Training Equipment

For some people, "martial-arts school" conjures up images of wooden dummies and makiwara, racks of weapons, and walls covered in yin-yang symbols and pictures of the founder. Others imagine a dimly lit gym with battered heavy bags, weight benches, and dangling speed bags arranged around a ring or a cage. A martial-arts school might look like that . . . or an ordinary hardwood gym strewn with wrestling mats . . . or a shallow dirt pit . . . or a clearing in the woods!

A properly designed training environment with good equipment helps students hone their skills. It makes more challenging exercises possible and minimizes the likelihood of unpleasant consequences. The wrong environment can make practice impossible (try doing acrobatic kung fu moves in a tiny room) or painful (like a hardwood floor you're going to hit a hundred times while perfecting a technique).

Equally important is how the school trains. Some schools frown upon sparring but let students use bags and mitts to practice strikes. Others go further and emphasize kata and choreographed partner drills over throwing full-powered blows. Still others encourage students to pound on each other in minimal gear - "Only bleeding in training lets you avoid bleeding in combat." Most artistic styles avoid contact and sparring, while combat styles employ such methods extensively or exclusively; either way, the equipment must support the training.

Kick Boxing Guide

Kick Boxing Guide

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