GILES Richards picked up an incredible double at a national martial arts award ceremony in Staffordshire.

The 26-year-old, who has been training for 18 years, was named instructor of the year and school owner of the year – one of his biggest achievements to date.

Speaking to Echosport, Richards said: “When I received the letter from master Bob Sykes, informing me of the nominations it was just incredible and I was blown away when I won both awards.

“The fact I was stood there in front of legends from all over the world was just incredible.

“Top fighters and instructors had flown in from everywhere, even as far away as Thailand, and it was just an amazing experience. In fact, it probably tops everything I have ever done and the fact I now have awards right back to 2008 is just fantastic.

“Many thanks go to all my students and everyone else who has helped me get this far.”

Reflecting on his career to date, Richards went on to add: “I have been training in martial arts for quite a while now after starting out at the age of eight.

“I have trained in many styles and now have my own schools all across the south west in towns such as Weymouth, Bournemouth, Seaton, Street, Yeovil and Radstock.

“I have also worked with Michael Jackson’s family, Peter Aunder and most recently Alex Reid, and I also write a monthly piece in Martial Arts Illustrated.

“I have also been studying close protection and have been flying all over the place to get training in order to get my licence to teach. By doing this, it has opened even more doors and my classes are really getting busy, which is amazing.

“It is just great working with so many great people from all walks of life.”

Richards holds classes in Weymouth on Wednesdays for all ages and abilities. To find out more contact call him on 07852148734.

* Giles’ Awards: 2008 martial arts school owner of the year, 2009 instructor of the year, 2010 instructor of the year, 2011 most dedicated instructor of the year, 2012 UK leading instructor and school owner of the year.