Practicing martial arts generally does not require a lot of expensive equipment. However, it can benefit from obtaining certain items used to hone skills outside of class or tone, stretch and strengthen the body. People who enjoy sparring will eventually need to own their own set of protective gear, though many studios have equipment for beginners to borrow. For practice, equipment such as heavy bags and targets can also be useful to a martial arts student. There are many sources of equipment, including the studios themselves, local shops and internet stores.
Some martial arts studios sell a limited amount of equipment for students in their classes. This is often a very expensive way to get outfitted, since the studio usually marks the items up quite a bit in order to make a profit from the sale. Because they tend to sell small quantities, studio shops usually do not receive discounts from the manufacturers like a larger store would. However, purchasing from a studio has the advantage that the customer can assume that it is quality, trusted equipment since studios usually sell the same items that they use.
In some cases, full-service equipment stores are attached to martial arts studios. However, in most cases selling equipment is a side business. For this reason, there often isn't a lot of space devoted to it, so the equipment available for sale is limited to the most popular, smaller items such as pads and targeting mitts. This might mean that customers who want to purchase a large item like a heavy bag or body target will have to look elsewhere.
Local stores can be a good place to look for equipment, but they are often sparse and more expensive than internet options. In some areas, finding a martial arts equipment store at all is a challenge. They are also usually more limited in their supply of equipment, especially large equipment, because they must rent or own a large enough space to store and display it. Stores may also charge extra for deliveries of large items like heavy bags.
Internet stores can be a great option, as long as proper caution is exercised by the customer. Although it is essential whenever choosing martial arts training equipment
, it is especially important that customers only purchase items of familiar brands or from reliable suppliers when they use the internet. Since the customer is not able to touch the item and assess it closely, it is easier for online stores to sell inferior products than brick and mortar ones.
However, internet retailers do tend to be the cheapest source of martial arts training equipment. They do not have the overhead expense of renting or owning a storefront property, they can maintain huge warehouses of equipment in cheap areas of the country, and their sales market is almost world-wide. These savings are passed on to the customer in the form of cheaper prices on the same items that local stores and studios sell.
All sorts of items are sold at online and physical stores specializing in martial arts. Not all martial arts equipment is incorporated directly into practicing the art. Some pieces of equipment exist to strengthen, stretch or tone areas of the body that are especially vital to martial arts. Examples include leg stretchers that are used to help achieve the flexibility required of a martial artist, and 'eagle catchers', which are devices that help tone and strengthen the fingers. Stores often also sell equipment which is non-specific to martial arts but popular with people who practice them, such as jump ropes.