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Smoking in combat sports and martial arts

Smoking and martial arts

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts.

As you can imagine this post is not a aimed at non-smokers but at the boys and athletes who have this vice.

I don’t want to judge your choice but simply help you give you a motivation to quit and to be able to perform higher in your martial art and in your sport.

Unfortunately the TV, film examples of the hard and tough types is always associated with a cigarette in hand and this stereotype seems to like it.

Those who play sports, and want to do it to the fullest of their abilities, cannot smoke: smoking, in fact, negatively affecting breath and muscle performance, is the cause of a lower sporting performance.

The truth, however, is that smoking and sports are irreconcilable, for two reasons:

  • Why smoking heavily alters every sporting performance
  • Why exercise in no way protects against the risk of more serious diseases

Smoking and martial arts

Numerous researches, however, have revealed that advertising sponsorship favors the recruitment of new smokers and increases the amount of smoke taken by those who are already addicted to it.

And the most serious thing is that the new enlisted are almost always young and very young: from 9 years upwards, without any distinction between industrialized and developing countries.

There are just a few examples of how there are cigarette advertisements in many events, although less and less fortunately.

Smoking and martial arts

The manufacturers defend themselves by arguing that their advertising is aimed solely at the sale of one brand rather than another and that it does not affect tobacco consumption in any way.


Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Sport means life. Exercise, in fact, helps to achieve a better state of well-being both physical and psychic, inspires freedom and also beauty and fun.

In contrast, cigarette smoking and the consumption of all tobacco products are a cause of illness and death. Cigarette smoking is now the leading cause of disease and death in most developed countries, causing around 4 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

WHO estimates that by 2030, tobacco will kill more than 10 million people, many more than the victims of HIV, tuberculosis, road accidents, suicides and murders combined.

Only in our country (Italy) smokers over the age of 15 are about 14 million, the majority of whom start before the age of 21 and consume between 11 and 20 cigarettes a day.

In Italy, tobacco accounts for about 30 of all cancer deaths, or 45,000 deaths each year.

To these, they add 8,000 deaths a year from causes related to passive smoking, 10,000 deaths from chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema and a not insignificant number of deaths from myocardial infarc and other cardio and cerebro-vascular diseases.

A total of 83,000 people die each year from smoking-related causes in Italy and one in six to seven deaths is caused by tobacco.

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Now as you can see from this list in all sports there are smokers and the world of martial arts is not exempt:

Horse riding40,6

As you can see about 1/4 of the martial arts and combat sports practitioners smoke.

SMOKELESS SPORT!! and since one of the things that martial arts have taught me is to help others I want to have my say on this issue.

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to be a moralist or preach to you, you’re an adult and you can do whatever you want and you already know as everyone knows that it doesn’t make sense to smoke and that doesn’t make sense but I just want to tell you that if you want to improve one of the things you can do right away is quit smoking.

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Martial activity and combat sports, but in general in sport is not always accompanied by a healthy and correct lifestyle.

In addition to smoking also a bad diet, alcohol, nightlife that results in little sleep and not resting enough affects your sports performance.

But speaking of smoking that is the theme of today, if it is true that the vice of cigarettes is not as widespread among sportsmen as among the general population, it is equally true that 26.2 of those who practice sports smokes.

With marked differences between the two sexes: 34.9 of men and 17.6 of women.

Analysis of the data shows that in some sports smoking is more widespread:

  • team ones (football, rugby, baseball, basketball and volleyball). The reason would be psychological: not focusing on the physical performance of the individual, these sports activities allow people to feel less responsible for their health. These are also disciplines in which the athletic component is less important than the tactical one (which is why it is easier to find a footballer who smokes than a marathon runner or cross-country skier). It also affects the role of the athlete within the team (in football, for example, it is more likely that the goalkeeper smokes rather than a midfielder).

Result: 3 practiced endurance sports, 23 team sports and 20 other unspecified activities.

It also emerges that male sports smokers accounted for a third of the general population, females a fifth.

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

  • But there are also individual sports in which it is frequent to come across smoking athletes: body building and combat sports (Muay Thai,judo, karate,wrestling, weightlifting and the like),or those disciplines that require less resistance, as the intensity of the effort lasts less.

The more you smoke, the lower the frequency of exercise you can do.

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight SportSo much so that smokers abandon more sport, both the usual ones (52 of males and 61 of females) and the occasional ones (43 of males and 39 of females). On the contrary, participation in school sports competitions is higher among those who have never smoked.

The more you smoke the less you run.

The effects on the sporty performance of smoking were calculated by a study of scientists who have no doubt: resistance to running,for example, is significantly lower in smokers than non-smokers.

By studying the run of 6,500 19-year-olds enrolled in the conscript service, it was possible to estimate that in the same time (12 minutes) smokers are able to travel a distance less than that covered by non-smokers.

