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Training Priorities: MA vs. BB

Just wondering if anyone has had the dilemma that I have now. I started lifting weights about 4 years ago to get from about 120 lbs to 175 lbs at 5’5". I had the typical “little guy” complex, which is why I started in the first place, and lifting helped me dramatically with my self image and confidence. The way I feel about myself now vs. then is like night and day. Now, lifting is just a part of my life and it’s something I’ll be doing til I’m in the friggin’ nursing home. Anyway, I started training in thai boxing a few months ago, and I love it. I train 5-6 days a week, and try to train outside of class too when I can find a training partner. I’ve lost close to 10lbs from all the additional activity. Haven’t done any body comp measurements, but judging by the mirror and by what people at the gym have been telling me, a lot of it has been fat. However, I think I’d like to compete in a year or two, and I’m guessing that I’d have to drop a lot more weight in order to compete with guys as short as I am. But it kills me that I worked my ass off for the past 4 years to put on size, and now I’ll have to start losing it if I want to fight. I guess I don’t really have a question. Just wanted to express my frustration, and I wanted to see if anyone else has been in a similar situation.

Dude, you need to read the recent Atomic dog article by TC- Physique Schizophrenia- great read. As far as it relates to your problem, you need to make that decision and be comfortable with your body. Choices are: Lose the weight and (POSSIBLY) be a more agile Thai boxer in a lower weight category (and so meet smaller guys); OR maintain around the same weight, still do the weights AND the Thai, maybe not do so good in either, but enjoy yourself all around.

Think of Mike Tyson. Short-ass in the world of giants. Didn’t do too bad did he? Don’t you like the prospect/challenge of meeting and defeating taller guys?


Hopefully there are a few fights coming up for you to go watch. You know, to eyeball those in potential weight classes. It’s a good thing to do, especially when starting out.

While yes, Tyson wasn't as tall as some other boxers in his weight class, he also had skills. Just remember when the skills of two fighters are evenly matched, size will become an issue and the bigger fighter will win. However that, there are weight classes in thai boxing, correct? Are they similar to boxing?

Do get your BF measured, to know exactly where you're at. That should be the first thing you do, then train. And train some more. And go check out some matches to see what you would expect.

I understand your confusion and your pain as you have to make a choice. As someone else wrote, read physique schizophrenia by TC(I think) and take some time to meditate on the subject. The real question might be: size or MA? like you wrote for this thread.

(As additionnal info, I’ve been in the same boat as you, I’ve been training in JKD and MMA for 3 years but have stopped now) I would like to ask you another question: Why do you need the size? Will your self-esteem suffers too much if you lose another 10-20lbs? Do you train for your ego or for pure performance? Now don’t get me wrong, we all BB for ego i.e. we all want to LOOK better, leaner, healthier and it’s not bad in itself.

Finally, I would like to ask you one more question: if your main goal was size 5 years ago, is your goal the same now? Goals are meant to change when the context we’re in changes too. So maybe it’s time you wonder and ponder all this, reevaluate your goals and objectives then make the needed changes.

I hope it will provide you with some fuel for your New Year’s reflection.


I did almost the exact same thing. In high school I was 5’10" and 120lbs. By senior year I hit 160. Senior in College 185. 4 years after that 205. All the while I was doing striking martial arts and then got into Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. Now, I’m losing weight but for me this is ok. It’s a personal choice really and I’ve decided I want to be “functionally” strong and fast, for lack of a better term. I ask myself, will this make me a better fighter? So I’ve gotten into med balls, olympic lifts, sprints, stretching and renegade training. I meet a lot of younger guys with this dilemma and I tell them if I could go back I wouldn’t have tried to just gain weight for the sake of gaining weight. I would try to be a better fighter. So if you gain or lose weight shouldn’t matter as long as your fighting is getting better. If however, you are competing in weight classed events then you obviously do want to pay attention to your weight.
Just my 2 cents.