I wish I were a Kung Fu hummingbird...


Master of Arts
Apr 25, 2008
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Southern Cal.
...but unfortunately I have the body of a Judo ox!;)

Okay, confession time: I am 5'4" and about 25 lbs over my ideal body weight. My body shape tends toward the "apple" type, mainly carries weight in the midsection.

I am starting a weight loss program more or less for personal vanity reasons. However I wonder as a martial artist how much that extra 25 lbs is affecting my performance, namely my speed and agility in sparring and techniques. Should a 25 lb loss make me faster, better? In training, would it affect the power/impact of my strikes positively, negatively or not at all?

Also, maybe you groundfighters can tell me if it will be more difficult to fight effectively on the ground with less weight?

I would really appreciate hearing from anybody who has personal experience with weight change and how it affected their martial art.


Senior Master
Jan 26, 2007
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I've been working at improving my fitness for the past couple of years...primarily to improve my performance in TKD. I'm a big guy with a judo build...no thte long, lanky body type that often excells in TKD. I;ve got good power and speed for my size...lousy endurance. $ yeasr ago i was up to about 250 at 6' 1" and based on body measurements was about 34% body fat...a bit of a lsug. TKD training helped a little...2.5 years ago after up and down with the weight. I settled out at 245 and based on measurements was 31% BF. Now, after serious weight raining and serious fitness training thepast two months I'm 230 at 26-28% BF and dropping.

I started with straight wieght training, easing in cardio work as a warm up. I also started watching my diet closely, I wasn't trying to lose wieght, but i wanted to lose fat/gain muscle. Hard to do at the same time. I'd lose weight, then bulk up again...however looking at some measurements i did when i started and compared to recently, I lost fat and put on some muscle mass.

This improved my speed, power and my flexibility. Endurance was still a struggle. the workouts are short and intense. However, after a coupel of weeks I was not as winded during warm ups and line drills. then over the past month I started dropping weight. Mostly fat loss if my ape measurements are to be beleived. The improvement in endurance became even MORE dramatic when that occurred.

Back in July, I made the decision to try out a big competition at least once before I turned 40...needed to change my routine to include more cardio work, without sacrificing the strength stuff. Ultimately I decioded to try out the crossfit workouts. Been doing that since mid-August, along with watching my diet even more closely than I was. I was unable to make this commitment awhile ago because I needed to build my base...but after I did that things really took off for me. I started losing wieght faster (10 lbs over the past couple of months) while based on body measurement I've increased muscle mass...which means a higher metabolic rate.

Bottom line, I'm working mroe efficiently because I have more muscle than I did a few years ago, and that muscle doesn;t have to work as hard at moving me about. This has benefitted my stand up game as well as grappling.

Basically, increase cardio and strenght training, watch what you eat. be patient, (in my case make changes gradually). If something is not working, find another solution but don't give up.

In the end it's a good thing to do and will only improve the results of your MA treaining in the short and long run.



Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Aug 21, 2003
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Chattanooga, TN
As I see it Martial Art training will help you tone the muscles that you build up during your training and as you continue your weight loss you won't have the loose skin that some folks experience.
Losing weight is work, sometimes hard work and it's not just a one time thing. You don't just lose 25 pounds and it stays off, oh my no you gotta keep working it off. The nice thing is you'll only have to work off three or five pounds at a time after the target weight has been reached.
Rigorous training/excercise will help with that and again, MA training will help tone the muscles that are there and that will be subsequently built up as you train more over a period of time.
Control your diet and keep up with your exercise as you train. The results will be remarkable and you'll find yourself a lot happier with yourself physically as time goes on. As far as your emotional and mental happiness goes... well that's up to you as well. Do what's good and what makes you happy (as long as it's healthy).

Good luck on your continuing journey.


Senior Master
Jun 2, 2004
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Well, as far as my personal experiences go (although limited in grappling), weight does give you a good advantage, but so does strength. I was watching two kids practicing moves last night, one being a good bit smaller than the other. Even though the size/ age/ weight wasn't about the same, he still had strength to hold his own. Then again, there wasn't much resistance...