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When competing in any sort of martial art there's one piece of equipment that you always need to get your hands on - literally. That would be, yes you guessed it, a decent pair of boxing gloves. Gloves are one of the most vital aids in your martial arts experience. Things like boxes, gum shields and chest guards are optional, however, gloves are compulsory and without them you will not be permitted to participate in sparring. Gloves are there, not only to protect the person you're sparring with, but most importantly to protect your hands -*self* defence really is the operative word and wholly encapsulates the use of gloves in martial arts. Getting yourself or your child a good pair of gloves is essential and there are a lot of aspects to take into account: the weight, size, straps and the claps are all something that can alter your decision on which pair of gloves you purchase. I'm here to tell you why, in all those aspects, M.A.R have got your covered. M.A.R, not only have their own range of martial arts equipment, but also their own martial arts inspired shops. Selling, coincidentally, their range of gloves and anything else that you'd associate with the world of martial arts. I've been familiar with M.A.R for a number of years now and no matter how many different brands I flirt with, I always find myself coming back to them. What I like most about this brand are their prices, sometimes you'll find yourself paying up to £100 for a pair of boxing gloves that will end up falling to pieces within a matter of months. M.A.R gloves currently retail for around £10 and can be purchased from Amazon. These M.A.R gloves really are universal, not only do they come in an array of sizes ranging from small to XL, they also come in a variety of eye catching colours. Variety is what I like about this brand and it's what keeps me coming back for more. The quality of these gloves speak for themselves, their tight stitching ensures that they will last you a lifetime (well, maybe not a lifetime, but a long time all the same!). I've owned a pair for around 4 years now and they're still going strong, I do sometimes alternate between these gloves and other brands in order to suit varying situations in my chosen martial art (kickboxing), but M.A.R are my much preferred brand for a number of reasons. Not only is the stitching the tightest and strongest I've come across (after 4 years these could pass for being brand new), the padding in them is second to none. Of course, with all boxing gloves, the whole of your hand is encapsulated by the glove, giving it an all over protection (these really are the Durex of the martial arts world), but they give you extra special protection around the sides of your fists, which, sometimes other brands forget about. The padding which sits above your knuckles, of course is the most important and M.A.R deliver. The padding is at least a few inches thick and it really is all padding, not just air between your knuckles and the leather material. These protect your knuckles superbly and you'll have to be pretty strong to throw a punch and injure your knuckles (unless of course you're punching in the incorrect manner). You can really feel the quality of these gloves as soon as you slip them on your welcoming hands. The smooth texture of the leather coupled with the range in grips gives these gloves a real advantage over the competition. As aforementioned, it's the grips that really set these gloves apart from the rest. Ok, granted, a lot of gloves give you different grips, however, I've always preferred these over any others. Thumb wise, these have a tight little pocket to slip them in (no sexual innuendo there at all), that keeps your thumb firmly in place and protects them from fractures, breaks and prevents them from popping out of their sockets. For your fingers, there are a two options - you can either utilise the pocket, which is a larger version of the thumb pocket, or you can use the grip. This is similar to holding a piece of rope (without the burn of course) and is especially useful in the warm weather when your hands are undoubtedly going to become sticky during a sparring session. These allow air to circulate your hands and can enable you to make a sturdy fist. The only problem being, while using the grip you have no control over the top of the glove, which effectively means that if you hit a wrongly aimed punch, the top could steer off in another direction, leaving your hand exposed. Therefore, unless you're completely comfortable throwing punches around left, right and centre then I recommend using the pockets. Once first purchased the gloves can be a little stiff, leaving it hard for you to make a fist, however, once worn in a bit they loosen up and it becomes second nature to slip the gloves on and make an effortless fist. The velcro strap is thick and elongated (is it just me or is this review full of euphemisms?) and enables you to get a snug fit no matter how thick or slim your wrist is. The velcro remains strong and you'll never find that the gloves slip which, if they did, could potentially be dangerous. Wearing the gloves is a pleasure, they provide the maximum protection you can have from a pair of boxing gloves and, given the size you buy should not be too heavy for you whilst sparring. They're not, however, the lightest gloves I've ever worn, but they're by no means heavy and they don't leave my arms fatigued after long periods of wearing them. ...sting like a bee. Highly recommended.