Well it’s 2020, and unless you are on a remote island or have very close training partners, these days everyone needs a grappling dummy. In this newfound age of social distancing and gym closures, so it’s likely most people haven’t set foot on the mats, or have even had a training partner in weeks or months.
I’ve seen videos of people practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with their kids, and even tying a BJJ Gi around a regular old chair to use to train in these times of isolation.
Even if you are reading this later in the year, when hopefully the pandemic is far in our rearview mirror, there are still plenty of reasons to invest in a grappling dummy. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners are the likely candidates for using a dummy for training, along with Judokas, Wrestlers, and Sambo practitioners. There are some good MMA training dummies in the market as well that are great for all around combat.
Grappling Dummies are a great way to hone your techniques and really get in the repetitions that are essential to pull off those flashy moves in live training. For beginning grapplers especially, I would recommend having a grappling dummy to work those fundamentals on, whatever your sport.
- Why a dummy though?
- Different styles of grappling dummy
- These are the best grappling dummies 2020:
Why a dummy though?
It’s hard to find a good training partner, and early on it’s even hard to be a good training partner. Learning the fundamentals of movement, pressure, transitions, and all of the cumulative hours that will entail will take place on the mats when or if you are able to attend classes.
Having a grappling dummy will allow you to gain fluidity of movement, to avoid crushing your training partner unnecessarily, but also crush your opponent when you want to in competition or sparring. The early months of training in any grappling sport are what usually decide if someone will fall in love with the art or get discouraged and quit, because everyone loses and gets crushed when starting out in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (usually), along with most other grappling arts.
A good grappling dummy allows you to practice at home what you learned in class, or lets you go down a Youtube rabbit hole of grappling techniques until the late hours. Your grappling dummy will never get tired, never complain about doing the same techniques over and over, and hopefully will always let you win.
At the early levels of grappling arts there is no substitute for repetition. Most beginning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu students are awarded the next rank to Blue Belt when they have done enough repetitions to perform the fundamental techniques during live sparring on a resisting opponent. Your training dummy won’t be resisting, but it will allow you to perform endless repetitions to fundamental sequences and submissions to fine tune them for live training.
Different styles of grappling dummy
Some grappling dummies are better than others, especially for each discipline of grappling. What might be the best grappling dummy for Jiu Jitsu might not be a great Judo training dummy, it’s really about finding the right martial arts dummy for your needs.
There are numerous versions of the Grappling Dummy out there, and many copycats and variations on the same theme.
Typically, they break down into a few different types:
This style of grappling dummy typically comes filled or unfilled, and often has a cloth fabric or canvas exterior. These training dummies are usually lighter, and used for drilling techniques primarily used in ground fighting and not as much for takedowns and throws.
The more pliable grappling dummies are generally much lighter as well, and most are geared towards younger grapplers and not as much for adult practitioners. These pliable cloth dummies are very suitable for practicing transitions and submissions, and possibly working leg entanglements, assuming the actual limbs are the correct length in relation to the torso.
These Pliable grappling dummies are a decent choice for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but probably not great for Judo or Wrestling where takedowns and throws are a major focus. These dummies can be fitted with a Gi of your choice for training, or used as a nogi training tool.
Some Pliable grappling dummies are sold already filled, but others must be filled by the consumer, which is another major factor to consider when deciding on your grappling training dummy.
These grappling dummies are generally made from heavy canvas, leather, vinyl or other durable material similar to what is used in punching bags. They generally weigh from 40-70 lbs, and typically come already filled.
The Firm grappling dummies are, obviously, more firm than the Pliable ones. They are more stiff and usually have limbs that will spring back to their fixed position. The composition of these workout dummies vary, some are built with throws and striking in mind, and some are built with a focus on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and working an open guard game.
The Firm grappling dummies are suitable MMA grappling dummies as well as for BJJ and other ground fighting arts. These dummies can work for drilling takedowns as well, but in a somewhat limited fashion as you have to hold the dummy up like a very poor dance partner. Still, the training dummy will have enough weight to make it a worthy drilling tool for hip tosses, suplexes, and other takedowns that lean more towards weight transfers than balance disruption.
Users can get a little creative by and find different ways to suspend their training dummy in the air to work other takedown techniques, along with striking.
These grappling dummies are usually priced higher than their pliable counterparts, but are also usually better quality. Reputable Firm grappling dummies should stand up to a fair amount of punishment, and have sturdy stitching and stuffing to last for a few years with continued use. There is also a slight benefit to having a pre-filled grappling dummy, as opposed to having fill it yourself.
The Firm grappling dummy is probably the best middle of the road training dummy that can meet the needs for a takedown and submission grappling dummy at the same time.
