10 Must-Haves for the Martial Artist in Your Life

Over my years I’ve had the fortunate opportunities to train with various tools and equipment. Here, I’ll share with you some of my personal favorites that I believe every martial artist should have at least one of, plus some of them make as great gifts to yourself for stress relief or for the martial artist in your life. 

Perfect for a full-body stress reliever. This punching bag is great for practicing striking techniques and improving stamina. Not to mention I love kicking the daylights out of it. The size is great as it allows you to shrink it down and hide it in a closet when not in use. 

Traditional hand conditioning in martial arts involved things like; punching rice or water, slapping your hands against boulders, and punching rope wrapped around trees… let’s be thankful we can use a modern-day Makiwara board that only hurts slightly less. P.S. No punching these with gloves on – that would be cheating!

Instead of the freestanding punching bag mentioned above, this pad is excellent for training with others. This kicking pad is perfect for testing strength and practicing mobility within your techniques. It’s also the perfect size to toss in the backseat on the way to the dojo or a private lesson.

These little baddies have been present throughout all of my years of training. What makes these exceptionally handy to have in the dojo is that upon a successfully focused strike, the paddles make a satisfying “clap” sound that almost becomes a mental reward. Another use case for these is having your students block these with some rising blocks. 

Well well well, if it isn’t our homeboy, BOB. Similar to the freestanding martial arts punching bag listed above, Bob too is stationary and excellent to practice strikes. I will note a few things about Bob though. 1) Punching him in the face hurts much more to an untrained hand than punching the freestanding bag (so let those newer students wear gloves). 2) When filled with sand or water, he can get wicked heavy (so moving him is a slight workout). Finally, 3) Students and Sensei’s alike, LOVE beating up Bob. Oh.. and of course, in our dojo, he wears a pink belt.

Slice and Dice? Nope.

Since we train on defending ourselves from weapons like knives and guns, it’s imperative that we train with something that won’t hurt us. Sometimes we still train with wooden knives, but historically those have broken some toes… so this rubber knife is one of my favorites as it’s a bit safer for those exposed toes.

Like the rubber knife, we also need a rubber gun to train on defending ourselves from assailants who have a real one. Granted, this is a worst-case scenario and we would never want to engage with someone who has a weapon such as a gun or a knife, but it’s important to know what to do just in case. This rubber gun is weighted to match the realistic weight of a handgun so it’s particularly useful in training to have. I got mine in yellow, so it’s distinguishably fake. 

“Back in the day”, I trained on some blue mats that slid apart ever so slightly every time someone would move on them. This made it excruciatingly painful if one of our elbows missed the mat on the way down from a judo toss or aikido throw. So you can imagine I was over the moon when I found these extra thick mats that velcro on each side to create a sturdy reliable mat that doesn’t budge.

This is a bit of a different form of self-defense, consider it more of a proactive approach. I travel quite a bit and I love the physical and mental security this portable security lock brings. I’ve used it for the front door of my Apartment, Hotel rooms, and AirBnBs; it’s one of the first things I pack whenever I get ready to go anywhere.

After the long and sometimes painful hours that we spend at the dojo; we have the right to show off our progress by mounting our belts once we retire them. It’s a great visual reminder of your hard work, effort, and progress. This belt rack holds 8 belts, which aligns with the Shotokan Karate system I was trained in. It allows for white, yellow, blue, green, purple, brown, 2nd-degree brown, and 1st-degree black belt. 

If you have a little kiddo in your life who has a bunch of energy and likes flaring their arms around, then this inflatable ninja target is the perfect pastime. After all, it’s never too early to start their training. 

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