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Review of Sparring Equipment for Contact Karate P6 - Why Wear Hand Pads

Updated on December 5, 2012


Hand pads are the biggest change from "traditional" gear in the last 20 years for a multitude of reasons. We’ll not touch on all of them here as the greatest variation seems to be in this equipment. We will comment on the ones we believe are the most important.

When I first began in the martial arts, sparring was an exercise that was done without pads of any type. Barehanded, no foot pads or helmet was required though the environment was controlled by the instructor. Then hand and foot pads were added which spice up the sparring duels. And, of course groin protection was added. Helmets came in last.

It seems with the advent of MMA style events, padding began to evolve for specific reasons. For our purposes, that being to learn self-defense in a controlled environment, we will limit our comments to three types of hand pads.

The hand consists of numerous bones of different names. We have found over the years, information and experience that indicates young people and many adults should not be breaking boards with a "punch" unless wearing a hand pad.

The prevalent attitude in most other arts is that a well developed hand will, in most cases, be able to handle the force developed by a "punch." However, any immaturity or imperfection of the bones affected or any misalignment of the punch may cause damage to any of the joints and/or ligaments associate with the punch.

CMAF does not allow students under the are of 18 years to do board breaks with a punch unless the hand is padded, regardless of the size of the board. Child safety is first and the hand is not fully developed until the person reaches "adulthood."

CMAF requires hand pads for all of its tournaments. Hand pads, as well as other pads are required for all regular class sparring. Students are not required to participate in sparring at any level. They may still advance through our system examinations when they meet all other criteria. However, no student will be admitted to the Instructor ranks without having experienced this valuable tool.

CMAF does have "no pad" sparring drills on occasion in the advanced level classes to simulate actual "on the street" conflicts. These are short time periods, carefully monitored and, again, only for advanced students. The result is an evident and valuable lesson. Students act and react differently when wearing pads, and that is the purpose of this drill.

CMAF also requires hand pads during promotional exams for certain "board breaks" for all junior age students and allows and recommends it for all students.

NOTE: All written training information presented by Dr. Randolph A. Young and the Christian Martial Arts Fellowship is for informational purposes and is not presented as a training program. All training and use of martial arts techniques should be learned and developed only under the direction and supervision of a qualified instructor.

IMAGE COPYRIGHT: Images, references and other related material used are mainly from personal files or It is not our intend to infringe on these rights in anyway. When timely proper notification is received regarding an issue, the item will be removed as soon as possible.


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