Moy Fah Jong, literally translated, means “Plum Flower Pillars.” It consists of a set of eleven wood posts which, when viewed from above, form the outline of the five petals of a plum flower blossum.
The largest of the posts is referred to as a Muk Yan Jong, or “Wooden Man Trunk.” Its traditional place is at the center of the flower. A Muk Yan Jong consists of a a single trunk with three arms and one leg. It is also referred to as a Wooden Dummy, or Dummy, because of its passing resemblance to a man. Some dummies have additional sets of arms and a leg oriented in other directions on the trunk to allow more than a single person to practice simultaneously.
The surrounding posts are called a Gerk Jong, or “Leg Pillars.” Each of the smaller ten posts are spaced from each other at a distance to allow a student to walk between them. These shorter posts can be reduced to only three pillars then representing the outline of a single petal of the plum flower blossum.
Other styles of Kung Fu also have a Moy Fah Jong. However, their configuration and use are entirely different from the Moy Fah Jong seen within the Ving Tsun System. Because of this possible confusion, both the Muk Yan Jong and Gerk Jong portions of a Moy Fah Jong are usually referred to individually. Also, because of a lack of training space, most often a student will see a Muk Yan Jong removed from the center of the flower and mounted on a wall. Due to numerous fixtures which can act as a suitable substitute, a Gerk Jong is many times eliminated entirely from the training area.
Although the two portions of a Moy Fah Jong are usually taught and practiced separately, both the Muk Yan Jong and the Gerk Jong devices serve the same purpose to a Ving Tsun student. The pillars are intended to refine a student’s movements. The feedback provided by striking, touching, and moving around the posts is, when used correctly, a reminder to a student as to correct positioning. Thus, a Moy Fah Jong can be looked at as a way to polish the techniques found within the Ving Tsun System in the absence of a suitable training partner.
It should be noted that a Moy Fah Jong cannot, in itself, teach anything to a Ving Tsun practitioner. All of the techniques and attributes used when practicing on a Jong are learned elsewhere. It is because of this that Moy Fah Jong practice can be compared to a writer using a typewriter: If a writer does not know how to write or spell then using a typewriter, however proficiently, will produce only nicely formatted characters - a far cry from great prose. But, if a student has a strong and good depth of knowledge, learning to use their tool to its fullest becomes a way to streamline the actual mechanics involved so that it becomes second nature. The end result can, only then, become polished and begin to shine through.