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Revolution Muay Thai: Necessary Gear
Getting started in Muay Thai kickboxing can be an intimidating prospect. After all, not only is it the national sport of Thailand, but MMA events like the UFC have brought Muay Thai to the center of the martial arts stage, as it is widely regarded as a necessary component for fighting. Fear not, though- if you've selected a gym with a good reputation for training people starting at the novice level, you are probably in very good hands. Still, it's nice to know what you're getting yourself into, both physically (it's a killer workout and will get you into shape!) and financially. Here's a quick checklist.
Here's the stuff you'll really need in order to get started, and a couple of items you'll probably want if you're somewhat serious about training. At Revolution BJJ in Richmond, we will start you out at level 1, which means you're going to get exactly what you need when you first start in terms of training. We also offer an equipment package, and I imagine that most reputable gyms will have a similar package when you're first getting started. Our gear package includes these items. I'll point you to where you need to go if you want to pick them up on the web.
For certain, you're going to need a pair of boxing gloves. Check with the specific gym you're going to start training at to be sure, but 16 ounce gloves are a great, safe bet. If you've been training for years, you might want Thai-boxing specific gloves, like Fairtex, but honestly, when you're first getting started, Everlast or just about any other brand will do.
Do you need hand wraps? I say no. I've trained Muay Thai a total of four years, but my real expertise in the matter comes as a gym owner, and I rely on the cumulative 50 years of Muay Thai experience our staff has at Revolution. Some folks prefer the extra support of hand wraps, but if you're newer, it's absolutely not necessary.
Muay Thai practice
Shin guards are designed to protect your shins from the extremely harsh impact of Muay Thai leg kicks. When you shield a kick (block), one of the main ways to do this is by raising up your knee, and if you've seen Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman (the rematch), you know full well that you have a very compelling reason to wear shin guards while training!
I'm recommending here very affordable, cloth shin guards. For one, you're likely on a budget, and not certain about how much you want to invest in this sport or art just yet. For another thing, machine washing your shin guards is an absolute must, unless you're going to disinfect them every single class. Tossing all-cloth shinguards into a washing machine is, by far, the easiest way to accomplish this. Wash your shin guards and do your part to help prevent the spread of infectious skin diseases!
Thai liniment (bonus section)
Muay Thai practitioners with sore muscles and joints, rejoice! Here's a simple and effective solution. Also, want to smell like a mAn? Like the Orgazmo theme song mAn? Like, "Now you're a mAn"? Also, do you train Muay Thai? You need this liniment.
You can feel like Jean Claude Van Damme in "Kickboxer", but actually know how to fight. You'll be looser once you start sweating, and you'll get that authentic Thai feel while you work up that authentic Thai aroma. Check how much harder your inside leg kick is (please practice with a heavy bag or under a trained professional only) after slathering this on your body.
If you're a real Nak Muay (and you know you are), why not smell the part?
Nothing makes you want to dance the wai kru like... actually, nothing has ever made me want to dance the wai kru. Anyway, we just had a Thai Boxing seminar at our gym for the first time, and I"m pretty stoked to have finally had the opportunity to have one. Our Muay Thai program is growing about as quickly as our jiu jitsu program nowadays.
In all seriousness, this liniment comes highly recommended by our Thai Boxing instructor, and it really does give an air of legitimacy to the proceedings when you're getting ready to train. It also really does loosen up your joints and muscles as your heart rate begins going up while you're jumping rope or hitting pads, and as your sweat starts to flow. Enjoy the art of 8 limbs with some authentic Muay Thai liniment, and happy training to you!
Mouth guard and groin protection
It's certainly a good idea to have a mouth guard and a cup (or, more broadly, groin protection) before starting Muay Thai, and most definitely if you're going to be doing any sort of sparring, even light sparring. It's far too easy to take an accidental (or on purpose) punch or kick to the face, or even to the groin (hopefully the latter is only ever accidental, but again, if you've watched the UFC, you know this happens even to seasoned professional fighters).
I am of the opinion here that you shouldn't start out by spending big bucks, once again, but instead should focus on practicality. A super cheap "boil and bite" mouth guard would be just fine to start with, and an athletic groin protector that you can machine wash (really, really, really an absolute must here, guys) is really all that's needed or recommended by yours truly.
As I type this, our Thai Boxing instructor is rubbing this liniment on his legs, before class.