Awkward Muay Thai Moments – Female Groin Guards

Getting kneed or kicked in the ladyparts – It’s not something that I hear female fighters talk about, but it happens. For me, it happens a lot more than I would appreciate.

I have a distinct memory of receiving a hefty teep to the vagina in my second fight, which wasn’t much of an issue. In the fights that ensued after that, however, knees to the groin seemed to become the weapon of choice of a few of my opponents. Of course, they were accidental (or at least I hope so!) but that didn’t make them any less annoying or painful. There seems to be a common misconception that it doesn’t particularly hurt for us ladies, but it does! I went back to sparring two days after a fight where I received one such knee, and ended up taking further abuse to the area in the form of a kick. It was sincerely unpleasant, and it got me thinking; why aren’t there any decent female ‘part’ protectors out there? Maybe there are, and I’m just missing them, but does anyone actually use them anyway?

In Thailand, you’d have a hard time finding anything other than a horrible big cardboard triangle with elastic attached to it in order to protect yourself. I was forced to wear a communal (yes, communal) one for my fourth fight, as I was informed five minutes before the fight that it was mandatory to wear chest and groin guards at that stadium, neither of which I had at the time, as it had never occurred to me to use them. Being an A-cup, a chest protector is not something that I had ever considered, as a sports bra pretty much eliminates any trace of boob that I do have, and I was thoroughly displeased at having to wear one. It was pretty much a cardboard pair of cones attached together by elastic with ‘Twins’ slapped across them, and was quite frankly, one of the worst designs for anything I’d ever seen in my life. Both the chest and groin guard stuck out from under my clothes in a rather unsubtle and embarrassing fashion, making me look pretty comical. You can read more about that here.

After that fight, I tried to look for an appropriate groin guard, as I had been asked to fight regularly at that stadium, but didn’t want a repeat of the previous episode. However, I didn’t find much at all, and my only option was this hideous FBT groin guard, shown below.

Why are there so few female groin guards out there, and why are they all so terrible? It seems ridiculous to me that in 2013, the only option available is one that looks like something out of the 80’s. Perhaps there just isn’t enough demand for a new design. I’ve been lucky enough to have gone without sustaining any notable injuries of any kind from my fights so far, but the closest thing I’ve had to one is a bruised pubic bone. It didn’t last for very long, but it was pretty inconvenient while it did. Also, as someone who studied product design, I’m very interested in finding a solution. Perhaps I should design one. I would name it ‘The Gash Guard’. Well, maybe not. I’m not sure anyone would buy it with a name like that – and now I feel bad for swearing.

I’ve heard of Thai girls wearing men’s groin guards in fights, but I can’t say that’s something I’ll be doing. As it stands, I’d prefer not to wear any protective gear at all, but if I would be very happy to come across a practical and comfortable solution. There is definitely a gap in the market for it, at least in Thailand. You could argue that we don’t need them, as I did when I was forced to wear those horrible communal ones, but I’m not sure that all women would agree. Also, having received more than a few knees and kicks to the ‘privates’, I’m not sure if I do, either. Are there many girls who actually do bother with groin or breast protection, anyway? Are they even necessary? I’d be interested to hear from any females who have an opinion on this, or those who have had any similar experiences. Come forth, ladies. I can’t be the only one!

23 thoughts on “Awkward Muay Thai Moments – Female Groin Guards

  1. I have had a cork the size of a large marbel in my girl pits that lasted about a month from getting kneed there in sparing OMG it hurt like hell. Another girl from our gym got spit open in her fight from a kick and had a huge hematoma on it :(. i have never worn one in a fight and been kicked and kneed heaps of times but never bad enough to do to much damage untill that one i got in sparring. Now im sceard and i went and got a male cup to wear when i fight again i have been wearing it in sparring and its not that bad ones you start going. It has given me more confidents to just go forward and throw more kicks not worrying about my bitz getting smashed. As for chest plates only wor one ones and yep it was a plastic cone chest plate it was horrible and uncomfy and hurt me bu digging in to my ribs. Never want to wear one again as i too have a chest like a 12 year old boy haha. WMC rules is that all females must wear chest protector and grion gaurd so i guess sooner or later we will all have to wear one if they enforce the rules. I just hope they do have something a bit better by then.

  2. They aren’t in high demand… A company probably can’t justify designing/producing them just to capitilize on a market so small. I’m sure as women’s Muay Thai becomes more popular (it really is growing), then companies will start to wise up. As for current solutions, I can’t say I have one. Sorry to hear!

