“I want to make sure that we never stand still and or get in the way of any of our students developing.”
EPIC’S founder, Andy comes from a large working class family (Dad’s a builder) of 4 sisters two brothers and has been married for the last 3 years to wife Claire. They have two young children called Ava (Just 2yrs) and Presley (Just 1yrs) and any downtime he gets is reserved for family time. Incredibly motivated Andy’s work ethic is not only reflected in his business degree but the fact that he has, as he puts it, “never had a proper job” but always worked for himself. Having always loved all things fitness, Andy has trained from a young age in Kung Fu and Kickboxing gaining a Black Belt in Lau Gar Kickboxing and a 2nd Degree Black Sash in Lau Gar Kung Fu.
The energy he puts into everything he does has rewarded him with notable success, his list of martial achievements impressive by anyone’s standards. These include World IAKSA Kickboxing Champion, WAKO Pro European Team Champion, WSKA European Full Contact Champion, Irish Open Champion, CIMAC World Cup Champion, WAKO British Champion, IAKSA British Champion, WSKA Full Contact British Champion, BKFA National Champion, Scottish National Champion and numerous other International and National 1st, 2nd & 3rd Places. He also appeared on and won BBC2 hit TV show ‘Masters of Combat’ and ITV’s ‘Simply the Best’.
An instructor for over 15 years, Andy has trained World champions and raised over £40K for local charities in recent years. With success as both a competitor and coach, Andy wanted to package all of the great elements from his 25year journey into a single training experience and to give people the opportunity to feel the same rewards that he received through all the years of training and competing.
After teaching Martial Arts for many years Andy was determined to create an organisation that caters for all levels, ages and abilities, passing on all his positive experiences by helping to get people fit and motivated whilst learning a new skill and developing their mental capacity. He believes EPIC is now unique due to the blend of skills and characters of both the coaching team and support staff. Even though EPIC are a big club the systems and processes allow us to focus on improving each individual. The team at EPIC consider standing still as going backwards and always aim to be innovative and ahead.
Andy’s role is to lead the teams and constantly challenge and develop our overall offering. “I take a creative approach to planning events and club activites with my team and make sure they are slickly delivered. I take huge reward week to week from bringing on students at all levels in terms of fitness, technique and mental strength. I want membership with our club to carve our students motivated approach to all aspects of life.”
For Andy, the hardest part of the role is not being able to be everywhere! He loves teaching but now his focus is more on developing his teaching team so the programmes can be taken to a wider reach and impact more people. This frustration is compensated by the joy at watching the programmes affect such positive change on students and being around such a focused and inspired team. With this in mind, Andy wants EPIC “to have depth in its student base as well as a strong high end with an accomplished competition team. I want to make sure that we never stand still and or get in the way of any of our students developing.”
“I’m patient and hard working but also a perfectionist, this gives me the drive to make sure the students get things right however many times it may take.”
An easy going family man with 2 teenage girls, Mike is always happy to help a friend when they need it and has worked as an aircraft engineer for the last 26 years. He has always taken part in some kind of exercise whether it be Football, Cycling or Swimming and when he left school became involved with Scouting where he helped run a Sports club for people with Disabilities, a club he still supports as Treasurer for over 10 years.
Mike started martial arts in 2008 when it was agreed that a few parents would give it a go as a way of supporting their children. He progressed up to Green Sash in Lau Gar Kung Fu over the next 3 years but then had motorbike accident in 2011, which put a stop to his training but not his desire to remain active and involved so he took the WAKO referees course. Over the following years Mike was invited to help teach the Little Dragons and Beginner Kids and now an integral part of the time his main concern, as he puts it, is “battling with age and keeping up with the kids!
The rewards of this battle are seeing the smiles on the kids faces when the collect their belts / sashes after a grading event, or a thank you from the parents for recognition of the work / time he’s spent with their child. To achieve this result Mike brings patience, a hard-work ethic and a desire for perfection to his role which gives him the drive to make sure the students get things right however many times it may take. He believes that Epic is the perfect environment for his students to flourish because –“Epic is a well-organised martial arts club that will help you reach your goals, whether it’s having a target to aim for or just trying to improve your fitness there is a class that will suit you. It’s all in the name EPIC, Energy, Positivity, Inspiration & Confidence.”
This belief in Epic stems from long-term personal experience as Mike’s eldest daughter started to train with Andy Cleeves 7 years ago and is now planning to take her Black Belt in the coming months. When she started she was shy and had very low confidence but that has changed dramatically. She’s been followed by our other daughter who is also flying through her grading’s and working hard towards her brown sash.
“This has been the best thing we have ever done and I would recommend it to anyone.”