By, Trevor Wittman
5 years ago I made a new commitment and goal to better the industry I am so passionate about. I decided I would re-think how the tools combative athletes use daily to Hone their skills and their dreams to chasing gold in competition.
My 20 years experience as a coach has been filled with witnessing the trails and tribulations through the daily grind athletes and hobbyists endure with avoidable injuries caused by the pieces that should be protecting them.
Being the critical thinker I am, I was always finding my self questioning the equipment these high level athletes were using. Here were some of the questions that were consistently presenting themselves.
Questioning for sparring gloves ::
- Why do all these gloves that have a tag that say 16oz. all feel so different in weight? doesn't this mean they should weigh 1lb. ??
So 1 year ago I decided to get a scale and start weighing the gloves. This little test left me feeling irritated, confused, bothered, and most of all misled. I was a gym owner for 20 years and allowing my members, and athletes play punch face with gloves that weighed not what is being advertised on a printed, branded or little hang tag.
Because the responsibility of my members falls back on me as the gym owner right as they sign the waiver, and I should trust whats being printed, or should I have?? Is it an oversight, a lack of quality control, a cookie cutter tag, trust in manufacturing, or the norm to just do it? This was more than 50% of the gloves that I tested, and many were leading brands in the sport.
I take 100% full responsibility for my trusting in what was being put on the gloves, and me allowing my students and athletes to use what they were using. I refuse focus on issues but am driven by solutions, and these experiences drive my passion to re-think equipment.
- Why are gloves supposed to be sized as 16oz. but fit all users? In the norm of the business its known as 16oz. are sparring gloves? All fighters from 100lbs. and up are to wear 16oz. gloves?
I am comfortable with a 100 lb. fighter can wear a 12 oz sparring glove and a 250 lb. fighter can wear a 18oz glove. But how is this being branded through the consumers, gym owners, and coaches. As the 16oz glove is being pushed as the sparring glove.
Put a basic 16oz glove on a 100 lb. female fighter and their hand is swimming in the glove, like putting a size 14 shoe on a size 5 track star and performance plummets, and injuries are destined.
Put a 16oz top brand on a 275 lb Shane Carwin, and the hand is pinched into loss of circulation with the the present benefits being the best part of putting the glove on, is taking it off. Again put a size 5 ballerina shoe on a size 14 NFL player and performance again is not even in the picture. Fit to me is one of the most important part to effectiveness.
- Why when putting on gloves for punching take so much effort to make a fist as thats the sole reason for the glove is to protect the hands. The boxing gloves was created, for the sole reason bareknuckle prize fighters were damaging their hands punching the bowling ball hardness of the forehead.
I see so many fighters doubling up on hand wraps, putting multiple layers of padding on the knuckles thinking it will help the hand issues? Try hitting the softest heavy bag with a lose fist and injuries will happen even if hitting softest of heavy bags.
Try taking a hammer no matter the weight, that does not have a level cut nose, or contact service. No matter the precision in the one swinging the hammer, they will never get the nail to penetrate the surface.
So when it comes to the user, it might not be the way you are throwing a punch, but what are you throwing a punch with? How many wraps are you using? How many knuckle pads have you fabricated? How many times has your coach taped a fight cast on your hand for training? How many gym owners have felt with members saying that the bags are to hard or my hands hurt?
An experienced handy man knows that the hammer that is being used is as important as the one swinging the hammer.
- Why does a training glove have a velcro strap around the forearm? Is it a support strap, or there just to keep the glove from flying off when throwing punches?
Most injuries caused by lack off support are in the wrist or hand, not the forearm.
Why do lace up training gloves stop below the palm, and wrap around the forearm? Again to keep the glove from flying off? I can't remember the last time I tied my shoes and noticed that my shoes could not be tied any tighter because the seem in the middle met its furthest point of synching and still did not meet my foot. How is this not the most common sense thing ever? But again its the norm.
I could go on and on with my internal dialogue of equipment questions, but have you questioned these same issues?
I was fed up with the amount of fights I cornered with fighters entering the ring or cage with these avoidable, needless injuries that fighters just have to deal with because its a part of the business! Or is it? No its time for the business to start protecting the most important part of fighting. THE FIGHTERS! With out the fighter, there is no promoter, no manager, no coach, no gym, no sponsorship opportunities, no PPV, no inspiration, no excitement, and most importantly no fight. So the foundation to what we all share and love in the industry comes down to THE FIGHTER.
Enough with the issues! So the mission began.
These simple questions are what lead me to my purpose behind creating ONX Sports and Re-Thinking the tools that being used to become the Best at what you do, the champion, the #1, the king of kings!
I remember hearing Dana White in repeated interviews saying "these guys are sparring to hard, training like gladiators. Their is science to training now a days."
He is 100% right!! They are training like gladiators, because they are the common day gladiators.
He is also right, there is science behind training. Then why is there not science behind the gear that these elite of the elite are using for combat training?
He also has been quoted saying "AKA or (American Kickboxing Academy) train like idiots. Why is the coach allowing these guys to keep getting injured like that?"
BUT, AKA is one of the most winning teams out there, and when this quote was thrown into the publics eye, I believe they had 4 or 5 current World Champions.
I believe they know what they are doing and the proof is in the pudding. I also believe the issue is not what is in the athletes, or the coaches leading the squad, or the training. I believe it is what is external, the tools, the armor, the gear that should allow you to train like you fight, and fight like you train.
I am all about change. It is growth, it is evolution, it is new perspective, and most importantly, it is time!
Like Albert Einstein said, "the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting the same result."
Here at ONX Sports,
We Believe Champions are Honed, Not Born.
What Hones You?
Now 5 years later after grinding through sewing, cutting, shaping, molding, pattern making, testing, re-shaping, finding out at least 100 or more ways on how not to make a glove.
The defining moment with ONX and deciding to move forward with a glove that has new patent technology and a long list of new qualities.
In my perspective Is it the perfect glove, NO. But I can't wait to make the next one, and then the next one after that, Oh and I can't imagine how amazing the glove after that one will be!
I believe will never have the perfect glove, because in the present state of perfection will only stand still. But I will chase evolution, with a mindset of evolving with observing the issues, and perfecting the present solutions.
January 13th, 2017 We released the first and far from perfect but so uniquely different X-Factor Glove. In less than 45 days we completely sold out of the first production all through pre-sale only. I am feeling extremely grateful that the Gloves did not even get the chance to sell at regular price.
Today they shipped and will be arriving at the end of the week and then I get to weigh each one, attach the serial # and be like Santa and send these to all the patient early adopters. I am very grateful in your trust in my self and ONX, and being a part of this Culture behind the must needed change.