If you’ve never trained with a grappling dummy in your life, you might be looking at it with a grain of salt.
I did it as well, but the pandemic made me realize the benefits and conveniences a good grappling dummy can provide to combat athletes.
In fact, the pandemic brought grappling dummies into focus, allowing us to realize that there are different ones intended for different purposes, which is crucial to understand when trying to pick the best grappling dummy for you.
Are you ready to choose your new favorite inanimate training partner?
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- Best overall grappling dummy – Ring to Cage Grappling Dummy
- Best for takedowns and throws – Century GUS Grappling Dummy
- Best for training top positions – Rev Gear Grappling Dummy
- Best for kids – HAWK Sports Kids Grappling Dummy
- Best for practicing armbars – Combat Sports Grappling Dummy
- Best MMA grappling dummy – Celebrita Grappling Dummy
- Best budget grappling dummy – Elite Sports Hanging Grappling Dummy
Best Grappling Dummies for BJJ, MMA, Judo & Wrestling
Time for a deep dive into the world of grappling dummies as we lay out the facts that make some dummies better than others and the key criteria to look for when picking out a dummy for yourself.
Century Black Grappling Dummy (70lbs-120lbs)
Century Martial Arts is a highly reputable brand for martial arts gear, which includes some premium quality grappling dummies as well. Their Century Grappling Dummy is their most popular one for many reasons, but particularly for the different weights it is available in.
This grappling dummy is made from thick-cut vinyl, which makes it very durable, but also to clean and maintain, so it doesn’t end up collecting germs. Reinforced stitching at stress points, using laces at the seams ensures this dummy can take a beating (weak pun intended).
The build is ergonomic, featuring extended arms that bent at the elbows at the shoulders, allowing for manipulation during training and introducing as much realism in training with a dummy as it is possible. Rigid legs make it great for takedown practice of certain BJJ moves but take away from specific submission and positional practice.
Century’s Grappling Dummy is intended for adults, with lifelike proportions to match different body shapes and sizes. It is ideal for practicing takedowns, as well as ground and pound, standing kicking, and punching techniques and some groundwork.
Century’s Black Grappling Dummy is available in three different weights:
- Weight: 120 lbs – Length: 72 inches
- Weight: 90 lbs – Length: 66 inches
- Weight: 70 lbs – Length: 64 inches
- Won’t tear, rip, or get damaged in any way
- Easy to keep clean and germ and odor-free
- Posable arms allow lots of training variations
- Good for grappling and striking training
- Rigid legs make pins and submission training difficult
Ring to Cage Grappling Dummy
As far as the search for the best Jiu Jitsu grappling dummy goes, there is no way to skip the Ring to Cage Grappling Dummy, which features a very unique design.
Namely, this dummy comes with fully positionable legs and arms (great for leg lock drills and armbars), which can not only bend as human limbs do but can also keep their shape when placed in a specific position.
The 3.0 version of the dummy even has feet and hands! This allows for practicing virtually any grappling situation, including escaping bad spots, as you can position this dummy in realistic top mount or side control.
This type of structure makes it somewhat impractical for throws and takedowns, and in particular, striking, but then again, if you’re looking for a grappling pal that’s not imaginary, but not a live sparring partner, you’ve found the best possible option. It can even start from the knees.
That said, the dummy is a good fit for MMA fighters looking to develop their ground and pound with full strength from different positions.
Ring to Cage’s grappling dummy is made out of heavy-duty 22oz polyester-coated vinyl and is available in several different color options like black, red and black, blue, marine green, and red and blue.
The adult grappling dummy (regardless of color design) is around 6 feet long and weighs 65-70 lbs. The kids’ version is of course lighter, weighing in at 30 to 35 lbs and a length of 4’6”.
- Can practice BJJ fully on it;
- Flexible but durable;
- Comes in lots of different dimensions;
- Easy to adjust during training and change positions;
- Available filled or empty.
- While the design accommodates twisting submissions, they tend to make the extremities very loose over time.
DAAN MMA Grappling Dummy
DAAN MMA’s grappling dummy is yet another lifelike dummy, similar to that by Ring to Cage in terms of holding a recognizable grappling and MMA-specific shape, but without the adjustment properties of the limbs.
This dummy comes in a turtle-like position, with all limbs bent and knees very close to elbows. It is perfect for practicing passing in BJJ and MMA, attacking the turtle, drilling back attacks, swapping anchored opponents from closed guard, and, if you’re creative enough, using it to figure out how to deal with partners who invert when you’re on top.
