Teachers won’t teach a sparring class without it. Parents demand it. Adolescents need it. Insurance companies require it.

Martial arts headgear minimizes injuries while elevating safety and performance, and with new studies being released on the long-term effects of concussions, martial arts headgear is more important than ever. While different martial arts sparring gear may look the same, poor foam density and overall construction can greatly reduce the level of impact protection. Follow these 4 rules to ensure your most important martial arts tool, your head, gets the protection it needs during training. 

Rule #1: Foam Thickness and Density   

Good gear should have a foam thickness of ¾ inch or thicker. Layered foam positioned at key strike zones can add another level of protection, however, beware of textured foam that looks like an “egg-crate” or has a “waffle” design. Texturing such as this has been shown to reduce the effective thickness of the foam and reduce its protective qualities. Ask your school owner or manufacturer if their gear has been tested and what the results were. 

Macho Martial Arts sparring gear is impact tested on the only equipment of its kind in the U.S. Based on the criteria outlined in the ASTM standard specification for protective headgear used in martial arts (Designation F-2397-04), Macho tests its headgear using the high-speed swing arm test in our product testing facility.

Here’s a closer look at two of Macho’s most popular headgear designs:

Rule #2: Adequate Back-of-Head Coverage

Falling can cause some of the most serious injuries in martial arts, and losing one’s balance can happen to anyone, from a beginner to world champion. That is why having adequate coverage to the back of your head is vital, and is something that the most reputable manufacturers will protect against. The falling test assesses the typical impact one would feel when falling on the back of their head, and is a great way that companies can ensure the products they offer are as protective as possible.

In 1997, Macho was the first manufacturer to use the drop anvil (or falling test) to test its gear against its competitors. When buying your own head gear, we recommend you make sure the head gear was put through a similar testing process, or you could be as risk.

Rule #3: Vision

Having maximum peripheral vision when sparring is not only needed to see your opponent, but it is also a safety and performance issue. When you choose your head gear, make sure nothing obstructs your view. You should have at least 105 degrees of unobstructed vision, which will assist you in your sparring and help you move out of the way of an oncoming strike. 

Safety does not hinder performance; it only creates a more effective fighting experience. 

Rule #4: Ear Pressure Release

The Ear Pressure Release Test checks to make sure the head gear design allows air to flow around the ear to protect the eardrums from rupture. Macho Martial Arts introduced the patented ear-release canal design in 1984 – an innovation that has now become an industry standard.

Your safety is our number one concern. Without the appropriate impact tests, high-level impact protection, and high-quality impact dispersing materials, your martial arts training could be hindered. Take the time to do your research and in return increase the time you’ll be able to spend in a dojo.