Is the Grappling SMARTY the best grappling dummy?
I’m a passionate BJJ hobbyist. I have mats in my apartment. Sometimes, I’m itching to drill some moves I learn in an instructional — but I have nobody to practice on.
The Grappling SMARTY 2.0 solves that problem. Unlike other grappling dummies, it’s smart.
The SMARTY is designed with its elbows and knees connected. This makes it more realistic to drill with.
In this article, I’ll share my in-depth review of the SMARTY 2.0.
There are no replacements for real training partners. But the SMARTY is as close as you’ll get.
The Grappling SMARTY 2.0 is the best grappling dummy on the market for jiu-jitsu players. It’s realistic, you can practice most techniques on it, and it’s durable. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, serious hobbyist, competitor, or already have a home gym, investing in a SMARTY will help you level up your BJJ.
What Is The Grappling Smarty 2.0?
The Grappling SMARTY 2.0 is the second version of Patrick Fulop’s unique grappling dummy.
Patrick is the founder of Effective Martial Arts in Montreal, Canada.
During the pandemic of 2020, he transitioned to instructing his students virtually. However, he had no way to demonstrate techniques to students.
His wife is also an avid martial artist. But in 2020, she was pregnant, so he wasn’t able to train with her.
Patrick sought a solution so that he could practice and demonstrate techniques. But the average grappling dummy was too unrealistic:
To solve his own problem, he invented his own dummy in 2021: the Grappling SMARTY 1.0.
It’s a dummy that’s in proper grappling stance: with its knees and elbows connected instead of just lying down flat with its arms up.
In the winter of 2022, Patrick launched the Grappling SMARTY 2.0.
He made the following improvements based on customer feedback:
- Longer legs so you can practice guard passes and leg locks
- Added a chin so that you can practice realistic rear naked chokes
- Added thumbs so that you can practice proper armbar finishing mechanics
- Redesigned the shoulder to make it more mobile
- Reduced the waistline and width of the chest and shoulders, allowing you to lock up a body triangle and fit your gi on it
In this article, I’ll be reviewing the SMARTY 2.0. Patrick sent me a pre-filled SMARTY in exchange for this in-depth review.
Who Should Invest In The Grappling Smarty 2.0?
I’ve used at least 3 different kinds of dummies, and the SMARTY 2.0 is the best. The name is fitting.
But who should invest in it?
You have to be serious about your training if you’ll invest a few hundred dollars in a grappling dummy.
There are a few specific BJJ players I think would benefit from the SMARTY.
- Kinesthetic Learners: You primarily learn techniques and submissions by moving your body — by feeling it. I’m a kinesthetic learner. So being able to drill moves slowly on the SMARTY helps me practice and remember what I learn in class.
- Beginners (White Belts & Blue Belts): You’re in your first 3-4 years of jiu-jitsu. At this stage, you’re memorizing. Having the SMARTY will help you practice techniques before or after class to aid your memorization.
- Pros: You’re a professional BJJ athlete. You need to be able to practice whenever you can. So, when you don’t have a training partner available, the SMARTY is your next best option.
- People With Injuries: As I’m writing this review, I’m recovering from a knee injury. A major stage of recovery is redeveloping confidence in the injured area. I’m practicing techniques very slowly on the SMARTY. And it’s helping me regain confidence in my knee.
- Instructors: If you teach jiu-jitsu, then the SMARTY is a great investment in your business. You can demonstrate techniques. Your students can use it to practice if they don’t have a partner. You can run virtual classes. Grappling dummies are a necessary piece of equipment for your gym. Invest in the best one you can get.
The SMARTY isn’t for your average hobbyist who doesn’t have mats at home, trains twice a week, and doesn’t care much about their advancement. But if you’re serious about your progression and have some mats at home, it’s a superb investment.
Smarty 2.0 Pros
Throughout my testing and review process, I’ve noted 3 things about the SMARTY 2.0 that make it stand out among the others I’ve used.
- As Close To A Real Human As You Can Get
- You Can Drill Hundreds Of Moves
- Extremely Well-Constructed
I’ll expand on these 3 important factors below.
1. As Close To A Real Human As You Can Get
The best thing about the SMARTY is that it’s designed to be in a good grappling position, with elbow-knee connection. In jiu-jitsu, you want to be in this position. When you’re sparring, your opponent wants to be in this position. And because the SMARTY is in this position, you’re able to practice the majority of BJJ techniques on the SMARTY. A dummy cannot replace a human training partner. But the SMARTY is as close as you can get.
The details about the SMARTY tell you everything you need to know. It has a chin, so that you can practice realistic choking mechanics. It has thumbs, so you can practice proper armbar finishing mechanics. It has heels, so you can practice your heel hooks at full force. This level of detail is essential for realism and practicing the nuance of submissions.
Consider how I used to watch instructionals and technique videos before the SMARTY. I would sit at my computer, watch the instructional, take notes, and attempt what I learned in class from memory. As a kinesthetic learner, this wasn’t very effective. But now, with the SMARTY, I open up the instructional on my laptop, sit on my mats with my SMARTY, and as I’m watching, I practice what’s being taught in the instructional in real-time. I feel like I’m getting at least 100% more out of my investment in instructionals. I’m learning and memorizing techniques at a much faster rate.
2. You Can Drill Hundreds Of Moves
The utility of a grappling dummy is all about how practical it use: how many techniques you can practice on it. At my gym, we have a dummy that lays down flat like a corpse with its arms up in the air. Nobody except a white belt on their first day grapples like that. You could practice a few unrealistic armbar variations, and that’s about it.
