Jon left me this comment. I’ll thought it merited a post as the questions he asks are excellent.
I hope you don’t mind me asking you a few questions about the Submission Master Grappling Dummy. First of all I have a lot of questions about this equipment. It would help if a sporting store carried one of these so I could go and physically try one out before I make a monetary investment of that size. I realize that it is only a tool and never would replace live sparring or training with actual resistance. I see it as only a tool to get 1000’s of reps of many techniques. This way I can commit movements to muscle memory and then try them on a resisting partner in class. That is essentially what a training partner does when we learn technique in class (they lie there "limp" with no resistance like the dummy). That being said, how life like is the dummy? Will i be able to practice from all positions- guard, mount, side control, turtle, passing the guard? Did you feel that learning technique and refining them on the dummy transitioned well to live partners? I will start with those first. Thank you for answering. Feel free to email if you like since I know I will have some more thoughts and questions.” – Jon
How life like is the dummy?
The dummy is fairly proportional to a human. With one exception, I feel the arms are a little shorter then I would like. This has not stopped me from doing arm bars.
The dummy is much harder then a human. It is packed with cloth and doesn’t have a lot of give. If I am in mount on a human the ribs give or the stomach. The SM (Submission Master) doesn’t have that give.
It weighs 70lbs. I weigh 220lbs. It is a little lighter but still gives good feedback to your muscles. I find my self sweating after moving it around for a while.
The nylon fabric the dummy is made of isn’t slick. In fact if you are doing nogi you should wear a long sleeve rash guard. If you don’t you will soon feel like you have gi burn.
Will I be able to practice for all positions (guard, mount, side control, turtle, passing the guard)?
Guard – Works great! I can do everything I think of, arm bars, Triangle, Omoplata, Kimura, sweeps, . . .
Turtle – Surprisingly good. It holds itself up on all fours. If you practice pivoting around the dummy it works better towards the hips as the arms aren’t stiff enough to hold you and it up.
Side Control – Great. The legs do stay in the sitting position and that feels like the dummy is trying to ball up and turn inside like a real person. The arms stay in a static position sticking straight up but that doesn’t bother me too much.
Mount – The dummy has a larger chest. So if you are a bigger guy like me it fits just fine. If you are medium to smaller you might not get your knees to the ground. If you are used to going against larger opponents then this should be just what you are used to.
Passing the Guard – Poor. It can’t hold you in guard. It keeps its knees. It gives you more of a space feeling in passing. I wouldn’t use it if I only wanted it for practicing passing the guard.
Did you feel that learning technique and refining them on the dummy transitioned well to live partners?
Absolutely! My Triangle in particular improved dramatically when I could experiment around with it on the dummy. I didn’t have to worry about my training partners discomfort. I could tweak and tune to my hearts content.
I often see something now on YouTube or from one of my DVD’s and can go try it out immediately. I get a good feel for the technique. I work it on the dummy until I feel comfortable and then I spring it on some one at class during a roll.
With every low must come a high. The surprising things is I’ve missed a lot of class due to everything from family to sickness. I’ve spent time doing solo drills with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy, which has helped, but nothing can be a complete substitute for live submission grappling. Despite it all I’ve done great when I have made it to class. I’m feeling high on BJJ.
Last night I sat out with something pulled in my back. I thought about staying home but I really wanted to be there. I missed the comradery. I missed my Jiu-Jitsu family and the fun I have with them each week. I sat and watched. I found myself tensing up during different parts of the training. During the rolling I wanted to be in the action. I wanted to call out submissions, sweeps, and escapes I saw that others didn’t. It was about as good as a suspenseful movie!
Today I was asked to substitute for Miles and teach the free High School class. We are going over sweeps. I want to do some simple but effective sweeps. I have a few in mind but any suggestions from my readers would be appreciated.
I’ve reviewed and written a number of posts on the Submission Master Grappling Dummy. I get a lot of questions along the lines of "its it really worth the money"? I have always answered "yes"! This week only served to strengthen that. I’m a dedicated father and family man. Its not uncommon to have conflicts with my training schedule. This week was back-to-school week for my kids. I had open houses to attend and last minute school shopping. Needless to say I missed class this week but I had my Submission Master to save the day. My grappling dummy has more then once become my life-line to Jiu-Jitsu. After the kids were in bed, I broke out my new favorite training DVD Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt Requirements: Gateway to the Advanced Game by Roy Dean and started working over Zed (my grappling dummy). In no time I had worked up a good sweat. I went over techniques at my own pace. I formulated some new solo drills based off what I was learning from Roy Dean. I got in some really good reps on some of the techniques I’d learned last week in class.
