So for all of us hardline traditional martial artists, seeing brands like JJB sports, Adidas, Mizuno, Nike all getting in on the scene, for us it spells trouble.
Is this really a bad thing? It shows martial arts is on the up, which is great and it shows that martial arts are getting more mainstream. More children are getting involved, the networks and infrastructure are getting built up. None of this can be a bad thing. can it?
It can be a bad thing, so lets talk about why.
There are some great producers of martial arts equipment. Some of these companies have been around for years. They produce such good quality products and sensible prices but they are struggling. An old-old-skool company called J. Miloms had a close a few years back. They produced items like those cotton soft belts you now cannot get. A wide range of dated but amazing posters that we’ll never see again, Their Judo Gi’s were fantastic and were so tough and durable. But no more, they couldn’t keep up with the big guns coming in and taking the space.
But is this down to big brands barging their way in, probably not. Companies do need to keep up with the times, they need to still be producing a product people want and I guess on the whole, there wasn’t enough people wanting J Miloms products, sad but I guess true.
The other issue for me is quality, if some big brand like JJB sports wades in, they should be producing great products. Are they? Well some are, but not all and actually some produce some great products and some garbage. The prices also don’t seem to make sense, as in it doesn’t match the quality. I like to think that if you pay more, get more more. But the big brands certainly don’t follow this rule.
So where has it worked?
Well I think Adidas have got some things right. They produce some products, their adidas martial arts shoes that are simply not currently available at ‘sensible’ prices. So what have they done that I think is good. The entry level boxing boots are great. The Adidas black hog boxing boots for starters. Boxing boots this cheap exist but certainly nowhere near this quality. They’ve filled a gap that wasn’t there before.
The Adidas Havoc Wrestling Boots are another one, good quality wrestling Boots at a price a newbie to the sport will want to pay. They last for ages so the practitioner can then go on to buy a new pair with a idea of what they now want from a shoe. No ‘traditional’ martial arts supplier are offering something of this quality,so I think this is good for the scene.
The final product I love are the new Adidas martial arts shoes called Adikick. Adidas have produced a few taekwondo type shoes, but these are also great for kickboxing, kung fu, circuit training. Adidas produce a few excellent shoes like this but all the others a quite expensive for what they are. The Adikick’s are a great price, well done Adidas.