Christophe Pinna : « I analyse the new techniques on the Net »

Karate : He retired 17 years ago, he dreams to be in the 2020 Olympics. Episode 4

Christophe Pinna : « Se faire mal pour savoir si… »

The qualifications for the 2020 Olympic Games will start on January 2018 by the Paris Open. At present, Christophe Pinna, who attempts a comeback at 48 years old, is a long way from ready. His body betrayed him during the spring. Injuries had handicapped him. But he is back. Time has come for the serious stuff. In September, he will take a step up. He gives us his method.


By Ludovic Mauchien


He has taken over the way to Dojo on September 2016. From that moment, changing fortunes has led his dailylife. But desire and motivation have never left him, only for a few hours spread here and there, when doubts almost won. Injured as soon as last autumn, Christophe Pinna participated to 3 tournaments in 2017, the Alpes-Maritimes district championship, the Rotterdam Open mid-March and the Dubai one at the beginning of April.

He would have loved to keep going but his body didn’t agree. The 4 times World champion (1994, 96 and 98 by team, 2000 in the Open weight division), 6 times European one (1995, 96, 97 in Open weight division, 1993, 96, 97 by team) and 2 times winner of a World Cup (1993, 97), had to remain at rest for more than 2 months.

A halt that gave him a blow to morale. But that was not a fatal one. The Frenchman, who fights in the -84 kg division (+80 kg in the Olympics), pursues his roadmap. Next September, he is going to pull double duty. To do so, he has wished to work with a premium coach : Didier Moreau, his elder in the National team at the end of the 80’s, the successful coach of the Samourai 2000 Academy (Le Mans). Christophe Pinna tells us his way to the top.


« I I try to replicate them and find responses »


As Karate has totally changed the last 17 years, do you get some advices from younger champions and/or coachs, in order to ideally adapt yourself as fast as possible ?

I am lucky to be in a time when you can find many videos. I analyse a lot the new techniques on the Net. First, I try to replicate them to be sure that we are talking about the same sport (he laughs). Then, I try to find responses, counter-attacks with the cards I have in hand. And, afterwards, I work on new responses connected to new techniques. It’s a very personal research based on my own experience.


Until now, you work by yourself. Are you going to use the services of a coach ?

At the very beginning of this adventure, I called Claude Pettinella (former National coach), who helped me to become World champion in 2000. I asked him if he could help me. He was very honest and told me that he wasn’t in anymore. He is somebody who was very important for me. But, for this project, the page is turned.

Then, the only person I knew she was able to bring me something, that suits me, is Didier Moreau. We met and I asked him if we could live this adventure together. We will start next September. Until when ? We don’t know.


« Didier (Moreau) created his own vision »


Why did you choose Didier Moreau (Open weight European champion in 1987) ?

I didn’t feel like working with a coach younger than me because I have a strong personality. So, I had to choose somebody with a personality at least as strong as mine, who can manage me and that I cannot manage (he laughs). I needed somebody who is a stand-up person, who is strong and experienced. If I eat him, it would not be useful ! Naturally, I thought of Didier.

For me, he is a charismatic person. He can be seen as disruptive because he didn’t become one of the herd, which frees him in his approach and discourse. I like people that don’t feel like following a move and being in a compulsary configuration, in which nobody raises his voice. Didier has created his own vision and it interests me.

He could have told me that he wasn’t interested by living this adventure. He doesn’t need me. But it didn’t happen that way. We are looking forward to get in the meat of it.


« It was a difficult period »


You met some 30 years ago in the French national team, didn’t you ?

When I was U21, I was already watching Didier. I always respect him. He fought in the same weight division than me, the -80 kg one. But when I got to the Senior National team, he was retiring. He fascinated me because he had very good and fluid leg techniques while he was not flexible at all.


Before working with him, you should physically recover. How did you live this long period of injury ?

Of course, I had my doubts. One day, my back hurt less and I thought I could make it. Another day, I woke up at 3 in the morning, I couldn’t sleep anymore because I was thinking that I would never make it. That’s the way it is…

It’s the 1st time in my life that I confront this. Young, when you are injured, you never think about recovering or not. But, at my age, you get stuck in the mud. When you think you solved a back problem, another one arises. It was a difficult period !



(Temporary) end of the saga


To also read :

Episode 1 : Christophe Pinna : « Hurt myself to know if… »

Episode 2 : Christophe Pinna : « « I was one of the best. I am now a rookie »

Episode 3 : « Make way for the young… No ! Make way for the best »