Originating from the Philippines, Escrima (also known as Kali and Arnis) was used against the Spanish colonialists in the 1500’s. Escrima has since evolved into a modern, realistic and effective martial art through the study of other weapon and unarmed concepts; Balance, Focus, Power, Timing/Distance/Speed, and Transition. Everything which we do with a weapon in Escrima uses the same concepts for our unarmed applications which has the benefit of making Escrima Concepts an easily accessible martial art for street situations. We live in a society in which weapons are used widely in violent crime and understanding weapons can prove invaluable in protecting yourself.
Escrima is a fighting art; pure and simple. Originally practiced with knives and machetes in the Philippines, it was more a way of life than a hobby (like people in the wild west owning a gun). These days, the majority of people walking the streets, people like our students, are not in fact carrying around bladed weapons. Instead, should we need to defend ourselves, we have to make do with what we normally have with us; what we are legally allowed to carry around with us in our daily life.
The Benefits of Escrima Concepts
Escrima Concepts is a very practical martial art which is excellent for both self defence and fitness. The physical benefits of our Escrima Concepts classes include increased mobility, increased dexterity and improved coordination. As students progress through our syllabus and begin to use two weapons, they will benefit from improved left/right coordination as a result of using both their left and right arms with different weapons and leg combinations simultaneously. The added pressure of using weapons without hurting yourself, or your training partner, improves confidence and develops increased body control and awareness of yourself and others.
Many of the techniques you will practice do not require strength or power since most of the power is derived from body movement and economy of motion; because of this anyone can practice Escrima Concepts regardless of their build or physical strength.
Because you will be using weapons from the very beginning everything is initially taught slowly and with control, aiming to keep students relaxed under the natural pressure caused by using weapons. Once you are comfortable with, and proficient in, the use of basic attacks and defences, students can then begin to add some speed and eventually power.
In addition to the physical benefits of our Escrima Concepts classes, it is our aim for all of our students to benefit from the self-discipline that comes from studying a martial art and the self-confidence that comes from knowing ways in which you could defend yourself should it become necessary. All of our classes are designed to help students lead a safe, happy, healthy and successful life.
Training Escrima Concepts
Escrima Concepts uses five concepts (Balance, Power, Focus, Timing, and Transition) to train with both traditional weapons like sticks and knives as well as modern items like a pen, mobile phone or a magazine. Instead of having a system of fighting for each separate item, we use the core concepts and our body mechanics to train us to be able to pick up anything and use it instantly as a weapon.
The main principle of Escrima Concepts is; “Don’t Get Hit!”. Taking a big ‘baseball-bat-like’ swing may be effective in terms of the sheer amount of power you can generate, but you are not particularly safe while winding up and starting the manoeuvre. Instead, we aim to keep our weapon between us and our attacker. It is our weapon but also our shield, and from behind this shield we can move to attack or defend.
Because we cannot rely on being bigger and stronger than our opponent, we must learn to develop power by moving our entire body. Escrima Concepts works because an attacker does not get hit by a 7 pound arm holding a mobile phone, instead they get hit by a 12 stone person, all impacting through one small point.
Our Escrima Concepts classes begin with using a rattan stick as a learning tool. As well as learning to use a piece of wood as a weapon, you are also teaching your subconscious about effective range. This ‘beginners’ weapon is the same length as your arm, so you learn about you and your opponents unarmed range. When using the back end (or ‘butt’) you are changing to the unarmed range, without dropping the weapon. The idea is that this stick is not just a stick, it could also be a rolled up magazine, an umbrella or a rolling pin; the concepts for using any of these as a weapon remain the same.
When we teach unarmed concepts this is also the same as using a mobile phone, keys, a knife, a bottle or a biro; the objects may change, but the ideas of movement and the concepts of balance, focus, power, transition, and distance (speed/time) are all used equally as you move from weapon to weapon.
Escrima Concepts is not a ‘stick system’, but a weapons system to be used with anything you pick up in the moment.
Escrima Concepts is a weapons based system and therefore you will learn to use weapons from your very first lesson. As the name suggests, this is a conceptual system which means it is the idea that ultimately matters, not the technique.
The fundamental concepts used in our classes are: Balance, Power, Focus, Timing (speed and distance), and Transition. These concepts are explored to find the safest and most efficient way of ending a fight, using control of both your own and your opponent’s weapon and body to make effective use of what you have.
Initially we train with rattan sticks, then as you progress through the syllabus you will move on to use a large variety of other training weapons including tonfa, axe, knives, palm sticks, machetes, staff and a whole host of other weapons and combinations. From the outset you will also train unarmed using just your own body (which is also a weapon) against all the different weapon types. Students learn to interchange weaponry depending on its availability so they can fight just as well with a weapon or without it, learning to adapt the concepts to whatever weapons they are using.
During the Lockdown of 2020 we started filming the Escrima syllabus, along with many solo training exercises and recordings of our Zoom classes for students to use when training outside of class. These are available through our online portal: FuTube, and you can find some taster videos here.
26th/27th June: Grandmaster Steve Tappin
Sunday: Instructor Training
Saturday: Seminar & Grading
20th/21st November: Grandmaster Steve Tappin
Sunday: Instructor Training
Saturday: Seminar & Grading
We welcome everyone to come along and try out a couple of classes for free, so that you can get an idea of what and how we train, as well as meeting the instructors and other students.
Escrima Concepts Instructor Team
We are very fortunate to have learnt Escrima from some of the top Escrima practitioners in the world, including Grandmaster Brian Jones and Master Ricky Crofts (Latosa Escrima and Integrated Kun Tao), Grandmaster Bill Newman (Latosa Escrima), and Master John Morgan.
We are now proud to train and teach the ‘Escrima Concepts’ of Grandmaster Steve Tappin, who is an internationally renowned master of martial arts specialising in the use of unarmed and weapons for self protection. Grandmaster Steve and his son Wayne teach all round the world to top martial artists as well as bouncers, police, and military units. Throughout the year both Grandmaster Steve and Wayne visit Cambridge to give seminars and to grade students who are ready.
In Cambridge, our Senior Instructor is Col Maggs who is currently a 1st Technician Grade (1TG) and private student of Instructor Wayne Tappin (4TG).
Col has been training Escrima since 2004, and now teaches the Cambridge classes assisted by Instructors Tiest Vilée and Neil Ellis.
In 2019 Neil also started his own club in Newmarket, Suffolk Escrima Concepts.
Photo: The EC Cambridge Senior Team at an Axe Seminar at the start of 2020 with GM Steve and Wayne.
From L-R: Tim, Neil, Col, GM Steve, Tiest, Amy, Martyn, Wayne.