What kind of gear do you need to take your practice to the next level?
Whether you’re brand new to training and looking to get your very first gi, an old pro looking for some new equipment, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered with this checklist of essential martial arts supplies for every discipline and level of expertise:
1. A Uniform
The specific training apparel that you’ll need will vary depending on your preferred form, but most martial arts require a uniform of some sort. Karate, judo, and jiu-jitsu are all performed in their own variation of the gi, the weight and weave of which will depend on the specific discipline’s techniques and demands. Tae Kwon Do requires a dobok. Muay Thai has a distinct style of shorts. Even combat sports that don’t have a traditional uniform tend to favor certain types of clothing, like grappling shorts for MMA and submission wrestling, or boxing shorts for the sweet science, so it’s always helpful to stock up on appropriate attire for your training.
2. A Belt
For graded martial arts like karate, judo, and jiu-jitsu, a belt that represents the rank you’ve earned in that discipline is an extremely important part of your uniform. It doesn’t just demonstrate the skills you’ve learned and the time you’ve put into the sport, it also symbolizes your very dedication to your martial art. If you’re a beginner, then you’ll obviously be starting out with one of the most fundamental martial arts supplies of all: the white belt. After that, it’s up to your sensei or coach to determine what color you should be purchasing. (For more on this topic, check out our recent blog posts on the meanings of karate belts and what each color represents.)
3. Protective Gear
Even the most gentle of martial arts can be physically demanding – and that’s particularly true of disciplines that involve some level of sparring and/or combat – so it’s important to make sure that you have the right martial arts supplies to help you protect yourself from undue injury. Although the exact type of protective gear required for each martial art is different – Tae Kwon Do, for example has a unique set of gear for competition that both protects fighters and monitors the number of strikes they receive – there are some basics for most that should keep you covered. Shin, instep, and ankle guards can help keep your lower half safe. Head guards are a necessary piece of equipment in many combat sports, particularly at the amateur level, and in training. Wraps will help keep your hands healthy in striking sports. And you can never go wrong with a mouth guard.
4. Gloves, Weapons, and Other Training Accessories
While some martial arts are performed with little nothing more than a gi or some gym clothing, other will require some extra martial arts gear to participate. Karate competition can involve weapons like the bo. Boxing and Muay Thai require boxing gloves. MMA has its own 4oz regulation gloves. Tae Kwon Do has its own specific equipment as well.
5. A Good Gear Bag
Proper training doesn’t just require a lot of time and dedication, it also requires a fair amount of gear. And, other than heavy bags, mats, and rings, most of these martial arts supplies are going to be up to the individual to provide. Which means that you’re going to have to lug all of the above listed training essentials back and forth from the dojo or the gym pretty regularly. Which means that you’re going to need a solid and sturdy gear bag to help you keep everything in one place and easily transportable. ProForce has a wide range of backpacks, duffle bags, mesh bags (which are always helpful for giving sweaty gear some extra time to air out), and pro bags that can address whatever martial arts gear setup you might require.
6. Educational Materials
We all know that there’s no substitute for learning from your sensei and then putting those teachings into practice through repetition, trial, and error. But you also have to give your body a chance to recover from all of this physical activity from time to time, and reading about martial arts training and/or watching instructional videos can be a great way to supplement your education when you’re resting or recuperating.
Whether you want to read up on the history and techniques of karate, Drunken Monkey Kung Fu, DIm Mak, the wisdom of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, or the teachings of some of modern martial arts’ most visionary instructors, AWMA has you covered with our wide selection of martial arts books. If you’re more of an audiovisual learner, we also have a DVD collection that covers everything from animal forms to jiu-jitsu to sword techniques.