Fitness Question of the Month: Ever heard of Escrima? Read on . . .

Neil Ellis has recently launched an Escrima Club in Newmarket to provide a new, fun and practical self-defence system for local people. Here he explains the origins of the unique martial art. . .

What is Escrima?

Escrima Concepts is not something many people have heard of. Pronounced ‘ehscreama’, it is the national sport of the Philippines. Also known as Kali or Arnis, it has been used for hundreds of years and is the art of fighting with sticks, blades and empty-handed. It can be seen in many films such as the Jason Bourne series, The Equalizer and in Game of Thrones Series 8.

What’s so special about Escrima Concepts?

We move! There are few things that make you move your feet and want to finish the fight like someone trying to hit you with a stick or two, a sword or 6ft staff!

We learn to defend against these right from the first lesson, then using the same footwork and skills to defend against a punch or kick, the unarmed attacks become almost easy.

Neil Ellis, who has launched Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119888)
Neil Ellis, who has launched Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119888)

Neil Ellis in action at Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119780)
Neil Ellis in action at Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119780)

Tell us more about the training. . .

Escrima Concepts is a complete self-defence and fighting system trained all over the UK and Europe. It is used by the military, private security as well as professional MMA fighters.

The system is fast to learn, with nine student grades and a modern efficient syllabus designed to teach as effectively as possible.

Students start with unarmed and single stick then progress to double stick, Tonfa, stick and knife, knife, improvised weapons like phones and pens, defending themselves in confined spaces, on stairs and corridors.

Then on to quarter staff, axe and finally sword, spear and shield in various combinations to improve our reactions, movements and strategy.

Who is most suited to Escrima?

The system works equally well for men and women, aged 16 and up. It’s great fun and safe.

Tools used in Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119869)
Tools used in Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119869)
Neil Ellis, who has launched Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119888)
Neil Ellis, who has launched Suffolk Escrima Concepts (18119888)

What’s your background?

I have been training since 2013 and gained my instructor qualifications in 2018.

I have competed in the World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation Championships in both the armoured single and double stick tournaments to represent Team GB as well as the padded stick competitions. I have also taught at the Filipino Martial Arts Festival and I am a member of the British Council of Escrima Kali Arnis Instructors.

I have also taught various self-defence seminars locally and will be holding a women specific self-defence class in November.

Neil Ellis in action practicing Escrima (18119941)
Neil Ellis in action practicing Escrima (18119941)

Why did you decide to open Suffolk Escrima Concepts?

I decided to open a club in Newmarket as I know this exciting and practical martial art works. The community around it is so welcoming that it needs to reach more people. I felt this area in particular would benefit with all the military personal, as Escrima adds so much to the basic unarmed combat training they receive. I wanted to be able to improve the chances of people coming home again to their families.

Where and when?

We train at Asgard Fitness, Studlands Park Avenue, Newmarket on a Thursday evening from 7:30-9pm.

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