Muay Thai gear – what you need to have for training


Once the decision to train Muay Thai and become Nak Muay (Muay Thai boxer) is made the next step is buying gear. When starting basket ball one does not wear a football jersey and when doing golf one does not bring baseball bats. Well, I might bring a bat to a golf game, but that is another story.

Below is a list of gear that I believe is essential for training in Muay Thai.  Having the right gear greatly increases the enjoyment and safety of participating in this sport.

Thai shorts – they are short, loose fitting, light weight, and dry quickly. Real Nak Muay wear them like a gym teacher in the 80s (that is very short for all the youngsters). The benefits of Thai shorts is that they do not restrict leg movement in kicks and knees. It is very difficult to wear normal gym shorts and do Muay Thai properly.
Muay Thai boxing gloves – 16oz gloves are a must have for training Muay Thai. Leather gloves that fasten “hook and loop” are a must. A decent set will cost $50-$100 depending on how nice they are. Anything less than $50 or so is probably garbage and should be avoided.
Hand Wraps – To protect the small bones in the hands from damage hands must be wrapped prior to hitting pads or the bag. 180 cm Mexican style hand wraps are my choice.
Jump Rope – All real Nak Muay own a jump rope. The one pictured is the best one to get. They are a no-frills rope that will help develop coordination, foot work, cardiovascular endurance, and arm strength.
Groin Protector – getting kicked in the groin hurts. Spend $15 and avoid the extra pain.
Mouth Guard– In Muay Thai people get hit in the face. Dental work is expensive and should be avoided if possible.
Shin Guards– For light contact drills and sparring shin guards are not necessary. When drills are hard(er) contact and for hard sparring shin guards are a must to avoid cuts and bone bruises. Shin guards should cover the top of the foot, instep, and entire shin.
Head Gear– The jury might be out on whether or not head gear prevents / reduces concussions however they do reduce cuts. They are mandatory in most amateur fights so you need to learn to work with one on. I prefer the “USA boxing approved” ones because they fit very well and do not move much. For even more protection there are ones with full face guards.
Ankle Suppoorts – Pad hitting, bag hitting, and no shin guard light contact drills are all made much more pleasant with ankle guards.
Naman Muay – the warming agent and recovery liniment that has been used by Nak Muay for years. It is great pre-workout and awesome for massage after. It is now readily available in the USA. It costs a little more than Tiger Balm but it is well worth the price difference.
  Antibacterial Soap – Staph, ring worm, and all kinds of other really nasty things await those with poor hygiene. Clean yourself after you train with a good antibacterial soap.

When to use the gear –

When I train I always wear my groin protection, Thai shorts, and ankle guards. I do not like wearing a shirt when practicing Muay Thai and most Nak Muay that I have trained with also do so sans shirt. Sparring with shirts, unless they are rash guard material, can be dangerous since feet can get tangled up in loose fabric. I wrap my hands before hitting anything hard and wear my gloves for almost all of my training. When doing clinch training without gloves it is good to remove hand wraps so that you do not scratch up your training partner. It is also good to keep your nails short for the same reason.

During light contact drills it is still a good idea to wear a mouth guard.  It is absolutely mandatory in anything above the lightest contact.  During medium to high contact drills head gear and shin guards are important to wear.

Always shower after training and wash with antibacterial soap. There is never an exception to this rule. If you do not shower at the gym do so at home after you leave. Small scratches and cuts are breading grounds for staph and other nasties and a MRSA infection can keep you off the mat for a month.

Posted in Martial Arts