If you are looking to train MMA – for fun or to fight – then you will probably have noticed that there’s a lot of kit to buy. Shin guards, gloves, rashguards, gumshields, headgear – the list is endless.
Some of that kit is essential, and you would do well to focus on the basics. If you’re going to do striking then you will need gloves and shin guards, and you should look at thai branded ones (Sandee and Boon are good examples). If you are going to do grappling, consider Cliff Keen headgear to prevent cauliflower ear.
It’s wise to wear a gumshield for all sparring. Get a dentist fit one rather than a boil and bite. Yes, there are some boil and bite brands such as Opro that fit well, but dentist fit ones fit even better and offer superior protection.
What about more esoteric training accessories?
Well, a good grappling dummy can actually do a lot for your training. They aren’t a substitute for a training partner, but they are useful. Something like the Fairtex Maddox II is a good dummy that has posable limbs, and is heavy enough that it feels like you are moving a person instead of a bag of stuffing.
Another good addition to your training regimen would be a set of punch trackers. Hysko Punch Trackers for boxing gloves allow you to keep track of the rate that you are punching at so you can get an idea of your speed and power. They’re a good ‘quantified self’ technology and that helps with motivation and with training efficiency.
The quantified self concept is not new – but it is something that is becoming more popular and more affordable. If you really want to know about your body and your performance, a fitness tracker is one of the new Must Haves. Look for one that comes with more than just a pedometer. A proper heart rate monitor, and galvanic skin response are two things that will make trackers more accurate for people who are doing more esoteric movements. The standard Fitbit and Jawbone devices are good for people who walk or jog, but grappling and striking are different, and place different demands on our bodies.
If you’re looking for a gift for a grappler, then consider a BJJ Training Diary – there are some great ones available these days from online stores like Best MMA Gear UK that make it easy to log your training, and that are nicely presented too.