The true test of a martial artist’s skills is putting into practice all the training he/she has learned in an environment against a live, resisting opponent. Sometimes this means sparring and sometimes competition. To prepare for these events, we make use of specially designed martial arts training equipment while we condition ourselves against objects we can punch, kick, elbow, knee or grapple with. This equipment sometimes takes the form of bags, pads or dummies, but for sparring and competition, we use safety equipment.
Yes, martial arts is violent; but does it have to be dangerous? Training and conditioning, at least, does not and should not be dangerous to the person trying to build or hone his/her skills. We should train in the safest manner possible, but still get the real experience of resistance, practical application and responses to the methodology of whatever style we choose,
This is where safety equipment comes in. There are times when we want to punch a device as hard as we can for conditioning or to spar full contact with a training partner. Gloves, headgear, chest protection and many others are available that will protect us from accidental scrapes, protect our bones and joints or save our sparring partners any unnecessary discomforts from our martial efforts.
I practice different levels of sparring and I didn’t want to need to change equipment every time I went from striking to grappling or from the bags to sparring. I chose equipment that would follow me throughout my training day.
Gloves and Footwear
In martial arts, hands, feet, elbows, knees and chins all become weapons. When training with a live partner or someone with less experience, we want to make sure we – and our training partner get good quality training and minimize the risk to ourselves and our partner.
I prefer the “Fits T4 Half Mitts” to cover my hands. There is padding in all the strategic places, I can move my hands freely for grabs and the built-in wrist wraps prevent any unnecessary torquing. The full-glove design keeps me from feeling that the gloves are going to shred off my hands and keeps my partner from accidentally snagging a finger in the open-palm design so many other gloves have.
For my feet, I want something that can last against some of the most rugged kicks in the business and undeniably, Tae Kwon Do produces some of the most powerful kicks to date. That’s why I use the “Kagogo Taekwondo Foot Protector“as my go-to. I get full-range motion of my ankle, the bottom strap conforms to my foot and there are side pads as well as the standard instep padding.
If I’m going full-contact, I use shin guards as well. My favorite are the “Century Armor Shin/Instep Guards“. They take the place of my foot protection and give the bonus of a one-piece foot and shin protection. They are also washable and not made of that cheap plastic some of the lesser quality guards are made of.
Nothing stops a training session faster than a broken rib or compressed sternum. All veteran martial artists will tell you that it really hurts. The “Muay Thai Chest Protector” by Wesing fits all my needs in that department. Not only does it have the standard shoulder straps, but it comes with a neck strap not normally found.
The central back strap keeps the chest protector firm on my shoulders as I move about. The rib and kidney protection is fastens by another strap that wraps around my body but doesn’t constrict breathing. What I like most is that I can put it on by myself. There are no fancy lacing or stretchy elastic straps. I simply thread the strap through the closures prior to putting it on and tighten them up once the chest guard is in place.
The head is the most important part of the body. It runs everything; from balance to movement. If the brain gets damaged due to too much trauma to the head, there could be some serious results. During sparring or competition, headgear is almost essential; unless you count UFC and professional cage fighters.
The “RDX Head Guard ” is a wonderful piece of equipment and does its job nicely. For light to medium contact, the helmet provides sufficient protection against accidental or intentional contact to the forehead, sides and even a little in the back of the head. The padded ear holes allow for hearing while protecting the ears.
I especially like the back-of-the-head fastening system that makes for quick donning and removal. Honestly, the shorter time I have to have something encasing my head, the better. The helmet comes with a removable, padded face guard that is perfect for full contact events. The padding also keeps my opponent from damaging his/her hands as he/she goes about using his/her skills. Overall, it’s a great piece of equipment.
Mouth Guards and Groin Protection
Protect Yourself at All Times
From boxing to cage fighting, this is a statement EVERY referee admonishes the participants of sparring or competition fighting with. The first step to that is wearing protective equipment. Having good quality safety equipment is essential and pricing should not be a factor. Your safety is priceless.
At the same time, you don’t have to look like a walking, multi-colored marshmallow – like I do – either. There are matched sets offered by Venum that are both stylish and effective. So, if you need that matched look, that’s the way to go.
Either way, protect yourself AT ALL TIMES. You are valuable and irreplaceable. Make sure you stick around for a bit longer.
For full disclosure, I mostly use Amazon to get my safety equipment. This is mostly because I am very frugal and I can get the best quality for my dollar. I also get compensation for purchases from this site and this goes towards administrative fees for building the site.
So, please protect yourself and at the same time help us continue providing training and equipment information. If you want to add something or have a question, there is a link in the left column for you to do so.