For my first tournament, the Sasquatch Open back in March of 2013, I cut weight. I was nervous, and had never cut weight before. I was on a decline from about 200 pounds and was trying to make it to under 185. The day before the tournament, my entire office went out to lunch for someone’s last day. I had a house salad with lemon juice, because I knew that wouldn’t be too many calories. We made the 5+ hour drive that night, stopping for my wife & kids to eat Subway. I had a banana. I was trying to get to the site in time to weigh in that night, but we didn’t. I knew I was close, but I didn’t know how close, so I didn’t eat that night. I weight in the next morning at 181.4 pounds. Quite possibly the lowest since around my junior year of high school. I lost all 4 matches I had.
My next tournament, I “cut” but only a pound or two. I lost more than I won. I haven’t cut weight since. I walk around right now at about 185 pounds. Which puts me squarely in the “medium heavy” division for tournaments that use IBJJ weights. I could do some work and cut down to get to the 181 with my gi on (so really about 177) in order to move down a class but I don’t.
As I was thinking about it today, one main reason I don’t cut weight is because at this point in my tournament “career” it hasn’t mattered. Not one time have I lost a match in my weight class because the guy was just too big for me. Not one time in my weight class have I won a match because I was able to hold a person down because I was bigger. I’ve lost open weight matches, in part, because I went against guys with 30+ pounds on me. But even when I’m on the lighter side of my weight class, weight has yet to make a difference.
What has made a difference is lack of mental preparation, lack of physical preparation, and not being as good as some of the other competitors. That said, I think the biggest shortcoming of my BJJ game is me. At my last tournament, I had 4 matches. Of those 4 matches, only 1 did I actually attack in the manner I wanted to. The other 3, I was much more passive, and weight doesn’t make a difference if you’re passive.
Additionally, I’ve never focused on my weight. I wasn’t a wrestler in high school (readers of this blog will know that — I put the COUCHpotato in couch jitsu.) I have cut weight a grand total of 1 time in my life, and it sucked. I was constantly worried about where am I at. Am I eating enough, or too much? Is my body going to be worn out from this? Things that I really don’t want to be worrying about the week of a tournament. Instead, I want to be focused on the task at hand, namely getting ready to compete.
Notice, this is specific to me. I’m telling you why I don’t cut weight. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I don’t know you or your skills or your history, maybe it makes sense to you. I suppose if I was 4 pounds away from competing at super heavy, I’d probably cut, since there’s no upper limit on that weight class.
To me, it’s a lot like golf. I played golf for fun the last couple years of college, and right after I graduated. Coworkers would talk to me about golf shoes and graphite golf clubs. I told them when my golf game got to the point where golf shoes would make a difference I would buy them. But for the most part, I could shoot an 63 (on 9 holes) one week, and an 80 the next. My game was so inconsistent that golf shoes didn’t matter.
I feel that way about BJJ and weight. I’ve had matches where I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do, followed by matches that I did everything I didn’t want to do. Until I can stabilize that and become consistent, cutting weight just doesn’t seem to add any value to me.