Equipment Buying Guide
Before going on a crazy shopping spree accumulating all kinds of training gear, start with the basics and give it some time. As you continue with your training you can slowly build your gear up. One could easily go out and spend hundreds of dollars. Make sure you are committed and consistent before straining your finances.This list will vary depending on what your training focus is. For example if you are focused primarily on grappling you would not need striking gear right away and vice versa. You can also ask your instructor what is required to be able to participate. Some schools offer equipment packages that contain all the items you need. To save money you can always do some comparison shopping online.
Basic Striking Equipment:
Sparring Gloves ($20 +)
These should be at least 14 ounce gloves. You should see what your instructor requires before purchasing as far as weight and style. Gloves with Velcro fasteners are usually much easier to get on and off compared to the traditional lace up style.
Hand Wraps ( $8 +)
Hand wraps are used to protect the small bones of the hand and help support the wrist. Since these will become soaked with sweat each use, it would be wise to have several sets to rotate while laundering. Most come with a mesh washing bag which will save you the trouble of untangling them from your washing machine.
Shin Protection ($25 +)
Shin guards help to protect the lower leg from injury when doing full contact sparring. Cost varies dependent upon material, closure system and how much of the leg they cover - some will cover the instep of the foot as well.
Mouth Guard ($5 +)
This is an item you probably do not want to go cheap. Many different styles are available. There are ones made specifically for MMA and striking sports. Many will offer insurance for damage. In addition to protecting the teeth, good mouth guards may help also to reduce the likelihood of a concussion. Some dentists are able to make custom mouth guards as well by using a casting of your teeth.
Head Gear ( $25 +)
Head gear should be used if you are consistently doing a lot of sparring. Head gear helps to reduce the risk of concussions and protect from the damage caused by punches and kicks. There are several different styles of headgear - all of which will move around a bit when you start sweating or begin grappling. This is another piece of equipment to do your homework and spend a little extra on.
Cup ( $15 +)
Although groin strikes are not encouraged, in the heat of sparring punches and kicks will invariably find their way here. There are specialty cups and groin protectors made specifically for boxing, kickboxing and muay thai. While they offer a considerably more protection they may affect hip and leg mobility. Groin protection should not move and should should be able to absorb strikes without injury to the area.
Basic Grappling Equipment:
Gi / Kimono ( $ 40 +)
While nothing fits like a good BJJ Kimono, they usually start around $100 +. When just starting, it may be a better idea to pick up some judo gi. These can be found for a fraction of the price and that way you can afford more than one so you can consistently have a clean gi to roll in. No one likes rolling with “the guy with the smelly gi”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will in time.
Rash Guards ($15 +)
These help to pull moisture off the skin and protect against gi rash. They are available in short and long sleeve and are also useful during no - gi classes. Long sleeve rash guards protect the skin and can reduce the risk of ringworm, staph infections and herpes.
Grappling Shorts ( $20 +)
These can also be a simple pair of “board shorts” when getting started. Price is usually determined by manufacturer and how they are constructed. These are also the preferred wear of no-gi classes.
Knee Pads ( $9 +)
Knee pads are very nice to have especially working takedowns and during grappling especially no - gi. Typically the wrestling knee pads offer the protection needed and if the proper fit, do not move much. Knee pads also help to protect the skin around the knee from breakdown or mat burns.