“They misunderstanding their using. For learning the wooden dummy, most people they think they will practice their arm very strong…I can break the opponent’s arm!
In Wing Chun all the touching is angle…you won’t be using force against force of your opponent’s….no matter you are young, you are old, you are girl, if your angle is correct…even I’m an old man but my angle is correct I can push you out very easy. I can take your position and hit you out very easy.”
Sifu Gary Lam Complete Wooden Dummy DVD
The Wing Chun Wooden Dummy (or Luk Dim Boon Gwan) is an object of fascination to many people interested in kung fu. The Dummy is synonymous with Wing Chun and has a certain mystique.
If nothing else, it always looks pretty badass in the movies, for instance, when Donnie Yen did it in Ip Man.
My favorite dummy sequence is in the Jackie Chan movie Wheel for Meals.
There were 108 movements in the classic dummy, probably developed or collected by Chan Wah Shun. It has been modified and added to over the years, like most of the Wing Chun forms. Depending on your school and lineage, you’ll find the dummy played in various ways.
For instance, when Wong Shun Leung taught it to Gary Lam, the Po Pai section was only done on one side. Gary Lam had his students do both sides: this was how my teacher learned it and this is how I learned it.
Some lineages don’t have the kicking section. Some schools have movements in different orders. It doesn’t really matter – the movements, like those in the other forms, are to be considered separately – they are not “combinations.” The only way they are to be seen as “combinations” is in the way we move from one action to another; this is called “changing.”
The Wing Chun way is to fight like a Jazz musician. We are playing the same melody, but it’s always different. It is very dependent on what the other player is doing. We riff off what the other player (the opponent) does – we improvise. The Wing Chun principles are the melody – our interpretation in the moment is the improvisation.