Is A Judo Grappling Dummy Worth Buying?

Is a judo dummy worth buying?

Many judokas think dummies are a waste of time and money. They are expensive; they don’t move, resist or react like a sparring partner; they wind up in your closet after a few sessions. Indeed, judo dummies aren’t cheap, and they do take up space in your living area, but is a judo dummy worth buying?

Judo throwing dummies are worth buying, because extra repetitions and practice will help you master moves you’re learning. Throwing dummies can be especially valuable if you use YouTube or video classes to pick up new techniques. Maximize investment by practicing with your throwing dummy regularly. 

This article will discuss the pros and cons of working with a judo dummy. We will talk about their uses and limitations and show you how you can use a judo throwing dummy as part of a complete training regimen.  

Is a Judo Dummy Worth Buying

Pros of Judo Dummies

  • Practicing moves with a dummy helps you develop muscle memory.
  • You can practice hard throws on a throwing dummy.
  • A throwing dummy is ready whenever you feel like a workout.

Cons of Judo Dummies

  • Practicing with a dummy is not as much fun as working with a partner.
  • Dummies don’t offer the same resistance as a human partner.
  • To work out with your dummy, you need a clear and uncluttered space.

Should You Buy a Judo Dummy?

You should buy a judo dummy if you’re committed to improving your judo skills and willing to put in the time and effort required. If you have the space to do regular workouts with your dummy and stick to a routine, then a judo dummy is an excellent investment that can help make you a better judoka.

Working out with a judo dummy can be very helpful, but throwing a dummy around repeatedly in practice drills can quickly get tedious. If you get bored and stop working out with your dummy, it will bring you no benefits, so make sure you’re truly invested before purchasing.

This is not to say that you can learn judo without an instructor and training partners. But that you can simply use a judo dummy for extra practice and fitness at home. 

Here are a few ways that working out with dummies can become an important part of your judo training routine:

Regular Workouts With Judo Dummies Help Develop Muscle Memory

It’s not enough to know your moves intellectually. Those moves have to become instinctive. When you need that throw or that armbar, your body has to move in position before you think. And the only way to develop muscle memory is by going through those motions repeatedly.  

Practicing with a dummy is not a substitute for regular workouts at the dojo. But if you drill regularly with a dummy, you’ll find that your technique improves and you’re better prepared for working with a partner. Few sparring partners want to practice the same technique hundreds of times, but a dummy will be with you through all those repetitions.  

Judo Dummies Are Enduring

You don’t have to worry about injuring a dummy when you practice a rough move. You can slam your dummy to the floor as hard as you want, which can help you master your throws and leg sweeps at full strength. A judo dummy is dead weight, so you can land on your judo dummy or throw it on its head without hurting it. 

The downside to this is that you don’t get the movement and resistance that you get from a partner workout. But that also means you have to work harder to throw that dummy, and working on throws with a 90-pound (40.82-kg) dummy is like practicing with a 180-pound (81.64-kg) opponent.  

Judo Dummies Allow Workouts at Anytime

You can’t always get to the dojo, and most dojos keep regular hours. If you’re watching a great instructional video at 2 am on Sunday and you don’t have a dummy, you’ll need to wait for the dojo to open to try those moves out. Whereas, if you own a dummy, you can practice immediately (and the dummy will patiently wait while you repeatedly review the video to make sure you are doing it right).

Many judo video classes and websites offer you excellent information about throws, locks, and takedowns. But putting that information into practice is challenging. Starting the process of turning your knowledge into muscle memory can prepare you for mastering these new techniques in the dojo. 

Outside of simply practicing technique, you can also develop some great workouts with a judo throwing dummy. With the weight of the trowing dummy, you can bet both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. Instead of going out for a jog or skipping rope, you could do rounds of throwing your judo dummy. In my opinion, judo dummies are worth buying simply for the amazing workouts you can create. 

Why a Judo Dummy Might Not Be Worth Buying

Here are some of the reasons why many judokas choose not to work out with judo dummies:

Drills With a Dummy Can Be Dull

Drills are not meant to be exciting; They are intended to improve your skills. Many judokas find they prefer drills with real people after spending a few sessions working out with a dummy and they get bored. This then leads to them never using it again, creating a worthless investment. 

If you’re considering buying a throwing dummy, you may want to spend some time working out with a friend’s dummy or the dummy at your dojo before investing.  

Judo Throwing Dummies Don’t Resist Holds or Throws

In sparring and competition, you deal with a moving opponent who responds to your moves with countermoves. A dummy neither reacts, responds, nor moves. They can help you learn how to apply holds and throws, but they can’t teach you how to react to a defender.

Dummies can be a valuable part of a judo training regimen. They are no substitute for practice with other judokas. And for learning how to throw against resistance, you should combine your dummy practice with uchikomi band workouts. 

Judo Throwing Dummies Take Up Lots of Space

To work out with a judo dummy, you will need a clear and uncluttered workout area with any breakable items safely out of the way. A judo dummy also takes up a fair bit of storage space when not in use. These issues can pose challenges for people who live in apartments or small homes.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kinds of Judo Throwing Dummies Are Available?

The best kinds of judo dummies available are with arms. The Combat Sports Grappling Dummy comes in various weights and sizes to suit small, large, beginning, and expert judokas. When in doubt, choose a lighter dummy over a heavier one. 

Dummies are best for improving muscle memory, but can also work for strength and conditioning.  You may encounter “Ground and Pound” dummies, but these are more useful for MMA training, where you’re learning to throw blows from kneeling or prone positions. 

What Are the Best Judo Moves To Practice on a Dummy?

The best judo moves to practice on a dummy are Ne-Waza (ground techniques); also, Ura Nage (suplexes) and many other judo throws, as a dummy will allow you to throw as hard as you want without worrying about your partner’s health. 

If you do purchase a judo throwing dummy it might also be a good idea to purchase an instructional video online to help you learn the throws you need to practice. A good example would be the Judo Throw Encyclopedia by Matt D’ Aquino. In this instructional, he demonstrates the original 40 throws of judo. This would be a great choice to use at home on your judo throwing dummy. 

With a dummy, you can master the positioning of joint locks and hold-downs. Though the dummy does not move like an opponent, its filled limbs offer resistance when you put the holds in place. And if you put a gi on your dummy, you can practice cross strangles and gi throws outside the dojo. Plus, if you’re recovering from an injury, a dummy allows you to practice while you heal.

Final Thoughts

A judo throwing dummy is worth what you put into training. If you have the space to practice, a throwing dummy will allow you to put in repetitions when the dojo is closed or any time you have a few free moments. Repeating moves hundreds or thousands of times outside the dojo helps ensure you will get the most out of your time in the dojo.  

This video from Baltimore Martial Arts will give you some pointers on working out with a judo throwing dummy:

Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

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