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  #1  
Old 06-21-2005, 03:41 AM
William William is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 14
Default Optional Headgear Rule

Having just read IKF's decision to revert back to making headgear optional for amateur kickboxers, can anyone provide some insight as to what the contributing factors were in reaching this decision?

Best Regards,

William
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  #2  
Old 06-21-2005, 11:37 AM
dan tharp dan tharp is offline
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Posts: 42
Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

hooray hooray. Great move steve. I agree with the limits on it. This will improve promotions attractability
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  #3  
Old 06-21-2005, 01:27 PM
James Mitchell James Mitchell is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

Let me see if I have this right. You must 18 and over had at least 10 bouts of which you have won at least 50% of to qualify. Then you have to apply for this option 10 days prior to the bout and require approval and only applies in states that do not currently have a mandatory head gear requirement for amateurs. I think that about says it.

18 or older, 10 or more bouts, apply for approval (License) for option. Sounds more like a pro fighter than amateur fighter without the payday.

This might be great for promoters who can put on a pro looking event without having to make the pro pay out. I'm not sure however how this would work for the fighter. The amateur fighter has to take a sigificant risk increase (head injury is the most dangerous of injuries) with nothing more coming their way.

If a promoter put on 10 pro bouts he is looking at $10,000.00 in purse money. If a promoter put on 10 pro looking bouts (no headgear) there is no purse money. Quite a savings for them at the expense of the amateur.

At he same time this could be a nightmare for the match maker. What if only one who applied for a bout is approved, then headgear has to worn anyway. What if one fighter has had significantly more experience over the other but hasn't listed all that experience. Says he is 10 & 0 and really 30 & 0. There is no bout experience regulation in place no passbooks or personell to keep track of passbook and fighters in place. There is actually no way to verify a person's true record in kickboxing today. A fighter can simply fight as many unsanctioned bouts and never report it. he then applies for option with recorded fights for option. Then injures a much less experienced fighter but qualified for option in a bout. This injury in turn may be serious and or permanent. What do I find less than convincing this is a good ideal?

1. There is no incentive for an amateur to increase risk no pay out.
2. Both have to apply for approval (license) to use option. One may qualify and not the other or one may not be truthfull on the application.
3. There is no bonified record keeping of amateur records. IKF states it is up to the fighter to update his\her record. There are no passbooks or regulation thereof to govern these records.
4. By definition an amateur is one of little or novice skill a beginner in the sport. By this definition no amateur should be able to qualify.
5. The safety gear is to help the amateur to develope. If he no longer needs this he is a pro and deserves to be paid accordingly.
6. Promoters will vouch for this. What if you set up the optioned bout and the opponent doesn't show? all the paperwork was wasted. This is a common problem.
7. What about the paperwork if it is lost or misplaced there is no way to prove an approval or denial leaving a NOW WHAT situation.
8. If a promoter can put on pro looking events without pro pay out, what does he need pro fighters for and what will this do for pro purses
9. What will give perception wise to spectators who see amateurs looking like pro's fighters of this sport.

The only benefit I can see from this is for the promoter who can put on pro looking events without the pay out. I can see no benefit to the amateur fighter. I can see a much higher risk for the amateurs. There were reasons why head gear were mandatory for amateurs. I think it would be wise to stay with it.

RECOMENDATION OR ALTERNATIVE

Establish a semi-pro division with lower purses for those who are close to pro status and want to complete their development under pro conditions. They would no longer be amateurs but would not have to enter the big arena just yet. This would seperate the less skilled amateur from more skilled and allow an aspiring fighter to develope their pro skills. It would also give incentive by having a small purse for the fighter to be willing to go semi-pro. It would eleminate redundant paperwork. A semi-pro would license just like a pro but it would be stamped semi-pro. This would give spectators a look at up and coming semi-pros and build them towards pro expectations.

To me this would be the best solution. Keep amateurs, amateurs. Establish a go between division for fighters almost ready for pro. Help keep pro purses at present levels with chance for increase by the semi division.

