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Finlay's picture
Headgear recommendation please

Hi there


i am looking for some help with regarding head gear.


i am looking for some solid full face protection for sparring and heavier contact. I looked at some boxing head gear but because we sometime put training knives into the mix I am worried about people's eyes, and the don't really seem to go with the eye protection that we sometimes wear

in the videos that john titchen posted recently in the thread about kicking in self defence I really liked the look of the head gear that the guys were using.


any help would be great

JWT's picture

Hi Finlay

I use High Gear, Spartan Training Gear and Blitz head gear on a regular basis.

Best for eye protection from gouges: Spartan, Kudo & High Gear
Best shock absorption: Spartan
Best for grappling on the ground: Blitz
Best for forward vision: Blitz
Best for peripheral vision: Kudo
Smallest target: Blitz
Worst head protection: Kudo
High brain shock factor: Kudo
Now the High Gear and Spartan helmets offer a modicum of shock absorption, and their face parts will buckle in as part of that which means people getting a direct low face hit will get hit on the nose. We have had a few bloody noses over the last 6 years as a result of that. They also offer eye protection from clawing etc. 
The Blitz cage helmets offer no shock protection. Their job is to stop the nose and jaw from being broken. They have very little padding.

Ultimately the helmets are there to reduce bruising (though one person who had two black eyes after one afternoon wearing the Blitz helmet might disagree) and cuts to the face. When you get hit in one of those helmets, it hurts and it shocks because the force going through the head and brain stem is not really altered by the helmet. I've actually been knocked out accidentally twice in High Gear helmets.

1. The High Gear and Spartan helmets actually make it harder to work an infight and prefight guard because they increase the size of your head slightly. The Blitz helmet does not have this problem. A hit to someone in one of these helmets is not significantly different to being hit without the helmet on - you just won't get the bruises or cuts. The helmets do not discourage headshots. What I tend to see time and again when people come to experience this training from both TMA and Martial Sport backgrounds as well as in my own students when they are first timers is that most people don't like to hit to the head, and this kind of event teaches them that it is the head shots that are the fight stoppers in the main. It also teaches people about the need to keep their hands up if they are not holding or hitting someone.

I've noticed that students generally get more nervous not more confident when the helmets go on because they know that the person really is going to go for them and that if they muck up it is going to hurt.
All my senior students prefer Blitz, because it keeps the head a small target and protects the nose.  I've actually just bought another 15 Blitz helmets that should be arriving today!  Blitz is also the cheapest of the helmets.
In this video I'm the person having to wear a High Gear helmet as it was the only one left after all the students picked the Blitz!  I'm also the one with the worst peripheral vision as a result!
I have been considering buying motorcycle visors (as used in Spartan) and sticky velcro and attaching them over the gap in the Blitz, which would give full eye protection, but overall the risk is so small v the increased risk of cuts on the visor edges that I've currently decided against it.
Hope that helps!
John Titchen
Finlay's picture

Thank you very much for such a complete reply. Helps a lota lot

Simon ONeill
Simon ONeill's picture

I use the Blitz ones and generally concur with what John says.

I'd add that if you use them without gloves, they discourage closed fist strikes to the face, as it hurts the hand. This is something that can be factored in to make a point if you are so inclined.

I find the helmets very useful as a tool to introduce good range and targetting in drills. Without face protection they tend to hold back or use modified form through fear of giving or getting a bloody nose or whatever, even with light contact. Using the helmets they can commit to using correct form, and the occasional jolt to the head when a defence goes wrong is a good introduction to more aggressive work.