The Best Grappling Dummy Drills You Can Do at Home

The Best Grappling Dummy Drills You Can Do at Home

The Best Grappling Dummy Drills You Can Do at Home

Grappling is best learned with others, but you can still enhance your technique from home. Here are the best grappling dummy drills for home training.

Learning to Grapple

When starting to learn a martial art or combat sport that focuses on grappling such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), judo, sambo or wrestling, it’s important to learn the proper technique from an experienced coach for your safety and faster learning. There are plenty of martial arts classes available across the UK and specialised gyms, so you should easily be able to find somewhere to learn.

Grappling is a broad term used to describe techniques and strategies that involve close-contact combat, often focusing on controlling an opponent, usually on the ground, without the use of strikes. In grappling, practitioners use various techniques to manipulate an opponent’s body position, leverage, and momentum to gain control, submit, or immobilise them. When learning to grapple, you need a partner to train with and a coach to guide you to safely learn the proper technique.

The main aspects of grappling involve gaining control over an opponent both standing and on the ground and maintaining control through grips, clinches and body locks.

More specifically, grappling includes:

  • Takedowns like throws, trips and sweeps to knock your opponent off balance
  • Ground fighting such as mount, guard, side control and back control to subdue your opponent on the ground
  • Forcing your opponent to submit by adding pressure through joint locks or chokeholds
  • Escaping holds and reversing momentum to gain control from a disadvantageous position

Grappling involves both drills to learn and repeat techniques and sparring, or rolling, to apply the techniques against a training partner in a safe way. When you begin to learn, the focus will be on drills, before moving to more rolling as your skills progress.

Grappling at Home

Grappling at Home

If you need a coach and a training partner to learn how to grapple, how can you grapple at home? Well, grappling dummies are a useful tool for practising grappling moves at home and when you don’t have a partner to train with, however, they should be used to enhance and practice skills rather than to learn them.

Grappling dummies are used in martial arts to replicate an opponent to practise certain techniques and repeat them in drills. Grappling dummies come in various shapes and sizes, typically resembling a human torso with arms and legs, though some models are designed to be full-body dummies, depending on the needs of the trainer.

Grappling dummies are useful for:

  • Repeating exercises and drills to reinforce muscle memory for various necessary techniques
  • Conditioning muscles for specific movements in grappling such as lifting, throwing and carrying which cannot be as effectively conditioned through weight training
  • Develop strategic thinking through visualisation of grappling scenarios

Ultimately, however, grappling dummies are best for training at home when you don’t have a partner to spar with and want to practise and develop your skills.

The Best Grappling Dummy Drills You Can Do at Home

The Best Grappling Dummy Drills You Can Do at Home

When training with a grappling dummy at home, it’s good to have an idea of what drills to do to practise the weaker aspects of your performance and improve your muscle memory. Make sure to warm up your muscles well and stretch before starting to lower the risk of injury, then pick a few different drills and set a 2-minute timer.

Each drill should be performed over 2 minutes, with a 2-minute rest at the end before repeating each drill again at least 3 times for a useful grappling dummy session, adjusting your drills as necessary. However, ensure to focus on your technique rather than speed and power during your grappling dummy training.

Here are 3 of the best drills to practise with a grappling dummy at home.

Shoulder Throw

Shoulder throws are useful grappling manoeuvres to be performed standing.

  • Stand facing the dummy with feet shoulder-width apart for good balance
  • Grip the dummy’s collar (or tie something around the neck if you don’t have a spare gi) with your dominant hand and the arm or lapel of the same side with your opposite hand.
  • Put your lead foot forward (same side as the dominant hand) and bend your knees slightly
  • Pull the dummy towards you and onto your back
  • Pivot your lead foot, turning your body and bringing your dominant shoulder underneath the centre of the dummy
  • With the dummy on your back, throw it to the ground and move with it
  • Maintain a strong hold of the arm or slip your arm around and scissor your legs for a strong kesa-gatame position

As you become more comfortable with the technique, gradually increase the speed and intensity of your throws to simulate realistic grappling scenarios.

Double-Leg Takedown

The double-leg takedown involves moving quickly to an opponent’s legs, securing both legs, and driving them to the ground to establish a dominant position.

  • Stand in front of the dummy in your standard fighting stance
  • Bend your knees and lower your head to be level with the dummy’s hips
  • Step your lead foot forward with your knee between the dummy’s legs
  • Push your lead shoulder into the dummy’s midsection while reaching for the back of its legs
  • With a hand around each leg just above the knee, use your momentum to lift the dummy off the ground and drive it into the matt

You want the dummy to land on its side ideally as you won’t want to hurt your training partner when rolling with them so it’s best to practise the manoeuvre safely.

Kimura Submission

A Kimura submission is a joint lock technique that targets the shoulder joint and can cause pain or damage if applied correctly. It’s a good drill to practise with a dummy as you can be sure you won’t hurt a partner when trying the move.

  • With the grappling dummy on its back, lay with your body perpendicular to the dummy’s torso
  • Reach across the dummy’s body with your near arm (the arm closest to the dummy) to grip its wrist
  • With your other arm (far arm), reach over the dummy’s arm and grasp your own wrist, creating a figure-four grip. Your fingers should interlace behind the dummy’s arm
  • Apply pressure downward on the dummy’s wrist while using your body weight to control its arm, rotating your body towards the dummy’s head to create torque on its shoulder joint.
  • Hold the position briefly to ensure control, then release the submission slowly and carefully.

When practising the Kimura submission, focus on proper grip placement, pressure application, and control. Remember to apply the submission gradually so you’re ready to release it when trying it on a real person.

Is Grappling Better than Striking for Self-Defence?

Is Grappling Better than Striking for Self-Defence?

It’s impossible to say whether striking is better than grappling or vice versa for self-defence scenarios or altercations as it depends on the specific circumstances, the abilities of each individual and personal preference.

Both grappling and striking can be effective in self-defence situations, and ideally, individuals should have a well-rounded skill set that includes elements of both along with situational awareness and de-escalation tactics in order to adapt accordingly.

Training in a martial art that incorporates elements of both grappling and striking, such as mixed martial arts (MMA) or Krav Maga, can provide individuals with the tools and confidence to effectively defend themselves across many situations. Additionally, avoiding confrontation whenever possible and seeking to defuse potentially volatile situations through verbal communication or escape should always be the primary goal in self-defence.

Learning to Strike

Learning to Strike

Learning to strike effectively involves attending boxing or martial arts classes with qualified coaches to learn the correct technique and receive personalised feedback. But punching bags are valuable tools for practising strikes, requiring sturdy mounts for hanging, or adjustable stands for kids’ use. Punching bags benefit kids by providing an outlet for energy, improving coordination, strength, focus, discipline, and perseverance.

Free-standing punching bags are also great for boxing, reasonably priced and convenient for home training, offering realistic targets for striking practice for punches and kicks.

The right boxing gloves are essential for protecting hands and wrists during training, with coaches recommending appropriate gloves based on size, skill level, and training goals. Investing in quality gloves ensures long-term comfort and safety during striking practice.

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