The Submission Master helps me keep my skills sharp when I can’t go to class. It helps me work out new ideas I have. It never complains or gets hurt. One negative side affect though is its rough. When working with the Submission Master for a extended amount of time remember to wear a rash guard. If you don’t then try my solution to gi burn from my post "Gi Burn Be Gone". It works great for me.
John B. Will blogged "Mission Control", a post about building technique combinations. He made mention of Eddie Bravo’s system and how it has a starting point to move into different techniques and submissions. In Eddie’s book Mastering The Rubber Guard he has a excellent flow chart that shows how it all works together. SlideyFoot talks about Roy Dean – Purple Belt Requirements and how he teaches a combination mindset. Rigan Machado has turned me on to some combo’s in his "RCJ Machado Jiu-Jitsu Camp 2008" DVD’s. I must have reached a new level in my game. All of the sudden these not only made sense but I can flow from one to the other. Lets just say I’ve really turned on to combos. I picked a set out and drilled it on my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. Once I felt confident enough to teach it, I found someone at the academy to train it with. Blake and I put in some reps together. This helped build my confidence in using it against someone other then my grappling dummy. I got to try it out the next class. It went splendid. I even got one of the submissions in the combo against Blake who knew it was coming. I can see how memorizing single submissions, then combinations of submission can build you a network of movement. Over time it will build in my mind like Eddie’s flow chart.
I don’t want to sum this whole post up in one sentence. You should know where I’m going with this before you even read it. Family comes first. That has been the theme for my holiday season, well the entire month of December (as it should be). Meerkatsu in his post "BJJ Frequency Spousal Happiness Slide" talked about his experience with it. FightWorksPodCast.com did a poll entitled "To What Extent Does Your Spouse, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Significant Other Support Your BJJ Training?" that gives some statistics. They are both very interesting. When it comes down to it I love my family more then BJJ. Yes, its hard to hear that any one could love anything more then BJJ when it comes down to us true addicts. I made 3 of the 10 classes I would have normally made this month. When I went to those 3 classes I felt like I was already behind. Those who are single or don’t have an attachment fill their time with BJJ and I feel like I’m falling further and further behind. But I don’t know what else I can do. I usually resort to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. But even that is of no use when my 2 and 3 year old join in. Its a good laugh and we have a great "royal rumble" but I don’t get much training in. When I try to slip away to watch some videos I have to lock myself in my office. That doesn’t last long before the wife is knocking wondering why I don’t come spend time with the family while I’m off for the holidays. As a last resort I use my iPhone apps and watch some GrappleArts.com videos. At least they are quick and portable. I can snatch a moment to watch them now and then. If only the itch to do instead of just watch would go away until I had time to try them out. Oh well, I think the balance is tipped heavily in the direction of the family but for good reason. When my children get bigger we will all go as a family but until then its catch as catch can.
One of my favorite sweeps is the Spider Guard Sweep. You set it up by grabbing a sleeve and putting one leg in the bend of the that arm. Then you put the other leg across the abdomen of your opponent with the knee out. As shown here: Then using the leg that has the arm around it you push out ward. At the same time you reach down and get the leg turning your opponent onto the leg across the abdomen. Like this: Now all you have to do is rock back and then forward and you come up in mount. The trouble is some times they get past that leg on the abdomen. You end up still controlling the arm but you feel open. This is where you apply the bicep cutter. Take a look at these two pictures: You will notice all I have done is pulled the arm in a little more and created a triangle with my legs. Once you have done this all you need do is cut! This is done by pushing the knee out or by reaching behind the with both of your hands and pulling down on the trapped arm. What I really like about this technique is the guy thinks he is past your guard. It surprises them when you put the bite on them. Once again, thanks to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy for taking all of the abuse. It truly is a handy tool for working on your technique and trying things out.
