As a female BJJ practitioner, I don't feel entirely qualified to write about this subject... but I'm game for just about anything, so here we go anyway! XD
To wear, or not to wear, a cup in BJJ... that is the question. I'm sure Shakespeare would have asked the same thing if he had been born in modern times and become as addicted to the gentle art as we all have. He would have probably written something far more eloquent for this blog, too. But, alas, he's six feet under and you've just got me. Lucky you.
In my experience, the vast majority of jiu jitsu practitioners do not wear a cup. Sure, there are the occasional blokes who choose to strap on an athletic cup under their drawers, but it's relatively uncommon. There are a few reasons for this:
- Cups were designed to protect from accidental hits to the groin areas... which is pretty prevalent in more high-contact sports like football, MMA and other striking martial arts, but not so much in BJJ. Yes, while the occasional stray knee or elbow can come into contact with a man's bits a pieces during jiu jitsu training, but it's really relatively rare.
- The discomfort of a wearing a cup during jiu jitsu training far outweighs any protective benefits. Jiu jitsu - probably more than any other sport in the world - involves a lot of strange positions and contortions of the body. As such, having a hard piece of plastic in that area will cause more discomfort than it's worth. Additionally, if your cup doesn't quite "fit" as well as it should (they don't exactly come in a plethora of sizes), you risk pinching some delicate skin while you're trying to berimbolo to the someone's back.
- Wearing a cup during jiu jitsu competitions is illegal. This is principally because that bit of hard plastic can cause some serious damage to a person's elbow or spinal column with enough applied pressure. If you can't wear it during competition, why wear it when you're training for a competition?
And finally, from the female - or even general training partner's - perspective, training with someone who's wearing a cup is incredibly uncomfortable. I already have to contend with my male training partners' superior strength, but if I'm in a terrible position, the last thing I want is a piece of hard plastic digging painfully into my back.
Whether you choose to wear a cup or not - and I hope you choose the latter - make sure you always train safe, and with respect toward your fellow training partner.
Train on. Oss.