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Shingitai Jujitsu Association

One of America's leading authorities on jujitsu,
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What Do You Do When You Have No Strong Training Partners
By John Saylor

Back in 1979, as a member of the U.S. Judo Team, I was training at Tokai University in Japan. Often there were over a hundred black belts on the mat, especially when foreign teams were visiting. Practices were 2 ½ to 3 hours long and included various kinds of Uchikomis (Fit-Ins of Throws), Ground-Grappling, Randori (“Free Practice”, Live Wrestling), Throwing Practice and various drills. These were tough sessions, especially since some of these guys were World and Olympic Champions, as well as All-Japan and College Champions.

Tokai’s morning weight training and conditioning sessions were fairly short, 45 minutes to 1 hour and I’d have to say that the Europeans knew more about that aspect of training than the Japanese, at least back then. But with all that training each afternoon against such a wide variety of high-level opponents, the Japanese fighters could afford to be a little behind the times on their strength training and conditioning outside the dojo. Their grueling practices made them plenty strong and conditioned.

In the United States, though, we didn’t (and still don’t) have the luxury of a hundred-plus training partners to choose from. And I’m betting that most of you can’t get 2 ½ to 3 hours of practice at the dojo each day.



So what can you do to compete with the best? Start with the following:


Learn to practice by yourself outside your regular practice sessions. Every great champion has devised Solo Practice methods to gain an advantage over his competition (Some examples are bag work, solo uchikomis with tubing, and so on.). Use your imagination to come up with more.

Travel to training camps and clinics. You’ll not only learn new skills, but you can also “cross swords” with other fighters.

Become a fanatic with your conditioning. Use time away from the dojo to develop greater endurance, speed, strength, and flexibility. Try to turn your physical weaknesses into strengths. There are many good exercises and training methods to choose from and you should learn and use those that work the best for you. But let me tell you about one that you probably haven’t heard of before: A newly invented piece of equipment called “The Grappler”. Regardless of your style, it will make you a much stronger fighter.


The Grappler


A Revolutionary Innovation In Strength Training For Grapplers and Martial Artists of All Styles

The biggest problem in weight training for martial artists, especially those that do some form of grappling is that most of the lifts, Bench Press for example, strengthen you in just one line of motion. If your opponent forces your arms even a few inches up, down, in, or out from that line, you’ll be weaker than a school girl. This problem is even worse with conventional weight machines since they don’t allow for as many exercise variations and are generally limited to one range of motion.

In grappling and other martial arts, though, you need strength from all angles and positions. This is why standard weight training isn’t the whole answer. Body weight exercises like Hindu Squats, Bridging, Pull Ups, Rope Climbing, Hindu Push Ups, and various abdominal exercises are a step in the right direction. They have their place in any fighters’ routine. Recently, though, I came across a device called The Grappler that I believe is the next step for all serious martial artists and grapplers. Let me tell you a little bit about it.


The Grappler Was Invented By One Of The Foremost Speed - Strength Coaches In The World


The Grappler was invented by my friend Louie Simmons,

arguably the best speed-strength coach in the world. Everyone in the powerlifting community already knows Louie. In fact, he is often called “The Great Guru of Powerlifting” and “The Mad Monk of Powerlifting”. Pretty good description, since his world-famous Westside Barbell Club is the strongest gym in the world and has produced too many National and World Champions to count. Westside currently has 5 lifters who have totaled over 2400lbs, the only gym in the world to have done so.

But what may not be as well known is the work Louie has done with other world-class athletes. He has worked with the strength coaches of The New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, and The Green Bay Packers, to name just a few. And about 1/3 of the college teams in the country have adopted some version of Louie’s stuff. He’s also trained a 70’ plus shot putter, an Olympic sprinter, mixed martial artists, wrestlers, and athletes from many other sports. Nobody knows more about developing strength, power, and speed for grapplers, mixed martial artists, and sports in general, than Louie Simmons.


Louie’s a big mixed martial arts fan, and one night recently while watching the Pride Fighting Championship


I asked him:


“Why,” I asked in between fights, “did you invent The Grappler?”

“I made it for guys like you.”

“What do you do,” he went on, “when you don’t have anybody to train with?”

“Yeah, that happens a lot in this country,” I interjected.

“Well, when you don’t have any strong partners to workout with,” he continued, “just do a session with The Grappler. It’ll wear you out.

After the next fight in which Mario Sperry knocked out his opponent in 11 seconds, I asked,

“What weight exercises do you think are most important for grapplers, jujitsu fighters, judoists, submission wrestlers, and mixed martial artists?

“I’d concentrate on 4 things: Towing a Sled with your legs and with your arms, Good Morning, Zercher Squats, and The Grappler.”



"What kind of exercises," I asked, "would you do with The Grappler?"


“Do all kinds of stuff. Do a lot of Vertical Bar Twists, what we call ‘Land Mines’. This will work the rotational muscles of your torso and your stabilizers. Invent new movements to work your weaknesses and to support your techniques. Work your arms and shoulders in circular motions and try working them independently of each other. Just use your imagination.”

“Are there any other exercises you’d recommend?” I went on.

“Yeah. Anything to work the posterior chain. The Towing Sled is great, but also do lots of Glute Ham Raises, Seated Leg Curls with Bands, and Reverse Hypers. I like that DB Drill you do, too.”

Louie was referring to The 5 Minute DB Drill, a method I used with my fighters from The U.S. National Judo Training Squad at The Olympic Training Center. It is described in detail in my soon-to-be-released book on physical training for grapplers and other martial artists.

Now, What Will "The Grappler "Do For You?


With The Grappler you will develop:


Superhuman rotational strength which is vitally important in many throws of judo, wrestling, and other grappling-based arts. It will also increase the power of your kicks and punches.

Ultra-powerful shoulders, all-round upper body, torso, and lower back strength.
Awe-inspiring, specific strength in the motions you need for many forward and twisting throws.

Super strong stabilizer muscles throughout your entire body. (These are the often neglected muscles which most conventional weight training misses, but which are so necessary in all ground-grappling, throws, takedowns, kicks and punches.)

Greater resistance to injuries through greater tendon, ligament, and stabilizer muscle strength.

In short, The Grappler will make you a much tougher fighter, whether for self-defense or competition.



What Exactly Is “The Grappler?”


“The Grappler” is simply a super heavy-duty steel platform onto which two universal-type joints are mounted. These two joints are designed to hold ends of 2 standard Olympic Bars. (The 2 Olympic bars are not included). The joints allow you to grip the other end of the bars and move them in all directions making it possible for you to get strong from almost any angle. You can load the end of the bars up with extra weight as you get stronger. “The Grappler” is designed to handle as much weight as you can safely use no matter how strong you are.



Josh “Heavy” Hendricks
2x NCAA heavyweight All-American Wrestler, Professional No-Holds-Barred Fighter

“The Grappler’ is for the guy who wants to get real strong. I don’t mean beach and barbell strong. I mean real diesel horsepower strong.”


J.P. Pocock

Professional No-Holds-Barred Fighter , Former National Jujitsu Champion

“‘The Grappler’ is a must for every serious fighting gym. It enables you to train at angles that just cannot be mimicked by any other equipment.”

Also, if you would like information on bands or any of Louie Simmons’ other outstanding exercise equipment,
please give me a call at 419-938-6089 or e-mail me

P.O. Box 428 :: Perrysville, OH :: 44864 :: (419) 938-6089 :: email us!
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