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chops's picture
To see or not to see ?

Before I put my question up for discussion can I ask that you don't reply with the answer to try without or just work through it or it's more realistic or if you were in a fight a they would get knocked off and you would be back to the same problem ( I know all this, I understand this but we are looking for a constructive answer)

I have a student who wears glasses which isn’t a problem until we start contact work (Striking or sparring/fighting) as he needs to remove his glasses for his safety and for those partnering him) he really is at a major disadvantage as his eye sight isn’t good enough to allow him to compete in any of the striking/fighting formats be it Kata based sparring/semi-contact points style or just being able to focus/target/pin point an area. He can't wear contact lenses as he has some major problems/issues with anything in his eye's (not even a fist can change his mind!) I have advised him to look for something such as sports goggle (21st century must have developed something by now?) and he has come back with this website:http://www.sportsprescriptionglasses.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Does anybody else have any experience in the wearing on sports goggles for martial art/combative sports?

Tau's picture

Personal experience:

Wore glasses since the age of seven. VERY short-sighted (as a technophile I was the stereotypical geek.) As a teenager I enjoyed competing but was pretty rubbish at it. I just accepted that it wasn't my thing. Long story shortened, I got contact lenses aged 29. If you'll excuse the turn of phrase I've never looked back. It turns out that it wasn't that I just wasn't very good at fighting but actually I couldn't see well enough! Contact lenses are one of the biggest benefits to my Martial Arts as I enjoyed competitive success in my early 30s!

Doing Karate my glasses were a big problem. At university we had a BIG club. At least, we did at the start of the year. Sixty students lined up. Although numbers dwindled quickly. Without them I couldn't see Sensei who was very much the disciplinarian and would berate me for failing in my stance. But if I wore them they could be problematic with some exercises and rapid transition from kihon or kata into kumite. Sensei wasn't one for accepting these problems and adapting.

Psychologically, eyes are funny things. People can be incredibly guarding of them (I speak professionally due to treating eye injuries.) It may be that the phobia can be overcome, hence I cite my experience.

Contact lenses can also be protecting in the case of accidental eye gouges, as I can attest to from BJJ.

I did train with a chap who initially wore prescription SCUBA goggles! We laughed, but they worked for him and the instructor was happy. He did switch to sports goggles and I think they worked fine. I would question their safety to other students in close-in work, however.

chops's picture

Great reply is this a recent experenice with training and sight problems or from the old days? Sounds more like the good old days ;-) I was thinking that if gloves were worn or bare feet cover with pads it would probably be fine and no different to anyone say if head clashed? Scuba goggles seems a bit extreme as they are not designed for contact with another person I would hope that the goggles I showed in the link were meant for such things to happen

chops's picture

What about insurance woudl wearig such an item invalidate the insurance for anyone? Student wearing them if something went wrong and their own eye got injuried or if the item caused a injury to anyone else working with the person wearing them?

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

chops wrote:
What about insurance would wearing such an item invalidate the insurance for anyone? Student wearing them if something went wrong and their own eye got injured or if the item caused an injury to anyone else working with the person wearing them?

I think that is a question you’d need to ask the firm / body that provides your member to member insurance. Like everything, whatever solution you arrive at will undoubtedly have to be “fit for purpose” and “reasonably practicable”. “Work around solutions” are likely to be problematic if they result in injury. However, purpose designed items (i.e. sports glasses / goggles specifically designated for impact) are unlikely to be a problem. The liability of “martial arts goggles” is likely to lie with the manufacturer if it turns out they are not fit for purpose, so I would have thought he would be fine with those. Letting him spar when we know he can’t really see what is going on is almost certainly going to be the greater risk (to him and others). I’d just check with the insurers that they have no issues with someone wearing specifically designed goggles.

If it were me, I think I’d look for the belt and braces solution of “martial arts goggles” when engaged in compliant pair work (just in case), and “martial arts goggles” + head guard with face protector when engaged in non-compliant sparring (that way not even the goggles can get hit). Something like this, for example: http://www.blitzsport.com/Clear-Protective-Visor?gclid=CJeZ24L1vMkCFQ-3GwoddjIHZg

I’d also still check with insures and have a risk assessment in place to show that I’d considered the risks of the situation and had come to the best possible solution.

All the best,


chops's picture

Good idea Iain, I want to see if anybody else had tried or tested them or knew someone who had, I've had one of those masks shown in the message above to try and just coud'nt wear it it wasn't nice to wear at all and If I remember rightly it's meant to be worn over another head guard this part is just for greater protection of the eyes and face