Beginners getting into mixed martial arts should have at least five basic items: mouth guard, cup, headgear, hand wraps and gloves. Although optional, it is highly recommended that you also get a pair of specific grappling shorts, rash guard, and Muay Thai shin pads.
For those who train outside of a MMA gym or dojo, you’ll want a set of wrestling mats, boxing focus mitts, and a heavy bag. There is lots of useful gear, but bets face it – when it comes to MMA stuff, there’s a difference between needs, wants, and wishes. Personally, I often fantasize about owning an ultra-huge gym and every training device known to man. No need to lie, I know you’ve done it too. However, we all have to live with the reality: we’ve only got so much money to spend, space to store stuff, and time to shop.
Basic Gear Philosophy
- Take care of your gear
- Only buy gear that serves it’s specific purpose well
- Select quality gear with good construction (quality over quantity)
- Better to have protection you never use, then get an injury you can’t handle
Hand wraps: I like the Mexican style ones, as they have a little stretch to them, making feel nicer when wrapped right.
There are two common mouth guards – the basic ones that just cover the top row of teeth. and the “double” which cover both rows of teeth. Personally, I like the double mouth guards because they are slightly harder to breath through – it’s good training for fights.
In this area, to each his own (or her own) . Find something that fits and what you’ll be most likely to wear frequently. If it’s not comfortable, you’ll probably forget it. Shock Doctor puts out some decent gear for this area – just make sure to understand the sizing charts and accurately gauge … *ahem*, your size. (Lies are never comfortable)
There are many styles of gloves, each with their uses.
Many people use these fingerless UFC style MMA gloves when sparring. I like these particular ones.
Below are boxing style training gloves that are heaver and better suited for specific striking training. The added weight helps train your shoulders and other muscles when punching. You can get them in 12-16 oz weights, usually.
When working the heavy bag, use these gloves with your hand wraps underneath.
No, not the horrible torture devise that your orthodontist made you wear. The useful stuff that protects the stuff between the ears. Again, there are probably a couple of styles that might suit you, but don’t get the face-cage kind. It protects your nose from getting bent, but amplifies the damage done to your spine and brain. The kind below is the type I prefer. The more you train, the more important head protection becomes.
Shin and Foot Guards
Muay Thai style shin guards come in handy when you start training or sparring with kicks.
If you’re training no-go, pick up a pair of shorts that will fit comfortably and looks cool. Wearing the stretchy-spandex shorts is okay for your cage fights, but for training I’d go for the shorts.
You’re not an uber-cool grappler unless you have one of these. (My wife got me one for Christmas!) Don’t be fooled though – you don’t need the “grappling rashguard” specifically. Surf shops have the same thing but they call them body-sleeves or surfing rashguards.