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#315648 - 01/16/07 07:58 PM Weight divisions
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Why are there weight divisions in tournaments that are designated as "no- to light-contact"?

I understand wrestling, BJJ & judo where weight is a factor (ability to move a heavier opponent). I understand boxing, MMA & full-contact/Kyokushin style fighting where weight is a factor (more impact from heavier opponents). No-brainers.

So why don't "no- to light-contact" striking arts divide their competitors according to HEIGHT? Since reach is more of a factor than weight or impact, there's more discrepancy between 2 competitors both 165 lbs but where one is 6' tall & the other is only 5'7".

Am I wrong?

#315649 - 01/16/07 10:27 PM Re: Weight divisions [Re: hedkikr]
clmibb Offline

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 1035
Loc: South Texas, US
It's just one of those things man. I busted a couple of masters chops about having prize money for the men but not for the women. This past November was the first time I was able to compete for money. Now my instructor is going to have prize money at his tournament in March. My point? If you see something that doesn't make sense, ask about it (politely of course). Get people to change. Often times people will just keep the same rules for years and years and think nothing of it because no one brought up a different way. Talk to someone who you feel comfortable talking to and ask them. I started talking to the other master's wife who is also a BB. She agreed with me that it wasn't fair that the men could win money but not the women. I asked her to harrass her husband everyday until he agreed to put money up for the women too and I'd do the same to my instructor until one of them gave in. In November the women competed for prize money for the first time in at least 16 years. Now my instructor is going to have money for the women too in March. Now I'm harrassing my instructor about making the money the same for the men and women (the tournament in November had $100 for men and $50 for the women). You could have the potential to change things in your style.

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."- Ronald Reagan

#315650 - 01/17/07 01:36 AM Re: Weight divisions [Re: clmibb]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
I'm not trying to change anything because I no longer compete & I'm not urging my students to compete (they can if they want to - it is good training to get the experience).

I was just trying to point out the absurdity of weight divisions in no-contact/light-contact events.

#315651 - 01/17/07 11:07 AM Re: Weight divisions [Re: hedkikr]
Supremor Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 2510
Loc: UK
Hedkikr, I've been saying the same thing since I started competing, weight division in no/light contact sparring is stupid. It is IMO, just a way of martial arts competitions trying to appear to be like a full contact sport. Personally, I like being reasonably built, but the other guys in my division are mostly very skinny and tall.

I have brought it up with competition organisers before, but in the end, it's their tournament, and that's the way they want to do it, so who am I to interfere. Besides I compete once a year at most, so it's no skin off my nose.

#315652 - 01/17/07 01:39 PM Re: Weight divisions [Re: Supremor]
tkd_high_green Offline

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
I suppose it depends on the size of the tournament. Our local tournaments are usually so small 150 to 200 competitors that weight is usually not an issue, although I can see that a lighter competitor would probably be faster than a heavier competitor and that could give them and advantage.

We do continuous point sparring and olympic point sparring at our tournaments. continuous is "medium contact" i.e. hit hard, but don't knock the person out, where as olympic is hit as hard as you can.

At a larger tournament, weight is just another way of trying to make the competition as fair as possible and pair you up with someone as close to your age, rank, height and weight as possible.

My first nationals (aau), I wasn't allowed to fight the other yellow belts because they were in a different division, even though I had fought two of them at the qualifier to get there. Instead I had to be bumped up to the green belt division. go figure.


#315653 - 01/17/07 02:35 PM Re: Weight divisions [Re: hedkikr]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577
I remember a regional tournament the TAGB (semi contact) held while I trained with them. I didnít enter, but went along. More people left with medals that without lol! Categories were divided into age, gender, weight, rank etc...

Just a theory I have, but more divisions mean more medals/trophies that are handed out. Some people are like magpies, they are attracted to shiny things. If you go from having a division of a comp where winning a single fight guarantees you a medal, to having to fight four or five times just to get to the medal stages, well, a good few glory hunters might be put off entering. Attendance drops, less entry fees collected etc... That is just my experience with the TAGB. Sorry if I sound cynical.

Personally I believe competitions are a good way to get a workout and test yourself, and can be a great learning ground. As I have said though, certain people who enter tourneys just want some trinkets to show their parents/friends etc... The more divisions they have, the more medals are handed out, and the easier it is to get on the podium. It's not right, but it is the only reason I can think that SOME organizers do it IMHO.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#315654 - 01/17/07 03:22 PM Re: Weight divisions [Re: Prizewriter]
tkd_high_green Offline

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
There is definitely a lot to your argument prizewriter. Although, just based on age, rank and gender, its not hard to keep the divisions small. At larger tournaments 2000+ competitors, if you don't have the extra division, you could easily have 40+ people in your division, which I've seen in some of the kids divisions. I'd rather see two divisions of 20 than one division of 40. Larger divisions take longer to run as well, so if the tournament is going to get done by supper time, it helps having smaller divisions.


#315655 - 02/05/07 08:36 AM Re: Weight divisions [Re: hedkikr]
scarter Offline

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 24
Loc: Glasgow, UK
I practice traditional karate (ITKF). We don't have weight categories, although it's generally accepted that the big guys do have an advantage. But the whole point is to be the best you can be....not to rig things so that you've got a better chance of winning. In the words of the JKA (from their website)...


Karate is not a sport one plays for points. In JKA kumite, there are no weight classifications and no arbitrary point system. Other karate groups often award multiple points (e.g., 3 points for a kick to the head, 2 points for a kick to the middle body, 1 point for any kind of punch), which can be tallied up to a win at their tournaments. But JKA tournaments are much stricter. At the JKA there is only ippon ("one full point," which means you have downed your opponent and won), or waza-ari ("effective technique," which counts for roughly 80% of an ippon). The basis of JKA karate is the ability to take down your opponent, regardless of size or weight, with one blow. There is no room for incremental points in such a tradition. The difference is obvious: we teach our students how to gain mastery of themselves and overwhelm the opponent.

So bearing that in mind, how absurd is it to have gender categories? Think about it, they avoid weight categories because the basis of karate is to take down your opponent, regardless of size or weight, with one blow. So why do things differently for women?

A 200lb man fighting a 100lb man is allowed. A 180lb woman fighting a 100lb woman is allowed. But same sized men and women fighting each other isn't. Now that's what I call absurd!

I agree with clmibb when she says:


Get people to change. Often times people will just keep the same rules for years and years and think nothing of it because no one brought up a different way

You'll get opposition and nastyness from some, simply because you're rocking the boat and upsetting the status quo. But in my experience if you ask (or discuss, nag or complain or do what it takes) then things will slowly change.

Edited by scarter (02/05/07 08:44 AM)

#315656 - 02/07/07 04:42 PM Re: Weight divisions [Re: scarter]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
I'm familiar w/ those "old school" rules - that's what I started w/. But JKA's claim that they don't have an "arbitrary point system" is disputed a few sentances down as "Ippon" (Full point = 1) & "Waza-ari" (partial point = 0.5) are explained.


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