Mixed martial arts is not for the faint of heart. The sports can be tough, and brutal at times. If you’re keen on training and potentially competing in these sports, you should be properly prepared. With the right equipment, you can minimize some of the wear and tear you will experience while training.
You’re probably eager to get in there and mix it up with your training partners, but not so fast. Let’s take a look at some of the MMA gear that will help most times, and completely save your butt at other times.
To become a competent mixed martial artist, you will want to focus on your striking game, grappling, and wrestling. Throughout your striking training, you will be hitting punching bags, focus mitts, and, eventually, your training partners/opponents. Purchasing and using MMA gloves for your training is non-negotiable; they are required in all officially sanctioned MMA bouts, and they should be used at all times during training.
MMA gloves focus more on protecting the fighter’s hands than they do their opponents. Quality MMA gloves are crafted with thick, dense padding that covers the top of the hand, the knuckles, and the fingers. The gloves allow for more freedom of motion than boxing gloves, allowing the fighter to grab a hold of opponents and grapple, in addition to attacking with strikes.
When choosing your MMA gloves, don’t forget to search for a pair with plenty of wrist support. As your skill level progresses, you will learn how to use your entire body and channel tremendous power into your hands and, eventually, your target. With a strong enough punch and no wrist support, reactive forces are capable of shattering your wrist or your forearms ... ouch! Play it safe. Choose quality MMA gear that keeps you off the injured list.
One of the most exciting aspects of watching mixed martial arts is the variety of attacks that are allowed ... and this is also the main reason why you never train without an athletic cup! Let’s take a look at some of the strikes allowed: inside leg kicks, roundhouse kicks, and knees. What do these strikes all have in common? They have the potential to wreck your groin area. Unless you like having your voice go up a couple of octaves, get used to wearing one.
Wearing a mouth guard during training is highly overlooked by some of the same practitioners who religiously wear a cup during training. But the fact of the matter is, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t think you need a mouth guard? Think again. A recent study determined that more than 5 million teeth are avulsed (or violently knocked off) each year during sports. These same 5 million teeth represent nearly $500 million dollars in dental care.
Some people have the notion that wearing a mouth guard will inhibit their cardiovascular performance. This is either untrue, or they are wearing an obstructive mouth guard. There are plenty of mouth guards designed with facilitating airflow, so be sure to grab the right one.
Last, but not least, your headgear is one of the most important pieces of MMA gear that you will purchase (though every piece of equipment I listed before this one is absolutely essential as well). Let’s face it. Everyone can look good and show off their skills while they’re beating up a punching bag. Things become different very quickly when you have an animated opponent in front of you.
Sparring is one of the most beneficial forms of stand up training in mixed martial arts. Professional fighters will spend the weeks that lead up to the fight sparring for at least an hour a day. Before sparring, though, it’s essential to get proper headgear. As competitors, we have the tendency to always want to win. We may agree to go “50%” with our sparring partner, but, when the going gets tough ... we tend to step things up a little bit.
Regardless of your level of intensity, you should wear headgear to protect your nose and eyes and lessen the chance of a concussion. Sparring is a great tool and the closest training you can receive to an MMA bout, but you have to wear the right MMA gear to do it safely.