You hope you never have to fight but, if you do, you want to be prepared. The first step is being prepared for your first MMA class. That can be a little tricky because the exact gear you’ll need will depend on your instructor. Still, there are some general rules and guidelines to follow, and for the most part it’s hard to screw up.
For your first lesson, you should be prepared to bring yourself and the appropriate clothing. You don’t need to go out and buy anything, if you don’t want to. Most instructors won’t make you purchase anything for the first few lessons. In terms of basic clothing, you’ll want to wear something that’s both sturdy yet no too revealing.
For men, this is probably going to be a rugged t-shirt and sweatpants or something that’s somewhat loose. Do not wear jeans or anything with brass buttons, metal clips, or anything that could catch or snag on someone else (or even yourself). For women, you’ll want to wear a sport’s bra and somewhat baggy clothing (but not too baggy). You should be comfortable.
In terms of protective gear, men might want to wear a groin protector.
Mouthpieces are an essential part of safety gear. While you might not need this on your first lesson, it can’t hurt. Your instructor might want to teach you some basic sparring and pair you up with other new people (or a more advanced person who can help you). The mouthpiece is to prevent an accidental jab or knee from knocking your teeth out.
While you don’t absolutely have to have a gi, you’ll need one eventually. Gis are the formal clothing for MMA and all martial arts. They can be purchased from places like MMA Outlet or other online retailers. Typically, they’re constructed of high-quality, strong, cotton or some synthetic blend.
They’re made to take a beating. You’ll be grabbed, thrown, and you’ll be doing throws yourself, so this is eventually going to be a necessity. If you know you’re serious about sticking with the training, go out and buy one right away.
Like mouth guards, protective padding will become an essential piece of safety gear. The pads you wear on your legs, head, and arms will protect you from serious injury. Most places will be upfront with you about the need for pads.
Some places might discourage the use of pads – preferring “full contact.” These training centers are somewhat more dangerous because the risk of injury is higher. If you’re new to this sport, and you want to take it easy until you get the hang of it, stick with a facility that allows and encourages the use of protecting padding.
Once you get used to throwing, and being thrown, punched, kicked, and pushed, you’ll become more confident in your ability to “take it.” At some point, minimal gear will be worn for a sparring session. But, to start off, pads will keep you from getting seriously injured before you decide whether or not this is for you.
About the Author: Mike Ripberger is a veteran MMA instructor. He enjoys blogging about the basics to help people become interested and engaged.