As versatile as this dummy is for BJJ, it won’t do you too much good in the realm of takedown and throw training. Striking-wise, it presents a unique challenge for ground and pound as a result of the shape, meaning you’ll need to figure out how to navigate its “defenses” as opposed to just raining hammer fists and elbows.
The grappling dummy is built from four-ply polyester-nylon thread, with durability in mind. Double-reinforced stitching and waterproof fabric mean that you probably won’t ever need to replace or repair this one, and cleaning it is a breeze.
One thing you will have to do is fill this grappling dummy up, as it ships unfilled. Anything along the lines of clothes, blankets, shredded textiles, or the like is going to do the trick.
The length of this grappling dummy is 67 inches from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head, running along the curvature of the back, so in practice, it is not as tall as it may seem on paper.
Empty, the dummy weighs 3.8 lbs., and it can be filled to weigh up to 120 lbs. It is available in black and red.
- Lifetime warranty
- A specific shape that allows for specialized grappling training
- Comes unfilled
Century GUS Grappling & MMA Dummy
I did mention that Century is one of the most reliable and most well-known manufacturers of martial arts gear, so no wonder another one of their grappling dummies features on our list, this time with their GUS Grappling Dummy.
The first thing that attracts attention when you see this grappling dummy is that it uses a tripod system to keep it in an upright position.
Unlike a lot of other dummies that are designed to be used for ground techniques, the GUS grappling dummy is ideal for practicing throws and takedowns. O-Goshi (hip throw) and Hari-Goshi (hip sweep), for example, are two techniques that this dummy is ideal for practicing.
What’s more, MMA practitioners will find this dummy particularly useful, given that you’re able to practice MMA striking combinations followed by level changes and takedowns, which is largely due to the dummy’s great balance combined with its weight.
Overall, this grappling dummy is designed for training takedowns more than anything else. The arms position is fixed so that you can practice both wrestling takedowns and Judo throws. What’s more, you can even put a Gi on the dummy if you’re a Judo or Gi BJJ practitioner (A3 fits best).
The material is vinyl, durable, reinforced, and easy to keep clean.
The dummy is designed for adult athletes, with a weight of 47 lbs., and a height of 59”.
- Very stable
- Stiff and rigid, providing a realistic striking target
- Shaped for takedown practice
- Durable and long-lasting
- Easy to clean.
- Arms are fixed;
- Awkard for practicing some groundwork as a result of the tripod stand design.
Combat Sports Grappling Dummy
Combat Sports is a brand that provides high-quality MMA gear for fighters and athletes of all levels. Their grappling dummy is similar to the Century one, with some subtle but important differences.
The design features a human-like form, with two legs in a fixed position, and two arms extended forward, in an optimal position for practicing armbar entries from top positions. This is an incredible grappling dummy given its versatile use in training takedowns, throws, striking, grappling positioning, and submissions.
This grappling dummy is made out of a combination of nylon and tough vinyl material, making it not only strong but also flexible and hence, more pleasant and realistic to work with.
The arms bend slightly at the elbows, which makes it a little uncomfortable to practice anything apart from armbars and joint locks from the mount and perhaps guard.
This dummy is heavy and as such intended only for adults.
It comes in different sizes:
- Weight: 70 lbs – Height 5’4”
- Weight: 90 lbs – Height 5’6”
- Weight: 120lbs – Height 5’8”
- Weight: 140 lbs – Height 5’10”
- Durable but flexible, easy to manipulate and use
- Perfect for practicing armbars from all positions
- Designed for striking, throwing/takedown, and ground training
- The material is very easy to clean and doesn’t retain odors.
- Arm position limits the versatility of standing/ground-based grappling positions.
Rev Gear Motion Master Grappling Dummy
Rev Gear found a unique way to design their take on the best grappling dummy for BJJ – they asked one of the best in the world to help.
Their Motion Master Grappling Dummy is designed by Erik Paulson, one of the best catch wrestling and submission grappling coaches in the world.
The dummy notably misses extremities, which at first glance, might seem less than optimal.
It features four “nubs” which represent knees and elbows and are appropriately positioned. The shape is intentional, as it allows realistic grappling training in the realm of transitioning between pins, which is where a grappling dummy comes in handy.