Any other thoughts?

James Mitchell
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2005, 01:58 PM
Pete P Pete P is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

I know this is only "my" point of view, out of many, but I look at it as a benefit to the fighters and not the promoters. I have no problem putting on a quality show with amateurs wearing headgear and the crowd loving it. Personally, I have never heard someone in the audience say "man, why are they wearing that big bulky headgear, that is so goofy looking. I am not going to come watch anymore of these events if they all wear that stupid headgear." So, I guess I don't look at this as a good thing or a bad thing for the promoter. From an IKF standpoint, I think it "may" help the ranks grow, only because many, many, won't currently fight on an IKF sanctioned event because they are forced to wear headgear. So, now they have the option.

This rule still gives the option in favor of the headgear, in that, if one wants to wear it , then both the fighters have to wear it. It's not like the promoter is saying, "ok, you want to be on my event then you are not allowed to wear headgear anymore".

The drawback I see is just that...from a promoter's view point, if I have two guys to match up and one of them refuses to wear it, but the other guy wants to, then they both have to, so in the end...I lose that match up. But, I still understand that there has to be some guidlines. But, I believe the application will prove to be more of a burden, as some fights are matched in the last couple weeks due to some pulling out and re-matching.

Time will tell how it all plays out, but I for one am in favor of the option.

OH, my other thought..most of all fighters spar and train in headgear, so if they don't have an opportunity to fight without it, how will they know if they truly want to go Pro. This option, I feel, allows them the chance to "feel" it out.

ON a side note: I can't remember her name, but there is a ring doctor out of Vegas who has written several articles on the dangers of headgear and she says that bulky headgear actually increases the risk of brain bleeds caused from the "rotation" of the brain. Google it, it is pretty interesting. I don't totally agree with the idea that the headgear increases the risk, but it is still interesting reading on the subject.

All in all, I think the rules will be a benefit to both fighters and promoters as well as the IKF, but I think it will have to be reveiwed and adjusted over time to make it worthy.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2005, 02:19 PM
Jason (fight geek) Jason (fight geek) is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

if you don't want to wear headgear

Go Pro

Geek
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2005, 04:15 PM
Mr. Media Mr. Media is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

i had to join just so i could reply to this because i can't believe what some here are making the rule out to be. I will follow with my detailed thoughts.
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2005, 04:17 PM
James Mitchell James Mitchell is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

I have gone online and read 30 or so articles, papers and conclusions of various medical and specialized reports on brain injury and rotational brain injury to better educate myself to this issue.

First I still see no benefit to the amateur fighter. I would like some clarification on this. List these benefits.

I have spoke with several promoters today about the subject and all agreed it does have several benefits for the promoter as outlined in my earlier post.

As far as the IKF ranks growing, it would be hard to tell. The IKF already has the largest number of registered amateur kickboxers in the U.S. And is the most used Sanctioning Body in the U.S. The head gear rule does not appear to effect it's membership and if it does it is minimal.

I know it is an option but the guidlines will be very difficult to enforce and relies more upon the honor system rather than regulated confirmed information. Again if a combat sport is to survive public scrutiny then Safety is a big concern in our modern society especially for amateur athletes.

A semi pro division would allow the fighter to test the waters and "feel it out" to see if they want to go pro. Even pro fighters train and spar in head gear.

Some of the promoters I spoke with said they probably would not use the no head gear option as it was an additional paperwork hassel and subject them to possible fines if not strictly adhered to and depended on to much fighter information being accurate without back up. Additionally if a serious injury occured from lack of head gear on a amateur bout what would be the aftermath legally and insurance wise.

Here are some excerpts from some of the leading people in the medical field on the subject.

