Sometimes there just aren’t any sparring partners around that you can work on your technique with. When there’s no-one nearby to practice with, using a grappling dummy is the next best thing for developing your skills.
But with so many options for grappling dummies on the market, which one should you buy?
Just want the best? My number one pick is the CBC MMA Grappling Dummy.
Guru’s Choice: Best Grappling Dummy for BJJ
Why do I need a Grappling Dummy?
Maybe you can’t make it to the gym because of work or school. Maybe something’s come up and you don’t have the time to go out. Or maybe you just want to practice at home. No matter what your situation, the biggest benefit of grappling dummies is that they’re always available for you to practice your drills and hone your skills.
This is very important, especially because going through the motions of Jiu Jitsu and practicing your drills regularly is essential to getting better. As fighters in the UFC have proven time and time again, a strong foundation in grappling is also crucial if you’re training MMA.
Even though they may not be as effective as practicing against a living human being, plenty of grappling dummies are designed to give you as life-like training as possible. A good dummy is made to be flexible, but resistant, and can be put in different positions depending on what you want to practice.
You can even use it to test and develop new moves at your own pace, without having to worry that you’ll hurt yourself or your partner.
Want to see it in practice? Here is a video featuring some of the drills that you can practice at home using a grappling dummy:
What’s Important to look for in a Grappling Dummy?
Looking for the “best” grappling dummy isn’t as simple as you might think. There are a few different kinds of dummies that serve different purposes, so what makes one grappling dummy good for one practitioner, might not be as useful for another.
However, there are a few key features that you should always consider before purchasing a grappling dummy:
Flexibility is perhaps the most important thing to look for in a grappling dummy. Your dummy should be flexible enough that you would be able to lock it into any realistic submissions that you would be able to put a human in. It should also be able to return to its original position once the submission has been released.
The problem is finding a dummy with the perfect balance of stiffness and flexibility. If the dummy is too stiff, then you will have problems putting it into realistic locks and submissions. On the other hand, if the dummy is overly flexible then you won’t get much resistance which is very unrealistic.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are very important when looking for a dummy that will suit you. You will need a dummy of a similar size to you so that you can practice your drills properly. However, because grappling dummies are dead weight, they need a lot more effort to move compared to a real person, so you’ll want a dummy that weighs significantly less than you.
Finding the right weight can be difficult, but it should be heavy enough that you need to put in some effort to move it, but light enough that you won’t hurt yourself while using it. Being able to adjust your dummy’s weight is a useful quality to have, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before purchasing.
Grappling dummies should be made of high-grade materials so that they can withstand frequent beatings. When it comes to practicing Jiu Jitsu, you’ll want the seams and stitching of your dummy to hold together well, as you will be applying harsh holds which will test the limits of your dummy’s durability.
It’s a good idea to invest in higher quality grappling dummies – they may be pricier, but these dummies will also last for much longer.
Filled vs. Unfilled
Grappling dummies will come either filled or unfilled, depending on the manufacturer, with both having pros and cons.
A filled grappling dummy will come with a high-quality filling, usually being sand, and will be filled uniformly across the dummy. However, being filled makes the dummy much heavier, and makes it more expensive to ship. It’s also more difficult to set up at your home/studio.
On the other hand, unfilled dummies will arrive empty, making it cheaper to ship and lighter to carry. You can fill it with whatever material you like, with most people using old clothes, which is more comfortable than sand. Unfilled dummies are more difficult to fill uniformly, however, and take time to fill. Depending on what filling you use, unfilled grappling dummies can end up being more expensive too.
Best Grappling Dummies for BJJ and MMA in 2021
As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about when looking for a good grappling dummy. But because there are so many options on the market, it can be hard to find the best options among the rest.
Considering the pros and cons of various brands, these are my picks for the most useful grappling dummies overall:
CBC MMA Grappling Dummy
– Guru’s Choice –
The CBC MMA grappling dummy is the ideal choice for practicing back attacks, intricate guard work, guard passing drills, and more.