Rev Gear’s Motion Master Grappling Dummy is considered one of the top options because of its alligator shape, offering virtually any imaginable top position used in BJJ and MMA.
With all that said, the Motion Master is ideal for training ground-based techniques, for example, ground and pound and positional transitions such as side control to full mount via the step-over-mount transition.
This dummy is meant for adults, but kids could use this one as well, particularly for top-position transition movement training. It weighs 55 lbs., and is 54” long.
- Designed by one of the best grappling coaches in the world
- Realistic training of transitions between pinning positions and strikes
- Helps you master ground control
- Money-back guarantee
- Lack of extremities means limited takedown training options.
Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy
Here is a grappling dummy that’s a strong contender for the best grappling dummy for Jiu Jitsu. It’s heavy-set, yet maneuverable, it has adjustable limbs that stay tight-fitting, and is very comfortable to work with.
The comfort in the particular grappling dummy comes by way of the construction material, which is a premium quality thick cotton canvas. You may also know it as the cover of wrestling matspaces. A big plus is that all grapplers are used to this material and there will be no adverse reactions to the dummy.
Reinforced stitching and a solid structure that retains shape and rebounds upon being taken out of place ensure the longevity of this grappling dummy. A Velcro and zip closure system ensures you can fill and empty the dummy as much as you want without affecting its performance or feel.
Shape-wise, the legs are bent at an angle to the hips which cannot be completely straightened and stay like that. There is leeway but once pressure is gone they tend to come back to the initial position. It is the same with the shoulders, whereas the elbows and knees are completely adjustable.
There are three colors available for this grappling dummy: red, black, and blue. The dummy and it is up to you to fill it up with old clothes, textiles, cotton, or any other type of filler material that suits its purposes.
The dummy can be filled up to weigh anywhere from 60 lbs. to 120 lbs.
The weight is dependent upon the length, which is 40″ to 47″ for kids’ grappling dummies, and 59″ to 70″ for adult ones.
- Very comfortable to work with
- Adjustable limbs allow for many different positions
- Targeted head so you know where to am your strikes
- Comes unfilled
Elite Sports Hanging Grappling Dummy
Elite Sports are the “culprits” behind some of the best affordable MMA and BJJ gear out there, and they have a unique take on a grappling dummy in their repertoire.
As the name suggests, Elite Sports’ Hanging Grappling Dummy comes with a holder and a rope to hang it with.
While this might seem to only turn it into a heavy bag for striking (which, of course, remains an option), the idea is that you get a training “partner” in a top position that moves unpredictably, just like in real sparring.
The 360-degree mobility makes this one of the most versatile options out there, for both BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts, despite it being only being shaped in the turtle position without the option to adjust the position of the extremities.
Double stitching and reinforced zippers provide durability and ensure the filling stays inside at all times.
On the subject of filling, this grappling dummy arrives unfilled, so you’ll need to pick your filling material of choice and set it up yourself, which allows you to manage its weight.
The material is four-ply polyester-nylon thread that is completely waterproof, providing easy maintenance and an odor and germ-free surface. Comes in black.
The entire hanging design is so unique it has a patent pending.
The weight of this grappling dummy can vary between 5.2 lbs. when empty and up to 100 lbs. when filled. The length is 5’5” and the design is intended for adults.
- Comes with a holder and rope to hang it for 360 mobility
- Holds specific defensive shape allowing for specialized MMA and BJJ training
- Durable stitching and zippers ensure filling stays put
- Very easy to clean and maintain
- Can double as a heavy bag for striking
- Comes unfilled
- Requires somewhere to hang the dummy
Gameness Youth Grappling Dummy
A grappling dummy by one of the most reputable and popular BJJ Gi brands out there all but guarantees a product ideal for pure grapplers.
After all, Gameness knows the demands of the grappling community and has provided one of the best grappling dummies ever, designed specifically for youth Jiu Jitsu practitioners to practice submissions and takedowns.
This dummy is half a dummy if we’re being literal – it is only a torso with nibs. The only intention behind this dummy is to help youth grapplers become more proficient at BJJ and Judo throws.
It is constructed of high-density foam, covered by reinforced vinyl for easy maintenance and handling. The shape is very realistic and helps kids deal with a stiff and free-weighing “partner” so that they have an easier time throwing a resisting real-life partner in a match.
Apart from throwing, it does offer other opportunities, like practicing top pin transitions and perhaps even some closed guard aspects.
