Two-and-a-half years after retiring from competitive kick-boxing, Bridlington’s Andy Desa proved he hadn’t lost his edge by winning all six of the categories he entered at the Battle Of Britain.
And on top of his individual success in Worcester, he watched three of his students pick up medals in the novice classes in their first national event.
Desa, 41, and his proteges, Mel Halstead, Scott Lowe and Isaac Richards will now head to Geneva in Switzerland later in the year to represent Great Britain in the world championships.
He said: “In 2011, I won my fourth world title and then I retired. I was 39, I had a three-month old boy and I thought that was it.
“It was my fourth world title, I had been doing it a long time and I thought ‘where do I go from here?’.
“I thought I would carry on with my coaching, then I moved here from Lincoln, started a class and got itchy feet. I felt I needed to train for something. Someone mentioned these championships and that was it.”
Desa won the semi and full contact categories at both under 70kg and under 74kg, then added to his tally by claiming the Grand Championships and the semi-contact open weight event.
“I was beside myself. I’d had two-and-a-half years away from the sport and it is a long time. If you can work at the same level and ability you are used to, age should not be a problem.
“Everybody was saying ‘concentrate on your coaching career’ but I felt the right age to stop is when your body can’t do it any more,” he added.
But he insisted he was more proud of the achievements of his students from Blast Fitness, than his own success.
Halstead returned to Bridlington with a gold and a silver, while Lowe and Richards both picked up two silvers.
“It means more when it is your students,” said Desa, who has won 160 national titles in his career. “It was their first time at national level and we had some great results.”