Before answering this question, let me first start by saying that I totally understand where you're from. I began wearing glasses at the age of 5yo, and I still do to this day. So yes, it's possible to practice Karate with glasses, and I'll give you a few tips to do so, but if I were you, I'd look for some more convenient and practical alternatives.
In this article, I will cover the following:
Enjoy the tips and alternatives to prescription glasses for Karate training.
It goes without saying, training with glasses can be a hassle. Karate involves numerous sudden movements like punches, kicks, and dodges and can render the use of glasses pretty troublesome. Here are just a few examples of what will happen with your glasses during a Karate class.
By experience, one thing that you will quickly notice is that your glasses will slide down all the time! I mean ALL THE TIME! Of course, that's not exclusive to Karate, but to all physical activities. The moment you start sweating, your glasses will slide down on your nose and will start to annoy the hell out of you! I know it did for me!
Additionally, the sudden moves that you perform like a punch or kick will cause enough vibration to accelerate the rate at which your glasses will slide, and it's not fun. Pushing back your glasses up on your nose every 15 second is a significant problem in my opinion.
Another thing that happens very often when wearing glasses during a Karate class is fogging up. The moment your body heat goes high, your glasses will start fogging, and you'll constantly have to remove and "clean" them. Another major concern.
That's a little bit of a follow up of the previous point, but be ready for your glasses to get dirty all the time with seat. Not cool.
During Karate training, your glasses can fly off somewhat easily, and not only in combat but even during kihon and kata. It happened to me quite a few times. In the beginning, it's not too much of a concern, but when you start moving and striking with more power, you'll see!
Some people have strong prescription glasses and don't want to remove them during sparring because, without them, their vision gets very blurry. The risk of receiving a strike in your glasses is moderate to high, after all, Karate is a martial art, so it should be expected. Prescription glasses are quite expensive, so you don't want that to happen.
There are a lot of small, cheap temporary solutions that can make wearing glasses during Karate easier, but by all means, don't expect them to be perfect.
Adhesive nose pad is a cheap way of preventing your glasses from sliding down from your nose. These pads are made from self-sticking, hypo-allergenic latex and are easy to remove and replace. That might be a good product to buy if your tight on budget, other than that, if you really wanna stick to your glasses, I'd go with the sports strap or the silicone ear hooks.
A sports strap is a strap or holder that attaches to your eyeglasses' frame to ensure that your glasses remain safely wrapped around your head. Even if your glasses receives a hit, they will still stay securely in place. I've used a sports strap for a few years, and it did the job well, I would say.
The only issue I had with it is that it kind of feels weird to wear, but that's just me, I guess. Not that it's uncomfortable, it just felt strange to have my glasses that close and "compressed" to my face: I usually wear my glasses lower on my nose. You know what I mean? Other than that, that's a great buy.
Silicone ear hooks are certainly a glass accessory that most people have no idea exists ! They are grippy, hook-like silicone add-ons that you install on the "branches" of your glasses. Their hook-like shape will ensure that they fit comfortably behind your ears, and their gelatinous adhesive texture will keep your glasses in place. I'll be honest here, I've never used ear hooks, but a friend of mine used it for obstacle race and said it works like a charm.
Anti-fog spray is really a must if you want to wear you insist on wearing your glasses during Karate training. These sprays are not created equal, and it took me a few trial and error to buy a great product.
Before purchasing an anti-fog spray, make sure to choose a good one because some of them simply doesn't work. I highly recommend products like McNett Bottle of Sea - Gold or Quick Spit (cheaper in a pack), they will last you years.
The more you train Karate and participate in classes, the more you'll understand the level of activity each part consist of, and the better you'll be able to judge when to keep your glasses and when to remove them.
You should keep your glasses when your Sensei is talking or showing drills or giving other explanations.
Karate warm-ups can be pretty physical and demanding, but keeping your glasses should not be a problem. Just be aware that even during the warmup phase, your glasses will slide down your nose.
I would strongly advise removing your glasses when sparring, even if you go slow. You never know, accidents happen fast - one uncontrolled move from you or your training partner can damage your glasses or also hurt you. Of course, if you practice sparring without glasses, your partner will look more on less blurry (depending on your eyesight level), but that should not prevent you from doing it. In sparring, you don't need to see every detail of your opponent, but only its general form or contour.
If you are looking for alternatives to every-day life glasses, I would suggest you get a pair of sports prescription goggles. Now if you really want to get rid of glasses altogether, contact lenses are your absolute best choice unless you wanna go for corrective laser surgery.
Prescription sports glasses are highly-impact, durable glasses that are ideal for rough sports and martial arts like Karate. These sports prescription eyewear don't share the same qualities as regular eyeglasses. They're made from polycarbonate (scratch-resistant) and impact-resistant material. The frames are coated with rubber padding at every point that connects with your face.
As I said before, practicing Karate with your every-day prescription glasses can, not only potentially cost you a new pair of glasses, but it can also cause injury to your eyes as well. If you really wanna practice with your glasses, buy a pair of sports prescription glasses.
When I started Karate 35 years ago, I was training with my glasses using a sports strap, but I quickly switched to contact lenses because I didn't like wearing glasses during classes because it cause many disadvantages.
Contact lenses provide the ultimate freedom without hassle. Maybe you'll receive hit in the eye, and your contact will move around or get knocked out, but this is pretty rare. I also train a bit in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and haven't had any problems with contact lenses, for the most part, contacts don't get in the way. Just in case, carry with you a backup pair of contacts and a bottle of saline solution in your training bag.
PS: Go for soft lenses. Personally I use this website and they have incredible prices!
If you have the budget for it, because, it more expensive than glasses or contact lenses, laser eye correction is your best option. I mean, imagine being free from glasses or contacts not only for training but also in daily life. Laser eye correction is safe and gives excellent results. Results show that 95% of patients who undergo LASIK (one of the few companies offering the service) improve their vision to 20/40 or better, while 85% return to 20/20 vision. That pretty amazing IMO.
For years, I've been thinking for years of having corrective eye surgery, but I'm still afraid to do it. As I explained before, my eyes get tired quickly when wearing my contact lenses, so corrective eye surgery would be great for me. I've talked to many people I know, who had the surgery done, and they all say, without exception, that having the surgery was the best decision of their life, even if it's quite pricey. That's encouraging, and it actually motivates me to have it done.
The thought of training Karate without any glasses or contact lenses is really exciting, don't you think?
As you can see (no pun intended), there's a lot of solutions that allow you to wear your glasses during Karate training, but none of them are perfect.
Personally, I think that inverting into contact lenses is a great alternative - I know it was for me, but if you are tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses, laser eye surgery is your obvious most suited choice.
How do you train Karate, with glasses, contacts or had surgery?
Hi, my name is Martin Jutras. I've been studying and practicing Karate, practical self-defense and Zen Buddhism for more than 35 years.
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