It still amazes me to this day how many people show up to class without an athletic cup. I am not talking about the occasional lapse (“Dangit! I took it off and forgot to put it back in the bag last night!!”) but rather the student who somehow thinks that wearing an uncomfortable and weirdly shaped piece of plastic held to their groin with nylon straps is somehow optional. As a fellow student once quipped, “I wear my cup to the school’s bake sales!”
Incidentally, this advice goes for women as well as men, in case you were wondering. Sure, getting kicked mightily in the groin as a guy makes you wish you had become a monk for a couple of minutes but from what I’m told, getting hit in the groin is no picnic for women either.
In this day and age, there are a lot of options for athletic cups. Gone are the days when the only option you had was an ill-fitting plastic triangle that mashed you into odd, contorted angles. These still do exist but nowadays, without too much trial and error, you can find a higher-caliber cup that’s right for you. And despite the frequent use and abuse, I’ve found that a modest investment in a quality cup will last for many years. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the few pieces of training equipment that you might only have to buy once a decade.
It bears pointing out that, no matter how amazing and high-tech a cup is, no matter how well designed it is, it will never, ever, ever be able to fully protect you from 100% of the impact. Unfortunate but true. This is particularly true of a groin kick — a staple of Krav Maga. Sure, it will disperse the majority of the blow and let you walk away from it but when it comes to getting hit from below, it is really not possible to engineer groin protection to handle those low angles. That being said, you will still be fine with a good quality cup, no matter what angle. Just be aware that these are not going to make all hits to the groin pain-free. (more…)