Welcome to BJJ Grappling Dummy. I am going to help you decide if grappling dummies are worth the purchase, if they’re effective and basically answer any questions that you would have about them. Of course you can also checkout our Jiujitsu beginner’s guide if you are new to this sport. But with the growing popularity of BJJ, dummies are becoming more popular. So it’s important that you have all of the facts before making a purchase.
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I myself have now had 2 different types of grappling dummies…I’ve had the “average” type that you can get for somewhere between $100 – $200, and I also now own a high end dummy that cost me about $600 after shipping and everything.
So this is the version I first had that was in the $100-$200 range I will be referencing:
This one is obviously stiff and you can’t do as much stuff on it.
The second high end one that I have and use now is the following (the people who make the Submission Master):
Now this one (same as the Submission Master) is a lot more versatile and you can do a whole lot more with it. You can actually even do guard work with it (I have a video where I’ll be showing different stuff). And of course you can work a whole lot more arm locks, foot locks, guard passes, sweeps and more – but I will get into the specific in a little bit. First I want to talk about if a BJJ grappling dummy is even worth the price for you…because it will be worth it for some people and not for others.
This is one of the most important aspects of determining if a dummy (and which one) is right for you. Honestly I think that the less experience you have, the more likely a grappling dummy is to help with your game. If you are a higher belt, chances are that many times these dummies are just not going to be worth your time and money.
On the other hand if you are a beginner, they can be invaluable. I know this because I myself am still a white belt and it has helped me tremendously (especially my new higher end dummy).
I think one of the most useful things for these dummies is the muscle memory aspect. As a white belt when you’re rolling, a lot of the times you have to stop and think about sweeps and submissions and what to do and when. One of the best things this dummy has done for me is it has given me muscle memory to just react for things that I train with.
Also, watching videos is great and all…but a lot of times by the time you get to training you forget an important detail, if not the whole move you were learning about by watching a video. When you have a dummy, you can go practice and start building that muscle memory for it. I just ALWAYS make sure to watch and listen the video closely to make sure I’m doing the move correctly.
Even if I do miss something…I’ll try it live in class then ask why it’s not working, and make an adjustment when I go back home to train with the dummy.
So if you are a beginner that is willing to put in the work, I KNOW a dummy can be extremely valuable to you. On the other hand if you are a higher belt, it’s likely not going to help you as much (although for some it could still be worth it).
One other big bonus is I now watch more videos because I know I can implement stuff right away on my dummy (not to mention I spent $600 so I’m going to put the thing to use!
I think that this is an important question for if a dummy is right for you, and which one.
If you are looking to drill a lot of transitional and reaction based training, it’s just not going to work with anything but a real person – so a dummy is going to be pointless.
If you are looking to train a lot of knee on belly stuff and throws – the lower end dummy is an option…but honestly you do a lot of that stuff with a pad or punching bag – I just never got any use out of my first one.
If you are looking to drill just about anything but the transitional and reaction based training, the higher end model is a great option. Of course be aware that there are still certain things that can’t be done, but you can practice a LOT of different things with the higher end dummy. Certain things can be a pain to drill like bottom half guard and sweeps because you have to take the time to reset (it’s not like a real person who can go back into place). But overall, there is a LOT that can be practiced and built into your muscle memory.
This is a pretty obvious one, and it kind of ties into the question of how important is this to you…when it comes to this you have to weigh importance to budget and make a decision from there.
Be honest with this one or you are going to waste money. Are you the type of person that often buys things because of the excitement of the idea, then you never really use it? If you are, it’s more than likely going to happen with this – so I would just save your money. A LOT of people buy dummies and then just let them sit around, so make sure that this is something you are dead set on using.
One of the best things I do (that highly increased my use) is research specific dummy drills, submissions, passes, etc – and I make a list of them with the URL of the video next to them. I then bring my computer down with me, play the videos, and get to work. Before I started doing that, I honestly didn’t use my dummy much because I would get bored and not really know what to do with it.
If you are someone that has a lot of access to gym time and training partners…I don’t see this purchase being worth it for most people. Of course this also depends how busy you are and how much free time you have. If you are a white or blue belt with a lot of time on your hands – it could still be worth it. But if you’re pretty busy and already get in the gym a good bit and have pretty open access to training partners…I would probably not continue with the BJJ grappling dummy option.
On the other hand if you are someone who can’t get in the gym as much as you want or access to training partners, this could be a great purchase for you. Like I said this is great for muscle memory and opening up your arsenal of attacks.
You also need to familiarize yourself with the rules of whatever types of competitions you plan on doing so you do not perform the wrong techniques when practicing.