Running a Combat Sports Store is an interesting occupation for a guy who's spent over half his life involved in the sports that Fightstorepro caters from. Recently after releasing some of what are becoming a hugely popular video series of comparative reviews I have had a lot of people from all over the world contacting me directly about what equipment is right for them.
Its notable that several of the same issues continue to arise in the comments and questions I get asked so I thought it might be useful to put this together in a little Video and article which maybe goes over the 3 most common things people ask or need to know when they are early in their combat sports/martial arts journey.
My son/Daughter/boyfriend/husband/wife etc is starting "Boxing/Kickboxing"....What Equipment should I buy for them? - Firstly make sure you know EXACTLY what sport they are doing and if it has a sub style (For example Kickboxing could be one of many formats) this will give you a much better chance of buying the right thing. Try to get a list of the equipment the club commonly uses from the club they are going to or thinking of joining but failing that maybe get the name of the club and where it is. At Fightstorepro we commonly assist customers by looking at the options available and assessing their immediate needs however to do this we need some basic information, its easy enough to take a quick look at the prospective clubs Facebook or Website and from that we can see straight away what gear they are using and can assist. Its better not to be too brand centric as often instructors will say buy "brand x" simply because they know it is okay however there will almost certainly be other options as good or better. Its WHAT it is and how it is used that's most important.
I Bought some gear (often Gloves) cheaply on Ebay/Amazon and they fell apart after a few sessions how can I avoid that again? This is really common! The old adage buy cheap buy twice can often turn into buy cheap buy multiple times and risk injury in Combat Sports so its really important to invest in decent gear and do it from the outset. The idea that its okay to use seriously substandard equipment in a tough sport which involves contact is actually not just incorrect but potentially dangerous. Many other sports where the risks are more obvious such as BMX, Skiing, Motor cross or diving would involve buying very expensive equipment some of which is designed to protect the participant from the outset, Combat sports are cheap to equip yourself well but using sub standard equipment is not wise!
I've been using these gloves for a few weeks and now my hands/wrists are hurting how can I stop this? Although some of what I've said in point 2 could be relevant to this question its not the whole story! If I use an analogy with Shoes here I can illustrate the point perfectly.....Everyone knows when you buy shoes that although you could potentially buy very expensive footwear that if they are not right for your feet then you will have pain. The constant impact made on your feet walking around, climbing stairs, jumping on the train etc plus the rubbing in the space in between will mean that if you get the shape or fit wrong it will mean a whole load of pain, blisters, soreness etc. Gloves are EXACTLY the same. Now we are an online company so saying if at all possible you should try on multiple sets might seem backwards but that is the first advice I can give. Try pairs on at the gym, note the brand and the model even if you don't use that exact one if you tell us what you tried and how it felt we can probably find the right one for you with that information. Make sure you are wrapping your hands correctly and don't use cheap inner wraps or cheaply made handwraps as they will quickly cause problems. Bare in mind there will be a breaking in period for some equipment especially gloves (Both boxing and MMA), shin guards and some head guards too. Using a professional store like ours and asking our opinion with some basic info from you such as height, weight and approximate sizing will help but nothing beats trying it out!
The Last thing I will add is about reviews especially online reviews but I could probably include magazine reviews in this equation too to a lesser degree. I've been involved in the Combat Sports industry for around 15 years (Training a lot longer) and in that time have been involved in magazines, websites, manufacture, brands and of course my own company Fightstorepro. I can tell you reviews are often written and nowadays videoed quite regularly by people with absolutely no qualification to make the assertions they do; Worse reviews are very regularly little more than paid for adverts from a different angle (often the brand pays for direct advertising but gets editorial support from the publication or website) There are some good independent reviews out there though however picking through them can be difficult especially for the novice.
I will say Fightstore reviews are biased! However biased towards quality, we only stock gear we think is good so its rare we will negatively review a product we stock as we generally chose products for the site we think offer something good however there is the odd exception where the product is maybe not of a standard of another but needs to be there for the range. There are good products out there we don't stock for example Winning and Grant Boxing gloves are both excellent but we have no space for them on our site or maybe Atama BJJ Kimono's which have always been excellent but don't offer our customers anything Fuji Sports do not therefore we favour Fuji.
I usually refer to the sports we cater for as "COMBAT SPORTS"
as opposed to Martial Arts,
Mainly down to the sports or competitive angle of the main sports we cater for in BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts however the advice is pretty much the same whether you consider what you do a Combat sport or a Martial Art and to a large degree they are interchangeable for the purposes of what we are talking about.