You have back control and you have your hooks in. You are trying to put a Rear Naked Choke or any choke on the guy for that matter but can’t get under his chin. Here is a funny but effective BJJ technique that I learned from Mark Johnson at West Side Jiu-Jitsu. Underneath your nose is a bundle of nerves. Now the funny part, rub in a sawing motion the nerves upward with the blade of your hand. It looks like you are scratching under their nose for them. At first they resist and then as you increase the pressure it hurts. The next thing you know they lift their head and you quickly slide your hand from the nose to the throat. When I saw this I realized that they use this when they take pictures of babies. The photographer would put her finger under my child’s nose to get her to raise her head for the photo. I always wondered why the child would look up so easily with it. Its not so much that it hurts at first as it is annoying. Below is a picture of me showing the position of your hand with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. I know that descriptions don’t always work.
I’ve had my Submission Master Grappling Dummy now for about 1 month. I’ve been using him in a daily drill routine that I formulated. I have to say I really like my Submission Master and last night it paid off. I’d been work on the Triangle Choke, Arm Bar from Guard, Triangle Choke to Arm Bar, and Arm Bar from Mount. I got 3 of the 4 last night in class. What I really liked about my drilling with the Submission Master was that it gave me the physical feedback that helped reinforce my muscle memory. The more repetitions I did the easier it seemed to notice my chances for a submission and connect on them. For example I was having a hard time getting the transition from a failed Triangle Choke to a Arm Bar. I kept putting the wrong leg under the guys chin. After doing reps on the Submission Master for a week I instinctively transitioned from the Triangle to the Arm Bar. I’ve also noticed that working with the Submission Master has helped me realize how I need to lift my hips up toward the head as I work for submissions like the ones I’ve talked about. I know I keep blogging about it but with good reason. I’m seeing success and want to share what I’ve found out.
We all know that the more reps you put in the better you muscle memory. We also all can’t spend every waking moment at the gym or dojo. Using the Submission Master has become a good way for me to satisfy my BJJ addiction.
I have to say I am really enjoying my Submission Master. I keep it in my office with me and when I need a break from my work I practice a few chokes or combinations on it. I now have a lunch time drill routine that I do with it too. If you haven’t seen a Submission Master before then go to GrapplingDummy.com and check it out. They have some good demonstration videos on the side.
Yes, the price might make you see cross-eyed for a bit. It took me a good while to save up for mine. But BJJ is what I do. I want to do it even when I’m not at class. I used to Fly Fish until I had kids. Its not practical to go off Fly Fishing all the time any more and BJJ costs less. Some people put there cash into computers, and others into cars. I put mine in BJJ.
Its assembled and I’ve started drilling with it. The first thing I noticed was how hard the floor is. I don’t have a mat. I have been thinking about if I should even get one. I like some real world or practical application of BJJ. If I got in a street fight I will use my Jiu Jitsu training but I doubt there will be a mat. The next thing I noticed is that when I tried a Kimura it doesn’t feel right. The structure of the Submission Master’s arm is a arch with no true joints. At first I didn’t like this but then I realized it felt more like a arm that is trying to do a escape. It gave me a different perspective on my Kimura technique and how to apply it. The next thing I tried was the Triangle Choke. This hurt at first because the dummy is so hard. I didn’t realize how soft real humans are. I worked my Triangle and figured out something new I hadn’t noticed before. I posted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Submission Techniques – The Triangle and gave tips and tricks on improving your Triangle. I now can add to that getting the knee of the leg around the neck above the neck. I have also found that just moving it around, it is 70 lbs, breaks me into a sweat. It doesn’t do infinity drills so you have to reset some drills to do it over. But for the most part you can do Arm Bars, Triangles, Kimuras, and other submissions over and over on each side. For Cross Body and Mount work you sit or lay very high. You don’t have a soft gut to lay into. I also can’t hook the legs (grapevines) in mount. What it comes down to is its no full substitute for a person but it does very well for what it is intended. So far I really like it and feel it is money well spent. It is true the $560 price tag is high but it sure beats the home made version I’ve seen on YouTube.com. I think the only true competitor in its class is the Bubba. I didn’t choose the Bubba because it didn’t sit up in guard, it looks light weight, and flimsy. I’m going to start trying some escapes and sweeps on it tomorrow and see how they go.