Karlovac Glory for Team EPIC

Team Epic braced the snow, giant rats and some of Europe’s finest fighters on their way to a successful haul from Croatia!

The Karlovac Open is a prestigious tournament and a major WAKO series event that attracts many well-known fighters from all over Europe to compete in the western-border town. Organised by Zoran Cicvara, this event has been one Team EPIC have attended a few times before.

The team arrived in Venice airport on a cold, wet Thursday night and trampled out of the airport towards their connection transport when they came across the biggest rats imaginable! With a small army of mutant rodents on the scavenge for food, the brief excitement and standard picture-taking came to an end and the team set off for a 3.5-hour trip across the snow-layered Slovenian mountains.

Upon arrival the team settled into the hotel for a night’s sleep before head instructor Andy Cleeves joined the following day following a flight direct to Croatia. The team weighed in and settled into the arena ahead of the evening’s team events. A great night of action as our teams took two golds and a bronze! A special mention to Captain Kam Doyle and Andy Cleeves who took out two German teams on their way to the title.

Saturday saw the start of the main action. The packed points-fighting categories proved to be exactly what you would expect from a major tournament. The standard in the cadet divisions was of world class and we had golds, silvers and bronzes across the board, as well as some strong performances that weren’t rewarded with medals. Kam Doyle and Teia Doyle both won their grand champion divisions which was brilliant and we had many strong fights from Alex Fellender-Evans through to Dylan Hunt. The adults also were represented in points-fighting through Emma Thomas, Ben Beavis and Matt Roberts- all of whom placed in their cateogries. Rhiannon Bater also stepped onto the mats at her first international tournament on foreign soil and Harvey Pollard was also on form in his divisions as he built more experience in the world of kickboxing.

Sunday saw the light continuous and kick light action. The arena was full again for day 3 and this was a testament to the standard in Europe. Captain Kameron Doyle recovered from a nasty foot injury to win his continuous division in style, Emma Thomas came from behind at half time in her fight to power her way to gold and there were other strong performances from Harrison Doyle, Dylan Hunt and the younger cadet squad who all battled hard through their categories.

The next stop for Team EPIC is the EPIC open on February 25th!

Daz- Gone but Never Forgotten

Today we learned of the terrible news that Daz Ellis passed away after a brave battle with motor-neurone disease. Even up until recent months, Daz would show his face at tournaments and support his fighters whilst battling with this aggressive illness. This is a testament to how he chose to fight, a warrior through and through.

As a club, we attended the tournaments put on to support Daz and cherish the memories we had with such a brave warrior. We hope that Mr Ellis is now at peace and wish that all of the NSKA club continue their martial arts journey in the memory of such a prominent figure on our circuit.

On behalf of all of the students, coaches, parents and members of EPIC Martial Arts we would like to pass our condolences to Christine and all of Daz’s family at this sad time.

Daz Ellis

Watford Open Nationals

The team smashed the medal haul at the Watford Open Nationals! A strong team led by head coach Andy Cleeves along with coaches Andy Gill, Gio Marchese and Matt Roberts.

The latter coaches all competed with Gio claiming a gold in the -69kg advanced light continuous with a win over long-time rival David Higgins. Matt Roberts claimed a silver with two convincing victories before losing out to world champion Chris Aston by 8 points in the final. Andy Gill beat rival nemesis coach Peter Felix before losing out in the next round by 1 point!

Mike Andrews won a bronze in the -75kg novice points category with a hard fought semi final where he ultimately missed out on the semi finals with a 6-2 defeat.

The juniors all fought gallantly as the medals and experience all came in droves. George Sherlock claimed a gold in -37kg intermediate points and then went on to win a bronze in the advanced -32kg category. Rowan Redgers stepped up to the -37kg intermediate category and didn’t win his fight but he gained valuable experience. His older brother Tyrese went on to win the -51kg intermediate points category to take gold.

Oliver Hiscutt lost by 2 points in the quarter finals as he fell just short of the podium fight, as did Dean Andrews after a energetic 6-1 victory in his opening fight, he fell 4-1 to a GB fighter who himself went on to have a nasty injury in the final. The club wish him a speedy recovery. Alex Fellender-Evans claimed 2 golds, one in the -28 and one in the -32kg points categories. His typical movement and counter fighting techniques were too much for his opponents to handle.

Rhiannon Bater stepped up to the advanced categories and was unlucky not to place, Harrison Dent earned a hard-fought bronze in the light continuous -51kg category. It was one of the fights of the day! Sean MacDonald claimed a bronze in the -28kg Points category in which he lost to team mate Alex Fellender-Evans.

Ewan Thain narrowly missed out on the podium twice with 2-1 defeats in both the -25kg points and -30kg points. Jess Andrews missed out in the -55kg Advanced points but picked up valuable experience against her main competitors. Summer Lonsdale picked up a bronze in her first major national tournament. She lost 7-5 in the semi finals but it was enough to land her on the podium!

Alisha Miles lost 4-2 in the -55kg and 8-1 in the -50kg to narrowly miss out on the medal placements and Ryan Chapman was even closer losing by 1 in his -28kg! The -32kg category was close but he couldn’t quite turn a deficit around to advance in that one.

Katie Williams took a bronze in the -60kg points losing 8-4 in the semi finals. She lost 4-0 to a GB fighter in the +60kg category. Ollie Lawler lost out narrowly in his -37kg categories. 4-3 in both of his fights as he came close to claiming silverware. Fin Cozens lost in the semi finals to take a bronze in his -42kg continuous category.

Connor Chapman was unlucky in his -42kg Advanced points category as he fought up a category for the first time. He also was very competitive in the -42 intermediate points section and gave his opponents a lot of issues with his lethal left leg but a harsh call as the referees missed a head kick on the buzzer meant that he missed out on a medal. Peter Lonsdale lost 4-2 in his advanced -37 category and he was agonisingly close in the -32 section as he lost 4-3 on the medal fight!

Dylan Hunt took a gold in -37kg Light Continuous category after pulling off the technique of the day with a spinning sweep! He also took a bronze in the -37kg advanced points.

Next up for team EPIC is the Karlovac Open in Croatia!