Sparring - Gear or No Gear?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by gpseymour, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    So, two groups of questions in this.
    1. What level of gear do you use in your classes (question for both students and instructors) when sparring with strikes? And what level of contact is allowed? How variable is any of that (equipment and level of contact)? And how often do you spar (I'm assuming this will correlate in some way).
    2. (This one's for instructors, or for students who happen to know the answer for their school.) For those in the US, what impact does insurance have on your decision? Does your insurance company ask what equipment/contact level is allowed? Do they impose any requirements or limitations?
    I'm thinking through what I can and want to allow, and at what level. I need to discuss it with the dojo owner when I return (taking a bit of time off with my foot surgery), and thought I'd use this time to ponder and gather some info.
     
  2. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Blue Belt

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    • for kids typically full proforce style gear, and sometimes nothing depending on time
    • for higher students and instructors typically nothing and sometimes a kudo helmet and slim gel gloves for heavy contact
    • for kids we encourage medium contact, for ranking students we vary alot
    • kids spar semi often, and our ranking students spar very often
    • our insurance doesnt really affect our sparking
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that. When you say "higher students", about how many years' experience is the transition? And does it vary by age?

    Also, when you say "nothing", does that include no groin protection?
     
  4. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Unarmed the light end of the spectrum would be MMA sparring gloves, karate headgear, cup, mouthguard, we often omit the footgear. But people armor up as they feel they need. Some people have foot and shin gear as well.

    Armed the light end is lacrosse gloves and fencing mask for rattan and when fencing with steel it is a HEMA jacket, mask, gorget, cup, gloves, forearm/elbow, and shin/knee protection.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. What's the contact level at the "light end of the spectrum"? Does it vary by experience level, personal preference?
     
  6. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Yes, it depends on both. I usually start people light and then we bring it up to "hard" contact. Light would be touch, hard would be "other guys doesn't want to get hit by that again but isn't going to get KO'd." My personal preference is around the medium-hard range.
     
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  7. Azulx

    Azulx Black Belt

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    My club is adults only 18+, all students must wear a minimum of hand pads and a mouth piece. Most students wear feet pads too, some wear a helmet and shin guards.
     
  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    What is the rule there on groin protection?
     
  9. Azulx

    Azulx Black Belt

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    Groin is a legal striking area during sparring, I recommend an athletic cup.
     
  10. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Where Jacob trains its Head gear, gloves, foot pads, and mouthpiece....cup is recommended.

    We like the Century Kize brand

    [​IMG]

    Head Gear is optional for advanced students in training....but to me where the head gear is important is in case of falls it protects the back of your head hitting the ground...they spar on a hardwood floor

    Light to medium contact to head....(rule is don't swing through the head and don't rock the head hard.)

    Medium to heavy contact to body.

    Light contact to groin.....no reason to kill your partner.
     
  11. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    I wouldn't suggest Kize for gear that will be shared by students...I would go with dipped foam gear.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Gloves, mouth guard, shin pads, cup

    FIGHT!

    :)
     
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  13. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Pretty much. All head gear does is get in the way. You still get the impact and frankly it makes your head a bigger target because you've got a big helmet on. Plus it cuts out your vision a little to and just gets in your way
     
  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Regardless of the official policies of how much contact is allowed in a dojo, it really comes down to who’s sparring who (or is it whom? :) ). And what’s going on at that moment. Great example:

    During my 1st kyu test, I had a line of seniors I had to spar with, ranging from 6th dan to 1st dan. There were a 6th, two 4ths, two 3rds, and a 1st dan.

    6th dan: If I go hard and fast, he’ll have me slow down and have me focus on technique, timing, etc. If I try to brawl with him, he’s going to use angles and set traps and pick me apart. I couldn’t stand toe to toe with him if I wanted to. Not because of getting over powered (although he’s more than capable that way), but because I’d get hit with way too many things way too easily. Contact doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a touch either.

    4th dan 1: He’ll hit me just as hard as I’ll hit him up to a certain point. Then he’ll hit me harder and faster if I’m going too far. I get the hint very quickly. Nothing’s ever been said between us about it, and nothing needs to be said. We get along great. When we get into a rhythm, getting hit hurts. Hurts enough to disrupt what I’m doing, enough to have to block. Not enough to still hurt later on.