In the same study, among 4,100 joggers who had taken part in a race that ran over a distance of 16 kilometers, it was found that smokers ran much slower.

The researchers calculated that for each cigarette smoked the time to complete the run increased by 40 seconds and that smoking 20 cigarettes every day made these athletes 12 years older in terms of athletic abilities. In other words, those who smoke and are 30 years old run like a person who is 42.

Smoking therefore negatively alters the sports performance because it causes a decrease in lung capacity and muscle strength.

A team from Aarhus University in Denmark led by Christian Klausen quantified some of these effects on a group of young people (average age: 24.5 years) accustomed to smoking between 5 and 15 cigarettes per day.

The researchers calculated the consequences of 3 cigarettes smoked before performing a 9-minute exercise and then compared the values obtained with those measured after the same effort on a control sample (young people who had not smoked).

These were the results:

EffectReference or control valueValue found in smokers
Decrease in oxygen transport capacity by hemoglobin1,5%4,5%
Reducing the time of exhaustion of physical energies8.8 minutes7.1 minutes
Reducing the maximum volume of oxygen transported every minute3.83 litres3.54 litres
Reducing maximum lung ventilation150 litres per minute140 litres per minute
Reducing the concentration of lactic acid in the blood10.3 mM (mole millesis)9.4 mM


The effects of tobacco are the same in amateurs and professionals. However, they are more prominent in un-trained subjects.

These results mainly come from two components: nicotine and carbon monoxide (a colorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of tobacco leaves).

  • Nicotine,which determines the aroma of tobacco and which is responsible for the smoker’s addiction, attacks especially the cardiovascular system,causing a reduction in the size of peripheral blood vessels and causing the increase in heart rate, blood pressure, excitability of the myocardium and therefore the incidence of ischemic heart disease. To understand the disadvantages that are poured on those who practice sports, just think that training (especially that of aerobic disciplines) causes exactly the opposite effect and that there is a doping based on meta blocker drugs, drugs that lower the heart rate. Nicotine also does not promote the dexterity and concentration of the athlete. As much as it stimulates the sympathetic system, it does not act like a psychoactive drug. In fact, unlike caffeine, which performs a specific action of arousal on the central nervous system, nicotine especially affects the cardiovascular system.
  • Carbon monoxide: subtracts oxygen from the blood, causing negative effects on tissues. Once inhaled, in fact, it combines, at the alveoular level, with large amounts of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen, forming carbossiemoglobin and thus reducing the available oxygen. So much so that, even in this case, there is a form of drug-based doping that can increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. In addition, in the tissues, carbon monoxide binds with myoglobin, a protein essential for muscle contraction.Smoking and martial arts

According to a study carried out by Antonio Todaro, of the Italian Society of Pneumology of Sport, in smokers the rate of carbossiemoglobin is on average 4-5 with peaks immediately after smoking that reach 9, with negative consequences on sports performance.

Bronchitis and infections reduce the lung surface of oxygen exchanges, in this aiding by the dust and solid components of tobacco (tar, for example, is a very harmful carcinogen, the action of which is mainly exercised on lung cells).

A year of abstaining from smoking is enough for aerobic, anaerobic and workload to increase.

If, on the other hand, you stop playing sports for good, but not smoking, you cannot be considered exempt from the consequences of tobacco, as 3-4 months of inactivity are sufficient to cancel out the benefits of years of exercise.

Gregory Hirsch of the Division of Respiratory Physiology and Medicine at the University of California Medical Center, studied the immediate effects of cigarette smoking on the cardio respiratory system during physical activity.

The research subjected 9 male subjects to physical exercises on two separate days, inviting them to smoke three cigarettes before exertion on the second day alone.

Scientists calculated that the oxygen supply decreased by 4 after smoking.

They then identified the immediate, so-called acute effects of smoking: irritation of mucosa membranes with changes in the tone of the bronchi, increased vaso-communication and uneven regional distribution of blood flow, as well as increased breathing frequency, pulse beat and the appearance of tachycardia.

It can be summarized, at this point, by making a distinction between the short-term and long-term effects of cigarette smoking.

  • In the first case these are reversible symptoms after a few weeks from the time you stop smoking,
  • In the second, however, the effects can be more lasting.

