Lower belts keep kicking me in the groin. Need advice.

ThatOneCanadian

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(Karate practitioner here)
Just like the title says: whenever I spar with a higher belt, I get nicely nailed in the face or stomach or some other above-the-belt target as intended, but whenever I spar a lower belt, they aim roundhouse kicks at my abdomen but end up kicking my crotch because of inflexibility and poor aim. This is very painful and the fear of it happening basically allows them to dominate me. It has reached a point where I'm 10x more afraid to spar them than I am the higher belts in my class.

What is my best course of action here? I love fighting but I don't love getting kicked in the nuts.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I'm with Flying Crane: first advice is wear a cup. It won't eliminate all discomfort, but it certainly will make it much less painful (and less likely to cause actual injury).

You should expect new students to be bad. They're probably aiming at your stomach or such, trying to imitate what has been done to them. But they can't quite get there (at least not reliably), so they miss. And they miss reliably.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Are you wearing a cup?
Admittedly no, as I actually received a groin injury from a cup at one point (due to sliding out of place). I'm basically terrified to even put one on now.

However, this isn't just the groin; I've taken inadvertent strikes to the knee as well (low kicks aren't permitted in my style). Basically my entire lower body has seen countless, avoidable injuries due to this.
 
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seasoned

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Once you have the cup in place this will give you safe passage to practice your blocking...also how long have you been training?
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Once you have the cup in place this will give you safe passage to practice your blocking...also how long have you been training?
I have been training for five years. If it matters, I have gotten kicked in the groin about 40 times (rough guess) and had several knee injuries, two of which were dislocations, but all of which were due to this problem.
 

Flying Crane

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Admittedly no, as I actually received a groin injury from a cup at one point (due to sliding out of place).

However, this isn't just the groin; I've taken inadvertent strikes to the knee as well (low kicks aren't permitted in my style). Basically my entire lower body has seen countless, avoidable injuries due to this.
Ok well, your initial post gives the impression that it is the groin, and a cup goes a long way in providing some protection for that.

Sparring beginners is interesting because they tend to behave unpredictably and they tag you in ways you dont expect. So its good training. Interesting that experienced people, while technically better, can also be somewhat predictable because of the training.

At any rate, you need to work on that. Get in there, and experience will teach you how to deal with it, assuming you are getting quality training in your school. Put the cup back on (get one that fits properly), perhaps consider some leg protection, knee and shin pads, etc. that can give you the peace of mind to work through it until you develop your skills.
 

MadMartigan

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In my experience, most sparring injuries occur when one side gets pushed past their level of control. I never hurt someone that I'm significantly better than, as I have the time and ability to control the pace of the match. This also keeps me from getting hit by an inexperienced fighter.

Should someone be able to push me to where instict for self preservation kicks in, then I'll make mistakes.

Perhaps your pushing the lower belts to this place, resulting in them just throwing for the fences trying to hit anything. Try pulling back a bit, and letting them set up their attacks. You may find they'll make less mistakes while they're just learning how to control their kicks.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Ok well, your initial post gives the impression that it is the groin, and a cup goes a long way in providing some protection for that.

Sparring beginners is interesting because they tend to behave unpredictably and they tag you in ways you dont expect. So its good training. Interesting that experienced people, while technically better, can also be somewhat predictable because of the training.

At any rate, you need to work on that. Get in there, and experience will teach you how to deal with it, assuming you are getting quality training in your school. Put the cup back on (get one that fits properly), perhaps consider some leg protection, knee and shin pads, etc. that can give you the peace of mind to work through it until you develop your skills.
This is honestly what I needed to hear, i.e. whether or not this was a good part of training or an issue that needed to be fixed. I'll try to work with this from now on and basically treat lower belts as if they're Muay Thai champions. (not being sarcastic)
 

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In class one day, I was the fifth person to spar a specific girl. The last four people I had either heard them yell at her for kicking them in the groin, or else I saw them walking with the "my crotch hurts" shuffle after sparring her.

Instead of keeping my hands up, I kept them down. About a foot in front of my groin, just a little bit lower, ready to intercept any kicks. My Master saw this, and nodded his approval. The girl asks, "Do I have a reputation?"
 

