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Miscellaneous Martial Arts
Although I'm not a Wing Chun stylist, I find the wooden dummy very valuable in practicing close-in and bridging techniques. Time spent with the dummy has noticeably improved my sparring.
I usually start with one or two moves I want to practice, gradually working them into other combinations, eventually working freestyle, working in the combinations when it's appropriate. I've adapted the Silent Fighter kata for the Mook Jong, and sometimes practice that, but mostly I improvise.
As has been described countlessly elsewhere, the Mook Jong consists of a heavy trunk with three "arms" and one "leg", mounted in positions to provide the correct contact points for blocks and strikes, giving you something besides "empty air" to strike against when practicing tecniques.
The Mook Jong helps me break up the block-strike-block-strike cadence that dominates most karate training. Most of the individual techniques I practice are simultaneous block/strike, which helps hard-wire the reflexes to strike as soon as your opponent moves, rather than after you've blocked their technique.
As someone once said, the wooden dummy is the partner that never gets tired or sick or loses interest in karate. It's always there, and will train for as long as you want.
The Tae Kwon Do dojo in which I got my second Dan also taught Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I attended classes for awhile, including a couple of seminars, and at one point got to spar with Royce Gracie (these photos).
Royce was a very interesting sparring partner. He was about 80 pounds lighter than I, and still could have snapped me like a twig at a moment's notice. He was all technique with very little energy expended. He sparred with me in "instructor" fashion, letting me try various locks and then effortlessly getting out of them. It was a great experience.
I can see the value of groundwork. You can't always depend on keeping your feet in a fight, and some fighters will immediately go to the ground. I find the locks and chokes interesting. But after awhile, I grew tired of heavy guys sitting on me, and dropped out.
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