Don’t know how to put on your sparring gear for karate? I can help. [Video demo below]
I have 2 sets of gear for sparring in tournaments—red and blue—but for in-class sparring you should be fine with just one colour.
Now, the reason I’m making this blog post is that even though most martial artists are awesome, there are some nasty people out there who will make fun of you for putting your gear on wrong. And I want to save you the embarrassment of dealing with that. I’ve experienced this personally—I was made fun of for not knowing how to put my gear on the very first time I sparred. Which, honestly, is totally bizarre. If someone doesn’t know how to do something—because they’ve clearly never done it before—that’s an awesome opportunity for someone more experienced to teach that person how to do the thing properly, rather than make fun of them for not having any experience. That kind of harsh “teasing” doesn’t “toughen people up.” What it actually does is destroy trust. And it leaves beginners feeling much more reluctant to reach out for help when they have questions down the road.
Bottom line: don’t be a jerk. Help beginners out when they’re learning something new.
Okay, back to the gear….
My main sparring gear is Tokaido brand. (Check the Resources section below for a list of my preferred gear.) I also have Wacoku brand, which fits exactly the same.
The order in which I put on my sparring gear is as follows:
- Shoes (insteps)
- Shin guards
- Sports goggles (prescription)
You can watch this video for a demo on how to put on each item:
Most important is to put your gloves on last. Being able to get your gear on as quickly as possible is important, because you might not have much time to get ready at tournaments. And keeping your hands free as long as possible will help you get that gear on as quickly as possible. Save the gloves for last. The mouthguard can be kept for last—after the gloves—if you still need to talk clearly before sparring. The mouthguard is easy enough to hold and put in your mouth even with gloves on. And, of course, the mouthguard can be put in at any time during this sequence.
Now that you have your gear on, you’re all ready to spar! And if this information helped you, feel free to pass it on to a friend.
Here’s my preferred gear for sparring. You can get all of these in different colours. Be sure to check the sizes; these might not be the correct size for you:
(Disclaimer: Some of the links on my website are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase.)
Check out some of my articles on performance and competition: