DEVELOPMENT OF SUPERSAFE PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
It was obvious that for Karatedo as a tournament sport to be successful and elevated to a more refined level, some changes and developments had to occur.
In light of this, it was decided at the 4th World Congress to call upon a study of both weight categories and safety equipment, to be implemented into future World Championships. The weight categories have been implemented, and it was decided at a Directors Meeting of the World Union of Karatedo Organizations (WUKO), held in Stuttgart, Germany, to trial the Supersafe Guard equipment for one year.
The safety equipment study was carried out by the Technical Research Committee of F.A.J.K.O. (Federation of All Japan Karatedo Federations), and proved to be highly successful and enlightening, solving many of the problems impeding non-contact karatedo tournaments. Karateka can be assured they will see and experience Supersafe Guard protective equipment in future World Championships and International Tournaments. All that is required now is the education of karateka so they can be prepared for forthcoming international tournaments using Anzen Bogu Supersafe Guard protective equipment.
After implementing Supersafe™ Guard into karatedo initially, and through forty years experience in the use of protective equipment by Dr Kori Hisataka, the W.K.K.F. has followed his example. Shihan Masayuki Hisataka over the past six years has been adopting a highly scientific approach for intensive research into developing the ultimate in karatedo protection in conjunction with high level technology companies, laboratory research and testing into impact studies on material make-up for the most advanced and safe “Anzen Bogu” to be developed for karateka.
This equipment is ultra-light, resilient, streamlined, clean cut and constructed from material enabling terrific shock absorption and resistance to high impact force penetrating the head, face and body of players. Stringent and arduous testing has been carried out so that a completed and workable article with little possibility of fault shall enter our dojos.
The Technical Research Committee envisage and believe that this Super Safe Budo equipment is the ultimate safety protection that Karateka have been anticipating to emerge, catering for all styles, organizations and forms of Karatedo and Martial Arts, from non-contact, light contact to full contact styles: thus causing an evolution in Karatedo training and tournaments to a truly modern day sport, full of enjoyment and applicable to this decade, with future Olympic potential and also for the 21st Century. This Super Safe Guard protective equipment consists of three major components which combined make a perfectly safe system for shiai and training:
- A head guard with clear transparent face shield
- The main chest and body guard
- A light colored mat, fully marked for the competition floor.
The head guard consists of the super safe material and is unique in that a clear transparent bullet proof face shield is incorporated, giving complete protection for teeth, jaw, nose and especially the eyes, thus preventing facial injuries which are of major significance in present on-contact karatedo tournaments, while still enabling and allowing a clear, complete, unimpaired field of vision.
The one size is suitable for all players, being fully adjustable, easy to fit, comfortable, light and preventing shock to the player’s cerebral region, thus eliminating the risk of concussion and brain damage should the player receive an uncontrolled technique to the jodan area.
The bullet proof visor is designed to force hard hitters to exercise the required control to the face. It also allows players to study each others expressions while in shiai and enables spectators to easily identify players thus stimulating spectator interest.
The main body guard protects all the chudan level from the top of the chest to just above the groin; surrounding the ribs under the armpits with two extensions protecting the collar bones which are highly susceptible in karatedo. The Anzen Bogu is quick and easy to put on. It does not hamper or restrict the player’s movements or efficiency of techniques. Above all it supplies complete safety and protection to the players. A supplementary groin cup will also be available to provide the groin with the same high standard of protection.
The mat, which apart from its obvious advantages over a hard wooden floor, increases speed due to the elasticity and resilience without losing stability and a positive field. The mat prevents foot bruising and eliminates the possibility of serious injury to the player should he/she be swept, knocked down or fall awkwardly. The light blue color has a psychologically calming effect on the competitors. It is also easier for spectators and television, reducing glare and creating a suitable contrast to increase the ease of observing tournaments. The mat is non-slippery, water proof, easily cleaned and stable to move on.
We are now living in a modern and competitive age where sportsmen, women and children must be confident of competing in their sport with a high degree of safety, little risk of injury and enjoyment in order to get their satisfaction from the sport, while maintaining jobs, careers and studies.
The Technical Research Committee believes that this Super Safe Guard protective equipment will provide assurance of no injury to the protected areas of the players, eliminating the possibility that karateka will miss school or work due to injuries they once may have sustained in non-contact tournaments.
Super Safe Guard protective equipment was developed for and around karateka by karateka, not adopted from full contact kick boxing equipment or other contact oriented sports which do not fully cater to the unique aspects of Koshiki Karatedo.
With the acceptance of Super Safe™ Guard protective equipment which completely protects the body, head and face, a psychologically and technically superior karatedo player will emerge because of the security created that injury and pain will be eliminated by this efficient equipment with a good, healthy image.
Super Safe™ Guard has reduced the high drop-out rate in karatedo as well as the injury rate of lower grades and beginners in the dojos due to their lack of experience and control. A substantial increase in technical ability and skill has been observed over a shorter period of time by students beginning with Super Safe Guard protective equipment. They show superior judgment in distance, timing, focus and power control over advanced students not experienced in Anzen Bogu training. Reflexes and blocking techniques definitely become sharper and more improved as a constant vigilance is required while sparring to avoid scoring techniques to jodan level, whereas present non-contact tournaments create a false sense of security.
