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Dummies Can Be a Martial Artist's Best Friend

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Get Real!

Realism is the goal of the more "anatomically correct" dummies. These have at least a distinguishable "head", and sometimes "arms" and "legs" as well. The added limbs give you something to practice blocks, traps, and locks against, rather than just strikes.

Such dummies can be used for grappling or throwing practice in wrestling or judo. Police trainers also use such dummies to practice arrest takedowns and handcuffing techniques.

Probably the most realistic dummy is Century's Body Opponent Bag, or "B.O.B.". Molded from a soft polymer, B.O.B. has the build of a 6 foot tall, 200 pound mean fighting machine. B.O.B. even has distinguishable facial features for you to practice eye gouges or palm heel strikes to the nose.

We asked Century's David Wahl about the guy B.O.B. is modeled after--after all, if thousands of people are hitting him upside the head in the dojo, wouldn't he feel a bit self-conscious? Luckily, B.O.B. is not modeled after one person but is in fact a combination of several, "including a clay artist who gets to use some creative license," says Wahl.

Chuck vs. BOB

B.O.B. photos courtesy Century Martial Arts, used with permission

According to Wahl, 1 out of every 10 bags/dummies sold by Century is a B.O.B. Evidently, there's definitely something appealing about the fighting experience offered by this realistic dummy--people must just want to hit it. Now if they could only mold the face of your boss into the dummy...

Do It Yourself

If you don't need such detail, you can always make your own dummy. Numerous websites and books provide plans, so with a little improvisation, you can develop your own innovative training partner. Mike Young, author of Martial Arts Home Training, covered making your own dummy in Karate/Kung Fu Illustrated magazine. Paladin Press recently published Michael Janich's Mook Jong Construction Manual, which describes the steps needed to make your own wooden dummy from fence posts and lengths of pipe. The resulting dummy is nowhere near as nice as the commercial models, but for $100 instead of $800, what can you expect? You'll have to be prepared to do a lot of work--Janich explains early in his book that a lot of labor is involved in planing and cutting the pieces for the dummy.

Having a dummy around is a great way to make sure you get your daily dose of training. Even if there's no classmates around, you'll still have a partner to help you practice your techniques.

For more information on martial arts training dummies, consult the following links:

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