The Wing Chun Traditional Dummy

The Traditional Dummy Explained

The traditional wooden dummy is a staple in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean martial arts.  They do come in various shapes and sizes, but the most prevalent design is 3 arms and 1 leg.  The Dummy is especially used in the practice of Wing Chun and is used to practice techniques, build bone density and train sensitivity.  To read more about the wooden dummy, its history and its purpose please read more here

20 Arm Dummy Training

In the early 80’s, Calasanz was in search of a training device that would help get a group of students ready for tournament fighting within a very short period of time.  What emerged was the 20 Arm Dummy.  Calasanz got the idea from his training in the art of Wing Chun. Wing Chun master, Yip Man, created the traditional wooden dummy or mook jong as a training tool for practitioners. A staple in any Wing Chun class, the wooden dummy is basically a post with protruding “arms” and “legs” so you can simulate fighting a real opponent. 

The main difference between the 20 Arm Wooden Dummy and the traditional mook jong is that you train to fight in four directions on five opponents.  The 20 Arm Wooden Dummy frames consist of four corner posts plus a traditional dummy that is mounted to the floor. In addition to including the traditional wooden dummy, the four corner posts have several “arms” and “legs” attached to each post so you can attack or defend.  This allows you to fight at different angles, heights and directions and work on adjusting distance.

The 20 Arm Wooden Dummy is a great training aid not just for Wing Chun students, but any martial artist who wants to practice different combinations of punches, strikes and kicks. It also develops blocking skills, close quarter fighting techniques and builds up your arms and legs as you absorb the shock of striking the various parts of the dummy.  Calasanz has also designed a 20 Arm Wooden Dummy form that promotes cardiovascular fitness by requiring you to execute these techniques while moving from one post to another.

Calasanz Personal Training

Calasanz DVDs

The ancient, Eastern method of teaching the martial arts required the student to watch the instructor and then mimic his movements without one word being exchanged.  Western students demand a lot more explanation and often ask too many questions.  This leads to over-analyzing on the student’s part, making the learning process much more stressful than it really needs to be.  Perfection of the movements in the Eastern sense comes with time as the student matures. Sometimes, it’s best to just watch, see the bigger picture, and then start practicing.  

In keeping with this ancient tradition, Calasanz has created a series of instructional DVDs designed to help you grasp the “bigger picture.” Watching the DVDs at home or here at the dojo before class lets you know what to expect and helps you relax the mind as you visualize yourself doing the movements. The result is that if you do your “homework,” your time in class will be more productive.  The reason being for watching the DVDs at the Center is to keep you from making excuses if you bring them home, most of the time it makes impossible for you to spend 10 minutes them before going to the School. 

Calasanz offers over 700 videos covering topics such as basics, forms, self-defense, weaponry, kickboxing, Regular Boxing  Recreational Boxing, Wing Chun, Goju Ryu, traditional and 20 Arm Wooden Dummy, Chinese Boxing and physical conditioning through Calasanz Physical Arts. Special DVDs are also available to help you improve your athletic performance in non-martial art related sports like golf, tennis, soccer, baseball, football, and ice hockey.  The DVDs are easy to understand and are a great instructional tool for students at any level of training.  

Modern technology now makes it possible for you to have a private session with Calasanz for the mere cost of a DVD. Special rates are available for members of the Okugi, Rinkiohen and Young Athletes program.  

Make an appointment with Calasanz today to choose the right DVD to help enhance your martial arts training! Young Athletes will be watching the DVDs upstairs, they will spend 10 minutes either before their session of during their session. Many of the Young Athletes who train privately upstairs with Calasanz, they don’t have to worry, Calasanz already knows what DVDs best for them.

Great Martial Artists Must Have Excellent Control Over Their Body

You Tuber:

better to use a training dummy for those times when you get just a little too close, not real hits, but even brushes or taps can cause doubt in your partner, and an accident can ruin your whole day.

that’s not what I meant. I meant practing fast control shots against a dummies face or neck is safer than doing it to a real person just to show off. if you are going to almost hit something, why not use a dummy?


Thanks for your comment and we agree that a beginner should initially use a dummy to practice strikes. In this video however, Calasanz is demonstrating his amazing self-control and is not just doing it for the purpose of “showing off.” Developing self-control for a martial artist is essential for many reasons. First, Calasanz trained many fighters who competed in point and semi-contact tournaments. If you have no self-control, you will get disqualified and the fight goes to your opponent. Secondly, a martial artist who lacks self-control in a fight will be judged harshly in a court of law for using “excessive force.” You have to know when to stop and when enough is enough. Lastly, over the years, Calasanz has had a number of people stop by the school to “challenge” either Calasanz or one of his students. His philosophy is to teach the intruder a lesson without beating the daylights out of him…just enough to get his point across. Notice that his partner stands without moving a muscle because of his faith in Calasanz technique and the fact that he’s never hit anyone by accident when demonstrating. Your point is well taken and advisable for people just starting out. An experienced martial artist without self-control however is a scary thing.

