Before you buy martial arts equipment you need to know the purpose for training. You need to know if you are training for self-defense, fitness, or for combat sports. Each type will require different equipment.
Stretching is fundamental in the majority of martial arts styles. Therefore, stretching equipment is generally a good idea. Split machines have seats that are padded with some mechanism to easily stretch the legs. When you crank a lever a gentle pressure is applied to the inner thighs. This is to help with high kicks, roundhouse ricks and the like. The split leg machine needs to be done on a daily basis to receive maximum flexibility.
Punching bags and heavy bags should also become part of your basic home gym. Both should be hung from a strong ceiling beam. If you cannot hang them from the ceiling, then you need to make sure you buy the kind that can be filled with sand/water.
Kicking bags should be distinguished from punching bags. They are made from reinforced vinyl to allow multiple kicks. They are made so a person can hold the bag while another person kicks it.
Most importantly is a good pair of shoes. Good martial art shoes will have non-slip soles. The shoes should provide traction with a circular look towards the ball of the foot. This will allow for easier spins while lessening the likelihood for injury to the knee. Some people like to go without shoes but wearing shoes in a gym is better hygiene. Going barefoot at home is one thing; but, when at a gym it is best to wear shoes to prevent bare skin from coming into contact with the gym floor or the mats.
Last, check with your instructor for safety equipment. Your instructor is there to guide you safely through your martial arts training. Always ask your instructor for proper safety equipment.
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