- Offers a very wide range of motion
- Perfect for practicing leg entanglement sequences
- Features superior quality and durability
- May arrive smelling of chemicals (Fix this by airing it out before use)
Anything related to ground fighting can be tested out on this dummy and it is perfect for working through leg entanglement sequences.
While I would not recommend this dummy for wrestling or any kind of takedown training from a standing position, the CBC MMA Grappling Dummy is at the top of my list for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style grappling.
Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy
Being able to posture this dummy on its knees or elbows, the Celebrita is a very versatile dummy and offers many possibilities in terms of practicing positions and catches.
- Can be filled effectively using various kinds of material
- Suitable for practicing different fighting styles
- Has curved legs set at 90-degree angles – mimicking a real adversary
- Can be a little difficult to completely fill the dummy
Celebrita sells a variety of specialized fighting equipment and their grappling dummies are among the best. With its design and versatility, the Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy is a great choice for practicing Jiu Jitsu and catching strategies.
The outer cover can be either leather or canvas, but keep in mind that canvas is a little harder to clean.
Kuell Grappling Dummy
Being made of military-grade vinyl construction, the Kuell Grappling Dummy is highly durable and can take almost anything that you can throw at it.
- Available in a variety of sizes and weights
- Very easy to clean
- Highly durable and resistant to tears/abrasions
- Requires a lot of filling
- Zippers can be difficult to move
Being a standing dummy, the Kuell Grappling Dummy can be made to lean against a wall or be rigged with an upright mounting system for kicks and strikes. The dummy is also easy to clean and doesn’t retain moisture, so it’s not likely to start smelling.
However, keep in mind that filling this dummy can be a painful experience since it needs a lot of filling, and because of its hard-to-open zippers.
Bestzo Grappling Dummy
If you're looking for a dummy that is well-suited for multiple different fighting styles, the Bestzo Grappling Dummy is a good choice.
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Highly durable and can withstand very strong blows
- Comes with a target on the face for aimed attacks
- Difficult to fill arms and legs due to its limited number of openings
This dummy is a great match for practicing MMA, Jujitsu, judo or wrestling, and can come in either canvas or synthetic leather.
Because it has many different sizes, you can pick a dummy that is either adult-sized or child-sized. For the variety of techniques that you can practice using it, the Bestzo Grappling Dummy is available for a great value.
Aoneky Leather Grappling Dummy
One of the bigger and heavier dummies on the market, the Aoneky Leather Grappling Dummy is a good choice for bigger fighters to train with.
- Comes with reinforced stitching
- Has full 360-degree maneuverability
- Highly durable, utilizing high-grade materials for its cover
- Can be difficult to fill fully
With its triple-ply and synthetic leather type cover and reinforced stitching, this dummy can take the harshest of damage.
With its higher durability materials, the Aoneky Leather Grappling dummy is one of the better heavy dummies. It can be pulverized over and over again but will always return to its original shape after every session.
Jayefo Tommie Kids Grappling Dummy
The Jayefo Tommie Kids Grappling Dummy is easy to manipulate with its movable arms and provides great resistance for training.
- Features a printed target on the face for aimed attacks
- Ideal for training kids
- Has movable arms and legs that are easy to manipulate
- Too small for most adults
- Needs a lot of filling
With its smaller size, lighter weight, and bright colors, the Jayefo Tommie Kids Grappling Dummy is ideal for younger practitioners who are just learning.
Utilizing covered zippers and a non-slip fabric, this dummy is a particularly safe option.
To wrap things up, grappling dummies can offer you a lot towards improving your skills; just be sure to get one that meets your needs. Finding a dummy that is both durable and flexible is always going to be important but be sure to also get one that also matches your height and weight.
If you want to always have the opportunity to strengthen your grappling techniques, having a dummy on standby is a very good idea.
My Guru’s Choice for the best grappling dummy is the CBC MMA Grappling Dummy. This dummy is flexible enough that you can get the full experience of practicing your grappling but is durable enough that it will also last you for a very long time.