There are different types of gloves and each have their own time and place both in the ring or the mat. You usually need 2 or 3 pairs of gloves but this depends on your gym so it is best to ask before you actually purchase.
Competition Gloves aka "Fight Gloves"
These are probably the lightest gloves on the market weighing in at 4oz and are most commonly used in competition. These are recommended for reason stated above and if ever you need to use these to spar, are very careful as they offer the least protection for both your hand and your sparring partner's face.
The standard weight for these are 16oz, which basically look like boxing gloves offering the best amount of protection to both you and your sparring partners. They cover the whole hand as well as the thumb and come in 2 variations: velcro-strap or lace-up. Since you tend to be on-the-go during sparring, I would suggest that you avail of the former, as it is easier to put on and take off with your hand(s).
There has also been an emergence of a new type of sparring glove that has an open palm and finger design which allows you to simulate an actual MMA bout, seeing they're more viable for grappling but offering the equal amount of protection as your regular sparring glove.
They function as they're named; you use these gloves for the heavy bag and/or mitts. A lot of people tend to use their sparring gloves for bag work but there is an argument that with repeated use an abuse of sparring gloves on the bag, it makes the foam and padding more compact therefore making it a bit unsafe for actual sparring. Again, ask your gym to clear this up.
Shorts are a touchy subject seeing as there are different brands with their each style, cut and material that they use. Do your research on this website for the reviews on shorts and see what would be the best fit for you in terms of feel, sizing and design.
In general though, all MMA shorts have a couple of things in common. First of all, THEY'RE DESIGNED FOR THIS SPORT. Do your old gym shorts wick away sweat and moisture? Are they cut to increase your mobility for grappling? Do they have split seams making your striking in terms of knees and kicks more effective? Are you a fan of getting your hands caught in pockets or a baggy pair of shorts while grappling? If you answered "no" to at least one of these questions, then that should be enough reason to invest in a pair.
Purchasing shorts also support your favourite fighters and the companies that sponsor them so do what you can to make our sport grow.
Investing in a mouthguard is way cheaper than paying your dentist/orthodontist a visit to replace your pearly whites. Not to mention, it can help reduce the chance of concussion and it keeps you from your biting your tongue and getting teeth through your gums even for grappling when you get the occasional head or elbow to the chin.
Some people may argue that they don't wear a gumshield during grappling but like most things, it comes down to personal preference. All I know is I wouldn't be caught doing striking without one on. Also if you're planning to compete sooner or later, it'll be better to get used to breathing with a mouthguard in.
Most of the time, all you need is the basic Boil and Bite. Shock Doctor is a notable brand for these. If you want to take it to the next level in terms of customization and personilsation (in terms of it actually being YOURS) you can opt to purchase a custom mouth guard which take a mold of your own teeth and make a mouth guard from there. Users of this type of mouth guard claim that they can breath better talk and even drink while they have it on.
There are also mouthguards especially made for those who have braces and other orthodontic equipment.
I don't know about you but I would want to protect my future kin and I'm personally not a fan of my balls getting crushed when grappling, or especially getting kicked in the nuts. I'm a big fan of safety and in a sport where injuries are inevitable; I'd like to protect myself as much as I can. (especially within this region)
There are various types of groin guards ranging from the traditional make, the ones with jock straps and ones fitted in with compression shorts. The traditional make may be the cheapest on the market though they tend to be uncomfortable and limit movement and mobility - and these are the main reasons why people argue not using them whilst rolling. I personally use the cup and compression shorts combo and I have little to no problems rolling in one of them. Heck, I even forget that I've got a cup on sometimes.
These are to protect your hands/wrists from getting fractured or broken so it is recommended that you always wrap your hands. There are varying types of hand wraps, which range from cotton, Mexican-style (which are more stretchy), gel wraps (which offer good hand protection but I wouldn't rely on these for wrist protection) and whatnot. At the end of the day, a punch is a punch and they all have the potential for injury.
These are fairly cheap so find out which one is best for you but you can usually use standard 180″ pads but some argue that these feel too tight when using MMA gloves so some use 108″ or 120″, again depending on personal preference.
This piece of equipment has various purposes, namely wicking away sweat, keeping your body temperature at just the right level, protecting you from bacteria or diseases that may be on the mat - considering that it is a breeding ground for it with all the sweat and whatever people in your gym may bring in and for avoiding mat burns. Also, it is harder to grip on someone wearing a rash guard rather than someone with a sweaty T-shirt.
The cheaper, surfer rashguards do the trick but you would want to buy one that is made and suited for grappling/MMA since they are reinforced in places that they need to be. Keep in mind that surfers use rash guards to stay warm while we use them to remain relatively cool.
There are 2 types of shin guards - one especially made for Muay Thai/Kickboxing and the other, which is sort of a hybrid between Muay Thai and grappling.
Shin guards protect both your shins and your in-step. For heavy-kicking or "hard sparring", I would suggest looking onto the former as it also provides more padding on the sides of your lower leg. Not to mention, it also protects your sparring partner more to an extent.
Ankle Supports and Knee Pads
Ankle supports help prevent rolling your ankle and provide additional protection on your in-step and keeps the joint warm. We all know sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries in any sport and this helps especially if you're susceptible to damage around this region. Products also worth mentioning are the new types of ankle support made out of thicker neoprene compared to traditional Muay Thai anklets made by Hayabusa and Grapple Socks - however these do not go as high up as traditional mats but they do however provide additional grip and traction to the mat. (These have foot grips as well).
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Before I get to the lack of mention of the mma shirt, there are much more pressing matters.
The groin guard, or cup, or whatever you want to call it is tremendously important and has saved my life on multiple occasions. I personally, use the nutty buddy after I saw a youtube video of the ceo/guy taking a 90 mph fastball to the nuts. That was convincing enough. I will say it takes very good shots, when they come straight at the target area, but no cup bodes well for the upper motion of front leg low kicks - or knees that come straight up.
Mouthguards are also incredibly important. I have seen many a tooth knocked out during regular sessions.
Alright - back to the important stuff - im talkin' mma shirts. How is it that most authors will cover the basics, but never provide the spirit showing stuff of mma shirts. Geez. Blue in the face.
Most mma schools will also have their own mma shirts, which are really cool and support your school and possibly any mma fighters your school might have.
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