The bag weighs just under 25 lbs., making it perfect for most kids in the youth age range. It is 31” long.
- Ideal for throwing
- Offers versatile transitioning training drills from the top while on the ground
- Odor-resistant and easy to clean
- Designed to last
- No limbs
Century Junior Throwing Dummy
Another option for the young grapplers out there is the Junior Throwing Dummy by Century Martial Arts. It is, a full-length grappling dummy built to help the grapplers of the future perfect every aspect of their game.
The dummy is made out of special nylon material and filled with soft fiber, it is safe and very easy to use. Nylon holding straps attached to the back mean this dummy works as a kicking shield as well, giving more dimensions to it than just grappling.
The shape looks a little bit off, with very wide shoulders, but that is intentional, as it allows kids to better find the leverage points that are crucial to master throws. It is available in purple color and can fit into Gis for specific Gi work.
The Century Martial Arts Junior Throwing Dummy weighs approximately 18 lbs and is 45” long.
- Great for kids to practice takedowns and throws
- Straps turn it into a kicking shield
- Soft, safe, and easy to use
- Comes filled.
- Short arms about the body shape of the dummy
HAWK Sports Kids Grappling Dummy
The final entry in our list comes by way of HAWK sports and is once again meant for the youngest in the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It also happens to be the best-looking one of all grappling dummies we went over today, at least according to me.
The first thing you’ll notice on this grappling dummy is that it has a smiling face painted on, on top of being quite colorful in terms of logos and slogans.
Shape-wise, this dummy has what seems like unnatural long arms, and short stubby legs. The idea behind the design is that the arms are movable, allowing children to practice different positions, while the rest of the dummy is rigid so they only have to focus on one problem at a time.
The range of motion of the arms allows for a very wide variety of uses in all kinds of grappling, self-defense, and striking scenarios, making this one of the best dummies for both grappling and MMA.
The outer layer is a soft canvas fabric, reinforced with double stitching, which makes it comfortable to practice with, safe, and gives it a realistic feel. All areas of this dummy are strikable, designed to be just soft and hard enough, as well as able to withstand as many strikes as kids can throw at them.
HAWK Sports’ Jiu Jitsu dummy is available in black, blue, gray, and red. It comes unfilled and needs to be filled up with soft textiles, cotton, or clothes shreds for the best experience.
All in all, this is an awesome dummy for practicing techniques when your little champion has no one to train with.
The height of this bag is 39” and it can weigh up to 80 lbs. when filled.
- Long arms with lots of adjustable positions
- Soft and realistic feel to the outer layer
- Fun, colorful design
- Ultra long-lasting
- Comes unfilled
Benefits of Grappling Dummies
A Jiu Jitsu dummy is one of the most convenient pieces of training equipment and can help you become a better grappler and/or fighter.
Grappling dummies became everyone’s favorite training partner during the pandemic since they couldn’t get sick and still allowed for some version of Jiu-Jitsu or MMA to be practiced.
During those dark days, we learned a lot about the benefits of training with grappling dummies, which extend far past just simple left and right drills or using the dummy to train strength.
Practice Grappling Techniques and Drills Alone
Whenever you don’t have a partner present, but you have access to your own grappling dummy, you can drill a ton of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or MMA techniques that you couldn’t do alone – essentially allowing you to have training sessions without having to annoy a friend into coming along to the gym.
A Jiu Jitsu dummy is a great way to practice transitional movement against a shape that is very similar to what you’ll encounter while rolling or competing.
Granted, people’s bodies are different, but grappling dummies will give you the spatial orientation you need to do lightning-fast transitions in between top pining positions and set up awesome submissions as you move instead of after you’ve arrived at a checkpoint.
Drill options extend to include throwing and takedown training with some types of dummies, which is a great way of developing a feel for moving a free-weighing object, which is exactly how a trained opponent will feel when defending and countering your takedown attempts.
Of course, ground and pound is also an option to blow off all the steam you need going full force, without worrying about the state of your partner.
If you’re looking to practice techniques without having to rely on a training partner, then a BJJ grappling dummy is the way to go.
Can Train Whenever You Like
Probably the biggest caveat of owning a grappling dummy is that you can train whenever you want, without having to rely on a partner, when they need to leave, or getting stranded doing shrimps across your living room.
You could even dress your grappling dummy up in a Gi to practice specific moves or prop it standing to get as close to Danaher’s famous four-step system of taking them down, passing the legs, pin, and submitting as you can without a live partner present.
