Wing Chun Dummies: Why are they Expensive?

I remember watching IP Man and looking at how cool those Mu Ren Zhuang or wooden dummies looked. Just seeing the action of how they look at those Wooden dummies can be very exciting. I was so excited about Wing Chun that I decided to look into it a few years back. Of course, I also searched for wooden dummies. In this article, we will find out why Wing Chun Dummies are Expensive.

The main reason why Mu Ren Zhuang or wooden dummies can get expensive is because of the type of wood it uses. For example, Teak and Southern Pinewood are quite expensive. Furthermore, with the recent popularity of Wing Chun, the demand for wooden dummies suddenly rose, leading to rising prices.

Anyone who has spent a few minutes shopping for Wing Chun mannequins knows one thing: They don’t come cheap! This means that when you finally decide to launder and buy, you want to ensure that your purchase is a success.

Why are Wing Chun dummies so expensive?

Nowadays, good quality wood is not cheap, and the body of wing Chun mannequins is a big part of the wood. This wood is the main thing in the price. It is clear that teak is worth more than southern pines.

Teak is expensive and could cost around $10 to $40 per board foot, depending on the wood quality. The quality of the ones used on Wing Chun dummies costs around $30 per board foot.

In comparison, southern pines cost around $3 to $15 per board foot, depending on the quality.

This leads to a question, why are these woods so expensive? Well, the world is leading to a more sustainable way to get wood rather than logging the forests.

The problem with these woods is that teak and southern pines take about 25-30 years to create a mature tree that can be used for woodworking.

The amount of time it takes to grow them makes them expensive. Of course, getting these woods from the forests could make them cheaper, but strict regulations on forest conservation make them more expensive.

Of course, this is necessary to conserve our forests.

Because of the price of wood, real wood dummies can be much more expensive than those that mimic them, like PVC or plastic Wing Chun dummies.

An example is this dummy, which you can get on Amazon for like a third of the price of an actual wooden dummy: Vinyl Wing Chun Dummy(Attachable)

In fact, if you check my other post on How Much is a Wooden Dummy? You will find that the average cost of a wooden dummy costs is around $520.67.

If you’re on a tight budget, something that pairs with a heavy bag to mimic a full-size mannequin may be a better option.

As all kung fu professionals who learn Wing Chun or Jeet Kune know, training with Muk Yan Jong or Mu Ren Zhuang mannequins is a wonderful and indispensable tool, but in most cases, it is very expensive.

If you don’t already know, a well-built Mu Ren Zhuang (also known as a wooden doll or wooden man) can cost anywhere from $900 to $2000.

It is a very expensive device. The wooden dummy is a training device used by Wing Chun Kung Fu professionals.

However, Wing Chun mannequins can be prohibitively expensive, with retail models often costing $1,000 or more. Fortunately, mannequins can be built with a lot less, but if you’re not ready, it can be a great project.

Good quality wood doesn’t come cheap today and the mannequin’s body is a big part of the wood. This wood is a basic element in the price.

Teak is naturally more expensive than southern pine wood. If you don’t already know, a well-constructed mook jong (also known as a wooden doll or wooden man) is made of high-quality wood.

For more reasons why Wing Chun dummies are becoming expensive, feel free to check out this article, where I also rounded off how much an average wooden dummy costs. Here is the link: How Much is a Wooden Dummy?

Furthermore, the demand for wooden dummies rose a lot with more people wanting to learn Wing Chun because of Chinese Martial Arts movies becoming popular.

So yes, it is a very expensive device. The wooden dummy is an exercise device used by Wing Chun Kung Fu professionals. You’ve probably seen martial arts movies with the dragon story of Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, or Bruce Lee. 

Wing Chun models tend to be more expensive but learning how to exercise on a wooden mannequin is one of the main highlights of practicing Wing Chun.

In the next section, we will discuss if you can actually learn Wing Chun without a dummy. Let’s find out.

Can you learn Wing Chun without a dummy?

You can learn Basic Wing Chun without a dummy thanks to their three forms of empty hands which are Si Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Bill Jee. These are techniques learned in front of a mirror that doesn’t need a wooden dummy. Also, some practitioners only imagine the wooden dummy when practicing.

Although the wooden dummy is one of the most expressive things to learn about Wing Chun, it is only a part of learning the art. 

But even without a dummy, you can learn the shape of the Wing Chun dummy in the air.

It is well known that in the early years when IP Man went to Hong Kong he practiced and taught the mannequin-free form of the mannequin.

Thus, we will explore ways to practice Wing Chun when you don’t have a wooden dummy (mook jong) or don’t have a way to do it.  

In fact, even IP man did not build a wooden mannequin for all his students, given the time, money, and space required for his classes.

It is challenge was to make one for all of his students in the class, as the mannequin’s body and hard to build since it was traditionally painted deep into the ground for some stability.

The hole around the mannequin was lined with reeds and small gravel so that the mannequin could be touched.

Thus, it is difficult to build a mannequin in the traditional style, even though it is an essential aspect of the training.

So, are there ways to practice Wing Chun without those dummies? Most solo training are done with a wooden dummy, so let’s briefly discuss solo training and how you could practice without those dummies.

Wing Chun Solo Training

Wing Chun solo training is often the largest part of your Wing Chun training. 

Wing Chun solo training has three forms of empty hands – Si Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Bill Jee – practicing in front of the mirror to see what you look like, and of course, in Mook Jong or Mu Ren Zhuang.

Not everyone will have access to mook jong at home so you can practice without wooden dummies.

One way is to practice these forms in the air, like how Tai Chi practitioners practice without these dummies.

I suggest doing the forms in front of a mirror so you can see your form.

Practicing with a professional could also help since they can check your form just by looking, even without the dummies.

Individual training also works on muscle memory. You could imagine and practice these exercises.

Besides the form, some professionals will do shadowboxing, and solo exercises.

Understand that learning without any dummies is a very difficult.

I am not saying it is impossible, but it is very difficult, and it might seem hard to do by yourself.

In my experience, one way to get through this is to practice with a sparring partner. Its advantage is you could practice the moves in a moving enemy, which is a lot different from practicing on the dummies.

In fact, I believe this is a lot more effective than getting a dummy, as you can simulate a real fight.

In short, it is recommended to have some kind of partner. It is likely your sifu partner, but if you can study away from friends or family, so much the better.

When you try learning Wing Chun online, you can actually get some of its moves without a wooden dummy.

It’s very hard to feel the need to get a Mook Jong especially if you’re practicing with a partner.

One can learn Wing Chun without a dummy by practicing without real practice, following the video of a teacher, and using an object on the ground to avoid it.

You can learn the wooden dummy techniques without investing in the them.


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