What is a grappling dummy?
If you are a fan of the UFC or practice an art that has grappling in it then you will almost certainly have heard of a grappling dummy.
It is a training device shaped like a human with arms, legs and a torso designed for solo practice so practitioners can hone their skills.
They can be used as a way to practice so as not to hurt a partner with things like suplexes, throws, and takedowns and to perfect skills for wrestling, judo and Brazilian Ju Jitsu practitioners.
There are a number of different styles and design of dummy to help fights work on their striking, takedowns, submissions and grappling, and each has its own attributes designed for the techniques being practiced.
What are the types of grappling dummies?
There are two main types broken down into grappling and submission and throwing and striking.
The grappling style dummies are used to drill ground skills and are usually more lightweight and pliable to allow for the locks, joint manipulation and positioning.
The throwing and striking types are normally upright, more rigid and heavier to add resistance to throws and takedowns.
We will look at both the seated and upright versions.
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How to choose a grappling dummy.
What do you want it for?
First thing to do is identify what you want the dummy for. Identify your requirements for the equipment so that you can make a more informed choice. Will it be for striking and throwing, submission practice, or a mixture?
Filled or unfilled.
Most grappling dummies are shipped unfilled and you fill them yourself or you can sometimes pay a premium to have them ready filled. Please see the bottom of this article for helpful tips on filling your grappling dummy.
Size and weight.
Depending on your usage you will have different requirements for your dummy. If you are looking for throwing and takedown work, you will be looking for a heavier bag that can offer some resistance to being lifted. Also check for size as most have both adult and kids’ versions.
Flexibility and limbs.
This is an important factor to consider if you are looking for a grappling partner substitute. Ideally you are looking for free movement overall and for the limbs to have mobility.
It goes without saying that you want your partner to be tough. Choosing a dummy that is durable and will stand up to the hours of practice is a must. Look for materials that are hard wearing and easy to clean.
You may train in a system that uses a gi, or you want to replicate various scenarios with clothing. If this is the case make sure you choose a dummy that is the right shape.