Another boxing gear in scrutiny is the headgear. The currently used boxing headgear does not protect the bearer from incurring rotational injury (Mendez 1995). The bobbling of the brain that results from rotational acceleration made by a punch can severely impair the boxer. The current design for the headgear provides more weight to the head, but still leaves the chin, facial features and the neck at a high risk for injury. A much better protection of the head is achieved if a new headgear design could provide normal neck flexibility, protection for the chin and the face, and the ability to lock in place to prevent head rotation or swiveling

This from Dr. Mendez from Las Vegas. Here she does not state that the head gear bulky or not does not contribute to head injury, but she does state that head gear does not protect from Rotational Brain Injury

Dr. Voigt Hodgson of Wayne State

Rotational Injury
Finally, there is the question of rotational injury. We know it is a problem, and perhaps even the worst villain in concussion. But we don't have generally accepted injury thresholds and lab test equivalents to write into our standards. In fact, most of our labs don't even have the test equipment they would need to begin testing helmets for rotational injury performance. And if they did, we would not know what effect would be produced by the best or worst helmets, or if including a rotational energy management test in the standard would result in fewer injuries. Except for one study that showed that rotational impacts can be thought of as off-center translational impacts, and that reducing translational impacts can reduce rotational forces as well, we have no basis to proceed with a rotational standard. That prevents us from assessing scientifically what the effect would be of making helmets thicker.

Here Dr. Hodgson states that measuring helmets protecting rotational injury is not readily available and no basis to proceed with a standard.

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.
ANNE BARKER: How common are head injuries of this sort, especially in boxing.

ED BYRNE: I think a very severe head injury of the type that you refer to is relatively uncommon - more common in boxing is that the boxers are subjected to large numbers of concussive or sub-concussive blows, and they have an accumulative injury, and this leads to this syndrome referred to as The Punch Drunk Syndrome. It comes on, often some years after the last fight, in its major manifestations. It affects amateur as well as professional boxers, and you know, the, the individuals slow down intellectually, they become clumsy, and it can lead to a progressive neurological deterioration.

So that the two problems neurologically with boxing. The first is the acute injury, which is similar to that which can occur in a head injury in any situation where somebody is concussed or struck on the head. And secondly is, there's this problem with a, a slow accumulation of damage related to repeated blows that can severely impair some boxers in the long run. And it's for both of those reasons I think that protective head gear is essential.

I think we are asking for trouble with allowing amateurs to fight without head gear. Combat sports is constantly under the Goverment and public eye where safety is concerned. That multplied by the fact we are talking amateur fighters is asking for disaster. The first amateur to fight without head gear and is seriously injured or dies and we will be publicly lumped with tough man contest and crucified. Whether head gear protects that much more or not will not matter. Amateurs are associated with our youth and in modern society youth and safety are one and the same. I'm not sure of exact stats on this but from my personal observation the average age of adult amateurs is between 17-22. We need to look at the long view of this and decide if it is worth the risk.

I say again a Semi-Professional division would be better. We have it in football, baseball, hockey and other sports.

James Mitchell
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2005, 06:47 PM
Pete P Pete P is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

I cannot make a list of benefits. I simply meant it is an option which gives the "experienced" amateur more freedom. It is not hinderance either, as the fighter can still opt to wear the headgear.

I have not researched the matter nearly as far as James, so I am far less educated, statistically. But here are my thoughts anyway:

I have heard many trainers complain that with bulky headgear, a punch that would normally skim or miss the head actually catches the headgear and causes the violent rotation of the head. I think some of the punches that catch the forehead would have missed at times too, which once they hit causes the whiplash effect. Yes, that can happen without headgear of course, but I have seen it more with it. If the headgear is not worn, (with some of them) vision is instantly improved which means greater chance of slipping or evading those near misses, not to mention keeping the head cooler. Most of the knockouts come by way of the strike to the chin or jaw and the neck just below the ear, which in all cases, the headgear would not have saved them anyway.

This may be just plain coincidence, but when I went from am to pro (I don't believe I got that much better by just the status), without headgear, I did not get hit in the head much at all. I felt more comfortable and was able to see more and evade a lot better.

