I recently was listening to a video on YouTube where they were describing the tournaments from the good, old days.
The ones before safety gear, and kumite on bare concrete floor.
Now most of that was well before my time, but it triggered a memory.
I was a new black belt, and I attended a tournament being held in Harrisburg PA. The facility for the tournament was just like that description. The floors were bare concrete. And yes safety gear was not permitted except for mouthpieces. They even checked by light back of the hand strikes that you were not wearing groin protectors.
It was an Isshinryu tournament and it was old school.
Now when I began there was no safety gear. Then it came out and Lewis Sensei had each of us get our own set, and we began learning how it would be used, differently from our bare knuckles.
I have heard there were tournaments in the past, which were blood baths. But I never saw that, Getting struck in the body did hurt, but for the most part there was control with the head shots. It was just what fighting was back then.
In fact for years as I taught the kids we did not use safety gear. Though when I hosted kids tournaments I did allow its use. But I felt it did work to our kids advantage. Striking their bodies with foam rubber did not make them shirk. And it was a safe time for the competitors.
Over the years I saw greater injuries from people wearing safety gear, than I ever saw when it wasn’t worn.
And that tournament in Harrisburg had controlled fighters. It was not a bloody day either.
An older memory when knuckles were bare, and you used control as you fought