Don’t forget to wipe and clean your grappling dummy at the end though. It is only fair as you’ll be taking a shower after practice anyway.
Able to Train for As Long as You Like
Another crucial benefit of owning a grappling dummy is that it will never cancel on you, say it is not in the mood, or skip practice for whatever reason comes to mind.
Joking aside, there is a method called “grease the groove” which I heard of from a strength and conditioning coach named Zach Even-Esh. The method entails doing a few pushups or pullups or whatever exercise you can a few times throughout the day, greasing the groove when you can’t go to a gym for a full session.
The same applies to combat sports, as you can jump on your grappling dummy and do submission drills, throw it around, or strike it every time you go past it. Even when you’re raiding the fridge at 2 a.m.
Can Train With Your Specific Needs in Mind
This again has to do with the human side of, well human partners. They tend to get bored of you doing the same thing over and over again and try to wiggle out of drilling. Your trusted grappling dummy has your back (pun intended) once again, always patient with hundreds upon hundreds of reps of submissions, takedowns, transitions, and striking coming it’s way.
While you do lots of different specific stuff with most dummies, some models are designed to offer early specialized training, which is something to keep in mind when picking a dummy for training.
Drawbacks of Grappling Dummies
Not everything is fun and games with a grappling dummy, though, and it’s definitely not the “perfect” training partner.
While it does seem better than training with a live partner in some instances, and beats training alone in every way possible, it is still far from enough to help you progress as a grappler or fighter if you’re only training with a grappling dummy.
Lack of Resistance
Regardless of model or adjustment options, no grappling dummy on the market is going to provide the resistance a stubborn 200 lbs. freshly promoted blue belt will provide when rolling.
The lack of resistance is good for mastering initial movements but you should be aware that this is just a step along the way to perfecting MMA or Jiu Jitsu techniques, and the next step involves executing everything against resisting live opponents of various sizes and experience levels.
Practicing Poor Technique
Unless you have someone to coach you as you practice or are filming yourself to try and correct your form later on, you might think you’re doing things correctly but without feedback from a real partner, you’re repeating and learning something which is not going to work when you try it on the mat.
This is a waste of time, so even with a grappling dummy, start slow and methodical, and try to film yourself to figure out if you’re doing anything wrong.
Can Pick Up Bad Habits
The more you repeat a bad technique, the more it becomes ingrained. Suddenly, you’re not able to do your impressive knee-on-belly transitioning routine because the belly you’re so desperately trying to pin is moving and wiggling around. Never forget that you’ll be doing those same moves against people who won’t enjoy them and will do their best to get out.
Be really, really careful about picking up bad habits from training with a grappling dummy as they are not easy to shake off.
All in all, while a grappling dummy is no human training partner, it does offer plenty of benefits and is a handy piece of training gear for any Martial Artist to have at home.
How to Choose a Grappling Dummy
Grappling dummies seems like a straightforward thing to go out and buy until you need to get one. Then, you realize that they come in a bunch of different shapes, there are kids and adult versions, some come unfilled, and they have different dimensions in height and weight. Now, picking one might turn into a headache.
All of these aspects, and several others have to be considered when you’re getting a grappling dummy, as getting one that does not fit your purpose will essentially leave you with a vinyl corpse that you can’t do a lot with.
Depending on what your goals are in terms of training with a grappling dummy, you need to factor in flexibility, or more importantly in some cases, the lack thereof.
What I mean by this is that if you want to practice throws or takedowns, you need a more rigid and stiff grappling dummy, which is heavy and will provide resistance in the correct angles and directions so that the training makes sense and has carryover to the mats.
If you’re looking to work on specific ground fighting techniques, especially practicing submission holds and submission chains, you want flexibility, as it will provide you with essential information on the direction of movement, with slight resistance and the tendency to get back into shape once you let go.
Size & Weight
Size and weight are next, and still have to do with what you’re training for and personal preferences. At the end of the day, you want your grappling dummy to be heavy, but not so heavy that you can’t pick it off the ground.
Remember, this is dead weight we’re talking about, and moving it through space, even on the ground is a lot more difficult than doing the same with a resisting, but moving live opponent.
With that in mind, it’s important to pay attention to the dummy’s weight when filled, and consider that in relation to your own weight.
The length is not as important, but be wary of the weight and opt for less rather than more when in doubt.
