This is an English translation of a previous post. If you would rather read this in Finnish, check out the original post Varusteista.
What Equipment Do You Need in Honbu?
Sometimes we train quite hard in Honbu, and that's why everyone should get adequate protection, so that everyone can train safely. The equipment doesn't just protect you, it enables you to train with more intensity and, most importantly, protects your training partner.
This post is basically a list of what you need to get in order to train comfortably. I've tried to order this in order of priority, so that the less irrelevant stuff is at the bottom. The most important equipment after common sense is a mouth guard. A good set of equipment makes training more fun!
Honbu especially recommends doing business with Nipponsport (https://www.nipponsport.fi/seurat/honbu), because they have a separate selection of products picked by honbulans that are certainly suitable for Honbu's training. There is a cheaper and a little more expensive option for all equipment, but both are high quality. If you visit their store in Kaisaniemi, you can ask for a 10 % discount by mentioning Honbu.
If your budget doesn't bend to buy new equipment, don't worry! Martial arts second hand shops, tori.fi and older Honbulans are also places where you can get your stuff.
Then to the point, that is, to list the equipment you need in Honbu.
Gi is a word from the Japanese language that just means "clothes" or "a uniform". In a martial arts context, it refers to the jacket and pants we put on when we train. A gi is a prerequisite for being able to participate in the yellow belt (as well as each subsequent) belt exam.
It’s not worth buying a thin gi. We tear at each other's clothes, and thin suits can’t handle that kind of stress without tearing. Judogis and thicker karategis are recommended. If you are unsure, ask someone after training, we can usually point you in a direction.
You should get this the first chance you get. In addition to the teeth, the mouthguard also gives (SLIGHT) protection for the chin and head from shocks. More importantly, it protects your partner’s hand from your teeth.
Mouthguards need to be shaped. They usually come with instructions, but if for some reason they are missing, the equipment retailer will advise you, and if they can't (or you didn't remember to ask), use Google to find the instructions. There is boiling water involved in the molding process, which might sound like the experience is uncomfortable, but having done this many times, I can assure you it is not! Mouthguards are most often made of such a porous material that it will not feel uncomfortably hot in your mouth if you follow the shaping instructions correctly.
So how much shoudl you spend on a mouth guard? Their price range is really wide. The cheapest ones do just fine, but the multi-hundred euro dental guards made by a dental technician are also really good, especially in terms of ergonomics. This is all up to you!
A word from personal experience: with new mouth guards, it’s a good idea to try them out in a couple of trainings before making decisions about the fit. My gums and chin tend to strain a little every time I get a new one, but the feeling goes away very soon as the mouth gets used to the guard and the guard gets used to the mouth.
Small Gloves, also called "Grappling Gloves"
Gloves mainly protect your hands, but they also soften the blows to your partner's body.
Why do we need two kinds of gloves? With grappling gloves your fingers are free to grapple while you can also hit more safely. MMA gloves are recommended as small gloves because they usually have thumb protection, and they can also take more tearing than other kinds. DO NOT BUY KARATE GLOVES!
If you can’t buy both gloves right away, buy the small gloves first. You can do all the same exercises with them as you do with big gloves (though not as hard), but you can't do all the same exercises with big gloves as with small gloves. However, you should also get big gloves - then everyone will have a nicer time.
Big Gloves, also called "Boxing Gloves"
Big gloves, or boxing gloves, are nice because you can hit harder with them. For some exercises, such as the boxing drill and all the boxing techniques in general, these are much better suited than grappling gloves. It’s not that important what kind you get - as long as the gloves are high quality boxing gloves, buy the ones you think look nicest/most badass.
Pro Tip: DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THAT SAYS “KARATE” (this applies to all equipment used in Honbu, except the gi).We need thick shin guards suitable for Thai boxing, kickboxing and MMA. The purpose of shin guards is to protect both your own shin and your partner's legs and other body parts when kicking, so please consider this when choosing them. The shin guards designed for competiton karate and even thinner sock models are too thin, and your friends will start complaining very quickly if you kick them too hard with them.
The favourite technique of a lot of Honbukas is showcased in our logo. If you store your reproductive equipment on the outside, please buy a cup to protect them. If your reproductive organs are mostly on the inside, you can still get some protection, thought it's not that common.
The following equipment isn't strictly necessary, but you might want to consider some of it according to your own situation and preferences.
Chest Armor for Breasts
Some wear chest armor or a bra with some protection. However, most boobed Honbukas work out without them. It’s good to remember that female breasts contain all sorts of glands and whatnot, that may get damaged if hit too hard. So make sure to keep this in mind when training, if either you or your partner has titties on them.
This is also a completely optional product, but extends the life of the boxing gloves and reduces the odors a little. These can be bought from anywhere, but some Honbukas give new life to socks that have fallen apart at the heels by using them as glove covers. I have bunnies on mine.
If your wrists are very sensitive, you may want to consider hand wraps for boxing. These are good if you are hitting a bag or when hitting point gloves, but when we hit each other, they are totally overkill. The Internet has videos on hwo to tie them correctly so that they lend protection.
Many Honbukas have this in their training bags in case of small incidents. Sports tape can be used to support small joints or to repair leaking wounds. This is also used to indicate earned stripes in the belt.
These do not improve training safety, but they increase your street credibility by 43%. These are sold at our Holvi store: https://holvi.com/shop/karateseura-honbu/
And that's all the essentials. Have a safe training! Here's a picture of me as a baby.