How to Build a Wooden Dummy (w/ Plans & FAQs)

How to Build a Wooden Dummy

In this article, we’ll discuss how to build a wooden dummy. We’ll answer some of the most common questions asked when making a wooden dummy and we’ll provide a number of wooden dummy plans (in images and PDFs) from different lineages. 

The Wing Chun wooden dummy is one of the quintessential aspects of good Wing Chun training. The Mook Yan Jong—wooden dummy—is the ultimate solo training partner in Wing Chun, however, it can be very expensive to buy one, have one custom made for you or ship one from China—upwards of $2,500 in some instances.

As such, if you want to make your own dummy, you want to be sure that your wooden dummy plans are on point. There are a number of options on how to make a dummy, and strictly speaking, there is no BEST Wing Chun dummy, only YOUR best Wing Chun dummy. You want it to be the best for YOU!

This is a Wing Chun dummy DIY article, so bear in mind that results will vary, depending on your approach.

Wooden Dummy Plans

Below are several options for wooden dummy plans to choose from…

Wooden Dummy Plans
General wooden dummy plans 1

2.

Wooden Dummy plans
General wooden dummy plans 2

Wing Chun Specifications (6 Parts – General)

Build a Wooden DummyBuild a Wooden DummyBuild a Wooden DummyBuild a Wooden DummyBuild a Wooden DummyMake Wooden Dummy Arms

 

Wing Chun Specifications (Sifu Kenneth Chung)

Wooden Dummy Plans - Kenneth Chung
19pg Wooden Dummy Specs/Notes – Kenneth Chung (PDF)

Wing Chun Specifications (Sifu Randy Williams)

Randy Williams Wooden Dummy
Wooden Dummy & Stand Plans PDF – Sifu Randy Williams

Building a Wooden Dummy: Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Wing Chun Dummy Used For?

Many beginners ask, “what is the wooden dummy for?” The short version is that a Wing Chun wooden dummy is used to teach position, structure, footwork and how to navigate around energetic pathways from an opponent.

The longer version: The wooden dummy is, as stated above, the ultimate training partner in Wing Chun when it comes to solo training. Learning how to translate actions from the wooden dummy subsets to an actual person is one of the most intriguing parts of Wing Chun. The dummy is designed to give you a silent feedback of sorts—all of your answers are given through reflection of your training, rather than the answer being given to you on a platter.

What is a Wing Chun Dummy NOT Used For?

You should never be wailing on your Wing Chun dummy. If you are trying to break the arms of a wooden dummy, you are doing it wrong. Some newer practitioners may not understand the concepts of position and structure yet, and as such, cause some damage to the arms and/or leg. Bear in mind that replacing an arm or the leg costs money, and you would not want to be harming your partner—both the wooden dummy AND your sparring partner.

Here are some tips for beginners for training on the wooden dummy:

 

How to Make a Wing Chun Dummy – An Overview

With any sort of project such as this, the old saying of “measure twice, cut once” is VERY important if you plan to make a Wing Chun dummy yourself. Here you’ll find a number of wooden dummy plans that we’ve gathered here. When it comes to materials, do not be afraid to look beyond wood, as it could very well be cheaper if you are on a budget. If you want to go for authenticity and/or the best Wing Chun dummy, the Mook Yan Jong is traditionally made of teak wood, however, do keep in mind that teak is becoming increasingly harder to get ahold of. For other materials on a budget, we recommend using PVC pipes or cheaper, more readily available woods. One challenging part when you make your own dummy is the trunk/body, is cutting squares into the trunk for the arms to go into. For someone with no experience cutting squares, this requires some extra time, but it can be done using a drill, chisel and file.

Another one of the hardest parts in making a wooden dummy is when you make the arms. Making the arms for the dummy requires a lathe for shaping. However you may be able to buy large round wooden dowels and file them into a wooden dummy arm shape. Others have bought wooden table legs and filed them down.

Here’s a video that includes wooden dummy plans. It also doesn’t require drilling holes…

Here’s a video on making a cheaper wooden dummy with a pvc inside…

What are some key things to bear in mind when making a dummy?

Above all, you want your dummy to be precise. You’re making your kung fu wooden dummy, you don’t want it to be subpar. With that being said, you want to choose a material that can withstand some punishment. If you decide to take on this project with wooden materials, go for a hardwood that is dry all the way through. Check what hardwood is native in your area, so you do not have to worry about climate being a factor when choosing your wood. Some woods from different climates can crack or warp. Another thing to remember, is that you absolutely do not want any wood that splinters.

There are two kinds of dummies that can be made. The one you will see the most, is a mook jong that is up against the wall. The second one, however, is a mook jong that is on a stand, held down by something like a couple of sandbags. For first timers, it is recommended that you make a dummy that goes against the wall.

What Height Should My Wooden Dummy Be?

