WAKO British Championships sees more medals for the EPIC trophy cabinet!

Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre, Birmingham

The busy start to 2015 for EPIC students continued with another major tournament at the weekend, the WAKO British championships over two full days; Saturday Light Contact and Kick Light, Sunday Full Contact, Points Fighting and Forms. Once again our EPIC competitors proved that their recent string of successes were no fluke as more medals were won at one of the biggest tournaments in the UK. All the divisions were highly competitive, packed with quality clubs and competitors and as a result every medal had to be genuinely fought for.

Standout results came from two students currently making waves on the scene, Rio Williams and Kam Doyle. Rio came 1st in the -32kg category after 4 hard fights, especially the quarter-final, where he bested an opponent he had fought against for the past 3 years, only beating him once previously but this time he won 4-1 which made the title even sweeter. The win and the title meant that Rio held on to his prime spot on the GB team and is now looking forward to taking part in the European championships as part of Team GB.

It was a similar story for Kam, who after taking gold in the -52 category in a tense final that went to first to score sudden death, then found himself in the final of the -57 division where he regularly lost to his opponent but this year, for the first time he reversed the decision and became a double gold medallist.

Great performances aren’t always about gold medals and titles, however, they are as much about heart and improvement as anything else as epitomised by 8 year old Harvey Tyler. Harvey had a great weekend at the Championships producing some of his best fighting to date. He lost 4-3 in the quarter finals in the under 16 years -28kg and then came 3rd in 10years -28kg, winning 6 fights and losing 7-5 in the semi-finals of a massive category.

Kam Doyle’s siblings, Ellie and Harrison also continued their good form ensuring that all three Doyle’s ended up on the podium, Ellie taking bronze in both the points and light contact and Harrison taking bronze in 2 points divisions. With Ishana Moores taking silver in the 16-18 yrs -50k and bronze in the -55k and Ben Davies taking bronze in the same age group for -69k light continuous, the championships proved once again that the EPIC competitors are improving all the time and, as part of Team Bristol, becoming a real force to be reckoned with on the circuit. Proof that time, dedication and hard work from the competitors and their coaches really does reap rewards.

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Marchese marches on! Another K-1 win for EPIC instructor despite injury.

UCMMA 42 Troxy London 07.02.15


EPIC instructor Gio Marchese continued to prove his multi-discipline excellence by winning his second professional K-1 bout on UCMMA 42 at London’s Troxy in the East End over 3 x 3min rounds. His opponent was the dangerous and durable Chris Garnett, nicknamed ‘Granite Chin’ and a solid Muay Thai and boxing exponent. This would have been a tough fight under any circumstances but Gio suffered a serious injury a fortnight before the bout in the final of the prestigious WON Tournament. On his way to gold, Gio executed a trademark axe-kick “which got caught on my opponents shoulder and when he shrugged my foot off him it pulled through my groin and I was in overwhelming pain.”

It was a potentially shattering blow for Gio, who was using the tournament as a final warm-up for the K-1 bout, having been in an intense training camp since early December and throughout the Christmas festivities.  “My first thoughts were that it was a bad tear and I would no longer be able to fight in London but the physio’s at Optimus who are housed at the Hub gym, Portishead were great and they told me it was actually not my groin but an Adductor that was badly strained. So with the help from Optimus sports physio and the specialist help I received from the ‘Rehab Room Cryotherapy’, who are housed at David Lloyd in Westbury Park, I managed to get mobile again very quickly.”

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With the fight still on Gio had to adapt his training regime, taking kicks out of the equation and focussing more on boxing, core conditioning and intense cardio. Gio credits EPIC Coach Andy Cleeves with the mind-set that sees him always remain positive and able to maintain a strong outlook even when injured in this way with such a tough fight coming up. It also meant developing and sticking to a very precise game-plan. “To go into the cage and utilise my movement. Our kickboxing style is all about pace, angles, movement, footwork, in and out, precision attacks maintaining correct distance and timing. Chris Garnett my opponent was known for his grounded Thai Style, good boxing combos and his solid leg kicks, so I knew this was not a guy I wanted to stand and trade with or end up in a brawl. The game plan was to be the clever, smarter fighter.”gio 2

Before the fight Gio executed an extensive mobilisation and stretch routine with his corner man Chris Djaelini. They then taped and strapped the injury and had a good sweat out on the pads. Gio had also brought a strong following to London, the ‘West Country Barmy Army’ and he credits his fans with being the loudest and proudest supporters by far on the night! “I’m so thankful to each and every one of them!”