Standing Grappling Dummies are absolutely the best takedown dummy to work with, but fall a little short as a Jiu Jitsu training doll. These grappling dummies typically have a weighted base, along with extended legs and sometimes arms. Standing grappling dummies are great Judo throw dummies, and are perfect for repping out single and double leg takedowns. These dummies are great for Mixed Martial Arts training, as they allow for training strikes into takedowns, and following up with ground and pound techniques.
Standing Grappling Dummies are often the most expensive in terms of price, but are worth the extra dough if you want to practice the full spectrum of combat. The “arms” on standing grappling dummies can be a little wonky, but they generally get the job done. The real beauty of the stranding grappling dummies is the way you can put together entire sequences, from striking to takedowns, straight into transitions and submissions.
Standing Grappling Dummies are typically very durable, along with their high price tag. They are built to stand up to punishment from all angles, and get smashed regularly.
What kinds of techniques can you use on your grappling dummy?
Anything offense related, really. You can just sit it in a chair in a nice suit and slap it repeatedly if you like, but that’s not really going to help you be a better grappler.
Most Pliable grappling dummies are pretty good for working some basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fundamentals. You can work things from the guard like basic armbars, kimuras, triangles, and even collar chokes and other grip attacks if you dress your dummy in a Gi top.
Pliable or Firm grappling dummies are great for practicing leg entanglements and sequences that attack the heel, ankle, knee and so on. The benefits of having a standing dummy for leglockers is that you can practice entries and things like x guard , single leg –x, and so on. However, it seems that primarily the Pliable and Firm training dummies are the only styles that have articulated knees and ankles to give the true experience.
When using a submission training dummy I like to pick an attack sequence that flows through a chain of linked submissions ending in a dominant position that offers one or more simultaneous submissions. YouTube is an invaluable asset when you have a training dummy available, and you can find yourself spending hours working the moves and sequences you can learn from virtually every style of martial art.
Drilling simple moves like going from side control to mount or knee on belly, and practicing the moves until they are second nature is another great tactic for getting the most out of your submission training dummy. Practice makes smooth, and smooth goes fast.
Wrestlers, both Freestyle and Greco, can find some use of a dummy for training also. I think there is no real way to perfect moves like the suplex other than using something like a grappling dummy. A human training partner would not stand to be slammed repeatedly onto the neck and shoulders while the thrower practicing maintaining the perfect arch and not spiking their own head into the ground.
Standing Grappling Dummies are great for working double and single leg entries, and switching between those to low singles, high crotch, fireman’s carry, and whatever else you care to throw in. The real benefit is going to come from getting in the repetitions that you wouldn’t be able to do on a live opponent, and following through on takedowns and falls without fear of injuring your training partners.
These are the best grappling dummies 2020:
Title MMA Legged Grappling Dummy
The Title MMA Grappling dummy made it to the top of the list based on its’ overall appealability to the grappling arts as a whole without being geared towards one particular discipline. It is both a Firm style dummy, and somewhat of a Standing Grappling Dummy as well.
The Title MMA Dummy comes with a chain attachment, so it can hung, but the legs are firm enough that the dummy can be balanced on its’ own briefly to work some standing takedowns from a distance. If you get a little creative with hanging the dummy, so it is able to detach, you can work more things in.
This one is a great throwing dummy for Judo and Sambo, though you may have some trouble getting the Gi on because of the way the arms are positioned away from the torso. That is one of the setbacks for me with this grappling dummy. Another complaint is that the dummy is fairly stiff, making working from the bottom using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu a bit of a chore. While this is a major drawback, the overall compatibility of this martial arts grappling dummy, make up for it.
This is a great MMA training doll as well, if it is hung up this dummy can stand up to kicks, punches, knees, and elbows followed by takedowns and right into ground and pound or submission positions. The Title MMA Grappling Dummy comes in two sizes, 70 lbs – 64”, 100 lbs – 68” and is made of synthetic leather.
For its’ pure versatility for all grappling disciplines, the Title MMA sits at the top of my list. Title is a well known purveyor of combat sports goods, and this is one of their better products.
- Full spectrum of grappling training from takedowns to submissions.
- Great for MMA training and striking.
- Durable, built to last.
- Available in 2 sizes, comes filled.
- Great for working throws.
- Pro quality.
- Arms are posed at a weird angle from torso.
- Fairly stiff, not the best for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ground work.
- Not ideal for BJJ.
CBC MMA BJJ Grapple Dummy 2.0
The CBC MMA Grapple Dummy is at the top of my list specifically for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners. It is not ideal for Wrestling or any takedown training from a standing position. The CBC Grapple Dummy has articulation at every joint, allowing for attacks to the neck and shoulder all the way down to the wrist and ankle.
