On Saturday night there were queues at the WiZink Center exit to take a picture with Sandra Sanchez, the world champion. There was also someone who asked for a selfie to Jesús del Moral, the coach. He is the architect of the success of the Spanish kata in this World Cup. On the CAR tatami (High Performance Center) he had a sentence written. "It's: today I beat my previous self. I am very demanding, there is one thing that I do not compromise: that my karatecas do not give one hundred percent ", explains Del Moral. Train a group of eight karatecas, all have won medals in this World Cup. One of gold, that of Sandra Sánchez; and three silver: Damián Quintero, the women's team and the men's team. All the finals have been against Japan, cradle of karate and world power in kata.
On Tuesday, on the first day of the World Cup, that of the elimination rounds, Del Moral could not cope. He came and went with an iPad in his hand, ran through the corridors to warm up with Quintero, the first to compete, and then with Sandra. This Sunday he returned to receive the embrace of his karatecas after the team finals. "What I do is convey illusion, confidence and work. I always tell you: with work, enthusiasm and enthusiasm you finally reach the goal ", he tells in the bowels of the pavilion while the female and male team climb to the podium to collect the silver medals. Are there more keys? "Work, work and work. We are being accompanied by luck, in addition, "he replies.
Since being in charge of the national team of katas – Mundial de Linz 2016 – Spain has won 12 medals in individual and teams: six golds, one silver and one bronze in Europeans and two silvers and two world bronzes. With the World Cup, the loot has risen to 16. For the Tokyo Games there are less than two years left. Del Moral has changed the work system. "With Jesus we have gone from training two hours a day to six. He is very methodical, knows how to manage the group and talks to you about psychology, technique, physics, nutrition … We are very lucky to have a person that includes everything ", explained Damián Quintero before the World Cup. The Spanish remembered that in 2015, before the IOC announced that the karate was going to be Olympic in Tokyo, there was not even a coach in the CAR (High Performance Center). Each one trained on their own and then tuned with their own teacher.
"Before there was no work method, it was a disaster. What we have done is to organize everything, plan it very well, and structure it with the whole calendar of competitions that we have that is great. It is necessary to try to arrive in the best possible way at the championships that are going to be many in this Olympic cycle ", analyzes Del Moral. The karate had never been Olympic so what the coach did was to ask for help from his gym and taekwondo mates. "It was complicated to prepare an Olympic cycle because there was nothing and starting from scratch is difficult. I used people who have done Olympic cycles for a long time, such as gymnastics and taekwondo. I tried to learn from them the distribution of work and burdens. It was what we were most worried about: knowing how to dose and not getting burned at the end of the cycle, "he explains.
Sandra Sánchez, who started working with Del Moral when she was responsible for the Castilla-La Mancha federation, always says that she was the only person who could make her better. That's why he looked for him when he returned from Australia and resumed karate. "Jesus mixes very well the physical work with the technician," says the World Champion. "With Sandra, she did a very good job. That's why we also chose him, "says José María de Dios, technical director of the Federation. "He's a professional like a pine tree. He is involved to the maximum, we can not ask him a little bit more because he is giving so much that I do not know if he has anything left. We thought about him because he was very up to date with the international karate and for a coach it was not enough for us to be a good coach but to be involved in international karate. You know what's cooking in that kitchen, "he adds.
"The kata competition has changed a lot, the athletic part is very important, before you were a karate player and nothing else and now they are karate athletes", analyzes Del Moral. Under his mandate, physical work has been given importance and the karatecas spend at least one hour a day in the gym. "The physical issue before was a little parked. We have had an impact on this and then transfer it to the technical section ", says the coach.
His karatecas also value his ability to encompass the mental aspect of kata. "The most difficult part of this modality is to reach the state of calm in your head. To do a kata well you need three things: body, head and spirit. You can have a part very well, but as you fail the other … most competitors physically and technically is fine, but the head and spirit determine everything, "says Del Moral. Your karatecas do daily exercises to control the head. "Concentration, relaxation, breathing and visualization. Everything is training, if you do it every day I do not say that the competitor arrives with zero anxiety, but we do get it reduced ", concludes the coach who was keen on karate for the Bruce Lee movies. "I was a freak, I went to the summer cinema to see them and when I returned home I put myself in front of a wardrobe to practice. My parents got fed up one day and at six they pointed my brother and me at karate. "