Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A case against weight cuts in combat sport

Were all familiar with the various weight categories in combat sports. Their purpose is to avoid mismatches and David vs goliath-esque situations. Simple enough and quite logically sound. This post is not against weight classes at all, I fully agree with their necessity in combat sports.
In this day and age though, with our knowledge of how to manipulate the body and its hormones we find that David vs goliath-esque situations are far from uncommon. 

This occurs when two opponents are matched at an agreed weight but one uses water manipulation to give an illusory low body weight. If these professional athletes were to fight immediately after getting weighed my comparably minute skills would be enough for me to run rings round them.

The acute dehydration is very taxing to the body, even small levels of water loss that happen naturally impair performance a surprising amount. So massive water loss by manipulation of body heat would leave the athlete no more able to perform  than a small toddler.

However, almost all professional fighters have to go through this unhealthy weight loss. Because its just what everyone else is doing. Which is to say that if I look for an opponent classed as my natural weight of 80kg the only dudes id find were 95kg powerhouses who have learned to cut down to 80 for a brief time.

If everyone just agreed to compete at their natural weight, there would be no problems with weigh ins but todays top guys are cutting 20 lbs of water weight so they can technically tip the scales for a brief amount of time at that lower weight and consider themselves part of that class. This is cheating, im my eyes but because everyone's doing it, cutting weight has become as much a part of competing in combat sports as the training itself!

I have competed numerous times and experimented with numerous techniques, from the long term hardcore diet to last minute sweating procedures. Both of which depleted my 'chi' if you will, and left me no energy to train. I was more concerned with with the weigh in for the weeks leading up to the fight, stopping me from getting my head im the game and basically sapped all the enjoyment out of the sport because i needed enough calories to train hard but few enough to remain in deficit.  As for the last minute water cutting favoured by todays top guys, the goal is to spend as little time as possible at the target weight. This did allow me to train harder and not constantly worry about food but the dehydration (nothing like the pros, a mere 4kilos) was poorly timed because of my inexperience and i spent longer than necessary in a dehydrated state, and probably didn't refuel properly. So god only knows if I was performing at maximum out put that night.  

The moral of the storey is that if you feel strong, and youre blasting through gym sessions and destroying the sparring, you are at full fitness. Your body is loving what you're putting in and your fight game is flourishing from the out put.


My logic from now on is that yes, I may well have to fight a bigger opponent, but i will feel strong and weight related stress free right up to fight night and he has had to expend some of his valuable chi, dehydrating or starving himself or both, which will make him uncomfortable and unable to perform to his physical best.
If I had my way, weigh ins would be an hour before the fight, forcing people to be honest.

Rant over! Thankyou for coming. X

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