Muay Thai, also called Thai kickboxing, is the national sport of Thailand and is practiced in other parts of South East Asia and now, as an Olympic sport it is practiced globally. Its history is in some instances debated, but it is said to have evolved as a result of conflicts and close-in combat with their neighbor Burma, going farther back than the 14th century. If you are on this page, you are looking for equipment need to start your Muay Thai training. This article will provide recommendations for equipment to get so you can start training.
Muay Thai Training
Well known today as a full-body contact sport, Muay Thai is considered an incredibly rough competition sport, while it is also steeped in strong traditions. The Mongkong, for example, is a traditional headpiece worn by Muay Thai fighters when entering the ring. It is also maintained by each gym, representative of their strength and spirit. Referred to as the Art of Eight Limbs, Muay Thai uses eight points of contact, the hands, shins, knees and elbows. Head-butting is no longer readily employed.
This paragrah only applies if you are thinking of competing professionally in the sport. But Muay Thai is perhaps the toughest and most challenging combat sport today, even more difficult, more brutal and more demanding than mixed martial arts (MMA). Some professional MMA fighters can reach their peak in their mid-to-late 30s. That’s unheard of in Muay Thai professional circuit.
Keep in mind that Muay Thai is not cardio kickboxing. Taking Muay Thai actually means you are learning how to fight, not just exercise. But unless you are planning to fight professionally, you don’t have to worry about your body breaking down like that of a professional Muay Thai fighter. If you are doing it as a hobby, you are going to get in excellent shape. But getting the required equipment listed below will prevent injuries so you can keep enjoying your hobby as long as you want.
Getting Started: Needed Muay Thai Equipment
All newcomers are welcomed to Muay Thai, no matter the challenges, personal qualities and traditions the sport demands. Instruction often begins with basic techniques in addition to routine warm-up, weight training and strengthening exercises. Working on the bag and pads are also forthcoming. It won’t be easy. You will be challenged to the n’th degree. Sparring will also come, soon enough. All newcomers will also need a certain amount of equipment. In fact, a lot of equipment is toted by each individual who trains. Given the rough and brutal nature of the sport, much equipment is needed for your protection and your opponent’s. This is true for the newcomer and those experienced in Muay Thai.
Traditional Muay Thai Shorts
The authentic and traditional Muay Thai shorts are hand-made in Thailand and come in beautiful patterns. They are 100 percent satin, and with proper care last a life time. Some folks use MMA shorts interchangeably but that will depend upon your gym’s requirements. Yokkao May Thai boxing shorts are available in various colors with gold patches. They are worn by many Muay Thai champions and are distinct in appearance and construction. Wearing the proper and traditional attire is a form of respect for the art, for your fellow fighters and for your instructors.
Yokkao Muay Thai Shorts
- Sizes S to 4L
- Normal or Retro Style
Starting at $32
14 to 16oz Boxing Gloves
The 16 ounce glove is excellent for the Muay Thai sport overall, and that includes sparring, pad work and drilling. The extra padding in this sized glove will meet the tough and aggressive sparring and physical demands required. The best way to choose a glove is to try it on and determine its fit and how it feels against the bag. The fingertips shouldn’t feel pressure. If there is, it is not a good fit. When clenching the fist, a good grip should be apparent without having to force or feel pressure. Both leather and synthetic gloves are good, though the synthetic materials may case more sweating. Fairtex makes a great, high quality 16 once boxing glove. This brand is incredibly durable and it looks good too. There are cheaper gloves out there but it is recommended that if you can, purchase quality gloves.
If you want to go the cheaper route, Everlast has some cheap gloves starting at $27.
Fairtex Muay Thai Gloves
- 8 to 16 oz
- Comes in green, black, brown, pink, and white
Starting at $69
Protect yourself and that includes your head. Getting smacked down without the proper headgear can end your Muay Thai career earlier than necessary, and it is a short enough career as is. Over time, the head incursions build-up so your headgear is very important. Once again, when selecting headgear, decide what is comfortable and fits well for you. Padding and fit is what will save your head and your brain in the long run. The chin strap should not be loose. Likewise decide if a slipper lining is for you. If it slips around, it will distract you and be a problem. It can also obscure your vision if it slide into our face. Fairtex Super Sparring Headgear is highly rated, especially for Muay Thai.
Fairtex Super Sparring Headgear
- Sizes S to L
- Extra padding with cheek protection and diagonal vision
Starting at $70
Purchasing a mouthguard is essential if you plan on doing any sparring. They are available online and from viable manufacturers of boxing and Muay Thai equipment. Several features standout as most important when purchasing your mouthgear and they include comfort, fit and how well it absorbs shock. You also want to make certain you can breathe effectively when it is in place. A good fit means it is secured firmly and not at all loose. The Shock Doctor Power Ultra Mouthguard is a great option.
Shock Doctor Ultra STC Mouthguard
- Form fitted
- Various colors
Starting at $20
Shinguards should always be worn when sparring. Even the pros where them when they spar.
There are primarily 2 types of shinguards: the traditional Muay Thai version are leather and contain significant padding on the foot and center of the shin. Protection is afforded with a kick, shin or elbow. Shinguards with straps are also recommended and most in Muay Thai training opt for this feature; The second type is more like a sock that you feed your foot into. There is less padding and they are made of cotton. These are not preferred for Muay Thai. Meister EDGE Leather Instep Shin Guards with Gel Padding is an affordable option that offers good protection for your shins. But if you plan on training Muay Thai 4-5 times a week, the Top King Shinguards Muay Thai Boxing Black “Pro” Genuine 23 are one of the finest shinguards available.
Meister EDGE Leather Instep Guards
- Gel Padding
- Comes in white or black
Starting at $40
Kickboxing ankle supports
Although ankle supports are needed for any type of martial art involving kicks, they are especially needed for Muay Thai. That is because there is a lot more kicking involved in it than say, Dutch Kickboxing or Karate.
You definitely want ankle supports that prevent your ankles from rolling over while you are in motion or from difficult or clumsy landings. Ankle injuries are quite common. The ankle supports help prevent or they should keep your ankles warm. Least minimize a sprain, torn ligament or something worse. You also want to ensure traction should the mat or the ring be slick or slippery. When you kick, you don’t want your foot to sting and effective ankle supports will prevent or minimize such things. Very often in Muay Thai, you will have to balance on one ankle and the kickboxing ankle supports will provide the needed support to aid in those circumstances. Venon Muay Thai/Kickboxing Ankle Supports are a good choice. Twins Special Ankle Guard is another excellent choice.
Venum Muay Thai Ankle Supports
- Multiple sizes
- Prevents ankles from twisting but offers mobility
Starting at $16
Optional Muay Thai Equipment
Other equipment needs not fully covered here include focus mitts, the Thai kicking pad and the kicking shield. Muay Thai a is heavy-duty kicking sport, making the kicking pad vital for training with kicks, combinations, throwing knees and upper cuts. The best pads are those that absorb a lot of power. Proper care in holding the pad for others is of equal importance, and although trainees may not relish the activity, it is important to learn correctly. It is also respectful of others to do so. Fairtex makes great pads.
Muay Thai is an incredibly challenging sport and appropriate for those who enjoy the physical demands of training and pushing oneself beyond the fold. It is also very beautiful. For those already in great shape who are thinking they can easily make the grade, there is nothing farther from the truth. Authentic, traditional Muay Thai can take years of training and even then success is far from guaranteed. What’s more, the traditions and spiritual components that accompany the brutal physical requirements cannot be taken lightly. They are at least as important and as demanding.