How to Make a PVC Wing Chun Dummy
Traditional dummies for the practice of the Chinese martial art Wing Chun are made of a central stand, about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, and are roughly the height of the martial artist. At various points on the dummy are arms and rods to represent where the opponent's forearms would be for various blocks, plus a bent piece at the bottom to represent a leg. Commercial dummies sell for upward of $800; making your own out of PVC and wood is a cheaper alternative.
Cut a length of 8-inch (interior diameter) PVC pipe that's roughly your height. This will have an external diameter of anywhere from 8.6 inches to 8.9 inches, depending on the grade of pipe. Heavier-duty pipe gives greater stability.
Put ballast in the bottom. This can be a large (8-inch diameter) coffee can full of sand and gravel.
Mark the holes in the PVC for the limbs you're going to use. They should be at shoulder, forearm, waist, and knee heights, give or take a few inches. The two arms facing frontward should have their points be about 8 inches apart on 11-inch dowels. This means the dowel holes have to be about 2 inches apart on the PVC.
Cut the holes out of the PVC trunk. A 1-inch spade bit on a power drill will usually do this.
Make your wooden limbs out of hardwood. They should be about 2 inches to 3 inches in diameter and taper to conic points and be about 11 inches to 12 inches long. The leg is usually made of a tapered joint to give the knee its bend. Taper down the ends that attach to the trunk to fit them into the holes you cut earlier.
Attach the limbs to the trunk of the dummy.
Tapering wood to get an exact fit on the holes you cut will result in a better fit, and there will be less chance that you'll have to make an entirely new trunk.
Do not use PVC for the limbs, since PVC is flexible and can shatter if hit hard enough. The same warning applies to softwoods such as pine or hemlock: They might be cheaper, but they will break under even light usage on the dummy.
- Do not use PVC for the limbs, since PVC is flexible and can shatter if you hit it hard enough. The same warning applies to softwoods such as pine or hemlock. They might be cheaper, but they will break under even light usage on the dummy.
Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.