40 years ago 8th degree Tae Kwon Do black belt Grandmaster Soo Se Cho recognized a need for greater safety in martial arts training and competition. At the time, those competing in martial arts would wear poorly made gear that failed to protect their vital areas, and even some that were barely being held together with string. These unsafe practices lead to injuries that could have easily been prevented if safe gear had been worn, and is what motivated Master Cho to create a solution.
To fix this problem Master Cho passionately designed Macho’s first line of martial arts sparring gear, enlisting his own Tae Kwon Do students to try out his inventions, advances, and improvements. The hand-dipped experiments were done in a cut-off oil drum in a borrowed building, and led to the creation of our very first head gear – Dyna. Our team has always taken pride in the high-quality products that were created following these first few trials, and Dyna continues to be a flagship product of ours to this very day.
During the 80s Macho patented two other innovations in martial arts gear. The laceless kick was the first of these, followed by our ear-release canal design in 1984.
The Ear Pressure Release Test is what led to the second innovation, as it checks to make sure that the head gear design enables air to flow around the ear to protect the eardrums from rupture. Since its introduction, the ear-release canal has become an industry standard.
In 1987 the World Taekwondo Federation made headgear mandatory for all of their events, and selected Macho to design their official gear. This led to the creation of the WTF Head and WTF Shin/Forearm Guards.
In 1990 Macho released the first headgear that provided full face coverage. The MVP Head provides additional coverage to the cheeks and jaw, and was later followed by the MVP Cage, which minimizes the contact athletes receive to the face from misdirected strikes without compromising their peripheral vision.
The early 90s were very busy for Macho. Not only did it see the introduction of the first molded chest guard with layered protection in 1992, but we also: became the first company to sponsor an entire national tournament circuit (NASKA) in 1993, sponsored the first international tournament (the TKD World Championships in England) in 1994, released our Patriot Sparring Gear and announced a new Hogu design with additional body contouring in 1995, and finally, formed Team Macho (1995), which is a group comprised of leading martial artists from various disciplines, to serves as representatives for our brand and an inspiration to others.
In 1996 we released our Millennium 2000 Head. This was designed with revolutionary technology to make it 25% lighter than dipped foam headgear, with the same high-quality protection. Its design utilized 3 different layers of foam, an outer layer for durability, a middle layer for shock dispersion, and an inner one for comfort.
Macho conducts the first independent lab tests on its Dyna and Warrior gear by using the drop anvil test (aka Falling Test). This test assesses the typical impact one would feel when falling on the back of their head. When compared to our competitors, Macho gear proved to be the safest.
Macho is the only martial arts manufacturer with a 40 year legacy dedicated to ensuring product safety, quality standards, and testing. Over the years Macho has played an active role in setting the standard for martial arts sparring gear requirements, and in 2000 became a member of the ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) Committee to develop the standard specification for protective headgear used in martial arts.
To this date, Macho is the only sparring gear manufacturer who has published the results of independent laboratory testing to make sure our gear provides optimal protection for martial artists. This was made possible by our collaboration with Dr. Dennis Lieu, research expert at the University of California Berkeley.
-Dr. Lieu is also a martial artist, and he conducted the laboratory testing for Macho products in 2002.
Macho raises the bar for protection again with the release of its XP Series. This gear featured patented trauma dispersing plates to disperse the amount of force athletes would receive, as well as underlayed foam to minimize shifting.
– This line included the XP Head, XP Full Head (which fully protected the chin area), XP Head with chin pad, XP Face Shield, XP Shin, and XP Hogu.
2006 – CBR shield and chest
In 2001 World Champion Christine Bannon-Rodrigues worked with Macho Martial Arts to develop the Sport Chest Guard. It is ultra-lightweight with excellent mobility, and is Ideal for sport karate tournament circuits that require chest protection. Since then the Sport Chest has become one of our most popular chest guards!
In 2006 Christine worked with Macho AGAIN to design the Universal Face Shield to ensure it meets the needs and standards of practicing martial artists.
2012 – Seven Fightgear
In 2012 Macho released its first line of MMA gear: Seven FightGear. This line embodies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Karate, TaeKwonDo, Judo and Boxing to create a pure approach to mixed martial arts. It is an evolution of these distinct fighting styles and the discipline it takes to master each one – a philosophy that builds strength to overcome adversity in the face of the ultimate challenge.
In 2015 Macho set up shipping from California so our western customers could get their orders faster. However it also saw the re-birth of Team Macho, which is now a team of exceptional martial artists coached by our original Team Macho member, Christine Bannon-Rodrigues.
2018 – 2019
This year saw the release of our newest line of sparring gear: SparTec. The SparTec Head took three years to create, and was specially designed for pros and teams in sport Karate, Taekwondo and MMA. Based on the results from our high-impact safety testing, Macho SparTec is the safest, best performing injection-molded headgear on the market.
In 2019 Macho’s revolutionary sparring headgear got a face shield for added safety. The SparTec Face Shield was specially designed for pros and teams in sport Karate, Taekwondo and MMA. To create this product Macho enlisted the expertise of leading martial artists to design and manufacture the high-performance face shield exclusive to fit SparTec Headgear.