What does the dummy have in common with a human being?


To a certain extent when we play on the dummy, we are involved in one man Chi Sau, or at the least Chi Sau with a very stiff and static partner.

Do we approach it with the same outlook as we approach Chi Sau?

A great many people play the dummy at a high pace and high physicality, taking pride in the speed they dance around it and how loud the sound of their contact.

One constant in all of our training should be, indeed must be, asking ourselves…

“What would need to happen for me to need this action being performed in this way, in this space”?

All training is task-specific, all training is preparing us for an event that is at least similar to what we are doing in that training.

What is the dummy doing that we are dealing with?

What does the dummy have in common with a human being?

We should consider these questions seriously and deeply.

It is all too easy when playing on the dummy, or even when playing Chi Sau, to get sidetracked into thinking that this action {or FORM} is teaching us something just by being there and just by us doing it.

It does not, it just becomes a game.

There is an inherent danger in all FORMS that are done in the same way with the same thinking day after day, that is when we turn on the auto-pilot and turn down the thinking, they become nothing more than dancing, or just standing still.

The physical orientation we have to the dummy, or our partner in Chi Sau, is nothing at all like the positions we will encounter if we face violence.

Unless the Bad Guy is a complete moron, he will not choose to stand anything like chest to chest, it is unlikely he will engage both arms, it is more likely that his actions, his choices, will make sure he is not in that place of vulnerability or weakness.

Not ours or our training.

If he is a moron and just walks into our punches we do not need our training to deal with him, if that is the guy we are training to face dancing around a tree probably is enough.

Dummies don’t move, people do, how do we all resolve this dilemma and come up with something useful from all that dancing and drumming?

One IDEA, and it is just an IDEA, a method to bring about a different way of looking at the dummy and Chi Sau is to focus on the transitions.

To become aware of how the dummy stops our movement as opposed to thinking that we hit it, and what we do next.

If we are facing violence and the Bad Guy can stop our movement we are a split second away from getting done in, if we are not aware of this ‘stopping’ and cannot transition from that phase to another phase in the shortest possible time it is game over.

Looking only at how we move in and make contact with the dummy is bordering on arrogance and disrespect for our opponent, this type of attitude very rarely ends well when facing a real person.

Is it practical to develop this type of attitude?

Make easy contact with the dummy, feel it stop you, observe the return forces and what they are doing to your shape and balance {this aspect alone is worth the time}, explore the best and most effective way to regain your shape and balance, then move.

Be stopped, observe, decide, transition. Rinse and repeat.

Learn the FORM, but seek the formless.

Learn it all, then forget it all.

Learn The Way, then find your own way.



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