  3. I was going to bring up Tash because she and I talked about this a number of months ago. Getting hit in the groin sucks. I’ve taken to wearing a male cup, which – being steel – offers pretty good protection and kind of freaks out some of my opponents when they feel it in the clinch. (I had a ref grab my lady bits prior to a fight to check for a groin guard once, I think just not paying attention to the fact that I’m not a man, and I wasn’t wearing a guard at that time. It was awkward.)
    It is remarkable that there isn’t a better option out there. I hear groin guards and chest protectors are mandatory in Japan, so you’d think they would have figured out something reasonable by now. I reckon the male cup, just flattened out a little bit, would be ideal.

  4. Amen! I have been looking for a good groin protector everywhere lately, it is simply impossible to find. Knees are by far the worst, but I also find shins in jiu jitsu often land there as people try to pass, equally painful.
    Let me know if you find a good one!

  5. My favorite chest protection is Turtle Shells. Simply described they are hard plastic oval/dome shells that fit in a sports bra (custom made or you could modify one with a bit of fabric on the inside). I’ve found them very comfortable for sparring, grappling, rolls, etc. There are similar ones that also add a wing to the side, but a lady I know who wore those said they dug into her ribs at times. There are also thin ones of similar material that protect the sternum that fencers use, but I’ve heard those can dig into you during rolling, bending, etc. As I don’t spar in competition, I don’t know if any of those would meet those level of requirements but I’d rather wear them than that bulky old style.

    I’m now on the hunt for groin protection, hence stumbling across your blog, after getting a knee straight on just above the public bone that caused some issues. Also I’m now at the level where staff and cane applications are starting to include groin strikes, which means it will soon be allowed in sparring. For me it looks like Shock Doctor’s pelvic protector would work the best, but it seems only a few hockey stores carry them now with just compression shorts for the holder.

  6. Hi Emma,
    I recently came across your blog, and have been reading it with much enthusiasm.. I have been training Muay Thai since 1985 and of course the major problem in fighting Sports is head and groin shots!
    There is a really good groin protector now out for men : It is built into compression shorts. They have a YouTube channel showing how amazing it can protect against impact. Maybe you could inquire if they have something, or could produce something equally good for women.
    Getting kicked or kneed to the groin for years can lead to infertility in later life! Not good!

    I dont believe you train with a head guard, but if ever you need a good one the German company Top Ten makes head guards out of a type of rubber that protects agains all concussive impact. I have been using their headguard for 30 years.

    The 100.000 fighting kids in Thailand could use a head guard like this since it was discovered in a brainscan study of these kids that many had brain abnormalities, see

    The whole point is that in the fighting sports safety precautions should be taken, but are usually ignored!


  7. I had no idea! As a fellow Nak Muay, but not in Thailand, I found your blog a while ago & think it’s great. Never occurred to me that women boxers would have difficulties in this area. I’ve been dealing with a the problem too & for a few years now. The traditional metal groin cups are one size fits all adult, & because I have had testicular injuries & am dealing down there with the after effects of the mumps from a few years ago, no cup I’ve found will cover or fit all the way around my guy-parts. I’ve tried them all. Even the Thai metal kind but they are totally dangerous for me & the Shock Dr or Bike ones are too. This has actually kept me out of training because my gym a mandatory cup rule. Basically, all the cups I’ve tried just don’t cover over the testicles. Scary problem for a kick boxer! Most cups for contact sports are too narrow or shallow – plus they all shift way too much anyway. I tried the Tae Kwon Do outside-the-gi kind first but it failed. I was happy when the Nutty Buddy was released in XL & XXL sizes, the first cup that offered more than one youth size & one adult size! But its a baseball cup thats not designed for kicking. Finally 4 new cups came out for MMA that broke the mold: the RDX Next Gen MMA cup, the Diamond MMA cup, the Hayabusa Exoforge cup, & the LO BLOO martial arts cup from Sweden. They’re all awesome, except they STILL don’t fit me & I’m so frustrated! I sparred anyway at the gym wearing the RDX but the second day I got racked & got sent to the emergency room. The doctors all say I was very lucky because one testicle was ruptured but not very much, so a surgery saved it (and it easily could have been both). The pain was the beyond bad. I blacked out. They said it was the rim of the cup that was the problem & I need to retire (I’m 22!) or they could both be amputated next time. Or I could just lose my fertility or whatever. At least ovaries are on the inside & protected really well. But I believe you that females probably aren’t listened to about the need for protecting your… lady… area. My advice is to try a male cup first (the regular old kind, like football players wear) to see it that might work. It might feel weird, but under MT shorts they won’t draw attention. After AAAALL my research, I did some for you & suggest you could try the type of long “pad” kind that narrows to go under between the legs. It looks like it would totally work well (but I’m only an expert on my girlfriend’s lady area, & she’s not a martial artist). There are a lot that come up in Google Images when I typed in “female groin cup” or “women’s groin protector”. The one I mentioned is the MTX or Adidas kind that is made from foam padding but some others that are a bit different are ones from Title Boxing or the ProForce Women’s Tuck Under Guard. Thanks! All the best and good luck in the ring. -Cody

