Here is our latest interview with Urban Escrima student and games geek, Ben!
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ben Ryalls, I’m the business development manager for a production company that supplies creative services to the video games industry. Bit of a mouthful but basically we cast, direct and record actors’ performances for games. I’m a huge games geek and it’s a lot of fun to work in an industry that you have loved since you were a kid.
What martial arts experience have you had previously and do you currently train in any other martial art/self-defence?
I did about 3 years of Tae Kwon-Do to blue belt when I was a teenager, and more recently a form of martial arts cross-training, under Guru Bob Breen based on Jeet Kune Do but incorporating techniques from about 8 styles, including Escrima, kife defence, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. I currently train Weng Chun Kung Fu, a little known sister art to Wing Chun, as well as Escrima Concepts. They are both conceptual-based arts incorporating weapons and empty hand techniques. Although the styles are quite different, a lot of the theories and concepts are similar and I enjoy attempting to blend everything I have learnt together when I train, although quite often I get it wrong!
How long have you been training in Escrima Concepts and what grade are you?
I’ve been training 4 months and am working towards my second grade.
What first attracted you to Escrima Concepts and how does Escrima differ to what you have done before?
Having trained some Escrima in the past as part of the cross training I wanted to take a pure Escrima class. What I trained before was quite showy but Escrima Concepts differs because it is extremely practical and current for real-world situations you might come across.
What is the one thing you most enjoy about Escrima?
I really enjoy training with weapons as a means to develop speed and accuracy because it ultimately teaches you fantastic empty hand techniques The classes are loads of fun and you meet some great people.
Why is it important to ‘circle’ your strikes?
Circling your strikes properly allows you to use your whole body to generate speed and power and to keep a flow of attacks going.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to train?
If you want to learn a dynamic and empowering martial art that will fill you with confidence, get you fit, and leave you with a few sore knuckles then come and join us for a month. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!