Jackson Academy Physical Education Teacher Thomas Martin advises, “Do the right thing even if it means taking a few minutes longer to complete your task.” This philosophy applies to life in general and to the preparation that helped him earn his second title as Mississippi’s Strongest Man this past weekend.
During P.E., JA students benefit from Martin’s guidance on developing a lifestyle that includes exercise. They also have a role model who exemplifies that some of the best things we gain in life are those for which we have worked diligently.
“Sometimes the best things are the things that we have to work and strive for. Nothing can make you good at the sport of strongman except for having a good work ethic and the discipline to do what you need to do.”
How long have you been involved in Strongest Man Competition?
I started competing in the sport of strongman two years ago while living in Hattiesburg.
How did you get started?
One day while I was working out, the owner of the gym came over and explained the competition and said he thought I would do well. I was unsure about the whole thing, but remembered seeing the sport on ESPN when I was younger and knew that I had always wanted to try it. I decided to give it a go and invited my best friend to compete as well. I took second to him that year and have been obsessed with the sport ever since.
What title do you currently hold?
2018 and 2019’s Mississippi’s Strongest Man; Top 25 Nationally (Amateur Division)
Where is your next competition?
Since I won Mississippi’s Strongest Man this past weekend I am now qualified to go to the National Championship in late October. The location of this event changes every year. Some years it is in Las Vegas while other times it is in St. Louis. There is a rumor that it will be in Miami this year, but we won’t find out for a few more months.
What have you learned, or what do you gain, by competing?
With each competition that you win you get to move up to the next level whether that is going from Mississippi’s Strongest Man to Nationals or from Nationals to the World Championship. Winning Nationals or Worlds earns you a pro card, which allows you to compete in the shows you see on television and travel internationally to extremely large events.
Competing is one of my favorite parts of the sport because it shows who has put in the most time and dedication to the process of being good at the sport. To even be good on a local level, you have to put in countless hours and make numerous sacrifices. I think that is a good thing for anyone to learn in this age of an instant world. We get information to our phone immediately and get mad when we have to wait a few seconds for something to load. Sometimes the best things are the things that we have to work and strive for. Nothing can make you good at the sport of strongman except for having a good work ethic and the discipline to do what you need to do.
Most of the time if an athlete dislikes an exercise or struggles to complete an event it is because they have neglected it. They need to grit their teeth and turn their weakness into a strength. I try to make this comment to anyone I am talking to or training. Do the right thing even if it means taking a few minutes longer to complete your task. In the end, it speaks volumes about your character, and that is one of the most important things you have. Be known as a hard worker and not someone who will cut corners.
What do you like about working with students in P.E. at JA?
The students in P.E. are unbelievable, and I enjoy every day that I get to come to the school and teach them. Every time that they come they are eager to begin a new unit and learn something new whether it be football, lacrosse, or even playing a game of Mickey Mouse or Steal the Bacon. Each day they come with energy and enthusiasm and always expect me to give the same back to them. I am proud to call myself a Raider and be a part of the JA family.