Wing Chun Equipment List
Wing Chun is a traditional Chinese martial art. It is believed to have been first created as a form of self-defense. Today, it is taught and practiced all over the world and its benefits include increased strength, flexibility, sharpened reflexes, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Wing Chun as a martial art has many elements to it. The three main forms of Wing Chun are learning to train empty handed, with weapons, or on a wooden dummy.
Wing Chun Equipment
Since Wing Chun is such a complicated martial art, there are many pieces of equipment that one must become familiar with. First, one needs to know the basic attire to wear during training. This often includes some type of gi, hand wraps, and good shoes.
Next, it is very important to learn what sort of equipment is necessary to start training. To practice your striking, you will need access to wooden dummies, wallbags, and chi sao dummies. To practice training with weapons, you will need access to long poles and butterfly swords. And finally, to condition your movement you will need to learn about training rings and a footwork mat.
Butterfly swords are one of the most commonly used weapons while practicing Wing Chun. Wing Chun practitioners learn to use two swords simultaneously while training. These are important to the martial art for learning certain forms and movement techniques. These weapons were once used in ancient China for combat purposes, giving a sense of legitimacy to the combat training. Most butterfly swords have an 11-inch long blade that is only sharpened on one side.
Chi Sao Dummy
Chi Sao dummies are one of the more complex pieces of Wing Chun training equipment. This is one of the tools that practitioners use to practice striking. The chi sao dummy is a long and rectangular board that you attach to a wall. Connected to the board by heavy springs are rods that stick out. To train their striking, a wing Chun practitioner will use their punches and kicks to hit these rods. The chi sao dummy is unique because of the fact that its rods are connected by springs. The springs enable the rods to move as you strike them, training your coordination and sharpening your reflexes in a way that other training methods cannot.
The Wing Chun footwork mat is used for Wing Chun practitioners to drill their footwork technique and stance transitions. In Wing Chun, the abilities to move your feet and change your positioning at will is as important as anything else. The footwork mat gives people a convenient tool to help improve these abilities. These mats are meant to be laid out on the floor. Once the mat is opened you will see that it has outlines of feet positioned differently in different spots. The practitioner will stand on the mat and practice quickly transitioning their feet from one pair of designated spots to another.
What one wears while practicing Wing Chun is very important. Although some instructors will have their students wear athletic or street clothes to simulate a real world situation, Wing Chun is traditionally practiced in some sort of gi. The gi, however, is not only for authenticity. Due to its more loose fitting nature, the Wing Chun Gi allows its wearer access to their full range of motion. This is extremely useful when learning how to do complicated kicks, punches or other movement oriented strikes.
Hand wraps are an extremely important piece of equipment when it comes to a practitioner's training longevity. Hand Wraps are used for protection in almost every form of striking based martial arts, but they are especially useful in Wing Chun. The majority of Wing Chun training involves striking a hard and sometimes immovable object. This can leave the hands bruised and sometimes even more seriously injured. Hand wraps are a way to help ensure safety and eliminate some of the risk that comes with training. The wraps mainly do this by keeping your knuckles protected and your wrist stabilized.
A long pole is another common type of Wing Chun weapon, and often is the first one learned. These polls are usually made of wood and can be up to 10-feet long. While learning Wing Chun, one must learn how to control the pole and swing it in specific patterns. Using the pole not only trains you in its use as a weapon, but it also increases the user's balance, coordination, speed, and power even when they are not using the pole. The poles should be well made and hard to break, but also require a certain amount of flexibility and give in order to be used properly.
Wing Chun shoes are essential to Wing Chun practitioners for injury prevention, grip, and protection. Wing Chun shoes are light-weight, have a rubber sole, and are extremely durable to support practitioners throughout their Wing Chun training. Wearing shoes also brings a level of realism to the martial art, since self-defense techniques are meant to be used while wearing everyday clothing styles.
Training rings are some of the most unique methods of training in all of martial arts. The training ring teaches its users to move their hands quickly and efficiently, while keeping the hands and elbows close to the body. The training rings are meant to optimize every part of the arm and how it moves in correspondence with the other parts, generating fluidity in movrment. These metal rings vary in size but have to be big enough for one's hands and forearms to fit within it.
Wall bags are another tool used to train the Wing Chun practitioner's striking. These plate-sized leather bags are often hung or attached to walls at varying heights. These bags are then hit with different punches, kicks, elbows,, and whatever strikes are thrown at them. This is meant to serve as a small target that will improve your accuracy. The bag also serves as a dampener to whatever hard surface it is attached to. The wall bags are often filled with rice, dry beans, or small plastic pellets, which can provide a cushion for whatever limb you are hitting it with.
Wooden Dummies, also known as Wing Chun dummies, are the most iconic piece of equipment in the sport. These dummies are large and wooden posts, often between 5 and 6 feet tall. There are smaller wooden rods sticking out from the main one in different positions. These smaller rods are supposed to represent the limbs of one's opponent, with some rods up high, some at your body's level, and some down low representing your opponent's legs.
The wooden dummy is used to practice both defense and offense in Wing Chun. The Wing Chun practitioner will learn to use arm movements to "block" the small rods representing the opponent's limbs. Then they will learn to strike the dummy in different ways. Incorporating both the offensive and defensive elements is what makes the wooden dummy one of Wing Chun's best tools.