Muay Thai Equipment List
Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is a martial art and the national sport of Thailand, where it was founded several hundreds of years ago. Muay Thai is a close-combat sport like boxing, except in Muay Thai the athlete uses their entire body, not just the hands, as a weapon. It has been described as the "the art of eight limbs" because the Muay Thai fighter uses both of their fists, elbows, knees, and feet.
Muay Thai Equipment
To practice Muay Thai properly will take many, many hours of training. The participant will need the proper equipment to participate in Muay Thai training. This equipment includes proper clothing, protective gear and training equipment. The clothing should be comfortable and moisture wicking. Protective gear is needed to protect the participant from injury during training and also to protect the fighter's more vulnerable areas during competition.
One precaution to prevent injury that the great majority of Muay Thai fighters take is to protect their ankles with ankle guards, also known as ankle supports. These ankle guards are not mandatory in Muay Thai but are considered essential by most fighters to help prevent sprains and ankle rolls. While not guaranteed to prevent injuries, the ankle guards can help lower the occurrence of ankle issues. The guards are usually made from a cotton/polyester blend and are quite stretchable. The cost of a pair of ankle guards is between $15 and $30.
It is important for the participant to own a bag that holds all the gear needed for Muay Thai training. Quality bags can be purchased for prices around $65, with high-end bags costing over $100. These gym bags are priced according to size, fabric and detailed features. When choosing a training bag, it is important to choose one large enough to hold all the necessary gear but not too bulky to carry without difficulty.
Training bags are available with useful features like waterproof material, breathable fabric and different compartments to separate the used and sweaty gear from the clean and dry gear. The majority of bags available are made from a nylon weave or polyester mesh which allow for breathability.
The gloves are arguably the most important piece of equipment used by the Muay Thai participant. The hands are often the most used weapon in this combat sport, so it is important to provide some cushioning to protect the fighter's hands as well as the opponent from injury. Thai boxing gloves look quite similar to boxing gloves but there are a few subtle differences.
The most noticeable difference between Thai boxing and boxing gloves is the palm area. Because of the need to catch and hold kicks and grab during a clinch, the Thai boxing glove is designed with an open palm whereas the boxing glove is not. For the same reasons, the thumb of the Thai gloves is not attached to the knuckle padding as it is in boxing gloves. Having the thumb free from the rest of the glove allows the Thai fighter the much needed ability to grasp and hold. The other difference is in the padding on the outer side of the gloves. The boxers don't need much padding in that area because it doesn't come into play, but the Thai boxer needs the padding to block strikes from all angles.
Quality gloves can be purchased for $50 and the price can go well over $100 depending on brand and quality.
The groin guard is worn to protect the groin from injury. It is very important to wear this protective piece because the groin is a very sensitive area and at great risk of damage when hit with a hard strike. In Muay Thai, groin strikes are illegal, but there is always the risk of an accidental kick or knee finding that area and severely injuring the recipient without proper protection. Groin guards come in many different styles and materials, with some costing as little as $7, but the majority of Thai boxers opt for high quality composition pieces with a polycarbonate core or even steel. These models can cost anywhere from $30 to over $50, but the extra cost offers much greater protection.
To help prevent hand fractures caused by repetitive use of the hands, fighters use hand wraps. These wraps can be rolls of fabric expertly wrapped tightly around the hands and between each finger. The fighter could choose to use inner gloves that are made specifically to act the same way as the wraps. The hand wraps/inner gloves provide an extra layer of cushion as well as keeping the hands and wrists tightly formed to avoid any accidental movement. Both hand wraps and inner gloves are going to cost between $10-$20, a fairly inexpensive investment to provide much needed protection.
Thai boxing headgear fits over the head, like a football helmet, but is not as cumbersome or heavy and is softer to the touch. It is also usually made of real leather, though some models are made with synthetic leather. Muay Thai headgear can be purchased for about $35, with the highest quality models costing over $200.
There are a few factors to consider when selecting the proper headgear, the first is protection and weight. As a rule of thumb, the heavier pieces will provide the most protection. However, a piece that is too heavy can impede the fighter's ability to dodge and maneuver the head. Another factor to consider is coverage and visibility. Open faced headgear will provide completely unobstructed vision but may not protect as much of the face as desired. It is important to decide upon a comfortable compromise of the factors involved.
In order to protect the mouth area, the fighter must wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect the teeth, jaw, and gums from harm in combat sports like Thai boxing. Mouthguards are made from synthetic polymers like polyurethane or vinyl and vary in cost. Generic mouthguards can be purchased for around $15, but there are better fitting models available for more money. The boil and bite models, which are boiled to soften the polymer and moulded to the teeth by biting down, will provide a better fit for more money. To obtain a perfect fit, at greater cost, custom fit mouthguards are available and can be made professionally.
While an important weapon in Muay Thai competition, elbows are not used to strike very often in sparring. However, as a precaution, the Muay Thai participants may decide to protect these important joints for the safety of themself and the opponent. These pads are usually designed with a heavy knit elastic fabric and contain a light cushion around the elbow to provide some protection while not constricting movement. The cost of a pair of elbow pads is about $25 and are sold in sizes ranging from small to extra large.
Leg strikes are a common occurrence in the sport of Muay Thai. Therefore, it is mandatory in all gyms that sparring partners wear shin guards to protect each other. Shin guards are heavily padded and cover the entire shin as well as the top of the foot. Some shin guards are designed to cover the knee as well, for extra protection. Shin guards are usually manufactured from leather or synthetic leather. Quality leather shin guards can be purchased for around $50, with some models costing well over $100.
The Thai boxer will regularly be using their legs to kick and knee during training. The fighter must wear shorts with the proper fit that allow the flexibility to move without restriction. Thai boxers traditionally wear a certain style of shorts. This style is short, well above the knee, and made of satin, which makes them comfortable to wear for a long period of time. These shorts range in price, based on quality, design and brand, from about $30 to $125.