Summer is a great time to take your martial arts training outside. Switching up your routine with a little outdoor training is a great way to get some fresh air and a fresh perspective.
But a change in your routine also means that you need to take a little more time to plan ahead. When you’re doing your regular classes or sparring sessions at your regular gym, you’ve got everything down to a science. You know where to go, what equipment is there for you to use, and what you’ll need to pack.
When you decide to train outdoors, there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider. You’ll have to prepare for the weather, and maybe come up with a backup plan. You’ll need to have a plan for training safely and responsibly in hot weather. And you’ll need to figure out what to pack.
We’ve covered hot weather training tips in this blog before. We’ve also looked at how to keep yourself and your gear fresh when things get hot and sticky. Now let’s talk about what kind of martial arts gear you’ll need for your outdoor training.
First up: grappling-based workouts. Here are the basics you’ll need to host an outdoor training session in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, amateur wrestling and other martial arts methods that involve a lot of mat work.
The most important thing you’ll need for outdoor mat training are the mats themselves.
In a gym, that part’s taken care of for you. Outside, you’ll need to find a relatively flat and stable piece of ground, and then set your own mats up on it.
The type of mats you can use will depend on the type of training you’re doing and the number of people you’re doing it with. If you’re doing light rolling or technique training with a few friends, you will probably be ok with a small set of light jigsaw mats like the ProForce® Mini Mat. If your group is bigger or you want to train a little harder, you might want to consider something a little more durable and supportive, like the ProForce® Deluxe Reversible Jigsaw Mat or the ProForce® Ultra Jigsaw Mat. ProForce® also offers a Jigsaw Mat Case Black to help you easily transport your mats from location to location.
And if you want to go even harder than that, you might want to take it back inside. Jigsaw mats can keep you safe and comfortable during technique training and sparring/rolling from your knees. Unless you’re really careful and sure of what you’re doing, takedowns, throws, and hard sparring should be saved for the dojo.
A Uniform or exercise clothes
Once you’ve settle on what you’re training on, it’s time to figure out what you’re wearing. If you’re planning on gi training, you’ll need to bring along a uniform that’s suitable for outdoor training. You’ll probably feel most comfortable and relaxed in a lighter weight gi that you’re not too worried about getting dirty if you happen to encounter some mud or grass. So leave your tournament uniforms and brand new gis at home and pack a good backup option instead. (And if you have another old gi lying around, throw that in, too. It’s always nice to have a spare if you’re inviting people to drop in for casual training.)
If you’re planning to do no-gi training outside, plan for an outfit that that is going to protect you from sunburn as well as mat burn. A long-sleeved or short-sleeved rash guard will help you prevent both.
Anything else you pack to protect yourself during training at the gym will have to come along with you, too. That includes any cups, knee and elbow pads, mouth guards, or ear guards you have.
A water bottle
Or two. Or three. Hydration is an important part of training in general. When you’re training in the sun and heat, it becomes even more vital that you make sure you’re getting enough water. This will keep you feeling and performing a lot better.
Finally, it’s a good idea to wipe down your mats before and after an outdoor session. A package of gym wipes or a bottle of cleaning solution and a towel will help to protect you and your training partners’ health from bacteria and save your noses from any stinky buildup.
A gear bag
You’ll need something to carry all of your non-mat outdoor grappling gear in. A well-ventilated gear bag will make your gear easy to transport and help air it out on the way home from a sweaty summer workout.