Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ava and Andrew

My nephew Andrew has been playing soccer and is evidently pretty good. I went to check out a game and brought the new camera. My niece Ava was there and was in super cute mode.

(There's nothing wrong w/ her arm, she just likes wearing a sling).

I let her take some pix and she got some really great shots. Have a look...

Andrew going head to head w/ other team.

Andew being rehydraded by his mom.

My sis, her boyfriend, her ex-husband, and me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Lamont, you big dummy!"

How to Make Your Own Grappling Dummy:

I just started taking this Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) class and it's hard enough just to remember people's names let alone all the techniques. In Kung Fu, we learned by repetition, but in this BJJ class, it's a different technique each time I go in. Often when I come home I want to practice the moves a few more times to fully ingrain them in my mind, or even to just to try the moves from the left instead of the right. Kathleen has proven to be an extremely unwilling practice partner and Mojo is somewhat willing - he knows it's some kind of game and he purrs - but he just does not have the right dimensions, plus he only weighs 12 lbs.

So I looked around online and found that there are a number of options for grappling dummies, but they're all pretty expensive. One of the popular ones is the Submission Master for $565, but it has no joints or bones, it's just a big Gumby. There is also the Bubba Dummy for $560, which has bones and joints, and I would probably go with this one if I were going to buy one. But being a cheap-ass and an avid handy man, I decided to make my own.

Here's a couple articles/posts that I found useful to give me some ideas of how to build my dummy.

How To Make A Grappling Dummy 2 by Aptdwler

PVC Grappling Dummy with PVC by Callisto77

El Jefe by -EnD oF liNe?!-

Now here's how I built mine:


  • 3 rolls duct tape

  • 4 hinges

  • 24 nuts & 24 bolts (for the hinges)

  • 2 nuts & 2 bolts (for the elbow joints)

  • 12 feet of electric wire

  • 1 2" x 10' white PVC

  • 1 1.5" x 10' grey electrical PVC (I used this because it was thicker and cheaper)

  • some scraps of wood (2x4 & 1x4)

  • some nails and wood screws

  • rope

  • pool noodle

  • old sheets & clothes

First I made the legs, since they are the most basic - 2 pieces of PVC with a simple hing. I put some foam pipe insulation inside initially because I was concerned about the padding getting bunched up when the leg extended. (I later found some knee/elbow pads at the Dollar Store that worked brilliantly). Then I attached the wooden foot with a zip tie and some electric wire, then taped it. I later smoothed the edges off the foot. Also, I used bolts to attach the hinges, but I think that the screws that came with them would work just as well.

The arms have a very realistic elbow joint. I cut a slot on the upper forearm and attached it loosely with a bolt to the lower forearm (which is a separate piece) to allow for a 180˚ twist and then attached the hing at the elbow. Sorry I didn't get a close up of the elbow joint - it was the most innovative thing I did and I forgot to take a photo! Instead, I animated it in 3D so you can see how it works.

I tried stapling the fingers on, but that was no good - I ended up using roofing nails and doubled up on the wire on the wrists to avoid the hands from twisting too far.

Next I made the spine. I cut the 2" PVC into 4" pieces with a 30˚ angle on every other end to simulate a more realistic spine shape and to allow it to flex. The pool noodle fit perfectly inside and I tied small lengths of rope in between the vertebrae and ran some wire thru the center of the noodle.

For the hips and shoulders, I used a dremmel to carve out some of the PVC so I could inset the adjoining pipe/bone, then screwed and taped them. I doubled up the wires connecting the hips and shoulders and made sure to put them on the front since I don't want them to bend backward too much.

For the head, I used a router to cut a groove into a piece of 2x4 and fastened the wire from the spine to this. (I should have doubled up on the wire for the neck - it's too floppy right now). Then I just nailed and taped more pieces of scrap wood to form the rest of the head and taped on some pieces of foam.

The skeleton is complete - YES!

Now to put some meat on his bones...

First I finished taping everything up and cut off the tops of some of the bolts and then put on the knee and elbow pads, then proceeded to use old sheets and clothing to tape to the frame. I prepared separate bundles for each lung, the stomach and for each glute. I think it's a good idea to make the chest and abdominal areas separately to he can fold a little in the middle when bending forward.

Then I just put some clothes on him and used an old bath robe as his gi. Evidently Lamont (the dummy) is a blue belt... I guess it's always good to train with someone more advanced, right?

The dummy ended up weighing about 45-50 lbs and the joints, movement and dimensions are very realistic. He has been very useful for drilling so far. One thing that I may add is a bungee cord on the inside of the arms and legs (like the Submission Master has)... other than that, I'm very happy with what I've got and it didn't cost very much and was really fun to build (maybe 15-20 hours all together).

I think Mojo is happy to have someone to take a nap on the couch with and is probably relieved to not be my grappling partner :)

If you're building your own dummy and have questions, just post a comment and I'll get back to you.


UPDATE 4/24/09

The dummy was working OK... but I pulled the spine out of the pelvis, so I had to redo that connection. While I was at it, I heavily re-enforced the shoulders, spine, and hip joints by adding more electic conduits and extra duct tape. The problem with the spine was that the dummy would just flop around too easily, and was too hard to keep upright. I think you want to make the dummy so that it is able to sit up on its own, so you can practice guard attacks.

Friday, November 7, 2008

From Super Greg to Old Greg

Greg, even tho you don't ever look at your friends blogs, this one is for you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let the Bruising Begin

I went to my first Jui-Jitsu class last night.

I bought a gi and it has a white belt and everything. This martial art is completely different than the Kung Fu - pretty much everything they do is on the ground. We had a little free wrestling/grappling at the end of class and I got caught in my first triangle choke. I started to go unconscious and had to tap out. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


This is odd. I was installing some software today that required activation. This dialog box pops up and I now have the option of activating via the WEB or the INTERNET. Boy, that's a tough choice.... I wonder which one's better...