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Updated on January 14, 2013

When ever I have a new student who really wants to get involved in MMA, there is a certain question that is bound to arise. "What do I need to buy?" So here is a basic list of equipment needs, and I have included a few more things you may want to buy down the line.

What to wear

Although it's not completely necessary to be fitted out in the nicest fight shorts and rash guard, it will however make for a more pleasant training experience.

Fight Shorts- I am sure you have seen them on T.V. They look just like regular board shorts, and for the most part they are. The differences you'll notice will be the closer, or how they tie up. Most fight shorts have dual loop/closer tie system to make sure they don't just come untied while you're training. These days most fight shorts have slits up the side to improve mobility.

Cost of fight shorts- $30-$70 U.S.

Rash Guard- This is pretty standard. You don't have to get fancy at all, what ever you like. Really though this is more of a fashion statement than anything else, you may just as well train in an old t-shirt.

Cost of Rashguard- $30- $60 U.S.

Training Gear

This is where most people get lost and end up buy lots of things they don't really need, or pay too much for something that could have bought cheaper else where. The main thing here is protection, you want to stay injury free and healthy so you can make it to training everyday and continue to learn and advance. You also want to make sure that what ever you buy is going to last you, remember this is a hard hitting sport and you need to make sure that your gear can stand up to the abuse you are going to put it through.

Mouth Guard- Almost any mouth guard will do, you can pick them up almost anywhere. I do recommend that you stay away from the "double mouth guards" these guards protect the top and bottom teeth. In reality though, there is too much plastic in the mouth, it keep the jaw from shutting all the way which when taking a blow to the cheek can actually make it worse for the person wearing it. So make sure it's moldable and it fits well, and really that's all that matters.

Cost of Mouthguard- $2-$25

MMA Gloves- With the popularity of the sport now, there are so many manufactures of MMA/Grappling gloves. The things to look for in a god glove is that it's not too stiff, and that it's stitched well. Your partners are going to be pulling at the glove and you don't want it to fall apart from having shotty seams. Also make sure the cowhide is thick and not too thin, and that the Velcro closer is thick so that a lil resistance wont peel it back. As far as style goes, I have found that the thumbless gloves deliver better performance. Having an attached thumb really does not provide any additional support, but in fact makes grappling with gloves on more difficult.

Cost of MMA gloves- $35-$80

Boxing Gloves- You will definitely need a good pair of boxing gloves. With the great variety out there on the market it's hard to know where to look at what to look for. For MMA purposes you'll need a good pair of gloves that you can use for bag work and sparring. Some people have specific gloves for each, usually lighter smaller gloves for the bag, and larger softer gloves for sparring. I use a pair of 12 ounce gloves for both, but a standard 16 ounce training glove will work well for any training situation. Again as far as craftsmanship goes, you want to look at the stitching and the quality of the cow hide. The shape of the glove should be very defined. The lining inside of the glove should be tightly stitched in and not loose. The padding should be an "injected foam molding" This form of padding is the best for your hands, and it will hold up the best over time. Make sure to stay from a a glove that has a very soft and lumpy feel to it, a glove like that is a good way to break your hand.

Cost of Boxing Gloves- $65-$120 U.S.

Shin Pads- There are two major types of shin pads out on the market right now. Standard Muay Thai shin pads. They are heavy duty and should cover from the bottom of the kneecap down past the shin bone and extend over the ankle to protect the instep as well. These type of Muay Thai shin pads very greatly from "pro style" with a slimmer and lighter design to wide design to maximizer coverage and protection, but these "traditional" styles are very bulky. There is also the MMA shin pad, which has become quite popular in recent years. This style shin pad allows for greater mobility, and is much less likely to slip around while training and is much more user friendly when training transitions from stand up to ground training. When using Muay Thai style shin pads there is a lot of movement of the pad forcing you to stop and readjust constantly. MMA shin pads offer much less protection and are made out of a thinner foam that extend out barely past the shin bone exposing the sides of your calves. They are usually constructed from a leather striking surface, while the sides are made from a thin neoprene sleeve that your leg slips through. The neoprene helps to restrict movement and ensures that the pad will stay on during grappling situations.

As Far as which kind to buy, I feel like if you only have the money to buy just one, the MMA style will do. As you intensify your training and start to kick harder you will want to spend the extra money and invest in a set of Muay Thai shin pads, this will help avoid nuisance injuries such as cracked foot bones and broken toes, or soft spots on the shins.

The cost of shin pads varies between brand and quality

Muay Thai shin pads $65-$85 U.S.

MMA shin pads $40-$60 U.S.

Headgear- An important piece of equipment that tends to get over looked is headgear. Although it's not every day that you're going to use it, but when you do, it's going to prove itself invaluable. It allows you to take the pace up a bit, actually a lot more. It will let you simulate an intensity otherwise you would only reserve for the ring or cage.

The fit is quite important, and every brand and style is going to fit very different. With that in mind try to find a few to put on first. There is no sense in buying one online and getting it in the mail just to find out that it really doesn't fit all that well. So put some on, see what fits well. By fitting well, that means it should be very snug, and not move when taking a hit from the side, or when grappling. Your vision should not be obstructed as well. Often with headgear, you are going to have to trade protection for comfort and visibility.

Cost of Headgear $55-$90 U.S.

The items listed above are going to be the every day use items, but just about every one is going to carry other items in their bags. Some of the other things it's good to have on hand are

-athletic tape

-first aid kit

-Jump rope

-defense soap or an antibacterial soap

- vaseline

-personal timer


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