Essential MMA Gear: MMA Starter Pack

Essential MMA Gear: MMA Starter Pack

Today we’re going to go over every piece of MMA gear you’ll need when you’re getting started with your MMA training.

Mixed Martial Arts is a combat sport that is rapidly being adopted into mainstream entertainment around the world. Gaining higher levels of popularity has drawn many people toward this fighter-style of training.

Like most new ventures, starting out is the most challenging part of MMA with numerous roadblocks along the way.

Here we have a guide to getting started in the world of mixed martial arts to help you avoid the common pitfalls when starting off.

Please note, everybody starts as a beginner, like a baby learning to walk, we cannot achieve success without first crawling.

Every mixed martial artist starts out as a white belt. Do not be dissuaded by your lack of initial ability to inflict damage on your opponents.

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The first few weeks of any martial arts training are tough. Even if you are athletic and have excelled at other sports in the past, martial arts will challenge your body and mind in new ways.

There’s a certain type of toughness that is difficult to attain in the gym. Only by practicing your martial arts will you develop the specific skills needed to perform as a trained fighter.

To get through the first week, focus on building friendships with your classmates. Just like you, they are there to learn; respect everybody you meet in the field of martial arts because you never know who is an undercover badass and who is just blowing smoke.

Train hard but avoid overdoing it during this time. Your joints, tendons, and ligaments are adjusting to the new stresses, starting out three times a week is sufficient.

Work hard but don’t try to defeat everyone on the first day. This is the fastest way to not make friends; be humble and lose the ego.

Be prepared to get your butt kicked over and over again during sparring; you will simultaneously improve and slowly gain the respect of your training partners.

If you are ready for sparring, communicate with your training partner about specific techniques or practices they would like to work on during a sparring session.

Doing so will help initiate a skill building exercise rather than a competition. Ultimately, your goal should be to learn as much as possible.

The temptation to show off strength, speed or flexibility will be arise, but it is far better to build your humility and focus.


Do Not Get Caught Up In The Promotions:

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For many novice martial artists the first promotion in rank may be a highly anticipated event. The importance placed on this acknowledgment of skill is disproportionate to the actual value of attaining a belt stripe or full belt promotion.

In Jiu-jitsu, it is especially common to see beginners struggle with lack of promotion. Witnessing the promotion of classmates that you may perceive as possessing varying skill levels can trigger a mixture of envy and frustration which can manifest into resentment.

Try to avoid falling into this trap as this should not be the goal of your training; promotions will come whenever they come. Focus on improving yourself as much as possible and bettering yourself from the day before.

This applies to all martial arts; while getting a belt promotion is a positive acknowledgment from your instructor, the opinion that holds more value is your own.

If your training partner gets promoted before you, be proud. You helped each-other achieve betterment and this ultimately benefits the both of you.

Never let jealousy or envy cloud your vision. Press forward and do not dwell on the journey of others.

Your only goal should be to constantly improve.


Watch Out For The Gimmicks:

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There are several MMA gear companies seeking to take advantage of beginners by selling gimmicky equipment with no real value. Beware of offers for unnecessary pieces of MMA gear, supplements and training guides.

The marketing agencies that work for these less than reputable companies know the exact formula to catch your attention and convince you that an item is of value.

Do your homework and don’t trust the opinions of people trying to sell you anything.

If someone says that a particular piece of MMA gear will improve your Muay Thai skills, ask if you can test it out during a trial period.

If someone says that a new supplement will give you magical powers then ask if there was a double blinded placebo controlled study proving the efficacy of the product.

I strongly encourage you to stay vigilant when purchasing your first pieces of MMA gear i.e. gloves, shin guards, or a Jiu-Jitsu gi.  

Always shop around to find the best prices on a piece of gear, many places will jack up the prices simply knowing that most beginners are unaware of equipment cost.

When searching for your MMA gear, do research, trust your instincts, and seek out advice from those with more experience.


So What MMA Gear Should You Get?

For someone just starting out in MMA there are a few pieces of essential MMA gear that you must have in order to train in the various martial arts.

First, decide which elements of martial arts you want to train most.

A complete beginner will do well starting with just jiu-jitsu. The striking arts, while easier for initial success, are more dangerous and can lead to far more acute injuries than jiu-jitsu.

That being said, many beginners pursue multiple martial arts from the start as it is the new trend in this comprehensive sport; i.e. Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, wrestling, karate and others.


MMA Gear Tip #1: Gloves

One of the first pieces of MMA gear you’re going to want to pick up is some kickboxing gloves. A sturdy pair of kickboxing gloves is essential training gear for an MMA fighter.

This piece of equipment will protect the small bones in your hands and wrist as your technique improves and you become a stronger striker.

In addition, during your search for your MMA gear, avoid purchasing off-brand or “toy” equipment designed for children. The following are three types of gloves that we recommend:

Standard Kickboxing Gloves:

This should be your first option as these gloves are the most versatile and will allow you to train kickboxing, Muay Thai and traditional boxing.

Anthem Athletics Stormbringer gloves are the perfect example of this type of glove. They are comfortable with evenly distributed padding for blocking and parrying strikes.

There is excellent wrist support to prevent your wrist from buckling under the pressure of a power punch.

Muay Thai Kickboxing Gloves:

The Ringside Apex gloves are more flexible and thinner, with less padding on the knuckles and more padding on the sides than standard kickboxing gloves.

This is common for Muay Thai gloves and Ringside makes a great and affordable pair. These gloves would be ideal for someone who is interested in training specifically Muay Thai as their striking art.

MMA Style Gloves:

It is best to hold off on purchasing MMA style gloves; you will most likely not spar MMA until your training in MMA’s constituent martial arts has progressed considerably.

That being said, I bought a pair of UFC style gloves the very first day I signed up for Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu classes because I thought they were awesome and I wanted to try them out with my friends.

Turns out they are awesome, and it is a ton of fun using them from light sparring and even rolling Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with no-gi. If you’re tight on budget, they should definitely not be your first purchase, but they are definitely worth picking up once you start your MMA sparring.

For a more detailed guide to the best kickboxing gloves, check out this article.


MMA Gear Tip #2: Jiu Jitsu Gi

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Jiu-Jitsu is well-established as the operative grappling art at the highest levels of MMA competition.

Most Jiu-Jitsu academies require athletes to wear a gi during all beginner classes and newcomers to the sport are advised to focus on Jiu-Jitsu in the gi for the first two months.

This makes the gi an essential element to the MMA training starter pack; make sure you go with a quality fabric that will last.

The Sanabul Highlights Professional Competition BJJ Jiu Jitsu Gi is IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) approved with one of the highest ratings in the marketplace.  


MMA Gear Tip #3: Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is technically optional during Jiu-Jitsu and mandatory with any striking sports.

However, I would recommend wearing a mouth guard during all martial arts training to protect your teeth from getting knocked out and to hone your breathing skills while wearing it.

When selecting a mouth guard make sure that you consult your dentist if you wear braces or have any dental issues, but otherwise you can pick up a standard boil-and-mold style mouth guard.

The two I would recommend are the Venum Challenger and the Shockdoctor Pro.

I have personally used both and can assure you that they are worth the investment. 

With a better outlook, you can better prepare yourself for the peaks and valleys of training MMA. Do not be dissuaded by slow progress, and do not fall prey to gimmicks promising instant strength, speed, or size.

MMA encompasses age-old arts of self-defense, respect its practice and be humble with the time and attention it deserves.

Train hard, believe in yourself, and stick with it.

Ten years down the road, you will be pleased with your growth along this journey.