Homemade Sparring Gear

artFling

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My family and I are new to martial arts. We just began this last summer and need sparring gear. But there are six of us participating, and I can't afford sparring gear. That's a minimum of $300.00 if we each buy a set of gear. So cheapie that I am, I was just pondering duct tape and foam. Who knows of a way to make your own head, foot, and hand gear. I am ready to begin experimenting, but I'm betting someone out there has already tried and had some success. What do you know?
 

ArmorOfGod

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Go on ebay and search for sparring gear. After you do that, try misspelling words such as:
"sparing gear" (only one r)
tiekwondo
martal gear (no i)
and any other mispellings.

Then, try odd combinations such as
karate gear
sparring pads
martial arts pads
fighting gear
kickboxing pads
and whatever you can think of.

Last week, I got three full sets of gear for $24 because the seller mispelled martial arts.

AoG
 

Blindside

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My family and I are new to martial arts. We just began this last summer and need sparring gear. But there are six of us participating, and I can't afford sparring gear. That's a minimum of $300.00 if we each buy a set of gear. So cheapie that I am, I was just pondering duct tape and foam. Who knows of a way to make your own head, foot, and hand gear. I am ready to begin experimenting, but I'm betting someone out there has already tried and had some success. What do you know?

My kenpo instructor uses homemade sparring gear, not because he can't afford to buy "real" gear, but because his homemade stuff is better than most of the commercial stuff. His was made out of vinyl as an outside layer and carpet foam on the outside. His first set of hand and feet gear wore out after 11 years of regular use in the class and at tournaments.

I can't think of anything to replace the headgear, you'll probably have buy that. Try craigslist.

Lamont
 

jks9199

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My family and I are new to martial arts. We just began this last summer and need sparring gear. But there are six of us participating, and I can't afford sparring gear. That's a minimum of $300.00 if we each buy a set of gear. So cheapie that I am, I was just pondering duct tape and foam. Who knows of a way to make your own head, foot, and hand gear. I am ready to begin experimenting, but I'm betting someone out there has already tried and had some success. What do you know?
Making your own sparring gear is probably not going to be practical -- and very possibly would end up costing you more than you'd spend with some careful shopping and hunting around. Homemade gear almost certainly won't be accepted in many tournament settings, and even some schools. It may not meet insurance requirements -- and won't have the backing of the manufacturer against defects.

As others have suggested, shop around on Craigs list and E-bay. And ask at your school... I'm registered as a wholesaler/dealer for several companies, and sell it to students at just enough above cost to cover shipping. (Maybe rounded to an even dollar for convenience...) Your school may do something similar. Also, find out what is actually needed; you may be able to get buy with just hands, feet and headgear instead of all of that, and a chest protector and shin guards and so on...

I'd definitely not suggest simply using duct tape and foam rubber; the modern foam dipped sparring gear is actually a closed cell phone (similar to a Ensolite sleeping bag pad), and the design has been carefully planned. I'd strongly argue against going cheap on head gear; one of the main purposes of head gear is really to protect you from concussion when you fall!
 

Kacey

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In addition to the previous comments - duct tape is very dangerous as a material for sparring gear. When it makes percussive contact (straight in - or worse, sliding) it can rip and tear skin; we don't allow pads that have been patched with duct tape, much less pads made of them.

I understand your concern about cost, but look at it this way: which costs more, pads, or health care?

Is there any way you can spread this purchase out? Buy some now and some later? Also, have you tried sporting good resale shops? Play It Again Sports (which we have in my area) often has pads for sale that are in good shape, either outgrown or belonging to someone who quit.
 

Andrew Green

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Look for bargains, share gear if you can, but making it is not likely too work out for you unless you have someone that is pretty good with sewing.

Besides that, such gear may also go against club rules, as it would give a insurance company an excuse to refuse settlement if anything ever happened when homemade gear was involved in any way.
 

Nolerama

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I don't advocate making your own gear. Depending on the school you're in, they might look at that like you're increasing their liability... And you are.

I agree with the other posters: look at craigslist or ebay, or even secondhand stores (you'd be surprised to see what you find there.)