This style of grappling dummy seems to be the best BJJ practice dummy overall, allowing for intricate guard work, guard passing drills, working from turtle position, back attacks and so on. Basically, anything ground fighting can be worked out on this dummy. Leglockers will appreciate this style of dummy especially, it is great for working leg entanglements sequences.
The canvas exterior is durable, and stitching is reinforced. The grappling training dummy remains in a seated posture, and the limbs will return to this position naturally after each technique. The arms are reinforced for extra durability, and the head has a molded chin outcropping as well.
There are very few downsides to this model, but there are some downsides. Firstly, it is useless for any sort of standup training that involves takedowns or throws. Secondly, the training dummy comes unfilled, so filling it can be a chore. Luckily, CBC has reworked their 2.0 model for easier filling, but you still have to fill it. Lastly, some consumers have complained of a chemical smell coming from the training dummy, but this can usually be cured by airing it out prior to use.
- Best grappling dummy for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
- Articulated limbs with great range of motion.
- Great for working leg entanglements.
- Durable construction.
- Reasonable price point.
- Works for Gi or No-Gi grappling.
- Pro quality.
- Not for Wrestling or Judo takedowns or throws.
- Comes unfilled.
Suples Wrestling Dummy
The Suples Wrestling Dummy is a heavy duty training tool that works great as a Judo throwing dummy or for wrestling takedowns, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu work. Suples is a prestigious combat sporting goods company that focuses on making products used in training Olympic level wrestlers. They produce everything from mats to training dummies to exercise tool. Suples is a serious company that stands by their quality products.
The Suples Wrestling Dummy is available in sizes ranging from Extra Small to Large, from 22lbs to 85lbs, and is made of high quality leather. The Suples Wrestling Dummy is great for practicing all types of throws and takedowns, and can even be used for standing grappling. This grappling training dummy is built to withstand heavy punishment, and can be used across all grappling arts. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training can be done with the Suples Wrestling Dummy as well, but fulcrum manipulation will not be as refined.
The Suples is a great MMA grappling dummy, as it can be used for ground and pound, and if mounted for striking as well. Only two downsides to this grappling dummy are that it is not great for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guard training, and the high price tag. Quality costs money though.
- Olympic level training tool.
- Comes filled.
- High quality construction.
- Available in multiple sizes and weights.
- Perfect for Wrestling, Judo, Sambo training. Limited BJJ training.
- Higher price tag.
- Limited Bjj Training.
Century VS.2 Versys Grappling Simulator Punching Bag
The Century VS 2 Grappling Simulator is a hybrid that sits in the worlds of standup grappling, ground fighting, and stand up striking. The concept of this standing grappling dummy/punching bag is great, but the execution might still need some work. The exterior of the dummy is vinyl, similar to punching bag material, and most of the 40+ lbs of weight sits in the third leg of the grappling dummy.
The “arms” are a bit more like wings, so they are not ideal for very intricate submission work like practicing locking multiple fulcrums. There is no elbow or wrist joint notation, but the “wings” allow for underhooks and overhooks, making them a great asset in standing grappling training.
The Century Versys is not the ideal model for those focusing on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but it would make a relatively decent tool for Wrestlers wanting to work on shooting in on a standing opponent, or Mixed Martial Arts practitioners who want to work fundamentals of striking and grappling working hand in hand.
It is a pre-filled grappling dummy, which does make things a bit easier. However, this Century VS2 may not hold up to the rigors of hard training over a long period of time. 40 lbs is not much weight to hold a standing grappling dummy down, and if any intermediate or high level striker uses it they will likely knock it around with ease. I would advise having this for flow drills and light contact, but not for serious pro level training.
- Great Concept, good for beginners.
- Stands alone, can be used to practice takedowns and throws.
- Limited submission grappling applications.
- Passable tool for striking training.
- Very lightweight, not for heavy duty training.
- Poor design, not durable.
- Not ideal for all aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
- High price tag, especially compared to competitors.
Combat Sports Grappling Dummy
The Combat Sports Grappling Dummy is a familiar style of firm grappling dummy made of military grade vinyl and available in three different sizes and weights. Combat Sports is known for producing quality punching bags and other martial arts training gear, and this pre-filled grappling dummy is right up there with their other products.
This martial arts training dummy can be used for practicing Wrestling and Judo throws and takedowns as well as working Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. The legs and torso are slightly more flexible than other similar style models, allowing users to work from positions like open and closed guard as well as from back mount, side control, etc.
The Combat Sports Grappling Dummy can be fitted with a Gi for Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Sambo players looking to practice their throws, collar and sleeve grips, and sweeps. The arms on this dummy do stick out straight from the torso, but this does work well for practicing armbars, triangles, and the like.
