How to practice martial arts with glasses


In this article I outline some of the best ways to still practice martial arts with glasses.


There’s no doubt being myopic or near sighted is a real pain and can affect every aspect of life.  From not being able to see clearly if you wake up in the night needing the bathroom, to difficulty seeing when you go swimming.  However, perhaps it’s even more inconvenient for those involved in martial arts where you can feel quite vulnerable not being able to clearly see your opponent.


martial arts with glasses


I’ve been shortsighted all my life and have been practicing a variety of martial arts for many years.  Like any obstacle in life, practicing martial arts with glasses is only an issue if you let it become one.


It does make a difference what martial art you study.


For instance, Shotokan Karate is a primarily a non-contact art and so wearing glasses shouldn’t matter at all.  The only thing that might be of concern is your glasses flying off during a particularly energetic technique. This is easy to solve using a retaining strap that can easily  be attached to the arms of your glasses. The strap runs round the back of your head of firmly holds your glasses in place. An example of this type of strap can be seen here on Amazon.


In other martial arts which involve grappling , such as  BJJ, having perfect 20/20 vision is less important. In these grappling arts, you’re so much closer to your opponent.  In addition, after sufficient practice you’ll know where your opponents limbs are without necessarily seeing them; a form of kinesthetic awareness.


It may be necessary to put on your glasses whilst your instructor is demonstrating a technique in front of the class.  They can be taken off and put in a rigid case when it comes time to sparring.


One other option to consider trying out is wearing contact lenses.  When it comes to martial arts practice, I would recommend getting soft contact lenses.  Hard lenses are likely to pop out with the slightest bit of contact. Soft lenses are also easier to re-position if they become dislodged.


Whilst they can take a bit of getting used to, contact lenses really do make the participation in active sports, such as martial arts that much easier and hassle free.   It’s always worthwhile having a couple of spare lenses in your kit bag in case they get dislodged during a training session.


Where contact lenses are not an option, I would consider having lazer eye surgery.  I, myself, had LASEK surgery and now have unaided 20/20 vision. The procedure is painless, quick and has a very high success rate.  Personally, I would always go with LASEK rather than LASIK; it’s a simpler routine with less chance of complications.


In full contact striking martial arts, such as Muay Thai and boxing, it usually doesn’t matter if you can’t see your opponent in perfect clarity.  A gloved fist is a lot larger than the text you’re expected to read on an eye sight test; you’re much more likely to see the fist coming at you. If your eyesight is such than even this is problematic then you may want to purchase special glasses such as these on Amazon.  


If you wear a head protector, with the forehead pad pulled down as far as possible, the this will provide some additional protection for the glasses.


There’s also an argument that, if you wear glasses, you should get used to fighting with blurry vision.  In a self defense scenario, it’s highly likely that your glasses are going to get knocked off. If you’re used to fighting with unaided vision, you’ll be much more effective if you ever find yourself in this predicament.


Hopefully, this article has given you some tips if you ever train in martial arts with glasses.


Happy training!

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