Getting kneed or kicked in the ladyparts – It’s not something that I hear female fighters talk about very much, but it happens. For me, it happens far too often.
I have a distinct memory of receiving a hefty teep to the vag 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 wondering; why aren’t there any decent female groin 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 foam 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 obvious 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 the ones we do have 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 people think that 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’d name it ‘The Gash Guard’. Well, maybe not.
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 most female fighters would agree. Also, having received more than a few knees and kicks to the groin, I’m not sure if I do, either. Are there many girls who actually do bother with groin or breast protection, anyway? If not, is it because these products aren’t necessary, or that the ones available simply aren’t good enough? I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has an opinion on this, or those who have had any similar experiences. Come forth, ladies. I can’t be the only one!