To most people, the idea of floating in a tank at Float Culture connotes feelings of calm, serene silence, quiet introspection and the occasional moment of epiphany. The aesthetic of the whole experience is undeniably flavored by Zen influence; it seems like the sort of place you’d go if you had to figure out the sound of one hand clapping, for example. But it might surprise you to learn that some of Float Culture’s clientele aren’t just floating for new age pontification, they’re there mostly to get better at putting their opponents to sleep in various rings and cages across the world.
Auckland’s Shane Young is the current XFC featherweight champion. A veteran of upward of 15 fights across multiple disciplines, Young is the first athlete to be sponsored by Float Culture. Initially endorsed in the lead up to his title fight with then-champion Adrian Rodriguez, Young has since become a devotee of the tank, using it as a tool to ensure he enters the cage at his physical and mental peak.
“I had already faced Rodriguez once before at XFC 20 and lost a majority points decision,” says Young. “But I let him win that first fight, because I lost the mental game.”
With an undefeated amateur MMA (6-0), boxing (3-0) and kickboxing (3-0) record, Young was no stranger to throwing down. But even the best fighters in the world struggle with their minds as any opponent. The UFC’s Donald Cerrone openly utilises a sports psychologist; a relationship which has seen him earn more performance bonuses than most people have fights. In the run-up to his rematch with Rodriguez, with the aid of the tanks at Float Culture, Young in a sense became his own psychologist .
“At first inside the tank I was just visualising, constantly visualising myself beating him in the rematch. I was just thinking about the fight and my gameplan,” he says.
In the closing days before Young left for Australia and XFC 22, that changed somewhat.
“The Wednesday before the fight I was fasting to cut weight, and that’s slightly psychedelic on it’s own. Combined with the tank though, I started to trip out in a relaxing way. There were geometric patterns of light and all that sort of thing. It was nothing over the top, and after a while it kind of stopped and I went real zen.”
“Then the visualisation was better, and that really helped. The biggest thing was the added self confidence. I felt really good going into the fight.”
Young would knock Rodriguez out in the third round after blasting him with a head kick and follow-up punches. But Rodriguez was no slouch, entering on a four fight winning streak, and Young’s victory was hard fought.
“I was pretty banged up after the fight. I had a hematoma on my left arm from his kicks, sore legs, just general soreness from getting whacked around. I had a float when I got back and it was really good to get the pressure off my legs and ribs. The epsom salts were good too, and it helped to wind down.”
“But it’s the whole experience at Float Culture. Using the nice herbal products after the float, drinking green tea in the lobby, it’s the whole package. I’ve recommended it to everyone – other fighters, my clients, and my wife.”
The word is spreading, with both the UFC’s Mark Hunt and Glory kickboxer Israel Adesanya making use of the tanks since Young’s title shot at XFC 22. For serious athletes intent on a significant mental edge, alongside invaluable physical benefits, it’s clear Float Culture is the place to go.
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