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

chodanbo

White Belt
Joined
Aug 28, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
4
(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.
Wear a cup.
 

WaterGal

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
1,775
Reaction score
605
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.
I suspect the problem here is that lower belts want to "test out" a wide array of techniques when sparring, rather than just throwing a reliable technique that they're comfortable with. I notice plenty of times, a fresh white or yellow belt will attempt something like a spinning back kick or tornado kick without really knowing how to correctly/quickly throw it, and it becomes clear that they're doing this to either impress the sensei or just experiment with new stuff.

Even if low kicks aren't allowed in your sparring style, they're still happening. So you need to practice defending against them.

You've identified the problem here - low belt students are trying to do kicks that are above their skill level to execute at the proper height, have poor control, and accidentally kick too low. So when you see them trying to do those kicks, take that as a warning sign to block or get out of the way.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,377
Reaction score
9,426
Location
Maui
One of the things I do to get new students not used to body contact, and especially kids, is "de-sensitivity" training. It's a lighter version of advanced sanchin training where the student is in a guard and I (using an open hand) make light contact with their arms, back, chest and thighs and do a little pushing around. It's like play rough-housing. I keep it fun so they don't take it too seriously. This helps them handle the "flinch" response and gets them used to some stress and contact. For kids, I let the parent know ahead of time for their approval - they are quite supportive.

The next step is to get pads on them and up the contact a notch. I do not fully agree with the practice I've seen in TKD where the kids spar fully padded with reckless abandon. I grant that it's fun and develops aggressiveness, but it denies the need for defensive skills and can develop a false sense of safety when in a real fight. There needs to be some balance and realism.
Love this post.
 

Jusroc

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
41
another solution....
kick them in the nuts before they kick you in the nuts... lol

another non-practical solution would be to break their leg before they kick you... (again, not really. joking)...

you could also try get behind them using evasive foot movements aikido / kendo style, and kick them in the but.....lol

get into grappling / close range and keep it there (grapple / throw instead of strike)... not acceptable for most styles of karate, unless you have a really open minded karate coach / training partner.. not for white belts generally, unless your doing some form of Vale Tudo / MMA off shoot mixed with karate

you could also stand on both of his feet.... although standing on someones foot can also be dangerous
have seen it done in sparing, including one time when a guy stood on the other guys foot before the other guy was about to do a step through rear kick, attempting to pivot on the front foot which was stepped on...

he had several of his smaller toes broken.. ouch! thankfully toes heal pretty quick
but just shows you.... simple moves work sometimes.... even if accidentally
 

pel1188

White Belt
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
4
I drive an hour each way to my dojo and if I forgot a cup匈 turn around and go home. There are other students I practice with who have done the same. Ive heard it said once gentlemen if you arent wearing a cup, I cant exactly feel bad for you as you made that choice
 

Jusroc

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
41
In Ed Parker's American Kenpo
Kicking to the groin is generally allowed, as well as kicking pretty much anywhere else.
Although generally recommended with control.

The older generation of Kenpo practitioners will however be more familiar with
old school bare knuckle and no or slim foot / shin pads.

With varying level of control. especially in the dojo's or training halls that don't practice for competition,
but self defence, as training is supposed to help prepare you for real life encounters, it is in the dojo
we can experiment and screw up, without loss of life, outside the dojo, is where we have to make sure what we do works. what ever that may be...

Anyway
In the early 90s, things changed. Health and Safety became more of a focus,
and sets of elaborate protection equipment became more standards.

Although i think kicking to the groin is still permitted.
And in fact, one of the best techniques for self defence. So, getting good at such a technique is a worth while endeavour. perhaps even life saving.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,377
Reaction score
9,426
Location
Maui
Block it...that simple.

Where my son trains and competes the groin is a legal target. You should try and learn how to protect it instead of relying on your opponent
A guy who taught me a lot, a real lot, never used to wear a cup. He's what you would call "a pretty good kicker". Many years ago he was at a point tournament, he was doing a three round demo match with the guy who won the Grand Championship.

He was winning something like 23-7....when the guy threw a kick, not a particularly hard kick, just a kick. But it caught him just so. He was taken to the hospital and had to have a testicle removed. That man was Bill Superfoot Wallace. He never sparred or fought without a cup again. So if you ever meet him, ask his opinion on not wearing a cup. He speaks very candidly about it.

In any dojo I ran you wore a cup to class every day. And every few weeks there were cup checks. (And no, not what you're probably thinking, it was a sound check. Rap your knuckles on your cup.) If you were caught without one you spent the entire class, face down on the floor, doing pushups. The class was ninety minutes. You never forgot one again, I'll tell you that.

