July 27, 2016

Interview with an Urban Escrima Student – Nikki Johnson

by Urban Escrima Charlie UE in Beginner Martial Arts, self defence

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name’s Nikki Johnson. I work in the arts world, helping run gallery spaces and currently work in one of the oldest historical buildings in the centre of London.

I love going to gigs, listening to music, photography & painting. I am also a long-distance runner and am hoping to train with a view to completing the marathon next year.

What self defence / martial arts experience have you had previously and do you currently train in any other martial art/self-defence?
Before Escrima, I had never trained in martial arts before, although I had always been curious about it. Sword fighting and fencing were two disciplines that had always interested me, particularly because they have been practised for hundreds of years and are an important part of our history. Escrima is similar to these modes of fighting, which is why it suits me, yet it is still satisfyingly, a unique and separate fighting style in it’s own right.

How long have you been training in Escrima Concepts and what grade are you?
I have been training with Escrima Concepts for three months and am really proud that I have achieved both Grades 1 and 2 in such a short time! I attended a recent seminar and passed them both. Going up to collect my certificate in front of the class was a really terrific moment- it made me happy to know my hard work had paid off and had been recognised. Now all that there is left to say is… bring on Grade 3 J

Why did you choose to train in Escrima Concepts?
I was first introduced to Escrima concepts through my partner. We hung out in car parks and on the marshes, talking about and practising the strikes. His in-depth knowledge and enthusiasm was catching, so after a while, I decided that I wanted to develop my skills more seriously and decided to come to a class.

The second reason I chose to train in Escrima was due to a change in career. An average day at work passes agreeably, however every so often; a difficult situation will implode on the otherwise tranquil atmosphere. The equilibrium of the day is shattered by a hostile tourist, an aggressive trespasser or an unhinged religious fanatic, all of which attempt to get into a dispute with you. Normally I subdue the row before it results in fisticuffs- but there is still a very real chance, that one day, I may be in a danger and will need to be prepared! Escrima has increased my confidence and has given me invaluable knowledge into how I can defend myself in these situations.

Finally as a woman, I have clandestinely considered myself to be an easier target, being more vulnerable and lacking in brute strength. However, this is not inevitable if you train and learn about how to protect yourself. Escrima teaches you about body mechanics, which gives you an immediate advantage in overpowering any ‘would-be’ confrontations.

What do you enjoy about training at Urban Escrima?
The atmosphere. Firstly. It’s fantastic, everyone is social, eager to learn and enthusiastic. They really make you feel welcome and you instantly feel that you’re part of a special group of people. Everyone is proud of the club and what we do. Warning: You will find a lot of the Grade 5 and 7’s looking to give you some of their expert tips!

Secondly, Escrima appeals to me because it has a lot of variety compared to other martial arts. You get to fight both unarmed and with impact weapons (sticks, mobile phones for example). This keeps each class refreshing and interesting, as there are always new drills for you to learn. Importantly also, this ensures the classes are relevant. Escrima attempts to expose you to everyday situations and scenarios that are applicable to the world we live in today.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to train with us for the first time?
Bring your best black clothes, a pair of trainers and watch out for flying sticks! No, I’m only kidding, it’s not all that intimidating. If you’ve got this far in reading this, come down to a class, we’d love to see you there.