Durability is more or less a given aspect of every grappling dummy contender in our list, given their intended use. After all, this is a dummy made to get thrown around, receive strikes standing and on the ground, and get smushed, squeezed, and generally manhandled.
The stitching and construction will hold, regardless of which grappling dummy you end up picking. Be wary of the closure systems, though, as exposed zippers can give way after a while, so opt for ones reinforced by velcro or similar.
To summarise, finding a durable grappling dummy is incredibly important. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you, and all of the options on our list easily meet the durability required for Jiu-Jitsu or MMA training.
Filled or Unfilled?
I’d say that this depends mainly on two things: how far the grappling dummy needs to be shipped in order to reach you and the money you’re willing to spend on shipping.
A 120 lbs. dummy is going to cost a lot more if it has to be shipped across thousands of miles, as compared to an empty one weighing only a few pounds,
Granted, you’ll need to fill an unfilled one yourself, but that will still come a lot cheaper than ordering a full dummy across a great distance.
If you’re confident you can fill it yourself and want to save on shipping, go for an unfilled dummy. On the other hand, if you’d rather not test your DIY skills, then going for a filled dummy will be the better option.
The shape of the dummy is going to reflect the purposes of your training with it. Some shapes fit strikers better, others are designed for throws and wrestling takedowns, while some offer unique submission or position drilling opportunities.
Pick the shape that fits the most, but remember that the more you can adjust your grappling dummy, the more versatility and even specialization you can have with just one dummy, instead of having to buy several more rigidly shaped ones.
This is close to the previous point and mainly has to do with grappling-specific training.
Do you want limbs to be outstretched, or close to the body? Do you want rigid or adjustable extremities? Do you want a stable standing dummy with an extra leg, or just a “human torso” dummy so that you can specialize in pinning?
As you can probably tell from this article, dummies come in all shapes and sizes, from a sitting position to a standing position with and without limbs.
Answering any or all of these questions will help you determine which grappling dummy is the best one for you.
Types of Grappling Dummies
While there are many kinds of grappling dummies in terms of body position, shape, weight, length, and placement of limbs, there are only a few main types of grappling dummies, which encompass all grappling dummy kinds.
Punching Bag/ Dummy Hybrid
A hybrid between a heavy bag and a grappling dummy allows you to use one as both and usually has a precise torso shape, but no limbs.
What it lacks in anatomy, though it makes up for with the ability to stand, hang, or be attached to a live training partner, instantly morphing into a heavy bag you can strike, or in some instances, even strike and take down.
This is the type of grappling dummy we covered in detail in our article here.
True to the description it is a dummy intended primarily for grappling, sometimes completely life-like in terms of the build and shape of the body, and sometimes offering special training parameters by way of elimination or fixation of certain body parts.
Regular Heavy Bags
A regular heavy bag might double as a grappling dummy if you’re in a tight spot, but no amount of belts you tie to it is going to emulate a grappling dummy with dedicated limbs for practicing armbars or leg locks. Just like no chair is going to help you practice De La Riva guard the same way a stable-standing grappling dummy will.
Obviously, you can go all out in terms of ground and pound, but you can also use them for practicing certain to-position transitions, pins, and even maybe some light guard work.
How to Use a Grappling Dummy
What exactly can you do with a grappling dummy? Well, I think I covered a lot of things so far, but since they were mostly mentions, let’s dig a bit deeper into the realm of grappling dummy drills and what your best training options are.
Let’s say you have a grappling dummy that fully imitates the human body, with adjustable extremities and precise weight, like the Ring to Cage Grappling Dummy:
- Side control transitions. Drill witching from side to side while the dummy is on its side, just like an experienced opponent would defend. You can use alternating Kimura and Darce threats to ensure the transitions go smoothly.
- Side control to full mount or back mount transitions. Learn to own the points system by mastering seamless transition between the main top pinning positions.
- Submission finishes. Finishing moves like the Kimura or Darce while you’re doing the transitions mentioned above, or hunting for armbars from mount or rear naked chokes from the back.
- Breaking grips. You can also practice grip breaks in terms of direction and force application, given that the limbs of the best grappling dummies are positioned in a semi-defensive way to ensure realistic practice.
- Guard drills. With some grappling dummies, especially those that can stand on their knees or hang from the ceiling you can work on submissions setups, sweeps and./or back takes from closed or open guard positions.