You also always had to have a mouth piece in your bag with all your fighting gear, every night, not just for sparring. It was your responsibility, not ours. Our responsibility was to make sure you knew yours.

As to the point someone made about "you don't wear a cup in the street" - school, college, any training, and your parents prepare you for life (hopefully). But as you go through life you won't have your school books with you, or your parents, or your cup, you'll just have your training. All those other things are just part of the preparation.

I have a great photo of Linda Denley from Texas, one of the best woman fighters I've ever trained with. I asked her if she could make it a point to show a particular visiting black belt why he should wear a cup. She told me to "stand by with your camera". So I did.

She made her point with out hurting him. It's a cool photo, I'll dig it up.
 

Ironbear24

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
2,103
Reaction score
478
I drive an hour each way to my dojo and if I forgot a cup匈 turn around and go home. There are other students I practice with who have done the same. Ive heard it said once gentlemen if you arent wearing a cup, I cant exactly feel bad for you as you made that choice
On the few days I forget it are the few days I get hit in the groin, I'd be going back too.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
12,126
Reaction score
3,520
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
In a groin kick not allowed tournament, if your opponent uses his groin to block your kick, what can you do?

This is the problem for "sport". When striking is not allowed, the non-striking MA can move into some unrealistic direction.

You spend you entire life to be good in this. Some 20 years old just punch on the back of your head and knock you out. What's the true value of your training - expose your head and assume that nobody will punch your head (or expose your groin and assume nobody will kick your groin)?

 
Last edited:
OP
T

ThatOneCanadian

Green Belt
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
145
Reaction score
83
Location
N/A
I hear 2 things. Sports Karate.. "like in the Olympics" and, you wish there was a 'no nut kick' rule to fix the problem. First, it appears you're making an excuse.. stating that your Karate is just 'sport karate', therefore, it's lacking somehow. Quick story.. A young man, who was a dominant TKD fighter, worked next to my kwoon. He was fascinated with a technique called 'huen-sau', would stop by, and we'd go over its application. He had a good sabom [teacher] and although very young, he beat some very good fighters and qualified for the Olympics.

It's interesting that, once there, the head Korean TKD coaches re-trained him on many things.. kicks specifically, that, according to him, made them more efficient and made groin cover more essential. The point is, Olympic, sport Karate isn't lacking groin protection.
I would again suggest a different SiFu but I may have confused your wording of 'my school' with a MA school.. when perhaps you train in your High School?
I finished high school precisely 6 years ago and WKF rules specifically mention that groin contact is not allowed. :)
 

Trondyne

Yellow Belt
Joined
Aug 22, 2021
Messages
20
Reaction score
11
If you're getting kicked in the groin by anyone with consistency I'd look at my lack of defense in that area...and why it's such an easy target...
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
11,952
Reaction score
4,483
I keep reading, 'Wear a cup'. I'll ask, Do you intend wearing one in the street?
You keep hearing this because it's a good advice. Even professional boxers were cuts. There's nothing wrong with safety equipment in sparring to reduce harm. It doesn't subtract from being able to fight without one. When I spar I wear a cup, work my stances and still guard and attack as if I'm not wearing a cup. The cup should never be used as a crutch where the person thinks that because they have a cup own that they don't need to defend those areas.

Cup on or off, I still defend against strikes towards my groin and still use my stances in a way that reduces the risks of being kicked in the groin. Unless a person has a fetish for the bruising. Wearing a cup is approved in many contact sports or in sports where objects are to strike a person in the groin.

The only exceptions to not wearing a cup is this or a possible ruptured testicle. If you have been kicked in the groin on a consistent basis where the count is in the 40's then one of these things will be one's reality lol.
 
Last edited:

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
20,614
Reaction score
7,002
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I keep reading, 'Wear a cup'. I'll ask, Do you intend wearing one in the street? If not, I'd go with the advise of Drop Bear, Buka and others pointing 1st to your stance. I don't know what style you are, but personally, I guard my lower gate with my shin using a knee-raise.
However, with all due respect.. you don't seem to be able to 'block' much of anything. I teach 'cover' rather than traditional blocking so I'm not much help there. Sometimes a good practitioner a good teacher. Might be time to change schools?
I don't wear any other protective gear walking down the street. That doesn't mean I am going to spar without it. We did no-gear sparring back in the 60's and 70's. It's nice to see less injuries.
 
Last edited:

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,377
Reaction score
9,426
Location
Maui
No need for a cup? It's the practitioner's body, that practitioner should do what they think best.

No need for a mouthpiece either? Or seatbelts? Or fire extinguishers? Or smoke detectors? Or life boats? Or a
to-go pack? Or an emergency fund? Or a plan fricken B?

