Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Biggest Dummy : The Traditional Dummy Explained

Mook Yan Chong [木人樁]

And so now we come onto the topic of the wooden dummy.  When it comes to this we are obliged to discuss first the elements.  Here in the West we conjure up usually 4 (or 5 for you Captain Planet fans out there) elements.

Earth [ ]

Water [ shuǐ]

Wind - [ or kaze or "air", in
                        the Japanese Tradition]

Fire [ huǒ]

and of course..

(Heart [中心] - for you Captain Planet fans out there)

Many have also heard of the Stoic Greek addition of what is properly called by Plato and Aristotle: Aether  (or / sky / void / in the Japanese Tradition [空])

Fewer yet in the West have heard of the further Eastern
notions of  Wood [ ] and Metal [ jīn].

And now we can get back on topic.  The wooden dummy is a phenomenal tool.
The repeated striking of the Wooden Dummy or Mook Yan Chong [木人樁] readies the body for impact, building the bone through repetition over time.

Hint:  Turn the arm such that contact is made with either the inside or outside narrow blade-y part of the forearm (as opposed to the flat, broad, softer part) and never with the "knuckle" of the wrist.

^^ Highlight for a Hint ^^

We give up these secrets in the spirit of not holding back.  We don't intend on taking anything to the grave because there is no time but the present.  That those who are real and intend to delve this deep also intend to practice critically and with an open mind.

That being said, remember to be conscious fully as you go through your repetitions, remember to be present.

The Zen Master would say the only way to do that is to not be conscious at all, in other words "Just do it".

        .... Try it, you might 
                 like it! ....     

This also happens to be the secret of the true Thai Boxers.  If you ask a guy where he studied Thai boxing.  He says, "America" then he goes to Thailand and loses in seconds.  Why?  Because he takes a kick from a guy who has been conditioning his shin since he was 16.  The shin is so well developed through repeated impact over time and use of special topical medicines and oils they rub on the leg that it's not even a competition!  One of the most famous Australian kickboxers got taught this lesson, losing handily upon his going to Thailand.  We have similar stories here even at Calasanz Physical Art in Norwalk involving one of our students who was also a soccer player.  (What do you think the leg chi sau is for?
[Warning: DO NOT go start wailing on your dummy with your shin!]
  Hint:  Begin with rubbing and repeated light tapping.

 ^^ Highlight for a Hint ^^

If you do Taekwondo, a wonderful MA, you will develop really wonderful and good kicks, but you have not truely trained your leg for impact striking.  (We've all seen those clips. [Warning: Graphic and Cannot Be Unseen!!!])

This is why it is important to be making contact with the Wood [ ] itself and not padding which is (after pushing the analogy to the extreme) hitting a pillow.  It's too soft.  In the long run it will definitely give you something, but think about that guy versus a guy who has been hitting Wood [ ] for 30+ years, if it is indeed Kung Fu (or 'the long run') we are talking about.

Body development is a life-long every day happening whether you want it to or not.  It never stops.  What will you become?  Will you waste away in atrophy or will you rise above?  What will you be capable of down the line?

Happy Practice!

Inspired by Calasanz
Developed by Alan Wedell  




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