Thomas is off to California for the world Jiu Jitsu champs
DAVID Thomas is increasingly striking fear into the hearts of opponents, but it's his unwavering desire to conquer his own miss-demeanours that has led to his latest success.
The Yeppoon father-of-two won three gold medals in the No-Gi 77-88.5kg weight division and Gi absolute/open weight division at the AFBJJ 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, qualifying to represent the Capricorn Coast in the IBJJF World Championships in Long Beach, California later this month.
He fought 14 times in the three days of competition and weighed in at 81kg, at times nearly 50kg lighter than his opponent.
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.
"I feel good knowing I can match it with some of the best in the country - guys who train hard and come from bigger gyms," the 31-year-old said.
"It's a huge opportunity for me and I'm stoked to be able to represent my club, family and region on a world stage."
Thomas, who described jiu jitsu as human chess, has been competing for the past two years having previously tried his hand at boxing, mixed martial arts and rugby league.
He has made good fist of his new sport, but admits he had to overcome areas of self realisation.
"When I was doing mixed martial arts I was in a different place mentally," Thomas said.
"You have to be aggressive, have a bit of ego and pride and for me personally it didn't align with my morals.
"I've only been exposed to Brazilian jiu jitsu for two years but I've developed a lot more confidence and respect from it."
Thomas, with his neat cut, intimidating manly stubble and hulking physique, looks like the kind of guy you don't want to mess with.
It also helps that, as an electrician, he stays fit for a living and fights people professionally.
Hidden underneath the tough exterior is a king-hearted family man who gets a thrill out of helping kids.
Thomas has teamed up with the team at the Keppel Coast Gymnastic Club to start ALPHA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
"I'm aiming to give back to the community that has supported me," he said.
"We'll be opening up a free youth academy to help build confidence and self worth."
Thomas will continue to train at the De Bean 100% Jiu Jitsu club before flying to America with his family on May 25.
He will compete across five days of competition in the open and weight Gi and No-Gi divisions.
"I'm really looking forward to giving it my all, I can promise I'll leave everything on the mat," Thomas said.
"I want to make sure I do my best and make my family, club and community proud."