Okay, I guess, it's a free country, and thank God for that.

I can't believe I got sucked in to a conversation about a man who doesn't wear a cup when he's training Martial Arts fighting.

My bad.
 

Jusroc

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
41
A guy who taught me a lot, a real lot, never used to wear a cup. He's what you would call "a pretty good kicker". Many years ago he was at a point tournament, he was doing a three round demo match with the guy who won the Grand Championship.

He was winning something like 23-7....when the guy threw a kick, not a particularly hard kick, just a kick. But it caught him just so. He was taken to the hospital and had to have a testicle removed. That man was Bill Superfoot Wallace. He never sparred or fought without a cup again. So if you ever meet him, ask his opinion on not wearing a cup. He speaks very candidly about it.

In any dojo I ran you wore a cup to class every day. And every few weeks there were cup checks. (And no, not what you're probably thinking, it was a sound check. Rap your knuckles on your cup.) If you were caught without one you spent the entire class, face down on the floor, doing pushups. The class was ninety minutes. You never forgot one again, I'll tell you that.

You also always had to have a mouth piece in your bag with all your fighting gear, every night, not just for sparring. It was your responsibility, not ours. Our responsibility was to make sure you knew yours.

As to the point someone made about "you don't wear a cup in the street" - school, college, any training, and your parents prepare you for life (hopefully). But as you go through life you won't have your school books with you, or your parents, or your cup, you'll just have your training. All those other things are just part of the preparation.

I have a great photo of Linda Denley from Texas, one of the best woman fighters I've ever trained with. I asked her if she could make it a point to show a particular visiting black belt why he should wear a cup. She told me to "stand by with your camera". So I did.

She made her point with out hurting him. It's a cool photo, I'll dig it up.
Awesome, Bill Wallace is up there at the top when it comes to American Kickboxing
like Benny the Jet, who was my favourite, because he was just more flashy but also super skilled.
Interesting how you are the reason why Bill Wallace now wears a cup... lol
 

Jusroc

Orange Belt
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
85
Reaction score
41
Incidentally, haven done kenpo for a few years, when i did jiu jitsu and judo i wore a cup.
Many other jiu jitsu guys did, especially ones who were more into Vale Tudo and MMA.

Some of the Judo guys were funny about it, however, i thought it was important
not only from a safety perspective but also from a hygiene and sexual health perspective.

Apparently in Japan, it is not normal to wear a cup.
However, I was thinking this was a bit nuts, because Judo in essence from trad battle field Ju Jutsu,
and i may be more observant than some, but if people hadn't noticed

Samurai on the battle field wore more than just a cup. The techniques of Judo were originally from Ju Jutsu styles that were intended to be used against Samurai wearing full armour.

I also suffer from hypogonadism (probably developed from being kicked in the nuts),
so i figure i got to look after what i have left. What difference it makes to your training partner is minimal.
apart from stopping the more sneaky Judo and jiu jitsu guys "accidentally" dropping their knee in the wrong place on a take down, or a more than unorthodox version of passing the guard...

Yep. Know from experience. Not a sensation that i enjoy. So. wear a cup. I do.
Also, in case i am right about the cause of my hypogonadism.
Any young guys should also invest in a cup.

In fact, should be on your buy list before buying a gi!
 

krowe

White Belt
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
9
Reaction score
7
(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.
Oh god lol I know what thats like. Perhaps using a different stance would help or a different step technique for moving in that makes the angle harder for accidental balltaps. When moving in, to guard against roundhouse kicks I will sometimes drive in with powerful steps. This, done cleanly with force is like slicing through water- timing is important. It usually cuts the angle of the opponents kick and makes the damage from a roundhouse negligable while closing distance, then they have to tangle with you at close range. If you are beginning to develop concious concern for balltaps it is likely effecting your stance. The mind impacts the stability of the body and may make you unconciously retreat ever so slightly in ways you normally would not or shift your balance in preperation to retreat. This would increase the likelyhood of getting kicked in the balls since you would he on your back foot. A good way to avoid a roundhouse is to keep driving in and do close-combat so that they cannot use kicks or sweep it after reading the pattern. Kicks are mid and long range usually. If they lack flexibility it will be much easier to diffuse the power of their kick and break their stance before they can perform the full movement or by driving in with your stance and footwork. So increasing the pressure and being concious of your stance and weight distribution would likely help you.
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,234
Reaction score
176
Location
Southern California
(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.
They have this new thing that some of the oldtimers teach. It's called "blocks." I've also seen some people who move and shift sides but I'd try the blocks first. One thing is for sure, it keeps you motivated, especially if you don't wear a cup all the time.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Jut
Top