World champion in 2016, 1st round in 2018, moreover in the Olympic race ! A setback that sows doubts... Not for Jordan Thomas, who swears by the Positive attitude. The British champion sees it as a chance, that of being able to question himself in time to better comeback with a new method and new goals. First step : the English champion has a tough preparation for the Paris Open - Premier League (25-27 January) during 3 weeks in Azerbaijan.
By Ludovic Mauchien
Only karateka supported by Team GB, the British Olympic medals machine, he was back on the mats a week after the World championships, which saw him lose in the first round. Even if itw as by the two-time European champion, Turkey’s Burak Uygur, what a great disappointment. But the son has followed the advice of the father, huge champion of the 80’s-90’s.
Jordan Thomas used his setback to better comeback. Since Madrid, he has not stopped training, has questioned his training method and has filled his notebook with new goals.
Since January 4, Jordan Thomas is in Baku with his personal coach, Sait Ucan of Turkey, for a hard and intensive training with the Azerbaijani national team and some Ukrainians. He will arrive directly from Central Asia for the Paris Open – Premier League (January 25-27). And he is positive : He is ready…
Why are you training in Azerbaijan ? You needed to change after Madrid ?
Yes, I definitely need this kind of training, exposing myself, get something back. Have you seen the new movie Creed ? Rocky takes Creed to the desert. I feel like my coach has taken me to Azerbaijan, to the mountains to train, just like Rocky did to Creed (he laughs).
Me coming up here, it’s coming to train with world class athletes. Being a world class athlete, you have to be training with world class athletes. Everyday, I have to be on form because everybody is out of standard. I had to go somewhere where it is competitive, where I can train hard, where people are on the same level as me. So I can be competitive and get myself ready for the upcoming season.
What is your daily schedule there ?
I train twice a day, 4 to 5 hours a day. This doesn’t include physio. It’s a very tough training with the azerbaijan national team and a few others. I do my own business, my basic training and, also, I am doing my tactical training and my sparring training. We have some good clashes. The level is always rising. I spare with everyone, Rafael (Aghayev), the -67 kg, the -60 kg… We all get around, we all train together.
Is that a lesson of Madrid ? What did you learn from the Worlds ?
Madrid is giving me a chance… Actually, now, I can just go free more, so I feel like I can just relax a little bit and I can just go for it. This is the mentality I picked up at the World championships. I have a new motivation, a new goal, a new plan. For me, it’s a new spark of life. All this energy I want to spend, I direct it in the right way.
Was it difficult to go back training after such a deception ?
For me, no. I just wanted more training (he laughs). Also, when I got back, I’ve got friends and family who picked me up, including my dad. I’ve got a very big family, and I’ve got a big friends group. Britain, Team GB, was also very, very supportive of me. They really want to see me do well. That’s another motivation. I want to do it for myself but I also want to do it for my country.
What did your father tell you ?
My dad just said : « dust off your boots and carry on », which means « this happened today but tomorrow is another day ». So I can look at that bad experience and hold on to it. For a great champion, the greatest thing is to be able to forget quickly and use it as motivation to carry on, because the history book has not been written yet. So I have a chance to create a new story.
What have you done since the Worlds ?
The following week, I was in training because me and my coach went to Shanghai. The best thing for me to do was to see some family and go straight back to training. I din’t want to think too much about what happened.
So we came back and we had a new goal. We had a little competition in Shanghai and we had Christmas, which gave me a little time at home. And, then, I train straight through. I am ready for Paris ! (he laughs)
This season is going to very long. How have you scheduled your preparation ?
It’s just to make sure that my body can handle this busy season. It’s very important not to get burnt out. This season is going to get very, very hard for my body. So we are focused on avoiding injuries. I train for strength and physical power, but also good technique, new strategies… What we can bring in.