I recently signed up for MMA training (Mixed Martial Arts) at my local gym and I quickly realized that I was going to need some equipment. Thankfully the necessary gear is relatively inexpensive, and I found most of it at my local sporting goods store. If it wasn’t I’m not sure I would’ve stuck with the classes. If you’re new to the sport, like me, here is a list of the equipment you’ll need to get the most out of your martial arts training.
If you are a guy you will definitely want to invest in a strong cup, and the best ones are also flexible so you can still move without it irritating your inner thighs. Trust me, you will want a cup when it is time to start training with a partner.
Unless you really aren’t that worried about the possibility of losing a few teeth you will want to wear a mouthguard. A good one will also keep your jaw from being dislocated during a sparring match. If you are on a budget you can find several great mouthguards for sale, but the best one will be custom made by your dentist.
I don’t think you can ever have enough athletic tape. It is inexpensive and can often prevent injuries. In fact I never start training unless I have at least one roll of tape in my gym bag. When you start boxing or Muay Thai training you might want to consider advancing to hand wraps for added protection, even if you are wearing a pair of sparring gloves.
You want to find a pair of shorts that are loose, but not baggy. You need to be able to move around without restrictions, but you don’t want your shorts to be baggy enough that they get caught on your sparring partner’s foot. The same is also true for your shirt. It should allow for plenty of movement without hanging off your frame. You can find clothes designed specifically for martial arts training, but a good pair of boardshorts and an athletic t-shirt will often work just as well.
Nothing can knock you out of training faster than a hard kick to the shin, and from what I’ve heard the recovery process can be long and painful. There are two types of shinguards commonly worn, those that come with a sleeve and ones that simply strap on. I prefer shinguards that fasten around my knees with Velcro, though some of my training partners wear sleeves. Both are perfectly capable of providing plenty of protection, and choosing one is usually a matter of personal preference.
This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need once you are ready to start training with a partner. There are several types and styles of headgear to choose from so you can easily find one that feels comfortable to wear. After trial and error I found that the two most important factors to consider is visibility and fit. You want to have a clear field of vision, and if the headgear is adjustable fit won’t be a problem.
These are the basic pieces of equipment that you will need when you are just starting out with martial arts training. As your skill level progress or if you decide to stick with the program there are a few others things you will need to get along the way, but we’ll get to those in my next blog post.