Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pacquiao’s Abstinence

Chances are, as I am dipping my fingers into the computer keyboard at this very moment, Sarangani Rep.Manny Pacquiao is having his audience with the Catholic bishops. Members of the CBCP Permanent Council are expected to meet the boxer-turned-legislator today. CBCP Secretary General Msgr. Juanito Figura said that the church is not using Pacquiao in its campaign against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill and added further that the gathering is the champ’s “personal initiative" to meet with the bishops.

Just recently, Pacquiao said in an interview: “As a couple, we practice abstinence. Discipline. It’s just like boxing, you must exercise self-discipline.” But I would like to sway away from discussing the RH Bill for every discussion about it ends with immaturity, if not sacrilege, subjectivity and arrogance from both sides. We will be answering a more exciting question related to sex and boxers: “Is sexual abstinence before a boxing bout (or any physical competition) has a proven physiological effect?” The Ancient Greeks believed so.

Plato, yap that famous Greek philosopher, was first to tackle the issue when he wrote about an Olympic champion, Ikkos of Tarentum, joined the 84th Olympiad in 444 B.C. Based on Plato’s narrative, Ikkos’ training regimen includes eating large quantities of wild boar, cheese and goat meat, but restrained from sexual activity, fearing it could diminish his strength. So it goes to conclude that the notion that a bed “fight” the night before + a ring fight the next day = poor performance in the boxing arena, is older than the Olympics itself!

The male hormone called testosterone is responsible both for sexual desire and aggression are reduced when man had an ejaculation, according to experts of yore. Ergo, trainers, coaches and supporters of this belief are firm in saying that every time a man ejaculates, he looses his energy and strength.

Boxing greats Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali followed abstinence months before each fight. The former became the only heavyweight who retired undefeated while the latter is considered one of the best fighters of all time; his record stands at an impressive 56 wins in 61 fights, with 37 knockouts.

Our very own Manny Pacquiao publicly admitted time and again that he separates himself from Jinkee whenever he’s inside the training camp. Unless of course during her brief (no pun intended!) visit.

But modern-day scientists belied what they call myth about sex and training. According to them, there is no critical evidence to suggest that sex has repercussion on any athletic ability. Want to know my opinion on this? Sorry I am no (s)expert. All I know is this: Sex can easily help someone go to sleep, and wake up early the following morning, actively doing household chores and whistling his or her favourite song!

For example, a study in Geneva in 2000 (published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness) reported sex had "no detrimental influence on the maximal workload achieved or on the athletes' mental concentration." Here’s another : A study at Rutgers University in NJ credited sexual activity before an event as beneficial for combating muscle pain and other sports injuries.

But while it has “no approved physiological claim”, for a boxer who practices abstinence, has the mental edge, the psychological advantage. For those great fighters in training, it’s the spirit more than science, mind more than body.

You may call Manny Pacquiao a "religious freak" or fanatic, "superstitious nut" or “Uto-uto sa mga Damaso” because of his recent stand and I don’t care. All I know is as a boxer (not as a politician, mind you!), this combination of his became his effective formula for success: discipline con hard work.

Well, generally people are going to believe what they want to believe, based in good part on what they are taught. Just like their stand on the issues of sex while on training and the RH Bill...

(Photo: cosmo.image)

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