Mount, Wall Mount, or Free Standing
Aside from your budget, knowing the type of mount that you want for your new Wing Chun training dummy is probably the next most important decision. The three basic ways to support the trunk of the dummy are:
- a traditional frame mount
- a wall mount
- a free standing wooden dummy
There is no universal best option as far as the mounting aspect is concerned. It really depends on what is best for you. I personally prefer a traditional mount because I feel that they offer more stability. They also take up the most space, so if your training space is limited, you might be looking for something a little smaller. Wall mounted Wing Chun dummies offer a nice mix of respectable stability with a smaller sized mounting frame. These are great if you absolutely never plan on moving it. Once you mount these to the wall they are best left there as moving them again is not a fun task. To be honest, getting it safely and firmly attached to the wall in the first place isn’t a walk in the park either, but it’s up, it will do the job. Some newer designs have evolved much like heavy bags have for boxing. Many people don’t have adequate space for mounting the trunk of the Wing Chun dummy much like a lot of people don’t have anywhere to hang a heavy bag from. To solve this problem with heavy bags, free standing bags were created. The same concept can be found with wooden dummies. While these tend to not be as stable as the other choices they come with the extra bonus of being able to move them around fairly easily, which makes them rather awesome in my book.
The traditional Ip Man wooden dummy was, as you can guess from the name, made from wood. The original Chinese characters for the item even include the character for wood (木 or mu if you’re curious). Modern engineering allows you to deviate from using wood if you really want to, but it’s still the most popular and common material used. As far as which wood to look for, you have several options. Purchasing a Wing Chun wooden dummy that has a trunk made from a soft wood like pine is OK, and it tends to help keep the price reasonable, but if you have a little more room in your budget you’ll want to opt for a hardwood dummy. You will be pounding the living heck of this thing, so a hardwood only makes sense. Good hardwoods to look for are woods like teak or oak. Maple and ash are popular woods for training dummies too.If you must get a Wing Chun dummy with a soft wood trunk, at least make sure that the limbs are made from one of these aforementioned hardwoods. They take the brunt of your strikes, so soft wood limbs don’t really hold up well over time. For those of you that want to be different, there are some dummies floating around out there made from non-standard materials. One of these that I have seen from time to time is PVC. While these may be lighter and cheaper than your standard traditional dummy, they don’t really have the same feel. As mentioned above, they are a great choice for those on a tight budget or for beginners.
I covered most of this in the mounting section, but it’s worth mentioning again. Make sure the Wing Chun wooden dummy that you’re planning to get will actually fit where you intend to use it. What’s even more important is to make sure that there’s enough room for your new dummy AND you. It’s all well and good to learn how to fight in a telephone booth, but to train properly you’ll need at least a little extra space. There’s nothing worse than having awesome stuff but not being able to use it. We here at Intershape Wing Chun hope you find exactly what you are looking for and if you have any questions or comments please contact us.