Martial art is a true calling
AT 31 years old, having played several sports throughout his life, David Thomas says it's only through jiu jitsu he's been able to learn so much about himself.
The Yeppoon electrician only took up Brazilian jiu jitsu a year ago, but come May next year, the talented sportsman will be representing the Capricorn Coast and central Queensland in the IBJJF World Championships in Long Beach, California.
David said he was still pinching himself at the thought of competing internationally.
"It's a blessing," he said.
"Especially to be the first in Queensland to do this. I'm really looking forward to it."
David competed in the AFBJJ 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Melbourne from October 10-12 and entered into four divisions: two in his 79-88.5kg weight class and two in the absolute, or open weight, division.
David weighed in at 81kg and was at times nearly 50kg lighter than his opponent. He won gold in the No-Gi 77-88.5kg weight division and double gold in the absolute/open weight divisions, which totalled three golds out of a possible four.
David fought 14 times in the three days of competition. Now officially ranked as number one in the nation in both divisions, he also holds three Australian titles and three state titles in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
David said his family had always been his focus and Brazilian jiu jitsu gave him the ability to combine his love for sport and the loves of his life.
"My family come with me everywhere - they're my cheerleaders," he laughed.
"I wanted to find something that my family could be part of and weren't exposed to the aggression and ego that come with other sports."
Known as the human chess, David said Brazilian jiu jitsu was about strategy and staying steps ahead of your opponent.
"It's something that not only helps you physically but also mentally with confidence and life skills. I'm always learning and taking something away from every session," he said.
David trains out of De Been 100% Jiu Jitsu Capricorn Coast, where he hopes to form a team in time for the international competition next year.
"We're hoping to obtain support from local business and individuals who may want their company and/or products promoted on a state, national and international stage," he said.
But David's real motivation in competing is to gain recognition and credibility to open a not-for-profit Brazilian jiu jitsu program and give local youth a place to train and learn important life skills.
"I really feel there's a need for something like this on our community. It's great to be able to compete but this is ultimately what I want to do," he said.
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If you'd like to support David's goals, email firstname.lastname@example.org.