Clearly a peeing-for-distance contest is out. It's very rare to see a single punch end a fight, full stop, unless we're talking about sucker punches. In competitions where the knockout is the goal, rear straights are rarely used after the third punch or so. That, plus the fact that fighters who are looking to finish are closing the range down, thus eliminating the room for a solid rear straight anyway, is the reason you rarely see a straight rear punch from chin level end a fight. "Kicking distance" is relative. I'm a short guy. I spar with guys who aren't. My concept of "kicking distance" is monumentally different from theirs. But, any time the guy is close enough to hit me in the head, my hands are going to be up. Not necessarily in a shell (although it does help with my Joe Frazier/Jack Dempsey/Mike Tyson-esque approach), but my rear hand is above chin level and my lead shoulder is rolled forward. I'd think this would be even more important in JKA-style kumite, because the relative range tends to change very quickly. I also have no clue what you mean by shelling up reducing your mobility. With a tight shell, it's harder to leave your hands behind as you move your head/upper body. And it really has no bearing on what the lower body does. No, but you contrasted the gloves used in karate kumite with the so-called "pillows" used in boxing by saying that they were there to protect the knuckles, as if boxing gloves had some other function. They really don't. Weaker men have beaten stronger men in competition using guile, heart, agility, speed, and conditioning. Isn't it conceivable that a woman would be capable of the same? If you believe the legend, that's precisely what Yim Wing Chun did. Nah, you're not going to get away with making me sound like a poster child for domestic abuse. I doubt any male competitor, myself included, would request a female opponent. Fighting a woman is generally seen as lose-lose: if you win, you've "only" beaten up a woman, but if you lose, you lost to a "girl". But women are still at the stage where they have to "prove" themselves to some people. If a woman requested a male opponent, I wouldn't object to being that guy. You see, she's allowed to "pound", as you put it, on me as well. Fights generally aren't one-sided. By acquiescing to her request, I'd have allowed a woman an opportunity to prove she was as good as a man in competition. My job is to try to win the fight to the best of my abilities; anything less diminishes her efforts, and disrespects her as a fellow warrior. If she's better than me on that occasion, let her prove it. Everyone deserves an opportunity to prove themselves. In the first place I trained, two of the best fighters were women. Since then, I've trained with women who could handle themselves quite well. I have learned not to underestimate them based on gender. I hope someday you'll have the same discovery.