Hi! My name is Gordon White, I run the Blue Wave Taekwondo branch in Burlington Vermont. If you are interested in The Blue Wave Taekwondo Schools, please visit our Web site: The Blue Wave Taekwondo Association

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Chest Pad Product Review

One of the things I want to include on my blog are product reviews. I love Taekwondo gear! Let me know if there are any specific products you would like to see reviewed.

Lets get Started with Hogus - Chest Pads. We are going to talk about 3 different brands of Hogu today, I will try to add some others at another time.

Adidas - Multiple Vendors Carry Adidas Hogus
Retail Cost: $45 - $60

Pros: This is likely the most common Hogu on the market. Its has huge name brand recognition, is good quality, fits well and gives good protection.

Cons: Expensive! The wholesale cost on these chest pads are double that of many other decent hogus. Also, as of late, the Adidas Hogus have been cut a little bigger. I have ordered form 2 different vendors and received larger then normal size 4s.

Retail Price: $50, likely cheaper from your instructor

Macho has 2 wrap around Hogus. last year, they released the "Deluxe Tournament Hogu" . It has a very large cut, and is not practical for Olympic Style sparring.

This year, they are offering a much better chest pad, called the "Competition Hogu".

Pros: Good design, High hip cut, light weight. The Retail price is not that much different then the Adidas, but the wholesale cost is about 1/2. This allows instructors to sell it to students for less then the Adidas and still make a little profit.

Cons: runs small. I typically wear a size 4. The equivalent for the Macho Hogu is a Large, and I felt like it was small on me. I only see this as a "con" because the largest size is XL. There is not as much protection (a little softer) then the Adidas, but I would still consider it a "hard" hogu.

You can see the size different here between an Adidas 4, and Macho Large.

Dae Do
Retail Price: $50 (approx)

Pros: This is a very nice Hogo. Good quality, and has a comfortable cut. It is about the same weight as the Adidas, and similar hardness. Wholesale cost is cheaper then Adidas by about $10.

Size Comparison with the Adidas Size 4

Cons: poor availability in the states. The only place I have found you can purchase these are from MDSS Canada which is a great company to deal with, but ordering large quantities from Canada to the US can be a hassle.

Final Thoughts: The most important thing is that the hogu fit you well, and does its job protecting you. For the me, I can wear any of these hogus and accomplish this. I think its worth shopping around before you buy. Take a look at what people are using at your gym, and give them a closer look. Also, ask your instructor before purchasing, they may have further insight for you and might be able to get a better price then if you order it yourself.

Other Hogu Options:
5 Rings From Dynamics World
Competition Hogu ($45) from Kwon
Elite Hogu(~$30) from Xplosive TKD
Vision Platinum Chest Guard ($45) from Vision Martial Arts


Little Cricket said...

This is very useful, thanks. I have been considering some chest/torso protection after getting hit hard in the stomach a few times. I worry about this, particularly because I'm female. I am not sure where to find the information on whether my worry is unfounded.

John Vesia said...

We don't use the chest protectors in traditional karate, but the Okinawans used to spar with bogu - kendo armor. It included a wrap-around face shield and padding for most of the body. The idea was that they could go all out without killing one another. What's amazing is that when American GIs first brought karate home from overseas, they didn't use any fighting gear at all!

Unknown said...

Hi John,

thanks for the comment.

I would love to hear the Karate view point on this.

Taekwondo practitioners typically fall into 1 of 2 camps; either they think Taekwondo was created by Gen Choi from a combination of Tae Kyon and Soo Bahk. The other thought (which I subscribe to) is that post Japanese occupation of Korea, Several martial artists who had studied Karate (and other arts) opened the original Kwans. (Chung Do Kwan, Moo Do Kwan etc.) - When they came together to unify martial arts in Korea the goal was to make it distinctly different then Japanese Karate by (among other things) using the Hogu to allow for continuous sparring with contact.

Is there a Karate angle on this?

John Vesia said...

Didn't Choi study under Gichin Funakoshi (Shotokan) at one time? My understanding is that the three main Korean styles (TKD, tang soo do, hapkido) are all derived from Soo Bahk. Of course, there has to be a Japanese influence, but the opposite is also true: Korean style kicks (crescent, spin-around-back, etc) are now all taught in karate systems.

I've always liked the idea of a continuous sparring contest. It looks more like a real fight (at least to a Westerner raised watching boxing), as opposed to the appearance of the traditional point match. Point fights actually come from the "one strike, one kill" philosophy, which explains the use of bogu in the old days.

Unknown said...

Yes, Choi trained in Karate under Funakoshi, but he has always claimed a knowledge of TaeKyon, which he says influenced his Taekwondo. It seems unlikely that Taekyon has any real influence though, as explained in this Essay by Steve Capener.
He talks about the "one strike, one kill" philosophy as well.

I find it interesting, that ITF Style of Taekwon-do, resembles Japanese Karate far more then Kukki (WTF) style. Now 50 plus years after Choi took the ITF private, watching an ITF and WTF practioner side by side, the differences are as noticable as watching a Taekwondo and Karate stylist side by side.

Unknown said...


Sorry, for some I didnt see your post earlier.

Be sure to check in with your
instructor before buying a chestpad. Chestpads are typically used for schools that practice WTF (olympic style) sparring. Some instructors frown on them, or don't allow them in their gyms, the idea being extra padding simply encourages harder hitting.

good luck!

Little Cricket said...

Thanks. I did check with my instructor, who said I should go ahead if I felt the need. We are supposed to spar with light contact (and we don't use chest pads). But some of the beginnners were careless about light contact when we first started sparring...maybe I should just stick it out without one in the hope that with experience they will start being more careful.


Anonymous said...

I am desperately trying to find an XXXL/Size 9 Hogu/chest protector. Needless to say, I am a big guy (I wear a size 9 Gi/DO bok). Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these reviews they are proving very helpful in my decision. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on the Tiger Claw TC2000 chest guard.

Thanks in advance,

Unknown said...

I can't recommend the TigerClaw TC 2000. I have not actually seen it (other then a photo) but there products tend to be cheap and the hogu looks like it would not be a "hard" shell.

I would go with a Dae Do (available in the use now: http://www.daedousa.com ) or Adidas.

If price is a factor, go with http://www.xplosivetkd.com "elite" hogu.

EAK - sorry I missed your question earlier. I don't know of any Hogu that would be that large..sorry!