    4th dan 2: He’s a bit older and has some health issues. I won’t hit him nearly as hard as 4th dan 1. Not because he can’t handle it, but because I just won’t. We go toe to toe quite a bit without either of us backing up, but the contact level is I guess medium. It isn’t light touching, but getting hit isn’t a big deal.

    3rd dans: Same as 4th dan 1.

    1st dan: I get to her at the end of the line, with my teacher standing behind her. He’s doing a slow down gesture with his hands without saying anything thing. I make eye contact with him and nod, acknowledging what he’s saying and a “yes, I know and agree” kinda way. She’s older, has some injuries, and just can’t keep up at the pace and level of contact I was at with the previous people listed above. Contact From me is touch, and I’m just looking for an opening and throwing 2-3 things at it. I’m not trying to create many openings. If I went 1/4 as hard with her as the others, honestly I don’t want to know how that would get dealt with. If I slowed down to that pace with the others, I’d definitely pay for that too :)
     
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  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    If you’re on a non-matted surface, it protects your skull when it hits the ground.

    The head of my organization used to have a headgear optional policy. He was watching at a tournament (not his tournament) and saw one of the competitors not wearing headgear get swept hard and land full force on the back of his head on a gym floor surface. It wasn’t a dirty sweep, and the guy wasn’t thrown down. The back of the guy’s skull was basically shattered. He immediately required all students wear headgear that fully covers the back of the head. That type of thing doesn’t happen often, but how often does it have to, or better yet how often should it happen? Once was obviously too many times for the guy who wasn’t wearing it.

    It’s not going to keep people from being concussed nor is it going to prevent the cumulative effect of minor blows to the head. But it’ll help keep your skull together.

    Headgear is annoying. But I’d rather be annoyed by it than be injured by not wearing it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  16. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    I agree, as does everyone at my club and a growing segment of the combat sports community. Headgear is a false sense of security for both guys( puncher and punchee), as well as the reasons you offered.
     
  17. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Youth intermediate students. Head gear, Open-fingered gloves, Shin-guards, Mouth-guards, Groin protection.

    Advanced youth:
    -Striking and Submission Wrestling - Head gear, open-fingered gloves, Grappling style Shin-guards, Mouth guards, Groin protection.
    -Kali Stick Sparring – Fencing mask, Hockey gloves, Shin-guards, elbow and forearm pads, Groin protection.


    Teens & Adults:
    CSW – Open-fingered gloves, mouth guard, grappling shin-guards, groin protection.
    Muay Thai – Thai style gloves, mouth guard, shin-guards, groin protection.
    Kali – Fencing mask, hand, elbow, & knee pads, mouth guard, groin protection.


    Kids:
    Intermediate – No strikes to the head.
    Advance – No punches to the face or back of the head.

    *** No one gets Hurt! ***



    Teens/Adults
    ***Do not overwhelm your training partner. If you are better than them then you work on your defensive skills.
    NO ONE GETS HURT.



    Fighters: NO ONE GETS HURT!!! If a fighter gets hurt they can’t fight. IF a Pro Fighter gets hurt he/she loses a payday. IF you are a pro fighter with an upcoming fight and get hurt sparring and can’t make the fight you still owe the gym your contracted pay %. (this keep them smart in their training and sparring)
     
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  18. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Required sparring gear:
    Head, mouthpiece, hands, and feet. Dipped foam.
    Males: Groin cup
    Females: Chest protection. Can be the vest type or the plastic cups that go in their sports bra.
    *No one checks them, but it’s told repeatedly that they’re required. If you don’t wear them, it’s on you.

    Optional:
    Chest (males), forearm, and shin pads. A few women wear combinations of them. Women typically don’t appreciate having bruised up arms and legs while wearing a dress to an office job or social occasions. Men don’t show as much skin and typically don’t care if they did. One guy wears shin pads because he’s had compartment syndrome issues in the past.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    MD, I'm imagining you throwing those items at a student or training partner, then attacking them. :D

    What intensity level do you guys go at, on a regular basis? Does it vary much?
     
  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, that's a good picture of the variety. What do you see among the lower ranks (below dan ranks)? Where does the contact start getting significant, or does it start that way (but at a level that becomes insignificant later)?
     

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