AWMA has headguard options for every situation in any combat sport, from ear guards for jiu-jutsu competitions to full-face helmets for boxing training sessions. Here are some tips to help you choose.
Determine the Fit
Headguards are sized specifically to head circumferences. That means smaller, lighter athletes might wear a larger headguard than heavier fighters. Buying by weight or size isn't an option.
Get the right fit by wrapping a tailor's tape measure around your head about 1 inch above your eyebrows. For an even more accurate reading, measure three to five times and take the average.
Once you have your dimensions, check the product description to find a matching fit. Most listings for headgear in the AWMA online catalog have a sizing chart available. Here's an example from the Combat by ProForce® Premium Headguard:
• Small: 19 1/2 - 20 1/2 inches
• Medium: 20 - 22 inches
• Large: 22 1/2 - 23 inches
• X-Large: 23 1/2 - 24 inches
Ventilation, Visibility, and Protection
Balance is important, both in and out of the ring. In this case, you need to identify your situation to find the right balance between breathability, protection, and range of vision:
• Heavy training: In boxing and related sports, learning to take a few hits improves endurance, patience, and confidence. However, cuts, bruises, and swelling slow down the learning process and discourage some students. Help prevent these common injuries by choosing headguards with a lot of padding, like the one-size-fits-all ProForce® Full Headguard.
• Light sparring: Contests in semi-contact sports require visibility and ventilation, so get headgear that's designed specifically for this purpose. The ProForce® Semi-Contact Headguard is a good example, with Ultra Channeling Ventilation™, non-slip cloth lining, and multiple adjustable closures.
• Competition: Rules differ widely from one sport to another, but most require the minimum possible level of safe headgear for competitions. If you're entering a tournament, you'll probably need light headgear.
Types of Materials
Protective gear is made from various materials. Learning about the properties of each of these materials makes for a quicker, more appropriate choice of headgear.
Most AWMA headgear is made with closed-cell foam, sometimes referred to as EVA foam. The defining characteristic is that air is permanently trapped within the material.
Closed-cell foam is used in various martial arts applications, including practice swords, padded flooring, and, of course, headguards. Here's why it makes good protective gear:
• High shock absorption
• Flexible and soft
The three most common outer materials used in headguards are genuine leather, vinyl fabric, and dipped vinyl. The surface materials are less important in terms of protection, but they do affect how the guard functions in combat. Here's how to choose between them.
Leather is one of the oldest types of protective gear. It's been used in protective equipment for many years, but it's seeing some competition from modern plastics. Choose a leather option like the Combat By ProForce™ Premium Headguard if you need:
• A natural product
• An heirloom-level lifespan
• Similarity to bare skin when receiving strikes
Vinyl leather is a composite material that uses cloth and polymers to simulate the properties of natural hides. In fact, high-quality vinyl is indistinguishable from the natural alternatives in many ways. Choose gear made with a vinyl shell for:
• A lower price-point than equivalent leather headguards
• Stain resistance
• A classic look
• High durability
Dipped vinyl guards are pads coated with a liquid polymer. Check out the ProForce® Lightning and Thunder lines if you value:
• Moisture resistance
• Easy cleaning
• Quick drying
• Contemporary appearance
Keep an eye on the dropdown menus on each product page. Some gear in the AWMA catalog has options for multiple types of materials.
Protecting a Group
The ProForce® Full Headguard is a popular choice for schools and training centers, especially those with communal pads. It's durable, easy to clean, and adjustable to fit every student that comes through your doors.
Clubs, competitive teams, and other organizations in which members are willing to acquire their own equipment are slightly different: High-level athletes usually require a more personal fit. If this sounds like your group, stock a sized option, such as the Premium Combat headguard.
The Finishing Touch
Check the menus on each page when you're browsing the AWMA website. Many lines of headgear have various color and material options and certain headguards, such as those in the ProForce® Lightning line, have options for matching hand wraps, guards, and gloves.