What Should MMA Fighters Wear to Practice Martial Arts?

So maybe you are a martial artist and you are trying to figure out just what you are supposed to wear, or what clothing is best for the style of martial art you are training.

The good news is that you have made it to the right place..

the bad news…. there are many different types of martial arts and most all of them require different training uniforms.

What do MMA Fighters Wear to Practice Different forms of Martial Arts?

Professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters take their careers seriously and regularly train in order to be in top form. This puts them in a better position to beat their opponents. Just like any are other sport, MMA has its rules. One is that professionals are required to put on certain clothing when training, depending on the type of martial arts they’re training in. We all know that mixed martial arts fighters that fight in the UFC are required to wear MMA shorts that look like these shorts here, but what about other martial arts fighters? What do they have to wear?

The differences in outfits is due to the unique fighting styles employed in various martial arts. Fighters can always consult with their trainers on what should be worn when training. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what MMA fighters need to wear when practicing.

what to wear to jiu jitsuWhat should I wear if I’m practicing Jiu-jitsu?

You need a Jiu-jitsu gi. It almost resembles the one used in Judo training, just that there is a slight difference in size. A Judo Gi is wide which makes it inappropriate for Jiu-jitsu moves.

A jiu-jitsu outfit is tight and has close contact with your body. It makes it easier to escape submission attacks. Also, a jiu-jitsu attire is shorter, has a shorter skirt and narrower sleeves.

The gi comes in a similar fabric and weight like that of Karate uniform. Note that you can add a personal touch to it.

For example, you can add extra patches and embroidery patterns that you fancy. While it’s possible to manipulate the gi to fit your style, ensure that you adhere to the rules.

What should I wear if I’m practicing Muay Thai?

Muay Thai has its origins in Thailand. Since martial arts is becoming a common lifestyle, it has fans across the globe. Unlike other martial arts, Muay Thai doesn’t demand much. Your typical gym clothes would be okay for your training sessions.

But there’s one attire that distinguishes Muay Thai from other martial art styles: the Muay Thai shorts.

Owing to the nature of the sport, they have wider leg openings to allow throwing kicks. So consider wearing an appropriate inner garment. We encourage male enthusiasts to pick tight boxers. It exudes modesty and protects your family jewels. For girls, something lacy can work especially when throwing those high kicks.

what to wear to muay thai

What should you put on as a top when training Muay Thai?

Your location may be a factor here. For instance, Thai men attend classes topless because it’s usually hot all year round. The decision on whether to go topless mostly depends on the gym you’re training in, or what the trainer tells you to do. For ladies, a sports bra works. Other extra outfits include ankle and knee guards to protect from injuries. Comfortable shoes are also vital.

Don’t Forget About the Gloves

And it goes without saying that you most definitely can not forget about your Martial arts gloves. All Martial arts Fighter who plan to hit the heavy bag or do any type of sparring will need a set of either:

A). Heavy Bag Boxing Gloves

or B). Heavy Bag MMA Gloves

You will need to pick your choice. If you plan to be hitting on the heavy bag mainly and don’t plan on doing much grappling then go for the heavy bag boxing gloves. If you do plan on grappling then go with the MMA heavy bag gloves. As far as weight goes, I typically go with the heavier 16 oz boxing gloves because it keeps my little hands cushioned and allows me to improve my punching speed and strength.

What should I wear if I’m practicing Karate?

You should wear a Karate Gi. The uniform has two parts: a pair of loose-fitting pants and a jacket or a top with deep V-neck. The karate pants take the form of judo pants while the top resembles Taekwondo uniform. Karatekas wrap the jacket around their bodies and fasten it with a belt. You can wear a top if you’re worried about your jacket coming off during training. Pants can have an elastic waist or a drawstring waist.

Karate uniform is available in a variety of fabrics and weights. Both pants and the jacket can be a mix of cotton and polyester or pure cotton. They are available in lightweight, medium weight and heavyweight.

