Shin guards are the sports world’s greatest gift to athletes who indulge in the more rougher aspects of it. For example football, rugby, hockey etc. But the one sport that absolutely can’t do without it, is Mixed Martial Arts.
MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world mainly because it’s a conglomeration of the most effective martial arts or combat sports combined, consisting of kickboxing, Muay-Thai, Karate, boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo.
Why you need Shin Guards
If you hadn’t noticed, the order in which the arts are mentioned go from ‘striking’ to ‘grappling’. Striking is 50% of your MMA game where you need to be able to throw punches, kicks, knees and elbows. If you know anything at all about the sport you will have realized that kicking is a big part of the game – and throwing a kick involves smashing your leg like a baseball bat into your opponent’s ribs, on his head, legs or liver. But what happens when you swing that baseball bat into an elbow, knee, shin or forehead? The result, if not a broken floppy leg from the shin below, is excruciating pain or a few hairline fractures (which are all so agonizing in their own right).
Hence the need for Shin Guards. Don’t even think of sparring without them, kicking a person using your shin will damage him/her but it will ALSO hurt you too; unless you’ve trained them long enough to kill the nerves dead to the point where you feel ‘nothing’. THEN TOO, you could still break your shins. It’s not a joke – check Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman. Silva is a seasoned Muay-Thai fighter with bone crunching kicks that he’s practiced thousands of times – he still snapped his shin via a well time defensive check from Weidman. Point is – while the shin bone can become one of the hardest bones in your body, it’s also one of the easiest bones to break.
If you’re training in MMA you “NEED” Shin Guards. That’s right, it’s a need – unless you want to be a bad ass and hurt a bunch of people (including yourself), then by all means get in there and ‘break a leg’.
What type of Kicker are you?
Shin pads are made using fiber glass, foam rubber or polyurethane. The molds are made using a special material that incorporates various different padding, sandwiching the mold with shock-absorbent cushioning especially around the focal/center points of the guards. They protect and absorb the impact of heavy shots by spreading the shock-impact equally throughout the guard and also softening the blow on your sparring partners too. Depending on the style of kicking you apply, for example: Muay-Thai or Dutch style kickboxing where you slam the shins into your opponents, you will NEED shin guards (or pads) for that.
The shin guards also come with an optional instep to completely protect the leg from the knee down. This is good especially when it comes to fighters who rely more on Karate or Taekwondo styled kicks where the foot or the toes are used to smash into bone or hard flesh. In that case, an instep provides padding to the most easily breakable part of your body – your feet, that consist of tiny bones that come together to make the whole.
Yep. It’s settled. Get yourself some good shinpads that are high in quality and with ample padding. You do NOT want to be checked by a knee, elbow or a more seasoned shin – because you’ve been given fair warning.