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Sports editor Kerry Miller meets the man whose career combines cakes and kick-boxing
COSMOPOLITAN would be an accurate description of Andover’s kickboxing champion Gordon Mitchell.
Born in Tywyn, in mid Wales of a Manx father and Chinese mother from Singapore, and having spent much of his formative youth in Germany, 45-year old Gordon’s path in life could have gone in any direction but instead it has led him to a career in martial arts with a bakery business in Overton.
“Mum being from Singapore meant that she was brought up among many different cultures and my uncles were all interested in Kung Fu as a hobby and as a young kid I idolised Jackie Chan and Jet Li so it was always in me” said Gordon whose family moved to Germany when his father was posted there. His last ten school years were in Dortmund and Munster before a final move to Middle Wallop and Andover where and the family settled with Gordon going to Cricklade College.
While there, his fascination with the martial arts lifestyle developed and although he had no formal training, by then he could punch and kick and soon engaged his Chinese heritage by joining a Kung Fu school in Andover. The Lau Gar style of fighting proved to fit the bill although Gordon admits “I knew nothing about it and started competing in novice divisions and only really took it seriously once I had gained my brown belt.”
From there the career went into overdrive as he moved up through the grades towards his black belt, only held back by Master Jeremy Yau, the head of the British Kung Fu Association, who advised him to focus on competition for a further 12 months before awarding him his coveted belt.
By then Gordon had finished University and moved into IT with Ferranti and later Reuters as a software programmer taking voluntary redundancy in 2003 having moved up to International Programme Manager. It was then that the bakery business in Overton came up and he was forced to learn another trade for two years.
He remembers that time well: “It was a tough period with waking at 3am every morning as well as being involved in the kickboxing club”. By then Gordon had enjoyed a spectacular career which began in earnest when picked for the GB Lau Gar squad at 21 which was one of the best in the world at the time and they dominated the UK and World Championships for 15 years.
Full story and pictures in Friday's Advertiser