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!

14 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 :http://www.diamondmma.com. 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.
    http://shop.budoland.com/ 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 http://www.nationmultimedia.com/life/An-atlas-of-the-brain-30216151.html

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

    Eddy

  7. 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.. ;)

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