I have noticed that the chest protectors my students use do not last very long, or they don’t seem as durable. Specifically, the lower most loops tend to wear out and break. Note that these tend to break even for students that haven’t really been around that long–say about a year.
What are they doing that causes the chest protector to become useless sooner, rather than later? And what can one do about it?
Here’s what I’ve observed over many years.
When the kids help each other out in preparation to spar, they form a chain to help each other out in putting their chest protectors on. When they tighten the straps they push the student in front of them, then pull on the strap. This act causes wear and tear in the bottom loops because as the student is pushed forward cutting friction is generated by the strap as it slides against the loops. The greatest pressure ends up at the bottom where the bottom loops are placed under the highest strain due the pulling.
Over a short period of time, the bottom two loops will begin to show tears; and in time, one or both loops break.
I’ve had my chest protector for decades, and it is still as functional today as the first day I got them. The reason is that I tie my own chest protector. When I tie them, I pull the loops toward each other in a gentle but snug way. I then tie a knot keeping the chest protector in place. Over the years, the bottom two loops have not been put through any major friction at the level the kids put their through.
To help make the chest protectors last, pull the straps in so that the loops are pulled towards each other, and not push the student away from them. This change in approach will help reduce the wear and tear on the bottom two loops of the chest protector–making them last long enough for the students to outgrow them.