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'X' Marks the Spot… The Groin That Is | Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu

‘X’ Marks the Spot… The Groin That Is

Chris, my dojo’s other instructor, was recently asked what the main difference is between his old style of Jiu-jitsu (Shorinjikan) and Can-ryu (our style). His answer was as follows: “It’s not Can-ryu if there isn’t some kind of groin strike involved.” I couldn’t help but laugh. Of course, it was an extreme statement designed to elicit a laugh, but there is a certain degree of truth. A truth he met with full force just last night.

In my dojo, we always wear groin protectors because our self-defense oriented style uses a lot of strikes to the groin. It is as much a part of our uniform as our belts.It is so ingrained that everyone wears a cup while training that when someone forgets their cup, we have safety precautions that we take to remind everyone when someone is not wearing. I have a roll of red electrical tape that is used to mark a large ‘X’ where the groin is to remind everyone not to strike that target with force. Without the reminder, people tend to forget… like I did last night.

Chris decided not to wear his cup last night. He had recently bought the shock doctor compression short groin protector and he was finding it to be not very comfortable. He decided to take it off since he was only teaching last night and not likely to receive any blows to the groin. Unfortunately, the teaching situation changed and we team-taught the class.

I was demonstrating an after-throw technique that had an optional strike to the groin from a tendon twisting lock. Basically, if the uke lifts his hips and makes the groin an easy target, you take it. And in this case, the target was offered and there was no red ‘X’ to remind me not to take it. The class laughed, not at Chris’s pain (which was intense to say the least), but at my embarrassment at having forgotten. There aren’t too many times when the class gets to see me blush.

The moral of the story is: The red ‘X’ marks the unprotected spot. No exceptions.

Comments (7)

7 thoughts on “‘X’ Marks the Spot… The Groin That Is

  1. I good idea to wear a red X. Having said that it is a good idea for you guys to wear cup and practise shots to the groin. Many martial artists tend to not think of this vital area when training.

  2. Hahaha I’m learning Krav Maga, and we regularly have this situation…

    This is a really good idea, I might suggest it to my instructor 🙂

  3. i am undecided of the benefit of the cup. my style shorinjikan does not use them and whilst we do use groin shots we do not actually follow through. so are we training a bad habit by not doing so? having trained in wing chun and krav maga i appreciate the benefit of a box when in a sparing situation but not sure i agree with the need otherwise. i bellieve you can practice an effective strike without having to actually hit the groin in the same way i would not advocate a full blown shot to the head without a headguard but can still practice placeing a punch to the face. plus there is the discomfort when breakfalling issue. Do many judoka wear boxes?

  4. First of all, I normally wear a cup. I was trying new compression shorts, which supposedly prevent the cup from moving around much. I was finding with break-falling it caused the cup to move. I removed the cup, since I was teaching and was at less risk of being struck. If O’Connell Sensei had struck me while I was wearing a cup out of place, the impact could have been much, much worse. The compression shorts are out. I would not recommend them for tall, lanky people.

    I have trained in Shorinji Kan jiu jitsu for quite a while, and I had much the same attitude you (Bulk) have towards the cup. At first, I was concerned about break falling and crushing things, and that I would become complacent about protecting my own groin from an attack. I can tell you with absolute certainty this is not the case. It’s much more important to practice both target location and intensity of strikes in a realistic fashion. In Shorinji Kan we didn’t punch off to the side, we started slowly, doing punches to the face and it was up to uke to parry. Over time we increase the speed and force of our punches to match the improvement in parrying of tori.

    While you can never attain the same level of force you would use in a self-defense situation (which is where pad work comes in), you can at least do effective target location and tag your opponent, and work on keeping crisp intense punches with proper form. If you’re not hitting to the groin, but just painting the air in front of it, you’re not able to practice clean intense strikes. You also cannot make certain you’re on target. The plastic “tonk” sound of hitting a cup lets you know you’re on target without your training partner dropping to their knees in agony. There’s also the philosophy if you go easy on one strike, then you’ll unintentionally go easier on other strikes, bringing your full intensity down. A soft blow to the groin, followed by a weak strike to the solar plexus and a weak strike to the brachial plexus leaves you… well.. with plenty of ineffective strikes, and potentially much angrier and more confident attacker.

    The downside to wearing a cup? The first couple of break-falls feel weird, but aren’t dangerous, and once you adjust, it’s actually much safer, as a poor break-fall can no longer result in… uh.. accidental crushing.

    In the over fifty throws I learned in Shorinji Kan, wearing a cup only impacts on one throw, uke goshi, because tori’s hip can contact the edge of the cup. I think positives far outweigh the negatives. I’m a firm supporter of the cup, (but not the Shock Doctor compression shorts – this is one Doctor I don’t trust with my…)

    And no, not many judoka I know wear cups. (Any judoka out there feel free to correct me.) But Judo is not a striking art, so practising effective strikes to the groin is not a focus.

  5. I never wore a cup in Judo. Chris the compression shorts and cup by shock doctor are a terrible product for shorter low center of gravity people as well. We should package ours up together and send them back to shock doctor. The first time I wore them in class the cup shifted then smack! The edge of the cup compressed on a very sensitive part of my body. Warning to all people considering buying this product.

  6. It’s strange because Scotty, who also bought that product, absolutely loves them. And Chris likes the cup itself but using a regular strap, not the compression shorts. Guess they fit differently on everyone.

  7. If you don't wear a cup and you always go for the tigh (simulating the groin) or stop short this is what you'll do when you have to use this type of technique for real. I really recommend using a cup, both for safety-reasons and realism in training. That is if you want to have children someday (otherwise it's a cheap alternative to a vasectomy) and anyone who's ever taken a groin-shot knows how incredibly painful it is. In any case you have to actually make contact to know how and where to hit, accurate placement of blows is key and hitting air all the time is not going to teach you these things.

    As to your question: I've never heard of judoka wearing cups but then again they don't practice strikes, least of all to the groin. There is one technique that is dangerous in this respect: uchi-mata or inner tigh reap, that's what I always found fishy back in my judo-days and accidents do happen. I always wear a cup during breakfalls and I never hurt myself, I guess it just depends on getting the right model and securing it properly. Or maybe my breakfalls are just perfect 😉

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