Dealing with brain damage in Martial Arts
I have been doing striking (Muay Thai and boxing) for about a year and a half now and have progressed to the stage where sparring in anything other than the advanced class is not contributing to my improvement and my coach has given me permission to join that class, the problem is the advanced class is full of professional kick-boxers, boxers and MMA fighters and I feel I might be risking my brain health if I were to start sparring in that class, I am fairly academic (currently in university) and I don't plan to have a career in fighting (just some amateur fights). In this context how should I proceed and more importantly if I were to start sparring there what should I do to reduce the possibility of brain injury.
I'd have to know how the sparring is conducted in your school. Professional and amateur fighters are usually the better people to spar with in professional gyms as they tend to have the most control and know when to turn it up.
That being said there are gyms that use and abuse each other. I was a professional fighter for 12 years. I fortunately have all my faculties (hope I used that word correctly). I started fighting my 2nd year in college. As long as you're not taking shot after shot and protect yourself you should be fine. Also headgear and heavier gloves. Nothing less than 16oz.
Thanks very much for the reply, I have seen some of your work on youtube, I am a big fan. I think the sparring culture at the gym is good, I have never had any problems though I have never sparred at the very top level.
Originally Posted by Omega Supreme
I think you are a good guy to ask given your background, would it annoy you if your sparring partner was not giving the sort of challenge that other better fighters might? (For example if I were to take a minute after eating a good shot to clear my head) I don't want to be a burden on the class but at the same time I don't want to be too proud to admit I am taking more damage than I am comfortable with, I am curious to know what is a reasonable expectation from my sparring partner.
Also headgear, how effective is it in your experience? I have heard some guys talk about it actually increasing the lever provided by your chin but I really have no idea (I always wear it anyhow).
Thanks again for your reply.
Let me address headgear first. I personally hate headgear but I have a head of cement and no cartilage in my nose to break so I have an unfair biased against it. That being said there was a study done that proved that headgear prevented a lot of excess damage to the brain. I read the study and had to concede to the point. When we where headgear it is an indication that we intend to throw heavy that day.
Originally Posted by Johsak
As for sparring partners (I'm not saying this to sound arrogant) I rarely find guys that are on my level so I experiment with using certain moves and angles. I rarely spar these days but back when I did, I never found it annoying. I was there to make sure my guys were getting better and I always made sure my partners were safe. This is why I say the more advanced guys are better to spar with. They know the benefits of hitting light and using only technique.
Thanks again, that answers all my questions, I feel much better about the whole enterprise. I had my first sparring session today, it went well, had my ass handed to me but in an instructive and non damaging fashion.
Originally Posted by Omega Supreme
Head gear also helps against ear and eye (also nose) damage, which are important.
your coach recommended you move to advance, than you go there.
especially because you want to compete as an amateur.
They probably have a lot of rounds and switch partners often, so you can ask to take t easy on you.
just remember, that you can't go hard on them when they pull ther punches..and put your hands up!!!