sparring equipment

helmet (head guard)

Usually made of a foam material, this is used to protect your head during sparring and fastens securely under the chin.

chest protector (hogu)

These are usually red on one side and blue on the other. The chest protector should absorb the impact of most kicks and is the primary target during sparring aside from the head. Clubs may have chest protectors available to borrow. They are also available in a range of sizes, usually from 0 to 5. Size 4 and 5 are normally for adults or taller people, while size 0 and 1 are aimed at small children.

groin guard

This is normally required in all competition, particularly for male competitors. Male and female groin guards are different so ensure you get the corect type.

shin pads

These can vary quite a lot in size and material. Generally there are foam ones or hard ones available. These are needed to protect your shins in case of a clash.

sparring equipment

mouth guard (gum shield)

These aren't normally supplied by clubs, but they are necessary for full contact sparring. Find one that fits you well.

arm pads

Quite often arm pads are pulled slightly over the elbows. Particularly when training in a club, this is mostly to protect your opponents foot as well as your elbow. Like shin pads, arm protectors can be a foam or hard material, and they primarily protect your arms from incoming attacks.


Gloves aren't always required during sparring but they can offer some protection to your fingers and hands, particularly if your are punching a chest protector. Rules around wearing gloves may vary between organisations and competitions so make sure you check. These are also available in a range of sizes.

foot protectors

These aren't always required in competition, however high level competitions require them as they can contain foot sensors used in electronic scoring systems. More details of electronic scoring can be found in the rules and layout section. Foot protectors can offer some protection for your feet, and you can also get shin pads that have foot guards attached.