Are you in the market for new dojo supplies and not sure where to begin? This list of essential martial arts gear will get you started. From training equipment to sparring gear to karate uniforms, these basics can help you open the most well-prepared gym on the market — or add some new offerings to a well-established martial arts institution.
They don’t just look great in movie training montages. They’re also an important developmental tool for martial artists and combat sport athletes. If your gym provides instruction in striking arts like boxing and Muay Thai, you’ll want to provide them with training equipment that they can practice and do drills on. A good selection of heavy bags, speed bags, and possibly some freestanding bags will allow your students to work on their conditioning, timing, speed, and power when there are no training partners readily available to hold pads or spar with them.
If the martial arts that you’re teaching contain any grappling or ground work — or even if you’re teaching a purely standup art, but you want to keep your students as safe and comfortable as possible — one of the most important pieces of martial arts supplies that you can buy is a set of good quality mats. This is an investment in your gym, because high end mats that can stand up to large classes of martial artists running, jumping, and falling on them will save you money in the long term. But it’s also an investment in your students, because they’ll stay healthier and safer if they can do all of the above on mats that have been specifically designed to cushion those blows.
In terms of personal safety gear, it’s more effective and more hygienic to ask students to bring their own mouth guards, cups, etc. For items that can be shared, though, it will be beneficial to have a selection of shared sparring gear on hand to make sure that any sparring component in your classes and training sessions is as safe and responsible as possible. Head gear for any striking-based sparring is a necessity. Sparring chest gear can also be beneficial to have on hand for both sparring purposes and technique training.
Martial Arts Uniforms
If you are looking to provide a friendly and accessible environment for potential new students in gi-based martial arts, one great way to appeal to new students is to have some loaner martial arts uniforms available in a variety of kids and adults sizes, so that they can try a few classes in the proper gear before committing to a membership and a martial arts uniform of their own. Having some spare uniforms on hand can also help out longterm students, because, let’s face it, we’ve all forgotten to pack all of our martial arts gear at least once over the course of our training.
On a similar note, if you offer classes that require boxing gloves, MMA gloves, karate gloves, or punch gloves, having at least a few spare pairs of shared gloves on hand for new students is a great way to help them try a class or two before they commit to your and their own pairs. And again, this can also help out any regulars who have forgotten to pack their own but still want to train.
Focus pads and kick pads
Once you have the gloves and training bags in order, it’s time to add focus training equipment to your shopping list for any striking-based training you’ll be doing at your gym. For boxing (and for boxing for MMA), this selection of training aids should include focus pads and possibly an abdomen shield and other hand focus targets. For kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA, Thai pads, and foam shields and other body focus targets should also be included. For other martial arts that require some level of precise striking training, like Karate, hand focus targets like paddles and the squeaky thing should also be considered.
Boards and other accessories
Once you have the fundamentals covered, you can start to look into other martial arts gear and small training equipment that fits in with your class selection and training style. A selection of breakable —and rebreakable — boards, for example, wouldn’t do much for an MMA-focused gym, but is a great idea for a dojo that specializes in Karate. Depending on what kind of strength and conditioning training you offer, you might also want to have small, affordable, and incredibly effective gym gear like jump ropes, medicine balls, and resistance tubing to enhance your training options.