For those who take a weekly Jiu-Jitsu class or perhaps a kickboxing class, no special gear is needed. Your regular gym clothes will be fine. However, if you are focused on becoming a professional MMA fighter or want to engage in hard core mixed martial arts training, then you do need to invest in some special MMA gear. This doesn’t mean that you need expensive designer clothes and designer gear; you don’t have to break the bank to get started with some basic MMA equipment.
When it comes to money, the greatest investment you will make is probably going to be your choice of gyms. Choose a fitness center that specializes in serious MMA training with professional instructors who are experts in their style of fighting. Some gyms charge a flat fee and then you have to pay for extra classes, but a good MMA gym will charge a monthly due that includes all of your training, from strength training to Muay Thai.
While you can certainly use gym shorts and a t-shirt, purchasing some fighting shorts and a rash guard or two is a good idea. They don’t have to be high-end designer gear, they just need to fit well, be comfortable and be durable. The rash guard is somewhat preferable to a t-shirt, as it won’t end up soaked in your sweat and will repel the sweat of your opponents. T-shirts also can be torn easily, where a rash guard, which sticks close to the body, is a bit sturdier. For the shorts, choose fight shorts with side slits, which will make kicking and movement in general much easier.
Protecting your hands is important and you will need to invest in a good quality pair of MMA gloves, as well as boxing gloves. Boxing gloves are essential both for bag work, as well as when sparring with an opponent. Mixed martial arts gloves protect the hands yet allow enough movement for grappling with an opponent. You can select a pair with or without a thumb coverage, but having your thumb free can make bouts much easier. With all of the gloves, look for strong stitching that will hold together throughout bag work, sparring and grappling.
Shin guards are another important piece of protective equipment, and MMA pads are probably what you will need unless you plan to focus a great deal of your training on Muay Thai. For this martial art, there are special pads that protect the knees, shins, ankles and even the instep. It is probably best to start with the MMA pads and add the Muay Thai gear as you become more experienced. Your gym instructors can also offer advice as to what type of protective gear you need to purchase.
Once you are well trained enough to really spar against opponents, you will need a mouth guard and probably some headgear, as well. The headgear offers you the opportunity to be more aggressive in the ring with less risk of injury. For the mouthpiece, you can purchase these for about $5 or perhaps less and a single mouth guard is generally preferably to the bulky double mouth guards.
Another piece of equipment that you will need is a gym bag. Just choose a durable bag that can hold your clothes, pads, head gear and other important items. It should be roomy enough to carry everything, but this definitely doesn’t have to be overly expensive.