One of the rudest moments someone participating in any sport can experience is when they discover that groin protectors aren’t perfect. While I’ve never seen anyone strut around the mats like their groin was invulnerable with a cup on, there is definitely a misconception that it keeps strikes to the groin entirely pain free. It doesn’t. Taking a shot to the groin isn’t just about standing there and taking it, and once you learn how to use your body to effectively minimize the energy delivered with a groin strike, while at the same time allowing your partner to train proper targeting, you’ll be a lot more comfortable taking groin strikes in your training.
Having said that, no level of experience will ever make you relax while someone aims a strike at your groin. It’s a common misconception amongst those who train without a cup that wearing groin protection will dull your protective senses. I can assure you, that for me, after 6 years of training with a cup, my instincts are still intact, as the out-takes in the video below will attest.
Enough rambling, here are 5 tips to help you take a shot to the groin.
- Wear a groin protector. It doesn’t matter how expensive your cup is if you leave it in your bag. At our dojo we take measures to remind people when someone has forgotten their cup. Read about it in the blog post ‘X’ Marks the Spot… The Groin, That Is.
- Lift your hips. If you watched the Nutty Buddy review video, even in the good shots, I moved my hips up and away the blow is delivered. Moving with the blow rather than remaining stationary allows more of the energy to dissipate through your movement, rather than into your sensitive area.
- Squeeze your thighs together. By squeezing your thighs together you can slow and even stop the incoming blow, making it a useful technique for protecting your groin from an actual attacker. This movement is predominately aimed at stopping knees to the groin. In a real situation, you could bring your knees all the way together too, and this can help protect against soccer style kicks to the groin. If you train barefoot, it could cause foot injuries to your partner, so stick to just squeezing the thighs together in training.
- Bending & changing your angle. Cups are mostly made for taking shots in the centre of the cup, channelling the energy around your sensitive area into your pelvic bone. Strikes coming upwards, or on sideways angles can actually hurt more than when you when you’re not wearing a groin protector, as it can drive the groin protector into your sensitive bits. Subtle hip and leg movements to adjust your angle can maximize the frontal contact that will better displace the energy around the testicles, rather than through them. It also allows you a better chance to block the strike entirely when combined with other methods, like lifting your hips, or squeezing in your thighs, since angled strikes can counter those types of blocks.
- Invest in a high-end protection. For men, you can get a tuck-under cup for around $15 that will do an adequate job. Doubling that amount will move you up to cups with rubber edges that better absorb energy, and the straps tend to fit better. Moving even higher, to something like the Nutty Buddy, can make you feel almost invulnerable, though you’re looking at dropping around a $100 with shipping. So far I’ve had two students who’ve purchased the Nutty Buddy, (both medical doctors), and they love it. You can read the full review for my thoughts.
Getting hit in the groin sucks. Someone who delivers full force strikes is still going to cause you pain if you stand there like a dope and try to “take it like a man.” Mixing these movements with reminders to your partner that it’s your turn next, should allow you to leave class with your voice at the same octave as you arrived.
Do you hit to the groin in your martial arts school? If so, how do you minimize the inherent issues that come from this form of training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
For groin protectors and a wide variety of other training tools, check out MartialArtsSupplies.com.