So, you want to get a gift for someone in your life who either trains muay thai, or is a fan of the combat sport, but what the hell is muay thai, and where do you start looking? Perhaps you train, and you want to give your girlfriend or grandma some ideas of what you want for Christmas. My grandma Baker would get me corduroy pants every year without fail. Let's avoid that happening to you.
Its hard to go wrong with this gift that can be worn year-round. Amazon.com carries a fairly good selection of muay thai logo hoodies and crew neck sweatshirts. This yellow hoodie is a little pricey at USD49.99. I found a version in black for USD21.90 and and I love it. You can find the yellow sucker here.
I've been training and teaching muay thai for half my life. I've used pretty much every brand of boxing and muay thai gear imaginable, and when it comes to boxing gloves nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Twins. The prices are fair, especially when you compare them to brands like Everlast.
For North American shoppers I recommend going through TitleBoxing.com - you'll pay around USD60.00 for them. Twins can be found for about half the price on sites like MuayThaiStuff.com, but chances are slim you'll get them by Christmas as all orders ship from Thailand and take minimum 3 weeks to get to the USA.
If you're not sure exactly what to get the muay thai fan in your life, this is easily your safest bet. There is no way you can go wrong with the box set of all three Ong Bak films that delivers the best demonstration of the older muay thai systems (except for Ong Bak 2 where Tony Jaa tries to cover practically every martial art in existence). But seriously, you're guaranteed to make the recipient of this gift happy (I'll take a copy please). This link is for my readers in the UK, I really appreciate your loyalty :)
Thai boxing liniment is a great stocking stuffer, and is the fastest way into a muay thai practitioner's heart. It's true value is known only to those who've been initiated, but once you understand it's benefits it becomes a general cure all for all aches and pains. You have to be careful from who you buy Thai liniment as it is largely overpriced, considering a 120cc bottle sells in Thailand for less than 2 dollars, however online merchants will mark up the price to as much as $15 for the same product that may be past it's expiration date. Here's a site that offers decent prices, and their online store is protected by Thawte SSL, so you can be sure your data is secure.
Competitive Ace is the official North American dealer for Namman. This liniment is about as fresh as you can get it, however, the prices are little higher than other resources, so you'll have to weigh the benefits for yourself.
Alright now, among muay thai purists, there are really 3 camps of opinion as to which brand manufactures the best thai pads: Twins, Windy and Fairtex. Pretty much everything Twins makes is of very good quality, their thai pads are no exception.
What makes a good thai pad a good thai pad? Density, thickness, material quality, and restraint assembly. I love Twins with exception of the thai pad line which uses Velcro strips, which eventually fray and can come undone during intense pad work sessions.
You want leather pads with a thickness of at least 4 inches of padding thickness with a buckle restraint system. In my experience, the most durable brand, the thai pads that last for 10+ years of extensive training has been Windy. Ladies, this is a sure bet way to make your man incredibly happy this holiday.
If you ever get one book on the subject of muay thai, this one is it. The hardcover book is viewed by many as the textbook on muay thai. Transcribed from the bedside of aging Master Ket Sriyapai in 1978, this book is humble in layout. I swear most of the book was photocopied from notes, but don't let that fool you. This book is filled with incredibly usefull information, tips on training for a fight, techniques, and serves as an enlightening history of the transformation of the modern sport muay thai in the twentieth century. Due to the dry reading, I suggest holding off on purchasing this for any muay thai student under the age of 18. I'm generalizing here, but most teenagers won't want a book for Christmas. You can find it here.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I'm sure I missed a few other 'must haves'. There are a number of online resources for muay thai training gear and accessories across the Internet. The common brands for muay thai gear include Twins, Windy, Thaismai, Kombat Gear, and Fairtex.
What do you think should be on this year's list? Add it in your comments!