Buying A Grappling Dummy?

By Bob Dorris
Post Date: Monday, May 3rd

Here’s Some FAQ’s About Buying a Grappling Dummy

As you know, I sell the Submission Master grappling dummy. I’m always getting questions from readers about grappling dummy training, so I thought I’d share the Top 4 most frequently asked questions and my responses here with you.

  1. What’s the purpose of a grappling dummy?
  2. Why train with a grappling dummy at all? Why not just a live partner?.
  3. Is training “in class” enough?
  4. Why should I buy the Submission Master instead of the other grappling dummies?

FAQ #1 What’s the purpose of a grappling dummy / jiu jitsu dummy?

For getting HIGH REPETITIONS WITHOUT A PARTNER. That’s it. End of story. Repetitions create muscle memory. Muscle memory allows you to do movement (techniques) quickly and in a coordinated way without having to consciously think about the action. Of all the things you can do to improve your skill, creating muscle memory is undoubtedly the #1 thing you should focus on.

I like to say repetitions are like “rolling a marble through the dirt…” The more times you roll the marble the same way, the deeper the groove in the dirt becomes and the EASIER, FASTER and more EXACT the marble rolls down that path. Reps create a “groove” in your nervous system, causing your techniques to come out “easier, faster and more exact” each time. And, just like riding a bike, you learn them so well it’s hard to forget them.

FAQ #2 Why train with a grappling dummy at all? Why not just a live partner?

Although training partners are important for specific techniques and for “rolling”, they aren’t the most effective way to get high reps of many techniques. Here’s 5 good reasons why…

  1. You can only train when your partners are available. Grappling dummies are available 24/7. You can even get some decent reps when you have just 5 minutes spare time.
  2. Partners can bring your training down to “slow motion”. Partners want to talk about the techniques, “the fights on TV”, etc… that’s not the most effective use of your time and decreases the number of reps you get during your training session.
  3. Partners have to do their reps. Right off the bat, that means you get only half the number of reps that you would if you were training on the grappling dummy.
  4. The more reps your partner does on you, the more abuse to your joints. What do you think is the main reason people stop training? Injuries. It’s a no brainer.
  5. When was the last time your training partner let you do 50 triangle chokes on him, followed by 50 heel hooks, then 50 arm bars? Nuff said!

FAQ #3 Is training “in class” enough?

Have you ever taken music lessons? You had to have an instrument at home and practice between lessons, didn’t you? And you couldn’t practice just when you had someone over to practice with... otherwise it would have taken forever to get good. When you think of it like that, you really can’t expect to become very good if you only practice in class, can you? It’s only common sense. And a grappling dummy is your “instrument”that allows you to practice between lessons. It’s like a boxer having a punching bag to train on in between sparring sessions.

FAQ #4 Why should I buy the Submission Master instead of the other grappling dummies?

grappling dummy This brings up a real pet peeve of mine. The term grappling dummy is being used for training bags that don’t even have arms, legs or a head. How can you practice grappling techniques on something without arms, legs or a head? Aaaarrrgggghhhh!!! Those are ground and pound and throwing dummies, not grappling dummies!

Now that I’ve got that off my chest… there’s only a few different grappling dummies that even have limbs. Without naming names, here’s what else is available….

The one grappling dummy (made overseas but sold everywhere) has very straight, stiff and totally inflexible and unbendable arms and legs. You can do an armbar from the mount, a choke and possibly a leg lock with really bad form. No triangle chokes, omo platas, kimura’s, guard position… nothing.

There’s a couple other “submission” grappling dummies. One uses a chain to hold the joints together, so it cannot maintain any type of position. The other has something similar to electrical conduit for the skeletal structure. Neither one holds its position at all, and basically just lay or fall flat to the ground. (Watch their videos to see what I mean.) Definitely not the position a live opponent maintains. And definitely NOT appropriate for the guard.

Speaking of the guard… …ever heard of it?  It’s only the most important and most common position for ground grappling. Watch any grappling match… where do they spend most of their time? And which grappling dummy is best for guard training? Of course…

…the Submission Master grappling dummy. It’s the only grappling dummy that can maintiain the guard position with any integrity at all. That’s because it’s created in the “fetal” position. The fetal position is the primary position of ground fighting.

Nearly EVERY position in grappling keeps the arms in front and the legs bent up at the hips (the “fetal” postion.)  Think about it…

…the mount, guard, north / south, cross mount, back mount, turtle position… all of them are the “fetal” position.  And, it’s true for both the top and bottom of all those positions.  So, you need a grappling dummy that can mimic the fetal position, not flop to the ground with outstretched arms and legs.

Because of the Submission Master’s “fetal” position, it can posture and keep it’s limbs in position properly for the guard, cross mount, north south, turtle, mount, back mount, start position… …and because it keeps its limbs in place, you can do high reps without having to put the limbs back in place after every rep… meaning you get MUCH higher reps in less time than you can with any other grappling dummy.

If you want a better idea of what I’m talking about, watch this grappling dummy training video. If you have questions about grappling dummy training, let me know…

More Grappling Dummy Training Videos:



Arm Bars

Leg Locks