    • Wow, Cody. I have to apologise because you posted this comment ages ago and I only just saw it! It got listed as ‘spam’ somehow and I just discovered it. It sounds like you understand how important it is to have a decent groin protector more than anyone! Sorry to hear that you’ve had such terrible injuries. Retiring at 22 is a horrible prospect, so I hope with the right protection, you can keep going. A friend of mine had the same problems from mumps and it was pretty horrific, although he’s not a martial artist. I imagine that the metal cups are a real problem and not very safe for you. Have you managed to find anything more suitable for you? I have checked out a couple of the female groin guards that you mentioned and I know that some people do use the men’s ones, although I’ve never tried them myself. I have resorted to not using any guard at all, but I actually took a hard knee from a guy in clinching the other day, which reminded me to start thinking about it again! I’ll have a look at the other options you mentioned to see if they’re any different from the ones I’ve seen so far. Thanks and sorry again for the late reply!

      All the best,


  8. What does the muay thai rules say about the solar plexus area? Can the breast protection cover it?
    I would like to use breast protection, but my problem is I can’t find one that fully covers my D-cup. For karate I chose the biggest they had, but it’s too small anyways and i never used it in muay thai.
    As for the groin protector, I’m currently looking into that matter and everything looks awful and i don’t think it will give any protection.
    Please design a nice looking and practical protection gear :D I’ll buy it!!

    • Hi Milena,

      Thanks for the comment! :) I’m actually not entirely sure about breast protection and the solar plexus. I almost never see girls using breast protection over here. The only ones I’ve seen for sale have been hideous, big chunks of plastic that look really uncomfortable!

      The Shock Doctor groin guard for women seems like the most appropriate choice, but the only way to keep it in place is to have shorts with a kind of pocket for it! It seems silly that there isn’t anything better out there. Perhaps I shall have to design one.. ;)

  9. I don’t know if anyone checks these comments anymore, but if so, please know that I started working on this! I am in my 2nd year of muay thai training and noticed this problem as well. I only do muay thai as a hobby, in school i study industrial design. I will try to do my best, I hope I can make a valuable thing out of this! I just wanted to thank everybody for all the great things that was noted here, cause it really did help with my research, since there are close to none information on the internet about this topic :(.

    • Hey, that’s awesome!

      I did my degree in Product Design and was also thinking of doing the same thing, but I just don’t have time. It’s so great to hear that you’re working on it! Do you think you could keep me updated with your project? I’d be really interested to follow and maybe even help out if you need!

      – Emma

  10. Pingback: Female groin cup for combative sports | Explore, Expose, and Experience

  11. Hey Emma. I read this post when I was looking for a female groin guard/protector for Krav Maga and full contact sparring.

    Recently Lo-Bloo came out with a female groin protector that is similar to their Thai-Cup 2.0, but with a more female-formed fit. I still prefer the Thai-Cup 2.0 for sparring full contact, but the female one seems to be pretty good too (it is very new, just released in July 2015, so my experience of it is limited to my testing and a few use).

    I wrote about finding groin protection for females based on my experience with several types of product. Hopefully it is helpful to you and or other female athletes who are into combative sports :)

    • Thanks for writing this post and for sending it my way. This is great! It’s hard to find these products at all, let along such detailed descriptions and comparisons. I will be sure to share this on my Facebook page. The Lo-Bloo models look really good, I might consider trying one out. Thanks again!

  12. Welcome :)
    Being a fighter in spirit, but a researcher at heart, I actually had to stop myself from being ‘too detailed’ in the post so it won’t drag too long for anyone to finish reading it. I’m glad it might be useful :)

  13. Pingback: Female groin cup for combative sports - EXPX3

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