Any contact sport carries with it some level of risk of injury, which means that securing essential boxing martial arts supplies is important before you begin training. This list will help you make sure you don't forget anything important.
- Mouth Guard. Before you begin sparring, make sure you get a good quality mouth guard. You can find both single jaw and dual jaw varieties. Dual jaw mouth guards will offer you slightly more protection, but some people find that breathing with them in is less comfortable.
- Headgear. A good "brain bucket" is important for two main versions. First, of course, it will disperse the power of any shots to the head you take while sparring. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, it greatly decreases the likelihood of accidental cuts to the face from your partner's gloves or elbows.
- Gloves. What type of gloves you need (and how much you should spend on them), whether for boxing or martial arts, depends largely on their purpose. For working a heavy bag only, an inexpensive pair of bag gloves will be fine. For regular sparring or heavier training, you will want a high quality pair of boxing/kickboxing gloves, generally at least 16 oz.
- Handwraps. Handwraps are probably the least essential piece of boxing or martial arts equipment on this list. Many athletes don't bother wearing them for light work. However, if you find yourself injuring your hands or wrists, or sparring heavily, on a regular basis, handwraps will probably be a good investment. If the old-fashioned variety are too time-consuming to put on, you can also buy a more modern style that are worn like a glove underneath your regular boxing gloves.
- Shin/foot Pads. You won't need shin pads for boxing, of course, but you definitely will need them for martial arts. The specific style of shin pads you need will depend on the type of martial arts you are practicing. Muay Thai, for example, requires more padding on the shins and less on the feet, whereas Tae Kwon Do requires more padding on the feet and less on the shins.
- Athletic Cup. Whether you are participating in boxing or any style of martial arts, a good athletic cup is essential. The good news is that they won't cost you very much — any sporting goods supply store will have one for a reasonable price that will work fine. If you want to upgrade your investment, though, you can purchase specially designed and reinforced (and more expensive) athletic cups, some made out of steel or boasting extra layers of padding.