It's that time of year, and you're trying to think of that perfect gift to give that martial artist in your life. But after looking at the cost of uniforms, weapons, and gear bags, you're thinking to yourself, "Man, I sure wish they'd pick up a cheaper hobby!"
Well, the Stick Chick is here to help you out. Just call me your personal martial arts-related Santa's Little Helper.
GOOD MUSCLE RUBS
Doing what we do, we get muscle aches and strains on a regular basis. So you could look into getting some Dit Da Jow (My friend Dale Dugas makes it and ships worldwide - and he makes other herbal remedies as well, so check out his store HERE). You might find Tiger Balm in your local store (many martial artists I know swear by it), and there's new muscle rubs with lidocaine that also work well.
A good muscle rub is ALWAYS needed and appreciated!
There's two kinds of tape that are generally helpful.
For all martial artists, regular ol' medical or athletic tape comes in handy to help bind up minor wounds, to tape together hurt fingers (especially for our grappling friends), and the like. I find this often in discount stores so I buy many rolls when I find it. Something like this tape right here works really well.
For Arnis/Escrima/Kali players, we use tape - electrical, hockey, and duct tape - to repair our sticks. You could buy some in your friend's favorite colors, or even a multi-pack of colors (I love having a colorful patched-up stick myself), or in the case of duct tape, it comes in all sorts of cool patterns (I have Batman tape!).
UNIFORM WASHING KIT
This is especially helpful with white uniforms, which are notoriously difficult to keep stain-free (and boy, we do get some interesting stains on them) and we often are fighting mildew, especially when we have to keep our uniforms in our bag a long time before it can get in the wash.
Gift wrap a kit that consists of white vinegar and baking soda, and if you can find some, Oxiclean (if it's available where you live. If not, here's a suggestion on how to make a homemade version).
I don't wear a white gi on a regular basis, but I need this stuff for my red and black gis as well, so most of us will appreciate a uniform washing kit.
You can include in your kit some fresh-smelling sachets - you can even just give them some nice fragrant dryer sheets - to keep in their gear bag to keep it from smelling funky.
That image above is a joke, but I've been tempted at times, lemme tell ya. There's been times we wanted to go to a seminar - Mr. Chick and I together - but we couldn't because we just couldn't find a babysitter at at reasonable price (and it is not feasible to take a little one with you to these things, trust me). This is especially true if it was an out-of-town seminar. So either just one goes, or we have to skip it.
If you want to help out that martial arts couple in your life - giving them the gift of taking the kids for the day, or for the weekend, would be a HUGE and much-appreciated gift.
HEALTHY SNACKS EMERGENCY KIT
Sometimes you get to training, and you get so busy, you just don't have the time/energy to get something to eat. For your busy martial artist on the go, you could put together an "emergency kit" of snacks - packs of nuts, dried fruit that keeps, beef jerky, etc. - in a gift pack. You know your martial artist, so include a not-so-healthy but well appreciated sweet treat if you can.
Believe me, having healthy snacks on hand helps us avoid making eating decisions we might... regret... later.
So there you go, five awesome gifts you can give the martial artist in your life without breaking the bank.
I'm sure there's more ideas that I certainly missed - do you have any? As a martial artist, what inexpensive thing could someone give you that YOU'D love to get under your tree? Let us know in the comments!