On a Question of the Day
BLACK BELT: What’s your approach to protecting your melon? No contact? Minimal padding to lessen the severity of head shots? Maximum padding for maximum protection? Face shield, too?
Ryan Head: If you’re going to do full-contact sparring and you want to go all-out, get as much padding as you can because no matter how tough you think you are or how realistic you want your training to be, concussions are a real thing. There’s no reason to put yourself at risk of serious injury while trying to be better at defending yourself, training for a tournament, etc. That being said, if you know what you’re doing and take a less competitive approach to sparring, it can be done with contact and still not be as dangerous whether you have head protection or not. And of course the type of martial art matters, too. If you’re just grappling, you shouldn’t have to worry about being hit in the head, for example. There are a lot of different ways to spar.