Short-term effects of smoking on the sport

  • More fatigue. In fact, the time of exhaustion of physical energies is reduced in continuous-effort exercises
  • Oxygen can’t reach the muscles. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and partial blockage of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the muscles, is produced.
  • Decreases blood flow to muscles, but also to the brain and cardiovascular system
  • It reduces lung ventilation, which is the total volume of air entered into the lungs
  • By taking less advantage of aerobic metabolism you have to resort to anaerobic metabolism: hence an early formation of lactic acid, a kind of “slag” that intoxicates the muscles
  • It alters the nervous system. Nicotine acts as an anti-stressing substance, but alters the biological condition of the body

Long-term effects of smoking on sports car

  • Chronic reduction in respiratory function and possible delay in the development and growth of lung functions
  • Respiratory infections, asthma and bronchial obstructions caused by an alteration of the processes by which bronchio cells are able to expel along with mucus, viruses and other pollutants
  • Reduction in the ability to “spread” the lung, that is, the fundamental process of breathing: the passage of respiratory gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) from air to blood and vice versa
  • Increased cardiovascular risk
  • Heart rate dysfunction both at rest and under strain. When he is at rest, in fact, the heart must work harder to distribute blood to the whole body; During exercise, however, a smoker’s heart fails to efficiently pump the extra nourishment and oxygen required by the muscles
  • Increased risk of lung and respiratory organ cancer (a reversible probability in a time ranging from 7 to 10 years from the time you stop smoking)
  • Increased cough, excrement, panting breathing
  • Doubles the likelihood of incurring injuries during exercises
  • Increases wound healing time: Smokers, for example, with fractures of the tibia need 4 weeks more than non-smokers to heal and sometimes do not heal completely
  • Difficulty controlling your weight. In particular, men who smoke have a lower daily energy expenditure than non-smokers. In addition, the distribution of fat in the body of smokers can have adverse health implications

Smoking and martial arts

Aerobic sports and anaerobic sports: what is the consequences of smoking?

Not all sports are equal, and not everyone urges the body in the same way.

There are physical activities characterized by “light” efforts, prolonged over time. In this case the glucose is burned completely providing a lot of energy.

Such sports are called aerobic.

On the contrary, subjected to short and intense efforts the body burns glucose only in part producing little energy and a lot of lactic acid.

In this case we talk about anaerobic sports.

In the practice of a combat sport the metabolism is aerobic during slow phases or play breaks, while it is anaerobic during phases that require greater physical intensity.

Now you have to look not only at the combat phase but also all the phases that relate to training and martial training and combat.

Martial arts are a mix of the aerobic and anaerobic system.

In both cases, smoking causes serious damage and should not be underestimated.

Consequences of smoking in aerobic sports



Running (slow)

Cross-country skiing (slow)


Cycling (slow, flat)

Aerobic dance


It changes the muscle yield:

less stamina,

less durability.

More fatigue and slowness

Consequences of smoking in anaerobic sports





Heart and respiratory function are failing:

less breath and appearance of a short and laborious breath.

Martial arts and combat sports are a mix of these systems.

The world of sport and the positive signs against smoking, thesport’s battles against smoking began about 20 years ago.

Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Sports events are important educational tools in the prevention of smoking.

Nothing is more effective, especially to raise awareness among young people.

Here, then, are some occasions when sport has openly opposed smoking, on the side of health and well-being.

Fortunately, in the world of sport, cigarette sponsors are increasingly banned in leagues.

It is time not only to refuse sponsorships from cigarette manufacturers, but also to take the front line in the fight against smoking.

Taking advantage of the popularity some athletes enjoy it is important that they make an example campaign for the youngest.

Even the experts: technicians, escorts, etc., obliged to smoke only in “reserved areas”.

It is precisely among athletes that a less accommodating mentality towards cigarettes is spreading.

I’m not here to make a speech if it does you good or it hurts but one thing is for sure, it affects your performance and your performance so my advice is to stop, you also save a lot of money that you can use to buy equipment, participate in internships, etc.

Now you have some more information I hope, to you the choice!.

I know there’s also pollution, contaminated food, etc. but you do your part not to think that there’s always something bigger because that’s always going to be there, take your step in your direction.

Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport


Smoking in combat sports and martial arts Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport

Con una passione per la difesa personale e gli sport da combattimento, mi distinguo come praticante e fervente cultore e ricercatore sulle metodologie di allenamento e strategie di combattimento. La mia esperienza abbraccia un vasto panorama di discipline: dal dinamismo del Boxing alla precisione del Muay Thai, dalla tecnica del Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all'energia del Grappling, dal Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) all'intensità del Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Non solo insegno, ma vivo la filosofia di queste arti, affinando costantemente metodi e programmi di allenamento che trascendono il convenzionale. La mia essenza si riflette nell'autodifesa: Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), Dirty Boxing, Silat, l'efficacia del Jeet Kune Do & Kali, l'arte della scherma con coltelli e bastoni, e la tattica delle armi da fuoco. Incarno la filosofia "Street Fight Mentality", un approccio senza fronzoli, diretto e strategico, unito a un "State Of Love And Trust" che bilancia l'intensità con la serenità. Oltre al tatami, la mia curiosità e competenza si spingono verso orizzonti diversi: un blogger professionista con la penna sempre pronta, un bassista dal groove inconfondibile e un artigiano del coltello, dove ogni lama è un racconto di tradizione e innovazione. Questa sinfonia di abilità non solo definisce la mia identità professionale, ma dipinge il ritratto di un individuo che nella diversità trova la sua unica e inconfondibile voce e visione. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! Andrea


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