Like any martial arts technique, the best way to practice grappling -- which includes throws, takedowns, chokes, pins and submissions -- is with a real life human training partner. However if you don't have a training buddy who wants to be thrown or taken down repeatedly, you can drill your techniques on a grappling dummy that simulates the approximate size, weight and flexibility -- or lake thereof -- of a real person.
Realistic Size and Heft
If order to develop the appropriate power and body coordination for dealing with a real opponent, your grappling dummy should approximate the size and heft of a real person -- usually between 70 to 130 pounds and 5-foot-6 to 5-10. Smaller, lighter dummies are available. The dummies are usually made of leather, synthetic leather or poly-vinyl, and padded with high-density foam. Some dummies can be filled with water or sand to increase their weight.
Strike the Right Pose
The most important characteristics of a grappling dummy depend on what you're using it for. If you're doing joint locks or on-the-ground submissions, the dummy should have limbs that approximate the limited flexibility of a real person's arms and legs. If you're practicing chokes, the dummy must have a head and neck of realistic size. For drilling ground-fighting techniques from the guard, in which you have your legs wrapped around a kneeling or squatting opponent, choose a dummy with enough rigidity in its limbs to be posed in the proper position.
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