Sport Taekwondo-How important is height?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by ETinCYQX, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    Hey guys. I'm resigned to the fact that I won't ever be a high level taekwondo athlete, I don't really have any desire to be. I do however have a desire to compete again, I never have at senior, and I'd like to have a few decent tournament results before I hang it up permanently. :)

    Right now I walk around at 185lbs. I'm 5'8" and I have a 33" inseam. My question is, for coaches and fighters of whom there are a few here, should I try and drop a few weight classes? Too short for the 80kg division?

    If it helps any, the field here is pretty thin, I'm 20, and black belt male.

    I don't particularly want to lose weight, I'm a fairly stocky guy and I haven't been any lighter than about 165 since I was 15. This isn't a question of physical condition but one of range and weight classes.

    I ask here because 1) I appreciate the opinions here, 2) I have little experience coaching seniors, and 3) I haven't fought in a long time. I do compete in Judo at 81kg though.

    Thanks.
     
  2. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

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    I don't think weight class relates much to height, as there are plenty of tall guys in all divisions. I suggest emphasizing fitness, mobility and technique so you move well. You may need to develop more the shorter fighter's game, that's all--and mobility and fitness are critical to that. Not knowing about your flexibility, that will be important so you can score on tall heads too.


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  3. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    My personal experience tells me that you'll be on the short side at 185. I used to compete at around 140-155 and even at that weight lots of guys were taller than me (I'm about 5'10"). My inseam is only 30", though. You're lucky!

    Honestly, as long as you are confident that you can reach the head and you have a good game plan for taller players I would just fight at a weight I was comfortable with. I'm sure you know this already, but if you decide to cut weight, do it gradually, and start well in advance of competing.
     
  4. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    I tend to fight pretty close anyway. I train a lot, run a lot, lifting etc. 180 is a healthy weight for me, 145 or so would be a huge lifestyle change to make and keep. I can usually make a headshot pretty easily, but I've never done the splits.

    If I were to reduce weight, I'd do it over a year and make a lifestyle change to keep at 145. I don't like cutting weight any more than about 5 lbs.

    Honestly I expect to compete against mainly recreational athletes like me, so I don't think my height will hurt me too much.

    Thank you for your input gentlemen.
     
  5. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

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    Dropping that kind of weight isn't cutting, as you know; it would be a major loss of muscle mass. If you believe you're on the heavy side of a good fighting weight, then you may want to drop somewhat, but it's healthier to train hard and find the weight that is naturally best for you.

    Being competitive in a high intensity sport like TKD takes a high level of training and recovery. By all means train hard, but never neglect your health and recovery. You will need good diet support.

    Best of luck either way.
    Carl


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  6. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    If you are fighting locally no need to drop weight.
     
  7. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    How important is it? I'd say not very. I'm 51, 6'1", 220. Last tourney I fought in, my division (BB over 45) was me and one other guy. After I fought him, I signed up for the 35-45 class. I was the only one in it over 40. I was also the only one over about 175. I took silver, and the guy that beat me said he should have lost.
     
  8. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I disagree and think that most elite coaches prefer people to be a certain height for a certain weight division (or you'll have to overcome reach disadvantages regardless of comparitive skill levels).

    I know when one of my students attend the Battle4Brazil assessment day recently for GB Squad selection, they were all measured in both height/weight and leg length (height - height when seated) to determine appropriateness/competitiveness in their weight division. As far as I understand it, it wasn't a decisive factor, but it was a factor.

    (unfortunately my student wasn't accepted, but it was still a great experience).
     
  9. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    In a sport which requires you to kick above the waist, barely scores punches, if at all, prohibits punching to the head and has weight divisions, with any competition that has a reasonable number of competitors your toast due to height and reach disadvantages unless your abilities border on the superhuman.
     
  10. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

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    I get what elite coaches prefer, though the leg length matters more than overall height, but you are the height you are. My point was that every weight group has people of that ideal build, so dropping to 145 won't get you away from those guys. I know an international level finweight who's 5'11", and he's well below 145. The OP wasn't trying to meet the preferences of elite coaches, but fight in the division that would be most advantageous to him.


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  11. Miles

    Miles Senior Master

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    You mentioned dropping a few weight classes-I wouldn't recommend that if you are going to fight recreationally. You are a Middleweight, to get to Welter, you'd have to be 176. You are training in both TKD and Judo so I have to believe there is not much to cut except muscle. :)

    I agree with Carl-work on your inside game. Referees are starting to score punches.
     