Gerry Seymour

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I have been training for five years. If it matters, I have gotten kicked in the groin about 40 times (rough guess) and had several knee injuries, two of which were dislocations, but all of which were due to this problem.
If you're getting knees dislocated during training, that's a red flag to me that there's a lack of safety and control in the room.
 

JowGaWolf

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My thoughts:
1. Wear a cup. If you are getting hurt because of the cup then you are probably wearing the wrong size or not wearing it properly. Cups are uncomfortable but they feel much better than regular kicks to the groin.

2. If beginners are kicking you in the groin because of round house kicks then they are doing the kick correctly. Bad aim but correct in all concepts of fighting. There is an assumption that roundhouse kicks can't be thrown to the groin.

3. The reason you are getting kicked in groin from round house kicks and knees is because your stance is unguarded. This simply means your are standing in a way that opens your groin to that kind of kick. This is an weakness that you need to work on, but it's better to fix this weakness while wearing a cup. Pay more attention to your stance and what you are doing when you are getting kicked in the groin.

Groin strikes are legit in fighting so from that aspect. You should stand and fight in a way that minimizes that risk.

Just thought of a 4th.
If you are taller than the people you are sparring then lower your stance a little. If you are the same size as the person, then lower your stance a little. Having a tall fighting stances increases the risk of being kicked in the groin.
 
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JowGaWolf

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If you're getting knees dislocated during training, that's a red flag to me that there's a lack of safety and control in the room.
I'm trying to figure how the knee gets dislocated when getting kicked in the groin.
 

Bill Mattocks

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First rule of karate is don't get hit.
Second rule is if you get hit, it's your fault.
Lower belts are great teachers, they'll wreck you. Best suggestion I have is step up your game.

To avoid low kicks, get out of the way. Step offline, turn, just move away. If you want to teach as well as learn, catch or jam kicks and knock them down.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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I'm trying to figure how the knee gets dislocated when getting kicked in the groin.
It doesn't lol I'm talking about unintentional lower body hits in general

First rule of karate is don't get hit.
Second rule is if you get hit, it's your fault.
Lower belts are great teachers, they'll wreck you. Best suggestion I have is step up your game.

To avoid low kicks, get out of the way. Step offline, turn, just move away. If you want to teach as well as learn, catch or jam kicks and knock them down.
1 - Wear a cup.
or better yet
2 - Figure out what's wrong with your technique, preventing you from guarding your groin.
The problem so much isn't low kicks as it as bad high kicks that end up becoming lowkicks halfway through the technique + the fact that low kicks are not allowed in our style and should not be thrown anyway. The focus in Shotokan is everything above the belt + the absolute lower part of the foot (for sweeps). Compare it to a face punch suddenly being thrown in a Kyokushin match.
 

Bill Mattocks

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It doesn't lol I'm talking about unintentional lower body hits in general



The problem so much isn't low kicks as it as bad high kicks that end up becoming lowkicks halfway through the technique + the fact that low kicks are not allowed in our style and should not be thrown anyway.
Technique not allowed...

This does not compute.

I hope I never have to explain to an attacker that his techniques aren't permitted.

I repeat, lower belts will wreck you. Learn to protect yourself, or don't I guess.
 
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ThatOneCanadian

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Technique not allowed...

This does not compute.

I hope I never have to explain to an attacker that his techniques aren't permitted.

I repeat, lower belts will wreck you. Learn to protect yourself, or don't I guess.
I should elaborate that my school does sport Karate, aka what you see in the Olympics. And to my knowledge, most fighting sports do not permit groin kicks during sparring. In fact, I believe that such a technique is severely discouraged in most dojos.
 

Dirty Dog

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The problem so much isn't low kicks as it as bad high kicks that end up becoming lowkicks halfway through the technique + the fact that low kicks are not allowed in our style and should not be thrown anyway. The focus in Shotokan is everything above the belt + the absolute lower part of the foot (for sweeps). Compare it to a face punch suddenly being thrown in a Kyokushin match.
If you're training 100% sport, with no self defense application, then fine. Otherwise, the problem is not what you describe. The problem is that you don't know how to defend your groin.
 
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