The opening round confirmed Gio’s worst fears as Chris opened with leg kicks which straight away aggravated Gio’s injury but also quickly reminded him to get up on his toes. Chris pressed and Gio moved, exchanging blows with Gio the cleaner of the two. A solid Marchese side-kick to the body saw Garnett hit the canvass, ensuring Gio edged that round. The 2nd proved scrappy, with Garnett increasing the pressure and landing more leg kicks. For his part Gio had some success with push kicks, both men exchanging punches and making for a very even round and a close fight after two hard rounds.

In the 3rd round Gio was told by his corner (Andy and Chris) that it was time to go up through the gears, so Gio went out with more pace and started using a blitz style cross which was becoming very effective and he landed 5 or 6 solid right hands. “I felt him tiring and slowing up and because my injury was holding tight I though now was the right time to go for head kicks. I threw an axe kick and boom, it landed square between his eyes, I felt no pain, so was buzzing with reassurance that I could head kick!” With this new found confidence in the stability of the injury Gio began to open up with the high kicks and connected directly with Garnett’s jaw, rocking him, and for a moment Gio thought the stoppage win was his but Garnett lived up to his ‘granite’ nickname and survived to the bell. This late assault saw Gio take the win in a very tough bout indeed, reflected in the judges giving a split-decision 2-1 in Gio’s favour.

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The fact that Gio competed at all is testament to his and his team’s true warrior spirit and determination and Gio has proved once again that he can adapt to various disciplines and still emerge victorious. This, however, given the traumatic build-up and the tough nature of his opponent, surely has to go down as one of the talented Instructor’s most satisfying victories and a night for his faithful fans to truly remember.


Well done Gio from everyone at EPIC!

EPIC Students continue incredible medal haul in Croatia!

The 2nd Wako European cup karlovac open February 7th and 8th 2015.


It has been a very busy and productive opening to 2015 for EPIC’s students and this trend continued with another trip abroad, this time to Croatia for the 2nd Wako European cup karlovac open, where once again the students gave their all and secured medal places. This feat is even more remarkable given that the tournament played host to 22 countries and 1,444 competitors, a truly huge competition. That said, the EPIC students representing Team Bristol shone, with more gold, silver and bronze medals to add to a rapidly growing collection for 2015 and it is still only February.

Hayden Challenger continued his excellent start to the year, winning five of his six matches to take away a well-earned first place and a third to cap off a remarkable few weeks that has seen him work very hard to get to this position but the results have been worth the effort. Athens was good but Croatia was special as he earned that first placed trophy and a big thank you goes out to all of his coaches who have helped in his journey so far.

The Doyle family had a successful trip as well with young Ellie Doyle getting a great set of bronze medals in both the -28 and the-32 divisions, an amazing result considering this was her first competition abroad. Harrison Doyle also took bronze in the -28category, losing by a single point to the overall winner. Highlight of the day was Harrison unleashing an amazing head kick on the bell and what would have been a winning technique but unfortunately it wasn’t scored. Bronze however, is still an excellent result on his first trip abroad. Kam Doyle came home with three medals, silver in light contact, bronze in points -52 kg and an amazing bronze in the open weight 13/15 years category, with a sweep on someone twice his size, putting him to the floor, amazed the crowd and hinted at plenty more medals to come in the future.

At cadet level Rio Williams also shone, taking bronze in the -32 division, where he fought some of the toughest fighters from around the world. He had five nail-biting fights as the category was so vast and one of the highlights of the day was when Rio fought a highly respected fighter from the Kiraly team to a draw. The match went to a minute extra time and the boys where still even, so it was down to first to score and Rio caught the boy with a beautiful 2 point head kick to win the fight.

This International level of competition showcases the fact that the EPIC students are learning fast, gaining in experience and really benefitting from the exciting calendar of events their instructors ensure that they have access to. On this evidence there are plenty more medals to come in 2015 for a talented group of dedicated competitors and their equally committed instructors. The future’s bright…the future’s EPIC!

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