Martial Arts Control

Calasanz Studied Wooden Dummy with Moyat While You Were a Child!

Criticism from a young man, who says he studied with the Moyat family.

You Tuber:

stay vertical! hunching toward the target his chin is dangerously close to the wooden arms. there are many deviations from the old school form here. what is the raspy grunting about?


Thank you for your observations. Calasanz is well aware of the distance between his chin and the wooden dummy arms. Calasanz doesn’t play “patty cake” with the dummy but likes to get a good workout on it, which sometimes means that he may use unconventional movements. As for the “raspy grunting,” it is just a deep exhalation and this is his signature sound, which is nothing earth shattering in the martial arts. We will take your comments under advisement given the fact that while you may have studied with the Moyat Family, Calasanz trained with Moyat in Chinatown back when you were just a child.

“Board Don’t Hit Back”…But Bruce Lee Used Them Anyway!

You Tuber:

“boards don’t hit back” Bruce Lee


Is this all you can come up with? Why don’t you look at the picture on page 38 of the book entitled Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way, by Bruce Lee and John Little and tell me what is Bruce Lee doing in the picture? Breaking boards. Or why don’t you pick up a copy of Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter, by M. Uyehara, turn to page 29 and read. What does Bruce Lee talk about in detail? Breaking boards. What did Bruce Lee use to demonstrate his one-inch punch? Boards. What about his one-finger board breaks? Boards again. Photographs and footage of Lee also include him using heavy bags, speed bags, kicking shields, oh and of course the wooden dummy, none of which can “hit back.” Do we throw all of these training aids into the garbage just because they can’t “hit back?” Calasanz wanted his Super Break to be different from the multiple breaks that he had been seeing in martial arts tournaments. Usually someone stands over a pile of bricks, boards or cinder blocks and stares at them before finally delivering he final blow with a fist, elbow or foot. Instead, Calasanz would first perform a kata and then use some of the basics from the kata in a 30-minute, non-stop breaking session. Part of it was to demonstrate his stamina, which is crucial in martial arts, especially for fighters. The other reason for Super Break was to entertain audiences who enjoyed the martial arts. So while the quote about boards not “hitting back” is attributed to Lee, it seems that when it was convenient for him to further his career through demonstrations, he had no problem with board breaking. Aren’t other martial artists free to do the same?

Unique Wing Chun Approaches and “Internal Arts”

You Tuber:

Movements look too segmented to me. but then again, not evyone has had the privelage to study other true chinese boxing styles like tai chi, pa kua, or shing yi. from the feet to the legs to the waist, up the spine and out the fingers. one flow of chi.

My Response:

If you watch 50 videos of various people doing Wing Chun on YouTube you will discover two things. One is that all of them approach their Wooden Dummy training differently with their own individual style. This includes masters and lay practitioners. The second thing that you’ll find is that all of these people have to endure stupid comments by idiots who are not pleased with their unique approach.

You Tuber

I just watched another video with this guy. Although he’s obviosly an accomplished martial artist, and I dont want to take anything away from anyone, he is not performing true chinese boxing. wing chun is an internal art. this guys strength and speed are purely external. This is what happens when an external martial artist incorrectly learns, or has an inability to ‘relearn’ his source of speed and strength. It is difficult.

My Response

Contrary to your inference that Calasanz trained with less than competent instructors, we’d like to inform you that he has indeed trained with some of the most respected masters in the martial arts. What Calasanz has chosen to do however, is to expand his traditional training. Interestingly enough, when Calasanz trained in a tradition Wing Chun school in Chinatown and a rival school showed up to start trouble, his classmates turned to Calasanz to defend the school’s honor. If we have to spell it out, he was the one who did the fighting. The internal martial artists stood on the sideline and watched. Is “guts” an “internal art?”

A Response to Leg Chi Sau You Tube Video

You Tube User:

Here, Calasanz demonstrates a leg training and conditioning routine he developed and is using the wooden dummy in an unorthodox manner. This routine is used to train kickboxing students to toughen their shins and practice their kicks from close range. It has proven to be a successful training method. To call it “stupid” shows your lack of imagination and innovation in training. We see that in several of your videos, you use nunchakus. There is a popular belief is that the nunchaku was originally a short flail used to thresh rice. If no one had the vision to pick up that farming tool and use it as a weapon, you would never have the pleasure and benefits of training in this manner.

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.

Evolved Wing Chun: Simplcity and Power

Here Calasanz takes traditional exercises and combines them with strength and cardio exercises. In the first segment of this video, Calasanz incorporates the use of weights along with Chinese boxing techniques. Next is some power training on the wooden dummy, including leg chi sau.