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Leading by example at The Dojo

✦ It is said that one should always lead by example and that is exactly what Phuket-based martial arts instructor Alexis Plantard does every day in charting the way for his legion of students.



French national Alexis is a fourth dan black belt in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu with almost 30 years’ experience practising martial arts who has won a range of accolades at international competitions over the years. In 2020 he founded the mixed martial arts venue The Dojo at the lifestyle park Blue Tree in Phuket, Thailand where students between the ages of 5-18 years old are introduced and mentored in martial arts such as judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling while learning the moral code of respect and honour associated with them.


“The objective of the dojo is to develop martial arts values and to create a dynamic fighter community in the north of Phuket,” commented Alexis. “The moral code of martial arts is to teach kids how to become a good person. It’s not about actually getting a black belt but more so about how to conduct oneself with honour and respect under the code of a black belt.”

French national Alexis is a fourth dan black belt in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu with almost 30 years as featured in Brilliant-Online
French national Alexis is a fourth dan black belt in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu with almost 30 years experience

Since the Dojo’s inception the number of students has grown steadily, as has the medal count. In November 2020, not long after opening and having only trained his initial group of students for a short time, the Dojo entered the National Jiu-Jitsu championships in Bangkok where the students emerged with an incredible 18 medals.


“We won eight gold medals, nine silver medals and one bronze medal,” an extremely proud Alexis recalls.


The achievement was all the more impressive given the team had limited practice time before prior to the national competition alongside almost 2,000 participants from all over Thailand.


Since then the medal count has been impressive. In August last year the team secured an incredible 31 medals at two provincial championships held in Phuket. The following month eight cadet and pre-cadet students amassed a total of 22 medals and secured the trophy for best national team at the National Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Thailand’s capital.


Since the Dojo’s inception the number of students has grown steadily, as has the medal count as featured in Brilliant-Online
Since the Dojo’s inception the number of students has grown steadily, as has the medal count

Further medal hauls were realised at the Siam Cup, Thailand’s premier Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament, the Australian International Judo Open in Perth, the Indonesia International Judo Open in Jakarta, the Philippines Invitational Judo Championships in Manila, the Sydney International Judo Tournament and the Singapore International Judo Championships.


Kenneth Thongsong became the first student from the Dojo to gain international recognition when he was selected to represent Thailand at the Asian Cadet & Junior Judo Championship 2022. He performed well enough at that event to qualify for under-16 age group at the Sarajevo World Championship of Cadets 2022 in Bosnia last July, an invaluable learning curve for the youngster.


“Every student has developed incredibly well and the entire team at Dojo at Blue Tree Phuket has come a long way since we first started,” commented Alexis. “I am extremely proud of every single student and am very excited about what the future has to offer.”


Role Model


Back to leading by example. It’s something Alexis does to perfection, serving as a role model and helping each and every student understand the core focus of martial arts while becoming better versions of themselves. Encouraging and guiding others through behaviour instead of words and inspiring to emulate action is something Alexis has down to a tee.


He regularly competes at international tournaments, with notable achievements of late including winning 10 out of 13 contests at the US Open Judo Championship last July, on his way to claiming gold in the men’s 90kg class, bronze in the open weight category and gold in the team event for Europe. The tournament is the largest of its kind held in North Amercia.


He then won a bronze medal in the men’s 90kg weight class at the Chiang Rai Thailand International Judo Championship in September, where over 200 athletes from 10 countries participated. Last month he won gold in the men’s under 90kg class age group and silver in the open weight division at the aforementioned Sydney International Judo Tournament, held at the Olympic Park in Homebush.


Back to leading by example. It’s something Alexis does to perfection
Leading by example is something Alexis does to perfection

However, while winning medals is a great achievement, it is not everything. More importantly, martial arts teaches students the moral code of honour and respect and how to conduct oneself. This was evident with Alexis after his quarter-final loss to Cameroon’s Dieudonné Dolassem at the Kazakh Kuresi Wrestling World Cup in Romania last September. A tough, experienced opponent who carried 10kg more weight than Alexis, Dieudonné had represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.


“I may not have got the result I wanted but the respect he paid me afterwards was fantastic,” commented Alexis. The two then shared a meal and discussed their bout.


martial arts teaches students the moral code of honour and respect and how to conduct oneself
Martial arts teaches students the moral code of honour and respect and how to conduct oneself

“We may fight like warriors but it is a gentleman’s sport contested with a robust moral code and high regard for honour and respect between its athletes,” he added.


Alexis is very much a man who leads by example and his students at the Dojo Blue Tree Phuket are in very safe, capable hands moving forward.

 

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