Required Equipment
Growing up in Indonesia during World War II, my Dutch-Indonesian kuntao-silat teacher did not enjoy the luxury of training with safety equipment.  If a student in his day made a mistake when practicing his technique, it often cost him dearly; he could be scarred for life or, worse, crippled. While this harsh training environment made fighting art practitioners tougher, it also made for fewer of them.  To help us today in our quest to understand and apply practical techniques, modern practitioners must take advantage of our own cultural differences, as well as make full use of technological advances not available to previous generations.

Taking advantage of our own cultural differences means that for one thing we wear shoes in training.  Our primary reasons for this are, first, shoes protect your feet during training (and we definitely step on the feet).  Second, if we must fight, it will most likely occur while we are wearing shoes.  Since our emphasis is always on the practical, we train as closely as possible to the way we fight.  For a detailed explanation why training in shoes is so important, read Barefoot Training  in Chapter Six of Martial Arts America, but for now, suffice it to say that if you train for self-protection, then you must train in shoes.

Biker stepping on karateka's foot
But wearing shoes in training is just the start.  Specialized training equipment, safety gear, video technology and other modern training equipment all help us improve our quickness and timing, stretch our muscles and joints with greater frequency and less chance of injury, and do all this for many more years than was previously possible (Martial Arts America, 1998,20).

Groin Protection
Taking advantage of technological advances not available to previous generations, means first and foremost that in all our classes, seminars, and workshops, groin protection is mandatory for ALL — no exceptions.  Arguments against groin protection abound, but the fact is that good, comfortable groin protection has been available for years, and if you really intend to strike the groin in self-defense, then you must strike it in practice (practice to miss in class and you WILL miss in the street).  With that in mind, the following equipment is recommended for the protection they provide as well as their comfort and wearability.

Male Groin Protection

Franklin Cup


Franklin Sports MLB® Adult Pro Style Cup
If 13 year-old young ladies can wear something as uncomfortable as I am told a brassiere is, then I think we macho male martial artists can get used to wearing this well-designed hard cup for a few hours during training.  Besides, getting used to wearing a cup is a whole lot easier than getting used to being hit without one.Smiley face   (For specific cup-wearing suggestions, check out our best way to wear a hard cup web page.) 

Note:  This excellent hard cup is identical to the discontinued Bike hard cup (model 7180) and has been available at Target and Walmart.  Besides this one, there is yet another excellent cup, the  Cricket  cup.

Cricket Cup by Aero


Cricket Cup
Aero Cricket Groin Protector Cup

Crickets may be small but this Cricket Groin Protector Cup by Aero is not.  It provides excellent groin protection and we highly recommend it.




Diamond Compression Jock Shorts & Cup System


Diamond MMA
Diamond Compression Jock Shorts & Cup System

The Diamond Compression Jock and Cup System provides excellent groin protection for high impact sport athletes.




Now,  please,  for your own protection,  continue to read on and see the kinds of cups you
should  NOT  buy

Worst Cups  

Although advertised as Recommended for contact sports, the Bike Pro Flex Hard Cup (on the left) and others like it, with their wide  rubber  sides, flex nicely around [read allow smashing into] the organs they are supposed to protect!  MMA players can wear these kinds of cups because attacks to the groin are prohibited in Mixed Martial Arts competitions (see UFC Rule Number 7).  These cups are, therefore, definitely  NOT recommended  for contact in our school  (none of our training is for sport).

I must point out that one of our  female students  said these male  Flex  or  Sports  cups are,
in fact, quite comfortable  for women to wear.


Bad Bike Cup     Bad Under Armor Cup     Shock Doctor

"Flex" cups like these provide adequate protection in sports because there, blows to the groin are rarely direct and are definitely infrequent.  However, for men they remain inadequate in an environment where practitioners deliberately strike the groin and do so with great accuracy, power, and regularity.


Nutty Buddy Cup
This NuttyBuddy®, "Protecting the Boys" cup [emphasis added]  looks like it should work, but  it does NOT.  The biggest problem is its lack of protection from below.  Again, the Franklin cup or the Cricket cup provide the best protection for what we do.
Poor Cup & Supporter This style cup and supporter wins the Absolutely Worst Cup Award.  When I got serious about martial arts study in the late 60's, this was about all we had for protection — and it was pathetic.  This old-style cup-n-jockstrap neither protects sufficiently nor supports adequately.   Better to wear a regular support over your shorts and insert the banana-style tuck-under cup in the support.  Your shorts will absorb the perspiration and the regular support will hold the cup in place better.  For myself, I wear spandex shorts over it all.  (See our web page for the smartest and comfortable way to wear a good cup.)

  OK Guys,  now check out the  best way to wear the cup.

The Yin Side

As said in Chapter 6 of Martial Arts America, equality in training rests on more than just masculine shoulders.  If your male training partner wears groin protection so you can practice striking a highly effective and vulnerable target, then return the favor.  Show everyone that you believe in equal training and give him a groin target he can safely strike as well.
Female Groin Protection

Shock Doctor Female Pelvic Protector
Shock Doctor Women's Pelvic Protector

Adidas Female Groin Protection Female Groin Protector

Title Female Groin Protector Boxing Female Groin Protector

Feminine groin protection is easily located online simply searching for "female groin protector."  Click here for Amazon's Female Groin Protector List.

Breast Protection
For some reason breast protection is a sensitive subject in the martial arts, but it remains a very important one for several reasons.  Here's just one: With breast protection, the male student can grab his female training partner realistically — something absolutely critical if a woman's training is to be truly effective.  With all that in mind, here are some models that are worn discretely under the uniform and generally work very well.
Turtle-Shells Sports Bras
Turtle-Shells Sports Bras

It is our understanding that these work very well for training in our school.
Ringside Chest Guard Boxing Chest Guards

This site offers several different types of sports bras and female chest guards.

Officially, our uniforms consist of a black karate gi (uniform) worn with a white T-shirt, and although we encourage students to purchase them, we do not require them.  Neither do we sell uniforms or equipment in our school — practical martial art instruction for self-protection is our only product. That said, not everyone can afford to sign up for instruction and, at the same time, purchase a uniform, cup, shoes, et al.  Indeed, some prefer to wait and see if they like the instruction offered before purchasing a uniform.  That's fine with us.  Students and guests are, therefore, welcome to train in sweats (shoes and groin protection are still required). 

For those still seeking uniforms, online purchase is available Amazon or a similar vendor

There you have them — our equipment and uniform requirements.  Since all training is a simulation of reality, we try to balance practicality with safety, street reality with real training limitations.  In other words, if we kill our training partners we'll have no one with which to train for the street.Smiley face Hopefully, these requirements will help us all to  train smarter, not harder.

We have no affiliation with, nor receive any compensation from any equipment manufacturers or distributors.

Our  emphasis  is  on  the  practical.
©Copyright Bob Orlando, 2004-2016
All rights reserved.
Last update:  Aug. 6, 2016
by Bob Orlando
Web Site of Bob Orlando: Instructor in Kuntao-Silat (Chinese kuntao and Dutch-Indonesian pukulan pentjak silat), author of two popular martial art books: "Indonesian Fighting Fundamentals" and "Martial Arts America: A Western Approach to Eastern Arts"; and producer of four martial art videos: Fighting Arts of Indonesia, Reflex Action, Fighting Footwork of Kuntao and Silat, Fighting Forms of Kuntao-Silat. Offering practical martial arts instruction to adults living in and throughout the Denver metropolitan area including, Lakewood, Littleton, Morrison, and Golden Colorado.