How to find proper Headgear for Muay Thai – A Guide
Just like most other sports, combat sports like boxing, Muay Thai and MMA come with risks. It’s also true that the risk of serious injury is similar, in sports like soccer or hockey, rugby and football. People engage in risky endeavours all the time, often without wearing any protective equipment.
Many beginners and aspiring fighters are confused about headgear. A common assumption is that boxers wear head protection, to minimize the impact on the brain. The truth is, if you get punched hard, the impact will be the similar inside your skull whether you’re wearing headgear or not. Headgear does not prevent concussions. So, you might ask, why bother!
Should you buy boxing headgear?
Whether you are a boxer, Nak Muay or mixed martial artist, the answer is an emphatic yes! Headgear will protect you significantly from soft tissue damage sustained from strikes and clashing heads. Weekend warriors don’t want to turn up to work with a black eye and professional fighters don’t want to sustain unnecessary cuts. If you’re going to do harder more competitive sparring, headgear is a must to avoid cuts, bruises and cauliflower ears. It’s a simple as that. Boxing head protection is an essential tool for protecting yourself from superficial injury, so you really should own a proper headgear for Muay Thai and Boxing.
How to choose the right boxing headgear.
There are three main kinds of headgear. Open face competition headgear, full face with chin and cheek protecters or full face headgear with a nose bar. So what is the best type of boxing headgear? The answer is subjective. The type you use is going to depend on what you are doing, what kind of fighter you are and how you feel. Are you an amateur or pro, a Nak Muay, boxer or mixed martial artist, a brawler or an evasive fighter? All of these questions will play a role but will ultimately involve trade-offs between protection and weight, coverage and vision.
The trade offs:
The best way to protect your face and head, is not wearing a helmet, its evading strikes. The more protective the headgear is, the bigger, heavier and more obstructive to vision, it is likely to be. Evading head strikes is most effectively achieved with footwork and head movement. If your headgear presents a bigger target, impairs vision and slows down reaction time, you will get hit more. Clearly it’s a balancing act and you want to choose your boxing headgear carefully.
Three Main Types of Boxing Headgear:
Open Face Competition Headgear
This type of headgear offers the least protection but leaves vision unencumbered and is lighter. It is called competition headgear because many amateur boxing associations require fighters to wear one while competing. It protects the back and sides of the head, the forehead and ears, like this Top King Competition Headgear . If you’re planning to use your boxing headguard for competition, check with the authority you are competing under for equipment guidelines. Some authorities allow for more face covering than others. Don’t buy kit you don’t need. Check with the governing body for headgear specifications first.
Pros & Cons of Open Face Boxing Headgear
Best for visibility
No face protection
Less padding so shots feel more intense
Smallest target size
Best for amateur competition
Full Face with Cheek Protecter Headgear:
This type of head guard protects the cheekbones and chin as well as the rest of the head; a great example is this model by Fairtex. It doesn’t protect the nose from direct blows but does offer extensive protection for the rest of the face and head. This type of headgear is best for beginners and amateurs. As it offers just the right level of protection to build confidence without building a false sense of security. Although full face headgear with cheek protection is heavier, offers a larger target for your opponent and can impede periphery vision. Full face with cheek protector boxing headgear is probably the most popular Muay Thai headgear. Fairtex’s Muay Thai head guards are some of the most popular with Nak Muay.
Pros & Cons of Full Face Boxing Headgear with Cheek Protection
High level of face and head protection
May impair vision
Great for beginners, intermediate, amateur and professional fighters
No nose protection
Great for Muay Thai, boxing and MMA
Full Face with Nose Bar/Face-Saver Headgear:
This is the most fully comprehensive head and face protection you can get. If you don’t want to sustain a nose injury in training, this is the head guard for you. So you would think this would be recommended for beginners but surprisingly it is not. A full-face headgear with face-saver, is professional kit for a few reasons. When you’re learning to box, you need to learn to get hit and to avoid getting hit. The cage which frames and protects the face, gives the beginner a false sense of confidence. This can actually be less safe! Leading to more head trauma as the fighter lets themselves get hit more than they would with less protection. Also visibility is the lowest with this type of headgear. A professional will have enough experience to evade most punches despite the reduced vision. Therefore this type of headgear is for fighters who are extremely high level or for those recovering from a nose injury.
Pros & Cons of Full Face Boxing Headgear with Nose Bar
Complete head and face protection
Impaired vision, especially for uppercuts
Protects nose completely
False sense of security
Great for professionals who want to ensure they avoid, head and face injuries in training
Whether you are a Nak Muay, boxer or mixed martial artist, you need boxing headgear in your kit. Boxing head guards do not stop concussions. Although they do reduce the risk of superficial wounds such as cuts and bruises caused by strikes and head collisions. Choose your head protection carefully taking into account the style of combat sport you train and the type of fighter you are. We hope the recommendations made above will help you find proper headgear for Muay Thai and Boxing.