There comes a time in every judokas career when retirement looms, whether the path is chosen or forced upon them. In this particular situation we look at the sensational Kata duo from France, Laurent and Michel Jeuffroy. Now holders of multiple European and world titles, they have been an unstoppable force on the Kata circuit, sharing their knowledge and expertise on their journey. Lisbon was last on their list and did not disappoint.
So it is with a heavy heart to see them retire from competition, but when one door closes, another opens and the pair are excited to immerse themselves in their other passions. Let’s learn a little more about the Jeuffroys!
How did you become involved in Kata and what is it that drew you to this aspect of judo?
With our teacher Jean-Claude HIRAM, we have always studied kata from an early age. He transmitted to us the search for technical understanding and to feel each technique internally. What interests us in the practice of kata is this search for the purity of judo, the impression of entering the bowels of judo!
What do you attribute to your great success?
We very quickly set up a training schedule by creating our own training exercises according to the period of the season. Then we certainly have a great analytical capacity which has allowed us to find areas of progress on our kata. And finally, we also have an ease to manage our emotions and our stress in order to be optimal on the day of the competitions. Our strength is to make each situation (draw, composition of groups, quality of the tatami) an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Always take the positive from everything, never be a loser in your head!
When did the decision come to make this your last event?
Our decision to stop the kata competition was taken after the World Championships in 2019 in Korea. We had decided to stop at the 2021 European Championships but covid prevented our participation in this championship. so we decided to stop at the Lisbon World Championships. This decision was reflected on because we knew that sooner or later, other competitors will be stronger than us, it is the law of sport! We beat the best in the world and one day it would be normal for us to be beaten as well. We wanted to stop before that day came.
What have been the highlights of your career?
The highlights of our career were the 2015 World Championships where, for our 1st participation, we beat the best European couples of the moment to finish third, and of course then our two victories over the Japanese in 2016 and 2017. Regarding the places visited, we really liked going to Belgium for tournaments because the welcome is very warm from our Belgian friends!
What has been your most valuable learning experience?
We do not retain a particular experience, but rather the progression step by step between our beginnings in Kime No Kata and the understanding that we now have of this Kata. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.
Following your retirement from competitive Kata, what is next up for you two?
The next steps will be the preparation of the 6th dan of Michel with the study of Koshiki No Kata. We also want to promote the Kata and bring our help to all those who wish it. Our training methods and our analysis methods can be adapted to all Kata. And we will also resume our second passion, road cycling, and participate in bike races!
Laurent is also one of our EJU Kata Experts along who are able to deliver seminars, a fantastic offer for national federations and clubs alike. Find the details of our Experts Commission here.
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Maurizio Calderini
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Wolfgang Dax-Romswinkel
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Jean Philippe Gilon
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Nicolas Gilon
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Pedro Goncalves
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Laurent Jeuffroy
EJU Kata ExpertMs. Ulla Loosen
EJU Kata ExpertMr. Stefano Proietti
The future is looking ever as competitive for the two with great achievements undoubtedly coming their way, we wish both the very best of luck in their endeavours.
Author: Thea Cowen