If you haven’t got a training partner the wooden dummy is the next best thing for practicing fighting positions and techniques as a ving tsun martial artist. Indeed it is actually better than a real partner in some ways. You can take the time to ensure correct training for your hands positions, elbows, footsteps, kicks, simultanity, and posture – you don’t have such a luxury when sparring or even performing drills with a partner – unless your partner is willing to wait a long time for you to examine every movement.
Unlike a partner a wooden dummy will stand still as you examine whether all your positions are correct – with a partner you will not get as much time to appreciate the finer points of everything that is needed to adopt a good fighting or defensive position in ving tsun. Only by using the wooden dummy can you really appreciate your form and structure during and after every movement around an opponent.
The wooden dummy works because it gives you a target allowing your mind to engage a physical object rather than make believe one. This means that unless you train with the dummy regularly you will not be aware of how much you compromise many of positions you have trained using the forms which will inevitably lead to greater weakness during chi sau, sparring or even real fighting.
For example when approaching the dummy from an angle you may find yourself leaning in on your toes and your structure being compromised – this is a weakness I constantly need to correct. Consider that you may do this against a wooden dummy and then move onto a real life opponent and no doubt your form will be compromised even more.
With a wooden dummy you can also freeze frame every movement and ponder whether your arms and feet are positioned correctly after a movement. You can also examine how you move around the wooden dummy – how your weight changes and whether your balance is correct or sloppy.
The wooden dummy is essential to refining your fighting technique in Ving Tsun and for anyone who ignores it – you will be less of a fighter and martial artist for doing so. It cannot replace a real opponent but then again it can afford you the luxury of time and slow reflection that you miss during training with a partner. It is also there whenever you need it unlike a training partner who may tire or get bored of training.