The popularity of mixed martial arts or MMA has exploded onto the international sporting scene in recent years, first with the male UFC league and now with the gradually rising women's 'Strikeforce' and 'Girlfight' matches which are gaining much attention from the public.
There is actually very little difference between men's MMA and the female version; for example they both have similar rules, fight in the same styled rings, bout for fixed time limits and wear limited amounts of protective gear. The only thing that really differs is the type of equipment that MMA women fighters use, mainly due to the obvious differences in their body shapes and the size of their hands.
Beginners of mixed martial arts or MMA may be both confused and excited by the wide variety of products that are available to them; especially women fighters who have to endure large sporting companies trying to sell them things that look good, but are useless in the ring.
Looking sharp and sexy is actually an important part of being an amateur and pro fighter; you want people to remember you as the majority of spectators tend to route for the better looking or most colorful fighter. Though remember that your main concern should be protection against serious injuries and finding equipment that is comfortable to fight in.
There are many different types of MMA equipment available, but here is a list and description of the most important and useful items that you might want to consider investing in for both training and fight usage:
These gloves usually come in the traditional 'light bulb' shape or a Muay Thai kickboxing style with extra padding added to the top area. You'll want to choose a pair that weighs at least 14 ounces, otherwise both you and your sparring partner will end up getting hurt. Finding a pair with Velcro straps is better for training purposes as they slip on and off with ease compared with the traditional lace-ups.
Unlike traditional boxing gloves MMA gloves have an open fingered design with individual loops that hold your hands to the top part and padding covering the knuckles and wrist areas. A good starting weight for beginner is about 4 or 5 ounces which gives a natural feel and allows the fighter the freedom to move more freely when grappling their opponent.
These look similar to a thin wet suit; they hug the top half of your body and are made of a special material that absorbs and pushes sweat away from the body. If you're wondering why this piece of equipment is so useful, try spending several hours in a training session with your hot sweaty body wrapped around another person. Women have the added advantage of having a number of tank top styled rash guards that double as a sports bra and chest protector, allowing in much more air than the long sleeved varieties.
Designed especially for women with a particularly sensitive breast area; these come in 3 variations, a sport bra styled compressor that pushes everything in and provides padded protection, individual disk shaped turtle pad inserts that slip into the bra and a more bulky synthetic shield that wraps around your chest area.
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