Filling Your Grappling Dummy
What should you use to fill an unfilled grappling dummy you just got for yourself? Well, let’s start with what you shouldn’t use. Given that your dummy is meant to help you with grappling, avoid things like sand or small rocks, which can cause injury to yourself or damage to the dummy.
The best filling is soft, usually cotton, textile, or specialized polyester-cotton blend filling. In any case, the material should be soft, but it should not be big.
What I mean by that is that the dummy needs to be filled with ribbons made from the material or materials of choice or availability. The ribbon form ensures that the materials can reach all parts of the dummy, and won’t clog up and overstuff one part while leaving empty areas in other parts.
While that covers what you should use as filling, the question remains of how to fill a grappling dummy. When filling it up make sure to really get in there and stuff the limbs all the way, packing everything very, very tightly as you do. You want to work your way from the limbs towards the torso and end with the head.
If you still have more questions regarding grappling dummies and how to pick one for you, or what to do with it after you’ve received it, allow us to to answer them:
What is a grappling dummy?
A grappling dummy is a specialized dummy made out of vinyl, canvas, or other hard and durable outer material and pack-filled with soft fabric, designed to mimic a training partner for practicing grappling, striking, and/or MMA.
Are grappling dummies any good?
Grappling dummies are a fantastic tool to aid in your training and progress, particularly in grappling martial arts like Jiu Jitsu, Judo, or wrestling, but using one is not enough to replace training and sparring in a gym with live training partners.
How to maintain and clean a grappling dummy?
A grappling dummy is designed to be waterproof and very resilient, so wiping it with a damp cloth after practice, and using mild soap is more than enough. Unfilled grappling dummies might be machine-washed if the washing instructions indicate so.
Can you put a Gi on a Jiu Jitsu grappling dummy?
Yes, you can put a Gi on most grappling dummies, and it is particularly useful for training with dummies that have adjustable limbs. I guess if you really wanted to make your new friend extra life-like, you could always throw on a rash guard as well.
How much should my grappling dummy weigh?
Given that you are training with dead weight, the dummy should weigh less than what you do in order to be an effective training tool. The rule of thumb for adults is 90-120 lbs.
Can a student improve using a grappling dummy?
Yes, grappling and MMA athletes can improve from using a grappling dummy as a result of the repetitions done in the form of drills, which develop muscle memory and seamless movement. Using only a grappling dummy for training combat sports, though is limiting and unrealistic.
How to store a grappling dummy?
Grappling dummies do not require too much in terms of storage. A cool, dry place, away from direct heat, sunlight, or excessive moisture is all it takes to have your dummy last for years.
Best Grappling Dummy Brands
Brands are something of a personal preference, given that the main purpose of a grappling dummy is fulfilled. Most of the top brands have several different models and versions of dummies, ensuring every training need is met.
Century Martial Arts
One of the oldest brands of martial arts and combat sports gear, operating since 1976. They have been around since before BJJ was popular outside of Brazil, and before MMA was even founded.
Founded by two-time national Karate champion Mike Dillard, the brand favors martial artists as employees and offers regular martial arts classes to everyone who is part of it, helping develop products that the athletes really need.
In terms of grappling dummies, they have several different models with several different main purposes, which just confirms how reliable this brand is.
A California-based martial arts equipment brand offering solid quality, stylish gear at budget prices. The brand’s philosophy is to implement the latest technology in the field into its products, also making them accessible and affordable to a wide variety of athletes worldwide.
Their high quality grappling dummy directly reflects this approach, through the uniqueness of incorporating a suspended aspect to using a grappling dummy, complete with everything needed to hang it.
Rev Gear is a brand that manufactures all kinds of martial arts gear. Formed in 1996, their modus operandi was to consult some of the best coaches and competitors in the world and enlist their help in building products that martial artists can truly use to perform better on the mats.
Their grappling dummy reflects that approach, with CSW founder and head coach Erik Paulson responsible for the design and testing of their dummy.
Rafael Cordeiro, Erik Paulson, Eddie Cha, and Joey Rodriguez are just some of the other famous coaches who consult for Rev Gear and use their products daily.
If you managed to read everything we put together above, you’re more than prepared to find the best grappling dummy, not just for yourself, but probably everyone else in your academy as well. The key thing to remember when looking into which grappling dummy is best for you is purpose!
Different types and kinds of dummies fit different purposes, so make sure to find a specific one, or, if in doubt, go for the most universal grappling dummy in our list and you won’t regret it!
Have fun drilling!