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Interested in Martial Arts? You’ll Need Gear

Interested in Martial Arts? You’ll Need Gear

Whether you are interested in martial arts as a form of fitness, a method of self defense, or a combat sport, the most popular styles require participants to invest in key pieces of gear. However, the equipment you purchase for one style might not meet the needs of the other, and some require a much higher financial investment when it comes to getting everything you need.

If cost is a factor in your decision regarding which martial art to choose, it is important to review the gear requirements before you commit to classes. To help you decide which option may be right for you, here is a basic overview of the commonly required equipment for some of the most popular forms of martial arts.

Karate and Taekwondo

Karate and Taekwondo rely heavily on traditional strikes, such as punches, kicks, elbows, and a range of open hand techniques. However, the exact techniques and motivations behind each art vary.

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While being separate martial arts, both Karate and Taekwondo have similar requirements when it comes to gear. Typically, each requires students to invest in uniforms, called gis. The gi is designed to allow the student to move freely, and are made of durable fabrics for longevity. They also help to increase discipline in classrooms as appearance standards for class participation are often fairly strict. Additionally, they keep participants on level ground as far as appearance.

Since practicing many of the skills require contact with punching bags, training dummies, and other class members, varying amounts of padding are also required. Traditionally, this includes protection for the hands, feet, chest, and head. However, the precise pieces needed may vary slightly by school.

Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo                             

Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo are focused more on grappling than strikes. Often, these martial arts feature a wide range of throws and submissions designed to prevent injury to yourself while allowing for control of the opponent.

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Just as Karate and Taekwondo are different, these three martial arts also have differing techniques and priorities. However, gear requirements are similar. Generally, students can participate in these martial arts as long as they have suitable gis.

Gis designed for these martial arts often have a different construction than those used by striking arts, as they need to hold up to being grabbed and pulled on a regular basis. So, a gi designed for Taekwondo may not last long in an Aikido class.

Wrestling

Wrestling is another martial art that requires limited gear. Instead of gis, wrestlers wear singlets, a variant of a unitard that helps prevent friction-related injuries due to skin to skin contact. Additionally, head gear is worn to protect the ears during matches and practices.

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Unlike many other martial arts, wrestling is commonly practiced in high schools as a competitive sport. When that is the case, the school may provide access to the needed equipment, eliminating the need to invest on your own.

Boxing and MMA

Boxing and MMA are striking arts, but the classes lack some of the formality of traditional martial arts. General attire for classes just needs to provide suitable movement. Often, just a suitable pair of shorts can meet the requirements, though participants may be able to wear other items during practice.

One of the biggest gear requirements for both boxing and MMA is the proper gloves. Boxing gloves are highly padded. This helps ensure participants can practice for suitable lengths of time with limited risk of injury, as the only attack in boxing are punches.

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MMA allows strikes and grappling, so the gloves designed for this sport are different than those in other martial arts. MMA Gloves allow the fingers to be exposed so that participants can successfully grapple. However, the knuckles are covered to help protect both the person doing to the striking and the person being hit.

Other padding may also be required, such as head protection, for the purposes of practicing against other students are instructors.

Contact Schools for More Information

Each school or gym may have slightly varied requirements. If the cost associated with gear is a concern, feel free to ask questions before signing up for any classes.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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