For example, I was reluctant to go out and buy a pair of wrestling shoes, because I really wouldn't be wearing them a whole lot and would only wear them if my toe acted up. But when it did, I went to a Play It Again Sports (I think they're a national chain) and got a pair for $11. That saved me $50. There was also a ton of MA-related stuff there (mostyle TKD gear).

Good luck. Sharing gear is also another option.
 

DavidCC

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You probably won;t be using all six sets at the same time... could you get by with 2?

not every school requires the same 'package' of gear. At our school it is sparring gloves and mouthpiece. Headgear and cup optional (I've learned that both are good tho). I've seen some schools require large gear packages as ways of increasing their revenue (at your expense).
 
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artFling

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Thanks all for your responses. I'm liking the misspelling idea on ebay. No Play it again sports in my area. We're lucky to have grocery stores:) Ok, I'll buy head gear. I'd still like to experiment with making the other stuff. Thanks on the heads up on the duct tape problem.
 
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artFling

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My kenpo instructor uses homemade sparring gear, not because he can't afford to buy "real" gear, but because his homemade stuff is better than most of the commercial stuff. His was made out of vinyl as an outside layer and carpet foam on the outside. His first set of hand and feet gear wore out after 11 years of regular use in the class and at tournaments.

Do you have more info on how to do this?
 

Twin Fist

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dont worry guys, Art is my student,and he wont be using anything with duct tape. We will figure something out even if i got to buy it myself.
 

jks9199

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dont worry guys, Art is my student,and he wont be using anything with duct tape. We will figure something out even if i got to buy it myself.
If you haven't done it already, it's pretty easy to sign up with Macho as a wholesaler/distributor. Even making only a couple purchases a year, it's easily worth the little bit of hassle.
 

Blindside

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My kenpo instructor uses homemade sparring gear, not because he can't afford to buy "real" gear, but because his homemade stuff is better than most of the commercial stuff. His was made out of vinyl as an outside layer and carpet foam on the outside. His first set of hand and feet gear wore out after 11 years of regular use in the class and at tournaments.

Do you have more info on how to do this?

The surface/contact layer of the hand/foot gear used the same vinyl that seat covers are made out of. The padding layer was more than one layer of carpet padding, but I don't know how many. The interior layer, the one that touches the skin, was some sort of soft cloth. The closures matched most conventional gear with a band of elastic and velcro.

I can say from experience that they give far more protection for the hitee compared to most commercial gear, certainly it blows every dipped foam product right out of the water.

Not the best shot, but the only one I've got:
 

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jks9199

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credit issues, dude
I don't recall having to give them a credit card in advance, except to make an order. I suspect they probably can work with you to send a check or money order in advance of each order. Why not give 'em a call, and talk to someone?
 
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artFling

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Thanks for the pics. That's actually quite helpful.
 

Jade Tigress

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When my son and I were both training the same art we shared sparring gear with the exception of a head protection due to size. Also, other students in class were always happen to share sparring gear with those who didn't have any.

Perhaps you can purchase 2 sets in sizes that can be adjusted to fit everyone in your family. As others have stated, ebay is a great place to look, but research retail prices first, not everything is a bargain on ebay. Or search for *used* equipment vs. new, that way you can be sure it's at least less than full retail.

Good luck, welcome to the Arts, and keep us posted. :)
 

Tez3

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Ok I'll be the one that asks!!:) Blindside why is that chap standing on a chair?

In our club we have kit that people can use, we encourage people to buy their own for hygiene reasons but they don't have to. In the adults classes all they need is gloves ( either MMA or boxing if not both, they can borrow whichever the don't have) and their own groin guard and gum shield ( no sharing there! though I saw two Polish fighters sharing a groin guard at a show once....ugh!!)
 

Jade Tigress

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Ok I'll be the one that asks!!:) Blindside why is that chap standing on a chair?

In our club we have kit that people can use, we encourage people to buy their own for hygiene reasons but they don't have to. In the adults classes all they need is gloves ( either MMA or boxing if not both, they can borrow whichever the don't have) and their own groin guard and gum shield ( no sharing there! though I saw two Polish fighters sharing a groin guard at a show once....ugh!!)


Eewwwwww....those are the obvious exceptions. Fortunately, they're also the least expensive pieces of equipment. :D
 

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