Another thing you might want to know is the right color for your Gi. Well, there is no standard color but white and blue are common. You can still choose other colors that you prefer.

What If I am Wrestling for the Day? What should I wear to Wrestling Class?

Wrestling is an extreme sport. Injuries could happen due to the combative nature of wrestling, so professional wrestlers ought to wear safe clothing while training. Wrestling requires less clothing compared to other styles, but trainers emphasize protective clothing such as headgear, shoes and a singlet. The singlet should be tight fitting to protect your hands from getting stuck in the clothing.

what to wear to wrestling


In addition to that, a singlet protects you from extreme groping by your opponents. Extra clothing on top of your wrestling uniform is essential if your skin is sensitive. Although one can wrestle barefoot, wrestling shoes are also important. These shoes provide good grip, support the ankles are designed in such a way that they don’t leave marks on the mat.

Note that you can only put on your shoes on a training mat. It’s a preventive measure to protect you and your colleagues from skin infections.

Headgear plays an important role in your safety as a professional wrestler. They protect your face, ears, and head during combative sessions. Especially if they are heavy blows involved which could result in a fatal injury. Apart from wrestling headgear, some wrestlers wear a mouthguard and knee pads. Remember not to carry jewelry and buttons to your training sessions.

FAQ About Martial Arts Clothing

Below are the most common question Martial Artist have when trying to figure out what to wear to train and compete in.

Why do Martial Artists wear a Gi?

You will instantly identify a sport just from the outfit the practitioners wear when competing or training. A gi is worn by martial artists the world over. But have you ever asked yourself why professional martial artists wear gis? It helps the trainee to focus on the training. Once the martial artist enters the dojo, they’re expected to put on a gi and get to business. Martial arts is partly a spiritual affair so dedication and discipline is important. The uniform instils a sense of commitment to the student.

The gi reminds them that they are on journey to learn and achieve. Compared to regular clothes, gis are comfortable and boost performance. They add a sense of organization and make identification easy. What’s more, wearing the gi is a way of showing respect to the rich history of martial arts.

Are you supposed to wear clothing under a Karate Gi Uniform? 

Yes, it’s possible to wear attires under the karate uniform as long as it’s not visible. For instance, karatekas wear an extra t-shirt to protect the gi from staining (especially if it’s a white one). Older trainees may find the kimono rough and uncomfortable for their skin. A rash guard comes handy in this case.

Female trainees usually put on a sports bra along with breast pads to avoid injury. If a girl is practicing while on her menses, short bikers can add a little confidence. Keep in mind this does not work for every woman. It’s all about personal preference. The gi can get hot due to the cotton material. Some male trainees may prefer not to wear extra shorts.

Are Karate Gis and Jiu-Jitsu Gis the same thing?

The karate gi and Jiu-jitsu gis are different. This is largely due to the nature of the two styles. In Karate, there is a lot of movement and swift strikes are involved. On the other hand, Jiu-jitsu moves are all about grappling your opponent. If you put on a Karate gi to a Jiu-jitsu session the Kimono will rip into pieces.

Karate gi is usually soft and thin. Thus, it can’t withstand the pulling and grappling involved in Jiu-jitsu. Jiu-jitsu Kimono is thick with a lot of stitches to prevent ripping. The fabric is heavyweight which is a limitation to Karatekas since it makes it difficult to execute those swift moves. From the descriptions above it should now be easier to distinguish a karate gi and a jiu-jitsu gi.

Now that you know the right attire for your training, go ahead and fill your wardrobe with the appropriate martial arts uniform and equipment. If you have questions regarding the outfits, you can always consult with your sensei.

Related Readings:

Looking for a punching bag to get started practicing at home? Check out our Free Standing Punching Bags Guide here.

Or maybe you want something a little more compact to help you work on your punching speed? If so you can check out our top bang for your buck reflex bags here.

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