In order to look the part, enhance your martial arts training sessions and broaden your techniques, some form of martial arts gear will ultimately be required particularly if you intend on joining a martial arts club. Although you can practice the martial arts in any type of clothing, even your pajamas, this article looks at getting involved in a club and the identity that comes along with that.
One of the first things required in martial arts is usually clothing of some sort. Historically, martial arts uniforms are worn which comprise of a two-piece suit set consisting of long pants and a long sleeved top. This is a traditional type of uniform known in the martial arts world. There are numerous designs, colors and styles in this traditional type of uniform but broadly they are either made from either a strong canvas type of material or lightweight cotton and/or polyester fabric material.
The strong canvas uniforms are typically used in martial art forms which involve lots of holding, throwing and grappling like Judo and jiu jitsu. The suits need to be strong since the opponent at times is being lifted by the fabric of the uniform only. The lightweight cotton and/or polyester fabric uniforms are more accustomed to being used in forms of martial arts which execute more jumps and spinning movements like kick boxing or kung fu. However, this is a very general statement and there are lots of exceptions to this rule.
More recently, and especially with the increasing popularity of mixed martial arts, a new style of martial arts uniform has come on to the scene. The new dress code which has filtered in is the shorts and t-shirt. However, not just any type of shorts and t-shirt. First, the shorts and t-shirt have a certain design and color. Secondly, the clothes are made with a type of cut and style intended to compliment and flatter the fighter’s physique. Thirdly, and in sync with modern times, the clothing is branded. Nowadays, everyone is looking for an opportunity to market their wares, so what better place to show your name or brand than on the backside of an actual fighter. Both the shorts and t-shirts are emblazoned with some form of label promoting any number of things from energy drinks to automobiles and even the name of the designer of the clothes. It’s almost like a celebrity cat fight.
Another form of martial arts gear are the belts. The belts are indicators of how far you have graduated through the art and at what standing you hold. Belts are typically graded from white being the lowest or entry level or beginner and the black belt being an upper level where you are no longer considered a beginner and are able to obtain license as a teacher. Depending on which style of martial arts you practice, will depend on the actual color gradation of belts, however most gradations are fairly similar in format.
For example, using the Karate grading syllabus the belts start at white, then yellow, then orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown and then black. However, even within this syllabus, there are variations. Some schools introduce a tag to the belt which usually means a time record of how long you have practiced the art at this belt gradation. Securing the next level or color is done by grading which involves a kata or set of choreographed moves and more often than not a sparring session with a fellow martial artist. Beyond black belts is where you start heading for mastership. The black belt levels are called Dan which loosely translates as steps and can go from 1st Dan all the way up to 10th Dan.
Once you are dressed, practiced and graded you may want to start practicing the power and accuracy of the moves you have learnt, so you may want to try out some martial arts equipment. The piece of equipment which will allow you to practice the widest range of moves is the punch bag. The punch bag is an excellent piece of equipment to practice all types of punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes, jump moves, spinning moves and even head strikes. The traditional type of punch bag is the hanging bag and is great for a general workout especially if you are just trying to improve on your power and technique. Because this type of bag is hanging it swings when the force is applied which provides you with an indication of how hard you are striking.
More modern types of punch bags are the figurine type also known as the Bob punch bag. This type of punch bag is great for when you are honing your accuracy. Because the Bob punch bag has bodily features, you can focus your strikes directly at the part of the body you want, like the nose, throat, jaw, temple or solar plexus.
There are lots of other types of martial arts gear like martial art shoes, punch focus mitts, stretching machines, and sparring equipment which all play a role in learning martial arts, however, in order to just get started a uniform and belt are all that’s needed.