We recently told you about three of the most basic pieces of equipment you’ll need when you’re in a Muay Thai gym: shorts, groin protection, and gloves. But it can go well beyond that. Here’s some more stuff that you probably won’t want to do without.
Shin Guards: What’s up with shins, anyway? Nearly every part of your body has more protection than your shins. Because they’re so vulnerable, you’ll want to save yourself a lot of pain by investing in a good pair of shin guards. (Make sure to try on quite a few before you find the right pair.) They also help protect your opponent when you’re doing some friendly sparring or when you’re being trained in our Muay Thai classes.
Headgear: While you might not be wearing headgear during a match, there’s really no reason to not wear it during sparring. Think of it this way: if you’re not wearing headgear at the beginning of class and you get a concussion, you’re going to the emergency room and everyone else is sticking around to learn more. Don’t get behind; grab something to protect your noggin.
Mouth Guard: Missing teeth look good at the end of a televised fight, but after that there’s months of dental problems and thousands of dollars in dental work. Protect those teeth and keep them from getting loosened with a custom-fit mouth guard.
Hand Wraps: Sometimes your equipment is your own worst enemy, and the more punishment you dish out, the more you’re actually hurting yourself. That’s where hand wraps come in. Hand wraps protect your knuckles from wearing against the inside of your boxing glove. If you’re not using hand wraps, every time you punch, you’re killing the skin on your knuckles. They also add another nice layer of shock absorption to your hands.
Hand wraps aren’t just for the hands, though.They also wrap around the wrist so that your wrist doesn’t move back and forth much. That gives you a stronger punch and can also prevent you from breaking your wrist during a fall.
Knee Pads: Knee pads are good for two reasons. First of all, they’re going to prevent you from getting mat burn (imagine a rug burn, but less hygienic!) There are going to be times during your Muay Thai class when you hit the mat and are very happy you’re wearing knee pads. Second, much like shin guards they’re going to make it a much more friendly fight when you’re sparring for class and not trying to obliterate each other. Now, when it comes to elbow pads…
Elbow Pads: Elbow pads are almost exclusively for the other guy. While it certainly hurts to get hit in the funny bone, protecting your elbow is about making sure the other guy doesn’t get hurt when you’re pummeling him with your elbow.
Bleach: This one you keep at home, but it’s a must. You’re going to be sweating a lot, and you’re going to be coming into contact with a lot of other people’s sweat. Your gloves are going to be collecting spit with every connected face jab. It’s important to keep your clothing and gear clean, and if you can’t wash it then you’ll need to use a bleach solution or commercially sold antibacterial sprays designed for martial arts.
There are hundreds of other items that you can buy for every martial art, most of which aren’t needed. But these are the most common you’ll find around a Muay Thai gym. Be sure to talk to your teachers to find out which are the absolute most important.