Do you know what taekwondo equipment you need?
With so much taekwondo equipment on the market...
...it can be confusing to know what to buy.
You want to buy tae kwon do equipment that's going to help you progress. And you don't want to make expensive mistakes.
Here's our guide to useful martial art gear.
We have a set of 2 Floppy Pads or Paddles at home.
We find them especially great for working on spin kicks. The small target area means that you have to be accurate.
And the handle helps the target holder keep a good distance if a kick goes astray.
Some floppy pads come with elastic to loop around your wrist. We've heard different instructors say different things about this...
Some say that you should use it to make sure the pad doesn't fly across the Dojang if you let go. Others say that it's dangerous because the elastic can break your wrist if the kick is really strong and it's better to let the pad fly.
It's a point for debate but it brings us to our next pad...
We also have a set of focus mitts or focus pads. Ideally it's good to have both but if we had to choose we'd go for these over and above the floppy pads.
We like them for working on basic kicks because they don't bend like floppy pads can. And if you do up the strap tight and these won't fly off!
Also the holder can add some resistance when you kick. This is good because it stops your knee from hyperextending.
It's also easy to change the angle quickly between turning kick and angle kick with focus mitts - great if you are doing a string of techniques.
They're also great for practising your punches. The drawback with these pads is that the insides get a bit sweaty.
Not technically taekwondo equipment... but Muay Thai kick pads are brilliant if you want to practise really powerful kicks. They are heavy to hold so the pad holder gets a workout too!
We use them for building power in our head height turning kick - but they're certainly not essential for beginners.
Thai pads are hard - so you'll condition your feet at the same time.
Block pads are great taekwondo equipment for working on your powerful kicks. The pad holder is well protected so you really let your kicks fly.
Ideally you want a firm block pad. If they are too soft you can't get any power back from the pad on the recoil.
They are great for practising back kick because the target holder is well protected if your kick goes astray! If you're on a budget block pads are nice, but they are by no means essential.
If you've got space at home and a bit of spare cash we would say think about a kick bag. instead of a block pad.
Kick bags are great for practising your taekwondo kicks at full power and for building you kicking fitness. And of course you can work on your own - you don't need a partner.
Re breakable boards are great to use before your belt test. Colored boards like the ones shown are graded from easy to hard.
Good quality boards will re-break up to 300 times.
We would say to be cautious about over-using break boards as you can damage your feet and hands. And for children we would say don't do breaking at home - only at the Dojang under your instructor's supervision.
If you work on good technique and your mental strength - good breaks will follow!
Tkd sparring gear is something you need to buy once you have been training for a few months.
And finally a jump rope is a great thing to have in your taekwondo gear bag.
Jump rope is a great warm up and fitness exercise and it helps your footwork and coordination.