Ideally, you want the dummy to be around your own height, with only a few inches of difference between yourself and the dummy. When you practice your Wing Chun dummy training, you do not want to have your dummy giving you too much trouble in terms of heigh. Dummies that are against a wall can be fitted with a pulley system, or a way to move the body up and down. A wooden dummy should be set to the individual practitioner’s height. In other words, it shouldn’t be too high or too low for you! If its too low you’ll hunch over and mess up your structure. If its too high your raise your shoulders and elbows too high and mess up your structure that way. Check out the above video to see how high to set your wooden dummy.

Where should I place my dummy?

You want to place your dummy where you plan to do your Wing Chun training—as with any martial art, it is a good idea to have a dedicated area to train in. If you plan to make your dummy stationary, you want to factor in the studs of your wall and hang your dummy on those studs. While you should by no means be going nuts on your dummy, chances are that you will be making noise, regardless when you are doing your Wing Chun dummy training, so if your training area is in a bedroom, consider placing the dummy on a wall NOT adjacent to another bedroom.

I want to put my Wooden Dummy outside. Can I do that?

While it CAN be done, it is rare for someone to put their dummy outside. If you wish to put your wooden dummy outside, you want to be absolutely sure that it has something overhead to cover it—like a canopy—from the weather. In addition to a canopy, having a tarp ready for any storms is also important. This is not only for dummies made of wood. If you decide to make your dummy out of steel, you want to be especially sure that you take proper care to not let it rust. Ideally, you want the dummy to be inside, but if you still choose to place your dummy outside, do so at your own due diligence.

Is it possible to make my dummy mobile, so that I can take it on the road?

If you have a dummy on a stand, moving it around should be fairly simple. There are a few cases though, where someone with carpentry experience can make a sort of portable platform to attach a dummy to. In most cases like this, these sorts of dummies are meant to be used for a school demonstration.

Is there a “Best Wing Chun Dummy”?

There is no singular “BEST” dummy, there is only a dummy that is best for YOU. It is all a matter of preference—all Wing Chun practitioners have a different taste when it comes to their dummies. Some might prefer that the arms be have a bit of give to them—that is to say, that the arms move a bit in their sockets when any sort of pressure is applied—while other practitioners prefer the arms to be rigid and offer no give. Some practitioners prefer that their dummy is completely stationary on a wall mount, while others might like it to have their dummy slide on the wall mount.

How did the wooden dummy come to be? What is the history of the Wing Chun Dummy?

Popular legend says that Ng Mui made the first Wing Chun dummy, by creating 108 separate dummies into one, with efficiency and effectiveness being her reasoning. However, the modern dummy as we know it—the wall mounted dummy, or the Hong Kong dummy, either name works—was Ip Man’s design, to fit the needs of apartment living. The springiness that comes from having a wall-mounted dummy gives it a sort of sense of the dummy being “alive”. This sense of the dummy being “alive” is attributed to a human opponent’s involuntary reaction to energy being applied. As such, the older version of the dummy is considered a “dead” dummy since it does not have that springiness and simulated human reaction. However, despite the label of “alive” or “dead” its still a matter of preference when it comes to your choice of wooden dummy to train on.

Ip Man training on the wooden dummy (shot just before his death)

Wooden Dummy Plan PDFs

Here are a few PDFs of wooden dummy plans.

  1. Wooden Dummy Plans PDF – Tiger Claw
  2. Wooden Dummy Specifications & Notes – Kenneth Chung (Leung Sheung Lineage)
  3. Wooden Dummy Plans – Randy Williams
  4. Wooden Dummy Plans – Carlos Colorado (Ip Ching Lineage)
  5. Wooden Dummy Plans – Samuel Kwok (Not a PDF)

References
This article was written using the following websites as reference. A huge thank you to them!
5 Wing Chun Dummy Blueprints: http://www.shopwingchun.com/wing-chun-dummy-blueprints/?fbclid=IwAR0XVTH2ZIlIXdNHGZSfJuRoYdZIcFvI7y06iBlH4HyMpQTWqFlyfW9JSDM
The Joy of Hack’s Making a Kung Fu Wooden Dummy: https://aijaz.net/2012/07/15/making-a-kung-fu-wooden-dummy/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2N9NfKFgcSTx16Pu38XEwh_I1MtS9LqS3VdnxZCmMpi5OXvMq8ojLtjVU
How to Build a Wing Chun Wooden Dummy by Sifu Wahnish (you can get some plans from this website too) : http://www.wingchunonline.com/wooden-dummy/?fbclid=IwAR3dG8JPW7MgfKOa5R9RZ67pKQYzcmIallbvLfmJDqdgze0l8UQRTKaCtkQ
Using Wing Chun Dummy Plans to Build Your Own by SG Koenig: https://ezinearticles.com/?Using-Wing-Chun-Dummy-Plans-To-Build-Your-Own&id=6821471&fbclid=IwAR1llWTWNHWsbTKQBnfWyjEsA9Y8j9q2zviw8IRjSsSInJ0XQJoU0CG5O7Y
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_ren_zhuang


Learn the Wooden Dummy Online

Step-by-Step Instruction & Detailed Program for Development

Learn the Wooden Dummy