I love being a dummy.

June 29, 2011

When we work on tricks in class, lower and middle belts will generally start with trick #1 and work up to the highest numbered trick that both partners have learned. That is a good way to practice as Kajukenbo tricks are next to impossible to perform at home – to really practice a Kajukenbo trick, you need a good dummy who knows the trick and can take a hit. Dummying is a big part of the art, and Sifu will often stress how important it is to be a good dummy.

The dummy is the attacker. The dummy initiates an attack, and the trick is performed to take the dummy out. A good dummy will make the attack real, challenging their partner according to their level of skill, and will react realistically to the strikes that they receive. In Kajukenbo, each strike is designed to set up both you and your opponent for the next strike. For example, when someone is kicked hard ‘below the belt,’ their natural reaction would likely be to bend forward involuntarily, setting their partner up for the next strike in the trick.

It is both inspiring and sometimes intimidating to watch the upper belts practice tricks. Realism escalates according to rank, and upper belts give nothing to their partners – if the trick is performed incorrectly or poorly, the dummy is going to clock you and/or force you to improvise to take them down.

I love being the dummy. It helps me to better understand the tricks when I am on the receiving end, and I enjoy helping my fellow students by being the best dummy for them that I can be. I feel fortunate that I get to dummy often for lower and middle belts during testing, or when Sifu wants to teach something particular about a trick to the class.

In two months, I will be testing for my blue/green sash. For the next two months, training will be harder. Of course Sifu wants to see the newer material that we’ve been learning, the latest forms and tricks he’s teaching us, but he always wants to see much of the older curriculum. That means more practice at home. I’ll be working to improve older forms that I don’t often practice in class, and I will be working on cardio as well, the need for which escalates with rank.

Sparring is a completely different subject for me. I’ve been trying to incorporate more elements of tricks and forms into sparring rather than just duking it out. I will write more about sparring soon, as I feel like it should be a point of focus for me right now. I feel like I need to clarify my thoughts on this moving forward, and hey, this is where I do that!

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