I posted a picture of two students of the Academy of Okinawan Karate competing in a koshiki (sparring in armor) match last week, and I have the video up now, too:
I’ve since learned the competitors hold their punches to the head back just a bit to cut down on neck injuries and limit the brain bouncing around in the skull. There are also breathing holes on the mask that can be like a cheese grater on knuckles if the competitor isn’t careful. The chest protectors, however, prevent any penetrating attacks, such as those from a kick, and spare the competitors any real injuries.
I’m thinking I’ll earn my first degree brown belt, then start looking into these other options. I’m not going to say it looks like fun, but it does look like something I should try at least once. If I’m learning to throw all these punches and kicks, it only makes sense to get a feel for them at full speed, not to mention get more of a sense of what they’re going to feel like. In our normal point sparring matches, most impacts are light and unintentional.
I don’t foresee myself posting my first couple of matches, though. Heh.