Players undergo far quicker self education and improvement by truly testing the feeling of tangency, thus being able to feel the efficiency and effect of techniques. If the technique is not executed properly and has no scoring potential, then adjustment can be made quickly so that the technique does become practical in application with proper power control being observed. The flinching period which every karateka goes through also subsides more quickly.
A player emerges after diligent training with a strong spirit and correct attitude as he/she learns to accept a good scoring technique. He/she has an overall balance of technical ability for delivering not only chudan level but jodan level techniques, with a proper idea of Maai distance discovered by actually hitting this Supersafe Anzen Bogu; also focus power and timing are enhanced. The current trend seen in our non-contact tournaments of not scoring jodan keri waza shall also be halted by the introduction of Super Safe Guard equipment. Because of the efficiency of this Anzen Bogu, close-in fighting techniques like empi waza and hiza geri to the chudan level will be possible, thus creating a more realistic form of shiai, expanding the present level of limited techniques used in non-contact tournaments.
Super Safe™ Guard protective equipment emphasizes the need to protect the vital target areas and not the weapons like many protectors used for pro-karatedo, thus developing proper karatedo techniques and preventing the need to adopt to hand and feet protectors which require techniques to be remodeled around them.
By studying Super Safe™ Guard equipment in use at inter-dojo shiai and local tournaments, the committee was able to create a clear, definite and unbiased point scoring system for Koshiki Karatedo. A well and properly executed technique with control can not only be seen to hit the Anzen Bogu, but heard as well. The impact effect of the technique can also be seen.
The tournament becomes a true test of the individual’s skill, an exchange of ability and knowledge, also the level of attainment in karatedo, thus keeping to the traditional aims of shiai in budo, where the player who delivers the first best scoring technique with proper control shall receive the point.
Pseudo players and actors, who fake injury to the jodan level, are eliminated because they are prevented from these performances as Super Safe Guard erases doubt that serious injury can be sustained. Thus the best and strongest competitor should win.
With proper understanding of rules by all official judges, referees and players prior to the tournament, strict abidement on control to the jodan area and the use of Super Safe™ Guard equipment in the tournament, time wasting for discussion over indefinite techniques and confusion over rules and decisions made have been drastically reduced due to the precise and definite scoring system Anzen Bogu shiai created. All people could appreciate well-delivered techniques from players and judges to spectators, thus creating a safe, pleasant atmosphere and an enjoyable tournament for all.
Super Safe™ Guard protective equipment is far less expensive than current protective gear in use, being well in the range of dojos running on a mediocre budget. Because of the large number of karatedo players worldwide, production costs shall be extremely low due to the high volume of production required to service the members of karatedo throughout the world.
Super Safe™ Guard is highly durable, requires no maintenance, is easily transported, hygienic and completely water proof and non-staining.
With all the advantages over and above contemporary protective equipment in use, Super Safe Guard has created a mammoth increase in safety and realism in dojo training and current non-contact tournament karatedo. All karateka can expect to see protective equipment in use at Koshiki Karatedo World Championships in the very near future.
The spirit, cooperation and goodwill of all karateka is required to understand and utilize the safety aspect of karatedo in order to get a unified form of tournament standard to spread forth the possibility of Olympic acceptance and as a high grade modern competition sport with a good healthy image. As you can well appreciate, a positive attitude is required by us all to begin world awareness, education and acceptance of safety equipment into non-contact tournament karatedo.
Already many people in the martial arts field have been fortunate to observe Super Safe™ Guard in practical application at a demonstration given in August 1979 at the Tokyo Championships. The mat was tested and demonstrated at the Japanese National Sports Festival, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. The responses to both of these events was highly pleasing and favourable.
The excellent response to the Premier Tokyo International tournament last year shows that this system is of great interest to karateka worldwide as representatives from Australia, USA, Canada, South America, Europe and of course Japan attended. We are also expecting South African and Russia teams to compete in the near future.
That the event is of much greater spectator value is evidenced by the fact that Tokyo’s Channel 12 T.V. televised 80 minutes live on its “The Sports” program. A karatedo breakthrough. This years event will also be televised.
In order to begin the introduction of Super Safe Guard to the world’s karateka, apart from previous projects, the Technical Research Committee would greatly appreciate your involvement, opinions, and ideas on the merits and any drawbacks which you can find. We would like you to work with us in our quest to help solidify karatedo as a unified body through the means of Super Safe Guard.
On a final note, we must stress that the intention of Super Safe Guard is not to create a full contact situation, but to elevate, enhance and make the present level of non-contact competition to a highly safe, enjoyable sport especially captivating and realistic for the spectator area.
Inventor of Super Safe™ Guard Budo Equipment
Member of the Technical Research Committee of FAJKO
Chairman of the International Koshiki Karatedo Committee (IKKC)
Scott A. Brown
Founding Member of the W.K.K.F.