Here is our latest Urban Escrima student interview with Olly, enjoy!Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Olly, I’m 32 and a trainee teacher from Sheffield, now living in Hackney. I like music, animals, riding my bike, watching films, reading, and playing in bands. I started attending Urban Escrima with my band mate Dave; we play in a hardcore punk band called Carnist – carnist.bandcamp.com
What martial arts experience have you had previously and do you currently train in any other martial art/self-defense?
None and nope – I’ve long considered it, and being a pathological procrastinator, only now got round to it.
How long have you been training in Escrima Concepts and what grade are you?
I started a couple of months ago and just completed my first grade.
Why did you choose to train in Escrima Concepts?
I knew one of the instructors, Charlie, through the vegan/punk scene in London. I heard he ran Urban Escrima with Nigel, and I looked into the principles and ideas and was attracted to its practical application and focus on self protection and fitness. My aims were to work on my general fitness, improve my physical confidence and be able to defend myself better. I thought about attending for quite a while, until my girlfriend Bridget gave me a kick up the arse (in fact she just contacted the club saying I was going to turn up, so I had to). I asked my friend Dave and he was really keen to join me – it’s good to go with mates, but you’ll also make them here!
What is the one thing you most enjoy about Escrima Concepts?
It’s hard to choose one so I’m going with two – I like how you can develop practical skills and confidence, and that working on general fitness is almost a by-product; any activity which is just for the sake of getting fit I find unbearably boring, but this keeps your brain engaged too. Secondly I am very keen on the supportive and challenging atmosphere of the club; it’s a very welcoming and inclusive place, but you’ll also be able to stretch yourself to improve.
You recently attended the Knife Awareness seminar with GM Steve Tappin, how did you find that? What did you learn / enjoy from the day?
It was great! I found it really valuable to apply the learning we’ve done to some realistic scenarios. I found it challenging and practical, and I appreciated GM Steve and Wayne’s clarity – every part of the seminar was related to real-life. I enjoyed learning about the psychological and physical aspects of dealing with knives, and I certainly felt more confident afterwards.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to train with us for the first time?
Certainly give it a try – email with questions first if you need to be convinced, maybe find a friend to go with (although you don’t have to), then just jump in and give it a go. You’ll find it welcoming and positive, whatever your ability.