Roger Love talks to Nigel, one of Urban Escrima‘s senior instructors, who teaches a thoroughly modern martial art under the railway arches at London Fields
What is your class and where does it take place?
We run Urban Escrima – a martial art for self-defence – at London Fields Fitness Studio. We started our training sessions and workshops around six years ago. Some of our work is with weapons such as sticks, but everything has an unarmed version, too.
What makes your class different from others?
We have a friendly, approachable club. Often people that want to start self-defence training feel intimidated to attend their first lesson. We pride ourselves in making people feel safe and comfortable right from the start, to minimise their nerves.
Who are your teachers?
Our main instructors are Charlie and me, Nigel, who both have around 20 years experience training in Escrima. We also have the following assistant instructors: Nacho, Cat, Abid, Ed, Andrew, Matt and Kris.
What happens in your classes?
Training involves learning skills to defend yourself, awareness to avoid confrontations and an understanding the law in relation to self-defence. Through training, people get fitter, stronger and gain confidence. We teach Escrima Concepts which is a martial art. Escrima originates from the Philippines and has gained popularity from films such as The Bourne Identity and the Bond film Quantum of Solace.
Describe your classes in three words.
Fitness, confidence, fun.
What kind of person would like your classes?
We attract men and women of all age ranges and fitness levels. Some have previous martial art training; some are complete beginners. So, all decent people are welcome, and due to our friendly approach, people who may be lacking in confidence but want to learn skills to protect themselves and their loved ones will find our training sessions very beneficial.
Who would hate them?
People with a closed mindset, who don’t make an effort to learn.
What makes you most proud of your classes?
It’s always an amazing feeling watching someone grow their skill set and confidence. We sometimes reminisce with members on their first training session and feel a sense of pride watching their development.
What’s the most memorable moment from your classes?
There are so many memories but one always comes to mind. After running a women’s self-defence workshop, one of the attendees was a victim of a mugging. She told us that prior to the workshop she would have panicked and probably done something silly. Instead, she took on board the training she received and remained fully calm and confident during the ordeal and came through it with without harm.
London Fields Fitness Studio, Mentmore Terrace E8 3PH
Roger Love is a personal trainer based in Netil House E8. Visit his website to find out more: