So you’ve decided that it’s time to take the plunge, walk through the gym doors, and participate in your first Mixed Martial Arts class; good for you. Mixed Martial Arts is more than just a sport, but a way of life and the more you are take part in it the more you will learn and enjoy it.
As a new student you may be unfamiliar to some of the key pieces of MMA gear & equipment you are going to need to make it through the hours of training, sparring, and drilling. More than likely your coach or instructor will give you a walk through when you get there, but it’s always good to go in prepared and know what you are getting yourself into. There are going to be a couple of essential pieces of equipment that you will need in order to be successful and keep yourself from getting injured. If you are serious about training long term then you are going to want to have your own set of gear, because let’s face it sharing another guy’s stinky, sweaty gear is pretty gross and if not taken care of properly can give you an infection. If you aren’t sure you are ready to jump in head first then you need not worry, because the gym will probably have a remotely clean set of stuff for you to use. Just make sure to show up to your first class in loose fitting athletic gear such as a t-shirt and shorts.
Your MMA shopping trip is going to begin with the proper apparel, which will most likely be MMA shorts, compression shorts with a cup, and a rash guard (long or short sleeve). There are plenty of companies out there that make quality MMA shorts so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a good pair at an affordable price. MMA fight shorts are very similar to board shorts, just without any pockets for people to get hands and feet stuck in. Compression shorts with a cup are important for class too, because you are going to be kicking and punching, so there is a good chance at one point or another you are going to get kicked in the junk. Finally you will need a rash guard that is either long sleeve or short sleeve. You could get away with a plain t-shirt for class (as most schools won’t require rash guards), but a rash guard is going to keep your skin protected from the germs that will be on the mats and your training partners. One common thing that MMA practitioners run across is staph infections, which are spread through human contact. A rash guard is going to keep the sweat from the other students off of you and keep your chances lower of encountering staph.
Next you will need to buy some boxing gloves and MMA gloves. The boxing gloves are going to be heavier, usually 14 to 16 ounces and will be used for sparring and bag work. I would advise purchasing gloves made of leather because they will last longer and save you money in the long run. MMA gloves are going to be the smaller 4 ounce gloves used for sparring, training, and competition. These are the ones you have seen all of the UFC fighters wearing during their fights. The Internet is full of companies out there that sell both types of gloves. Read some forums or ask your instructor what brands he recommends before you make a purchase.
The final piece of MMA equipment that you will need is a sturdy pair of shin guards which will protect you from the leg kicks and clashed shins you will be dealing with. There are two types to choose from; Muay Thai and MMA. Some people prefer the Muay Thai pads because the front side is thicker and stronger due to the brutal kicking that these guys go through. You will most likely find straps on the back as opposed to a neoprene sleeve that the MMA shin guards feature. Other than that there isn’t much of a difference between the two.
If you purchase the essential equipment listed above then you should be good to go for a while. Eventually you will need additional gear and when the time comes your coach or instructor will let you know.
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