One of the many paradox’s in Jiu Jitsu and one of the many questions that come up is , do i really need to wear a cup?
Well that question has about a 50/50 split between who likes and who does not like to wear a cup. First lets weigh in on why we should and why we should not wear a cup. Ask yourself this question if you already know what kind of training you want to be active in. Are you the slow methodical type or the 100 mph grappling type, maybe you have all the kids you could possibly want and want no more?
Well whatever reason you can or cannot have for wearing a cup the decison is up to you.
First lets list why whe SHOULD wear a cup.
1) For the most obvious reason for male genital protection.
A) maybe kids are in the near future, maybe your 9-5 job requires you to move around and lift heavy objects.
2) Avoiding pain while sparring/rolling.
A) Pain in the stomach can distract you from going at it 100%, and you are only limited to giving 30% because of abdominal pain.
3)You are more considerate than the average picnic-basket- stealing bear.
A) maybe the idea of having a male opponent have his face stuffed in your crotch while applying a triangle choke repulses you.
B) Applying an armbar and having your opponent have his arm in your happy region may not sit well.
3) Your favorite Jiu Jitsu player or mixed martial artists endorse the athletic supporter or compression shorts.
A) You find out Marcelo Garcia uses Shock Doctor compression shorts and you have the idea if he can sport these and have success , why can’t you?
So at this point you may be asking yourself ” why on earth would i want to NOT wear a cup?
Well, lets look at some of the other non cup wearing debates.
A)Wearing a cup limits the amount of travel your legs have , maybe they are easy to open when hitting that triangle choke, but the range is limited because it prevents you from completly closing or clamping your legs down.
A) When taking your opponents back it can sometimes ” tear ” into your skin and/or parts causing discomfort and pain and at that point it becomes counterproductive because it is now causing what it was designed to prevent.
3) Ease of tying your pants.
A) The cup takes up space in your pants, it may seem difficult to tie your pants because of the space being taken up by the supporter and cup.
B) You get to your academy and go to the locker room or dressing area and you find out your cup isn’t sitting the way you like, or you have to go back and readjust your cup, this takes up precious time you can use to train.
4) Compression shorts or athletic supporter.
A) Compressions shorts with the inside pocket are good to use if you want to wear a cup for comfort and versatility.
For the many reasons why you should wear a cup, there are also reasons why you cannot or should not wear one. I tell people whatever gives you comfort and safety while giving you mobility and form, use one if you are happy using one, or don’t use one if you are not. Personally i go about half and half.
One reason i personally wear one is because of safety. No one , including myself goes to train to get hurt, getting hurt is just the by product of Jiu Jitsu. On the other hand it does limit my mobility in that sometimes it become counterproductive, in which it ” digs ” into my subabomen region causing discomfort whenever i take my opponents back.
I also opt to NOT wear one at times because of the way my Ouano gi is fitted, the pants fit snug and keeps everything in place during sparring sessions. It also gives me greater mobility with the range of motion of my legs, i am able to hit that armbar from the bottom more effectively or am able to maintain my guard closed tight.
In conclusion my advice to the newbie or the advanced is find what works for you, remember we are all different in many ways but we all have the same inerest in mind. Compressions shorts are an inexpensive tool, that depending on who you ask , can be either very helpful or be very hurtful. Find what works for you and your style of Jiu Jitsu . Be safe and best of all train hard!