Another feature that the Combat Sports model has is the “hands” on the ends of the arms, giving a slightly more technical aspect to arm attacks and practicing joint manipulation.
This is a great MMA Grappling Dummy, as it can stand up to heavy throws right in to strikes and then submission attempts. The legs are flexible enough for working leg entanglements, but firm enough to work double leg takedowns too. The price point is a bit better than similar models, but with lesser quality materials.
- Heavy duty workout dummy.
- Good cost to value ratio.
- Usable as a striking training tool.
- Good choice for all grappling styles, not for intricate BJJ work.
- Perfect for Wrestlers or as a Judo throwing dummy.
- Articulated joint movement.
- Comes filled.
- Not the best for advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
DAAN Grappling Dummy
The DAAN Grappling Dummy has been around for some time in the grappling world. It comes unfilled and the exterior is made of quality synthetic leather. Similar to the style of the TITLE and SUPLES models, the DAAN Grappling Dummy is designed as a Judo throwing dummy and wrestling training tool, and made to stand up to heavy punishment. The actual weight of the dummy will vary depending on what is used to fill it, typically old clothes materials similar to what is used to fill punching bags.
While the DAAN Grappling Dummy seems to be on par with the TITLE and SUPLES grappling mannequin, a fair amount of the performance of your training dummy comes from how and what it is filled with. You really have to put in the time to properly fill your grappling dummy if you want it to work. With that being said, the price point makes this DAAN Grappling Dummy much more attractive to the average buyer.
- Lower price point.
- Decent quality construction.
- Good training tool for all aspects of grappling.
- Comes unfilled, so you can customize the weight and resistance of the training dummy.
- Comes unfilled, so it can be a chore to do it properly.
DEAGLE MMA Master Smith BJJ Grappling Dummy
The DEAGLE MMA Master Smith Grappling Dummy is a budget friendly option for those looking for decent quality, but also cheap grappling dummy. This product comes unfilled, and the canvas exterior boasts “unreakable” stitching.
This martial arts training dummy comes in 4 or 5 ft size options, and the weight will depend on whatever you choose to fill it with. The company recommends using old clothes or blankets, or polyester fillers to maintain the best shape.
This another one of the kneeling style grappling dummies that are usually the best grappling dummies for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, allowing for training from open and closed guard positions, as well as rear mount, turtle, butterfly guard, and pretty much most of the basic positions. Due to the fact that the dummy comes unfilled, much of how it performs will depend on how well the user fills it and maintains it.
This training dummy is not suitable for any grappling arts other than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. No throws, takedowns or any standing training will work with this BJJ training dummy unless you are reeealllly creative.
The main attraction for many people will be the price of this submission grappling dummy, it is among the lowest out there, and with good reason. You are essentially receiving a cloth shell that you have to fill with stuffing. Be warned, that might not be as easy as it seems!
While the headache of filling this dummy is substantial, the price will make up for it for many users. It is still a very suitable tool for working out the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or doing some repetitions of fancy Youtube moves without breaking the bank. While the DEAGLE MMA Grappling Dummy is nowhere near the top of my list, it is certainly better than nothing at all.
- Great price point.
- Good for beginners.
- Decent joint articulation, primarily for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
- Useful for practicing leg entanglements.
- Comes unfilled.
- Lower quality materials.
Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy
The Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy is another cheap grappling dummy that shows some promise, especially given the price tag. This is another martial arts training dummy geared specifically towards Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, with no viable wrestling or takedown applications in mind.
Much like the DEAGLE Master Smith Grappling Dummy, the Celebrita Grappling Dummy comes unfilled with the option of canvas or leather exterior. This BJJ practice dummy comes in sizes from 40 inches to 70 inches in length, though the dummy reflexively stays in the kneeling position.
You can use this grappling dummy to practice all fundamental and some advanced movements in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and keep your skillset sharp. This is a great option for beginners or those on a budget that need a grappling dummy to get the repetitions in or explore new aspects of their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu setups and submissions.
As I’ve said previously, filling these grappling dummies can be a chore, but you can get creative as some users do mixing sand or rice into the filling at certain spots to have better weight distribution, or even using pool noodles to build a frame for your filling to fit around. The Celebrita is not top quality, but it will get the job done.
- Great price point.
- Good for beginners.
- Great for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
- Good dummy for leglock training.
- Comes unfilled.
- Lower quality materials.
In conclusion, there are quite a few options out there for grappling dummies, so it really comes down to what you’re looking for. Whether you want the best grappling dummy for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or just a good Judo throwing dummy, this list can hopefully point you in the right direction.
This first part of 2020 has been kind of a bust for grapplers everywhere, but find yourself a grappling dummy and get a head start on the competition when things get back to normal.