Sunday, July 3, 2016

Nothing But the Best for My Stuff

If you've heard anything about Krav Maga, you've probably heard about the need for groin protection. This Simpson's video, starting at the 45 second point, makes that requirement abundantly clear!

When I started training in Krav Maga six months ago, I realized I needed to upgrade my personal protection. I had relied on my old hockey cup and strap when practicing other martial arts. For Krav Maga I decided to do some research, buy some gear, test it live, and let you know my findings!

The first product I bought was the Shock Doctor Core Compression Short with Bio-Flex Cup. At the time of writing, the Web site shows this product for $29.99.

Using compression shorts was a new experience for me, but I quickly adjusted. This product relies on a pouch positioned inside the shorts to hold the cup in place.

While this system seemed to be an upgrade from the simple cup and strap I wore under my hockey equipment, I didn't stay with it. The cup was not comfortable and it did not stay where I needed it to stay.

Martial arts readers know that a cup that doesn't stay in place won't help you when you get kicked or punched while practicing or sparring!

I decided to I needed to try something different.

The next product I tried was the NuttyBuddy Cup / Compression Shorts Package. I found plenty of people online who raved about this product. At the time of writing it sells for $39.99.

The innovation here is the shape of the cup. As you can see in the photograph, the cup protrudes on the left and right sides, such that the cup positions itself against the wearer's pelvic bone (I believe). Situated in this way, it can absorb strikes to the groin by transmitting the force into the wearer's pelvis.

This was my go-to cup for months. I wore it training and sparring, upright and on the ground. After ground sessions I found bruising caused by the pressure of the cup protrusions. At the time I thought "this is the price for protection!" I thought I would stay with this cup for training, despite the fact that I found myself adjusting it several times per class.

Last month I was planning my equipment needs for a seminar in another state. I thought it might be a good idea to bring an extra set of compression shorts. I tried the Shock Doctor shorts with my Battle shorts, built for the Nutty Buddy. The Shock shorts didn't hold the Nutty Buddy properly, so I tried to purchase another set of shorts from Battle. They were out of stock and the company never replied to my customer service inquiry.

For the heck of it I decided to do some more research into protection equipment.

Somehow I came across glowing reviews for the Diamond MMA Compression Jock & Athletic Cup System, advertised as "THE LAST ATHLETIC CUP A MAN WILL EVER NEED TO BUY." Could it be true?

Dear readers, I am here to tell you that I am a believer. It currently sells for $89.95 online, which is double the Nutty Buddy. However, my experience with this product tells me that it is worth it.

I wore it to Krav Maga class several times, and I had the best protective experience yet. The cup stayed exactly where it needed to be, and I did not need to adjust it once.

The secret appears to be two-fold. First the cup itself is very large, and covers what it needs to cover. It sits in the most secure pouch of the three products. I liked the Diamond MMA compression shorts' velcro patch, which helped keep the cup in place.

Second, and more importantly, the compression shorts have a "4-strap jock system" built into the shorts. The photo at left shows the rear of the shorts. The two blue straps are part of the 4-strap system. These can feel sort of odd on one's behind, but after moving them where I wanted, I didn't notice them. Under my Krav Maga pants, I doubt anyone noticed either!

In the third picture of the Diamond MMA product, at left, I tried to show the inside of the compression shorts. You'll see two more blue straps. When you carefully place your legs through these straps, the magic happens. Essentially the 4-strap system keeps the Diamond cup in place. I was surprised just how well it worked.

While I have not done any ground work yet while wearing this cup, I did not have to adjust it after running, training, or sparring. I also felt like I could take a decent strike due to the position of the cup.

In brief, while you can save money by buying other products, I think it is worth it to buy nothing but the best to protect your stuff. I arrived at this conclusion on my own and did not receive any promotional compensation for writing this review.

I wish I had read a story like this before spending over $70 on the two earliest cups, so I am sharing my experience with you.

What is your experience with protective gear?

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