The big thing is in Muay Thai where the clinch is concerned. Once you apply the clinch and you have inside position with your elbows in tight, especially with headgear on, that fighter has a VERY difficult time getting out of the clinch. I feel this is where alot of unintentional knees to the head happen because the fighter being pulled in and/or down tries to escape by bending even lower and then out to the side, which is taboo, but I still see it being done. Without headgear, both fighters have equal mobility whether in the clinch or not. Also, when caught in the clinch wearing headgear, as you are pulled and twisted and turned, your vision is nearly gone, thus you can't not see strikes like knees coming, etc, etc.

No, the headgear rule has not been a deterring factor in the IKF being the largest and most used, BUT minimal or not, the numbers could be larger still from the rule change. As they say "every little penny counts".

While the guidelines may very well be hard to enforce, a fighter can lie about his or her record at any time, not just to get out of wearing headgear. Rules don't keep people honest, integrity does. I should hope every trainer lives up to that.

I am not disagreeing with the semi-pro idea, but it has questions too: What if I turn semi-pro, and my first fight without headgear causes me serious brain damage, what then? Would the ramifications not be as great because I was not longer "amateur" per say? I guarantee the smaller purse will not pay for the medical bills. OR What if I have that first fight as a semi-pro without headgear and the small purse, and I take alot of shots to the head and realize this is not for me yet...what then? I am stuck, I cannot go back to amateur and wearing the headgear. Now I may as well quit. What happens to our growth then?

A head injury can occur at pro or amateur. How many serious brain injuries have occurred in the pro ranks? Look at MMA/NHB...no headgear and even smaller gloves. Are they disregarding safety guidelines altogether? Why are they getting big crowds and big support?

Keep in mind, this is not an option for junior fighters, nor a fighter with less then 10 fights. If one fighter says he has 10 fights, winning 6 of them and the other fighter says he only has 12 fights winning 7 of them, but in reality he has 30? So, this should never happen if we as trainers are honest. Using this example as a reason not to have the option is allowing us to be dishonest that much more. It is not solving the problem at the source.

One more point to make, aside from every necessary action the IKF is trying to put in place to ensure that we are in fact honest (enforceable or not), we as trainers have the final option....if we want the headgear on our fighters, then by gosh, wear it!

This rule change is not telling you to not wear it. In fact, I will make my fighters wear it, but when the time comes that they are experienced enough and I feel they are ready to try it without, then I will give them that freedom. Many fighters are fighting now on non-IKF events because they want the option, and we don't hear in the news about them getting brain injuries. Life is about choices, and the choice is still yours.

Oh, what the heck, one more thought...I have heard some say that if you want to go without the headgear then turn pro. You get paid to take a greater risk. Well, no Pro fighter purse in the world will cover the medical ramifications of a head injury....so I don't buy that one either. Sorry.

Ps...James, just so you know, I am not arguing with you. Just debating my opinion
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RESPECT ALL, FEAR NONE,
ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE!!!!!

Pete Peterson
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Progressive Self Defense Academy
Carroll, Iowa
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  #9  
Old 06-21-2005, 08:33 PM
Curtis Bush Curtis Bush is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

Amateurs wear Headgear....
Pros do not....

A. Amateurs wear headgear not to minimize the effect of the blows. But to simply prevent cuts from the opponents head or punch/kick. Thats it in a nutshell.
B. Why do you want your Amateur to turn Pro, when his face is already a mass of scar tissue from previous cuts? When he does decide to turn Pro, you want him/her to start with a clean slate, er face.
c. So now we already have a confused public seeing some fighters wear shorts, others long pants, some kicking leg and kneeing, others only kicking above the waist. Some with shin-guards, some with out, some with footgear, some without. Now we have the joy of seeing some amateur fighters with headgear and some without?
"Bob, those were some good amateurs the last fight. These must be the Pro's, as they have no headgear. Wait a minute, the announcer just said this is an amateur fight. Why don't they have headgear? What the fu#$!
And so on and so on..................
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2005, 08:46 PM
P.J. Reilly P.J. Reilly is offline
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Default Re: Optional Headgear Rule

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason (fight geek)
if you don't want to wear headgear

Go Pro

Geek



I completely agree
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