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  • Writer's pictureAlex Wright

Should I Buy a Grappling / BJJ Dummy?

Updated: Jul 3, 2023


Are you a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast looking to build your skills? Do you find yourself feeling that you need more practice time but often struggle to find training partners when you need them? If so, then this article is for you! Today, we will delve into the world of grappling and BJJ dummies and explore whether investing in one could be the game-changer you've been searching for. I did BJJ for many years where I religiously attended class, literally every day, sometimes twice a day. I Trained weekends, holidays, you name it. Then I got older and had commitments. Many years later during the Covid lockdowns my store Fightstorepro.com saw demand for grappling dummies of every type explode, and due to having one floating around the store I opened the box and started using a Fairtex Maddox Dummy. Now, whilst I was lucky enough to have a network of people who were less concerned about the alleged killer cold than they were about losing mat time, politics aside, I couldn’t go to class and therefore started regular practice with the Maddox Dummy as well as having a go with some of the REVGEAR grappling dummies too. Wow…..I was actually a convert. Any whilst I’d seen them for years, I honestly had never tried one. Check out my video on this subject right here!

The age old issue, I have training time when my training partners don’t.


We have all been there. You make it to your BJJ class two or three times a week, but sometimes life gets in the way, in fact it gets in the way a lot. You want to train more but work pays the bills, your dog is obviously annoyed when you walk past its leader to pick up your training bag and now your Girlfriend is beginning to question whether you love her or Jiu Jitsu more? (Obviously it’s Jiu Jtisu!)


If you live more than three blocks from your school quite often the travel time to the gym is as long as the time you spend in it, and on top of all this when you get there the class is often doing something which isn’t pushing your in the direction you feel you need right now….So what's the answer?


Boxers and MMA Fighters will work out with a heavy bag, speedball, run drills, training solo is normal for strikers but intuitively BJJ guys know that only partner training is valuable right? Wrong! A BJJ Dummy can allow you real practice in the area you want, in a fraction of the time it takes to go to class, do class and come back from class. It’s definitely not a replacement for partner training or real instruction from a good coach but it is a valuable training method for anyone who really can’t just live in the gym like a pro does.


So Should I Buy a Grappling/ BJJ Dummy?


In a word, yes…..If you have the space to train with it then it will become a BJJ player's best friend or their equivalent of what a heavy bag will be for a striker. It doesn’t replace class training but seriously augments it.

There are so many advantages of having one I would struggle to list them all but here are a few:

  • Drill the moves you learned in class whilst they are still fresh in your mind

  • Work out new moves from a video using the dummy to work through them

  • Positional practice

  • Drill techniques such as Knee on belly that are uncomfortable to do on partners

  • Practice chokes and improve your grips

  • A grappling dummy never complains

  • A grappling dummy never gives up

  • A grappling dummy is always on time

  • A grappling dummy doesn’t need to leave early to see his girlfriend or mother

  • For coaches it makes an excellent demonstration tool for one on one lessons

If you're truly dedicated and eager to train consistently, then a BJJ dummy will undoubtedly be an excellent tool for solo practice. In fact a Grappling Dummy is probably the only piece of training equipment that really will make a difference to your Jiu Jitsu skill other than regular class training or having a constant partner available.

One of the major advantages of using a grappling dummy is that it allows you to simulate real-life opponents and practice various techniques at your own pace. Whether you want to work on submissions, or various ground positions and sweeps, a good BJJ dummy provides a stationary target that mimics human proportions. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, owning a BJJ dummy means having access to training opportunities whenever suits you best. No more relying solely on gym schedules or finding willing training partners – with the dummy by your side, you have the freedom and flexibility to train whenever you want.


Sometimes a Grappling Dummy is actually better than a live partner


Any Jiu Jitsu guy will know that when drilling in class, being the willing “Dummy” for the other guy soon gets tiring. Often quite painful but to really master many techniques you need to commit them to muscle memory.

So, another key benefit of this style of practice is that using a BJJ dummy can really help improve your muscle memory. By repeatedly practicing moves on the dummy's limbs and body shape, your brain becomes accustomed to executing those techniques effectively. This muscle memory will greatly enhance your ability during live sparring sessions. In short, the dummy doesn’t get sick of being practiced upon allowing you to repeat a technique for much longer than your average joe in class, better yet he doesn’t complain and doesn’t need you to return the favor.


So what type of Grappling Dummy should I buy?


There are several types of grappling dummies on the market. I would categorize them into three types. Throwing dummies (mainly good for MMA and Wrestling), Positional tools such as REVGEAR’s excellent Motion master and the true BJJ Dummy such as the Fairtex Maddox.


Throwing Dummies are great for practicing a suplex, some other throws and ground and pound, as well as a major cardio workout. Their shape allows quick movement around the dummy and their composition generally allows them to take a major pounding without fear of damage to it.

However in BJJ terms they are extremely limited in application. Great Example of a Throwing Dummy product here


Also Check out my good friend and Black Belt Peter Irving showing how he uses the Throwing Dummy here


REVGEAR Motion Master - Designed by MMA legend Erik Paulson, a special mention has to go to this innovative grappling dummy. It’s unique design allows rapid positional shifting and practice of all major top positions for Jiu Jitsu. Whilst not as versatile as a Maddox dummy it serves a very different purpose. Check out the video here


BJJ DUMMIES - The best BJJ Dummy with many imitators is the Fairtex Maddox. There are others which tend to have straight legs but they are only really usable in top position which eliminates almost 70% of what you can do in BJJ. The Fairtex Maddox is so clever and so well made it is by far and away the best BJJ dummy on the market. The cheaper versions simply are nowhere near as versatile as this dummy. The major downside is it is so expensive but once you have one you won’t regret it. If you look at dummies shaped like the maddox but half the price, essentially forget it, they are nowhere close! Words don’t do it justice so check out the video I made here FAIRTEX MADDOX REVIEW

BJJ Dummy Training with the Gi


Putting a Gi on the Dummy is a definite win. It aids with all the techniques you can do with one and adds in the dimension of training with grips. One innovation I made with the Maddox dummy was to attach a Willpower band from the ceiling to the dummy, therefore it wouldn’t collapse whilst using sleeve grips. This allows triangles, arm bars, spider guard, lasso and omoplata with a degree of resistance. It’s a little difficult to describe but I’ll post a video of this to go with the article.


Conclusions

In conclusion, if you're serious about advancing your skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but struggle with limited training partners or scheduling conflicts, purchasing a grappling/BJJ dummy could be an invaluable asset for solo practice sessions. It offers convenience, versatility, and helps develop crucial muscle memory – all essential elements for becoming proficient in Jiu Jitsu.


Author | Alex Wright Alex has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since the early 2000’s and currently holds a brown belt under Professor Angel Lopez of Halo Jiu Jitsu, Fresno CA. He owns Fightstorepro.com in the UK and is a well known figure in the Mixed Martial Arts Industry working with many major combat sports brands over the last 20 years.


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