The wooden dummies (jong – 樁) have long been part of the system of Shaolin kung fu. These are training implements constructed to test different skills, for example speed, strength, conditioning.
The term “wooden dummies” should not be taken too literally – although a lot of the dummies were made out of wood, many of them were made of other materials, including metal.
The dummies can be static or have moving parts. The more advanced dummies are typically larger, more complex and have more moving parts, including interconnected moving parts that really test the practitioner’s speed and fluidity.
Some dummies are designed for training particular weapons as opposed to training unarmed fighting. These include the pole, sword and fan dummies.
Choy Lee Fut’s founder Chan Heung was fortunate to learn the entire system of Shaolin dummies from his teacher and Shaolin monk Choy Fook Sim See when he trained with him for over a decade. He integrated these dummies into the Choy Lee Fut system, making eighteen dummies. With one more dummy being invented by his son Chan Koon Pak, Choy Lee Fut’s nineteen dummies is the most extensive dummy system in the world today. Like the fist forms and weapons, they are divided into primary, secondary and tertiary levels. With each dummy concentrating on working just a few aspects of fighting, when trained properly the dummy system makes for a phenomenal fighter.
Because of their cultural significance and their link to the Shaolin tradition, the dummies are also one of Choy Lee Fut’s greatest treasures.