High Kicks and the Wooden Dummy

Recently I was criticized by a You Tube poster who didn’t appreciate the fact that I practiced high kicks and a body conditioning routine on the wooden dummy. He went so far as calling my training method “stupid.”

Traditionally, the wooden dummy is a training tool used by Wing Chun practitioners for the purpose of practicing the techniques and principles learned in the three forms that make up the Wing Chun system-Siu Lim Tao, Chum Kiu and Biu Gee. It is mounted on a wooden frame and has a slight springing effect that allows for some movement during practice.

The Wing Chun practitioner can use the wooden dummy to work on his stances, footwork, hand positioning, angles, and reflexes. The nice thing about the wooden dummy is that it serves as a substitute for a real training partner.

Typically, Wing Chun tends to focus more on hand movements. Lower body strikes in Wing Chun include low kicks, kicks to the midsection, leg sweeps and stomps. High kicks are not characteristic of the art.

Unfortunately, some martial artists are locked into their own styles and traditions. There is nothing wrong with honoring your martial art roots, but after a while, if you want to become a well-rounded martial artist, you have to expand your horizons.

I explained to this poster that yes, I was using the wooden dummy in an unorthodox manner. One day I just looked at the wooden dummies sitting in my dojo and decided to find other uses for them.

I developed a routine specifically for my kickboxing students to toughen their shins and practice high kicks from close range. If a person is flexible enough, a high kick from close range can be a surprise attack in a kickboxing match. I also know that if a student can train himself to throw a decent high kick, then the low kicks will be effortless.

The wooden dummy has proven to be a successful training method, in both the traditional and non-traditional sense and I continue to use it to this day. For this poster to call is “stupid”, shows a lack of imagination and innovation.

Interestingly enough, I looked at this individual’s profile and saw that he posted videos of himself using the nunchakus. I reminded him that there is a popular belief that the nunchaku was originally a short flail used to thresh rice. If no one had the vision to pick up that farming implement and use it as a weapon, he would have never enjoyed it as a training tool.

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