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    For many years, I was about 185-190 at 6'4 and a 36" inseam. I can tell you that it made a huge difference. It was difficult, if not impossible for most of my opponents to score head shots against me and I needed to expend comparatively little effort to kick at their head level. I had more arm reach than some of my opponents had leg reach and could literally keep them at bay with body punches. Now my weight is about 215, much of it in the upper body (36" waist, 44" chest). At my last competition (it has been awhile, but I was around 200-205 and around 40), most of my opponents were from 5'10" to about my own height. Opponents over six feet required me to fight very differently from shorter opponents. Not to say that the shorter guys weren't challenging, but my height was a huge advantage for me.
     
  13. Dad of lady Taz!

    Dad of lady Taz! White Belt

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    OK,
    Now you hit my favorite/least favorite subject. I am the coach of a fighter that is considered on the short side for the division. And is often the shortest at many competitions. I am constantly bombarded with the "why don't you loose weight" , "you're so small for the division" etc, etc. We are somewhat successful for the level that we are competing at and this is what I learned so far. Although I will admit that there are certain advantages to being tall in this sport, there are just as many advantages to being shorter, but you will definitely have to commit to fighting the short man's game. Most TKD coaches I have run into either won't teach or have no interest in it because the conventional thinking is "The taller the better" which is the theory behind loosing weight to compete. If you want to see really good fighters who are short for their division try Carlo Mofeta, Yvette Yong, Antony Graf, Tashi Sherpa, Danelle Pelham just to get you started. You will notice that they tend to be more athletic and agile than their taller opponents, this is an essential part (IMHO) of the short man's game. Along with having knowledge of YOUR distance and timing is essential. Being shorter usually means you will be quicker and because you are compact, it gives way to more creative movements and technique that tall opponents (doing the same techniques) would find to be useless against you because of YOUR size.

    At first look we are all enamored by the unusually tall. But at the end of the day it's how you approach your training and the fight. If done properly height will matter very little, especially on the local/regional level.
     
  14. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    My daughter is a shorter fighter also...I have had many conversations with "dad of lady taz"...one thing I would add is that you have to be perfect... no lapse of focus or you are going to get beat.

    The short mans game requires perfection against the elite level taller fighter!



    a "tall order" pardon the pun!!!!
     
  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    True as far as it goes, but not all sport taekwondo is under Olympic rules.
     
  16. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I've seen shorter players do very well against taller opponents. With the current scorring, which disproportionately rewards head shots, being tall is a huge advantage. But not an insurmountable one. Getting well inside of the opponent's reach and fighting close in is what I've seen when shorter players do well against taller opponents. As Gorilla said, you cannot let up or lose focus. As soon a taller opponent gets outside of your range while staying within his/her own, you're back on the defensive.
     
  17. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    I'm pretty far from an elite fighter. I'd like to win a couple local matches and maybe some provincial/regional fighting, that's all.

    I could probably make welterweight but I'd give up a fair bit of strength, probably.
     
  18. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

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    Watching Carlo Molfetta fight changed my entire philosophy on competitive Taekwondo.

    While Carlo is taller than me, he did beat a couple of ridiculously tall fighters just by being better.

    Sounds like the answer for me is flexibility, a focus on counter striking and timing, and doing a lot of fighting. I don't particularly want to get into the contest about who can weigh the least and fight the smallest guys, that's not for me. Competition in my position is about being a complete martial artist, I'm too old (lol) to fight internationally now anyway.

    Thanks for the help all.
     
  19. Dad of lady Taz!

    Dad of lady Taz! White Belt

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    Also do not forget the above! In a sport that has rules that favor the taller fighter, the shorter fighter is afforded fewer mistakes.
     
  20. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    The shorter fighter is always running thru mine fields just to get into kicking range. My daughter is a 5' 3 inch bantam weight....she fights a girl who is 5'11...the rules favor the taller fighter....if you make a mistake 1 head kick and you are down 3pts!!!!

    Average Batam 5'7-5'8.... The last 3 girls she fought 5'8 5'7 and 5'11...ATC saw 2 of the fights...Kym has great movement and distance control... 1 Mistake in two of the fights cost her...123
     

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