By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
Part of traditional etiquette is that a martial arts student should have their own gear – sparring gear, weapons, etc. When a student (or their family) invests in their own gear, it shows their commitment to training. Plus, it’s logical. Even in a small school, it would be impractical for an instructor to purchase and store sparring gear or weapons for even a dozen students. Add to that the fact that having your own sparring gear is more sanitary, and having your own weapon makes it easier to practice at home.
For any age student at any martial arts school, if you are learning a weapons form, ask your instructor about purchasing that weapon. In many schools, such as East Valley Martial Arts – Kenshin Kan, weapons katas are part of the advanced belt requirements. Owning a weapon fit to your size will make your practice easier and more enjoyable.
Many dojos sell martial arts retail. They are offering you a great opportunity to show your support. When you purchase weapons, sparring gear, uniforms, etc. from your school, the proceeds help the dojo financially. You may be able to find gear for less elsewhere, but purchasing that will not support the school that supports you. Most instructors strive to offer gear that is high-quality, durable and long-lasting, and you may be able to avoid shipping costs by purchasing from your school. Buying from your home school helps the local economy. So overall, purchasing from your own dojo is the best avenue to take.
Share the news and let grandparents and family members know that if they want to purchase gear for their favorite karate kid (or adult), they can get it from your dojo. Your instructor can even make suggestions on needed or fun items that will help your training. If they are last-minute shoppers, or they miss the regular dojo orders, gift certificates are an alternative wish-list item. Gift certificates allow more freedom, time and thought in deciding what gear you need.