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Extra baggage. Protective gear is considered unnecessary by some practitioners because the originators of the martial arts became masters without it.
Improper techniques. Protective gear can lead to improper execution of techniques. Form is often forgotten, and quality is lost. Fighters become so preoccupied with landing any type of blow that they forget everything they have learned. Instead or controlled fighter's, they become showmen.
Whiplash. Many times, sparring rules prohibit face contact but do permit contact to the helmet. With the helmet covering the hard bones of the skull, and foam pads protecting the fragile bones of the hands and feet, the protection is mostly for the hands and feet. The skull itself would not receive much damage from a hand or foot strike. While some of the shock from a head strike is absorbed by the foam, this is negated by the foam becoming a primary target. Since the face is not a legal target, the foam protecting the forehead becomes a primary target. A strike to the forehead snaps the neck backward more than a strike to any other part of the head. This makes the wearer susceptible to a whiplash injury to the neck. Even if one strike does no apparent damage, the accumulative effect of many strikes over a period of time may cause an injury.
Neck twist. Another problem with protective equipment is friction. If a bare fist hits with a glancing blow to the head, it bounce off the skull with minimal damage. If both the head and fist are protected by safety equipment, when the fist hits with a glancing blow, the foam on both the head and fist will flex, increasing the area of the strike. While this may decrease the force of the blow, the friction between the head and fist protectors will cause them to grip each other and quickly snap the head around, which increases the chance of injury to the neck.