Because the SMARTY is designed to resemble a human in a good grappling position, you’re able to drill hundreds of moves on it. I tested this myself. I went through one of my instructors, Blair Turton’s white belt curriculum with the dummy. On the curriculum is everything from submissions to back takes. I was able to perform 85%+ of the techniques on the SMARTY. Patrick filmed a video of 101 techniques you can practice on the SMARTY, which includes guard passes, top pins, top pin attacks, guard attacks, sweeps, pin escapes, back takes, back control, and more.
Investing in the SMARTY harness unlocks another layer of utility. While the SMARTY is hanging, you can use it to practice open guard attacks, takedowns, and even striking. I don’t have the harness myself, but I’m considering it so I can practice my takedowns — and to use it as a punching bag when I’m having one of those days.
3. Extremely Well-Constructed
Finally, the SMARTY is very well constructed. It’s covered with heavy-duty VINYL synthetic leather and double-stitched using s4-ply-polyester/nylon thread. I’ve elbowed it. I’ve squeezed it. I’ve twisted it. I’ve thrown it. Despite that, it looks brand new.
It’s also very easy to clean. After I’m done training with it, I wipe it down with some disinfectant wipes. It takes 2-3 minutes tops.
Now, I’ve only had it for a few weeks. But based on the first few weeks of training with the SMARTY, I’d be shocked if it didn’t hold up well. It feels far more high-quality and durable than other grappling dummies I’ve used.
Smarty 2.0 Cons
To be completely honest, I cannot find any major cons of the SMARTY 2.0. I only have a few nitpicks.
- At 6’1″ 185 pounds, the standard model is a tad small for me. But, they do offer an XL version.
- The shoulders are rounded forward a bit (which is natural for that position), which makes them awkward to do kimuras on.
- I can imagine that it would be a hassle to fill. You’ll need to cut used clothing or sheets into pieces, and then fill up the dummy. But it’s great that they give you this option because you’ll save a few hundred dollars if you purchase it unfilled.
That’s all I’ve got. It’s that good.
Now, I’ve had it for a few weeks, so I’ll see how well it holds up as I continue to use it and report back. But it feels extremely durable.
The price might be a con for some. Yes, it’s expensive. It’s a high-end dummy. And for some of you, it’s not worth the investment. But compared to the other grappling dummies on the market, I think the price is justified.
The inventor, Patrick, is committed to improving the SMARTY with each iteration. So if you have an issue with your SMARTY or have improvements for the suggestions, he engages with his customers and takes the feedback seriously. That’s awesome to see.
There are a few different versions of the SMARTY. You can purchase them filled unfilled. The prices below are in USD.
For the generic SMARTY 2.0, you can expect to pay around $492 for the filled version, and $220 for the unfilled version.
The price is on the high end for grappling dummies. If you search for dummies on Amazon, you’ll find the price ranging from $20-$120 for unfilled. However, you get what you pay for. SMARTY is the premium grappling dummy option. It’s made of the highest-quality material, is the best proportioned, and is the most useful for drilling.
For the SMARTY XL (modeled after a 6’2″/187cm human), you can expect to pay $542 for the filled version, and $243 for the unfilled version.
For the SMARTY kid, you can expect to pay $393 for the filled version, and $186 for the unfilled version.
You can also invest in the SMARTY harness to hang your smarty in the air if you want to practice striking, takedowns, or bottom open guard attacks.
If you’re serious about becoming a better BJJ player — and you already invest in your training by purchasing instructionals — then the SMARTY is a worthy investment. Think about how much more you’ll get out of instructional by being able to follow along using the SMARTY. If you have a home gym, the SMARTY is a must.
But if you don’t any mats at home, you don’t train consistently, and you don’t feel the desire to get better, then save your money for other hobbies. You can try a cheaper grappling dummy, but it won’t be as good.
The standard SMARTY 2.0 models a 5’7″ human.
It’s extremely durable and well-constructed. It’s covered with heavy-duty VINYL synthetic leather. It’s stitched using strong, 4-ply-polyester/nylon thread. And, it’s double-stitched for added durability.
It weighs about 50 lbs, or 23kg. If you’d like to put a gi on it, they recommend an A3 gi.
It’s also made with waterproof fabric, so it’s easy to clean after you’re done training with it.
If you buy the SMARTY 2.0 unfilled, you’ll save money. But be prepared for the work you’ll have to do to fill it up.
- Gather 50 lbs of used clothing or sheets (you can also empty an old punching bag)
- Cut them into rag sized-pieces
- Buy polyester stuffing for the feet and hands (not needed, but recommended by the inventor)
- Fill up your SMARTY 2.0
You can find the patent for the SMARTY 2.0 here.
I’m very confident that this will last for years of me putting heavy beatings into it. If it doesn’t last long, I will update this review.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What techniques can I practice with it?
The better question is what techniques you can’t practice on it. I estimate you can practice 90% of jiu-jitsu techniques on the SMARTY. I’ve tested out multiple technique lists, and I was able to drill most moves without any issues.
Where do they ship to, and how much does shipping cost?
They ship worldwide and offer free international shipping for the unfilled SMARTY. Shipping costs for the pre-filled version are available on the website.
Overall, I think that the SMARTY is the best grappling dummy on the market.
If you’re serious about your BJJ training, having a SMARTY that you can practice with in your home is invaluable.
Is it pricey? Yes. But, like an Origin gi, you get what you pay for. It’s priced the way it is because it’s the best of its kind on the market.
If you have additional questions about SMARTY 2.0, drop a comment in the section below. I read and respond to every comment.
Tsavo is the founder of BJJ Equipment and BJJ blue belt who started training in 2019. He’s a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado who wanted to share his favorite pickups with other jiujiteiros. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for jiu-jitsu practitioners to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.