Senior Coaches

Instructors

SENIOR COACHES

Andy Cleeves

Andy Cleeves

Founder & Head Coach of all EPIC clubs

“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.”

Marcelo Coppa

Marcelo Coppa

Head Coach - EPIC Coppa BJJ

"Make Brazilian Jiu Jitsu an oracle for our lives. Like one song says: "...raise your hands to heaven and be thank full if one day you find a love, a place, to dream, so that the pain can always show something good..."

Born in Sao Paulo City in Brazil on June 8, 1980, lived until 28 years old in the central region of the economic capital of South America with his parents who still reside in the same place. Left home and travelled round the world passing through more than 25 countries over 20 years, working
with BJJ teaching, refereeing, competing, running tournaments, making educational and military projects, promoting and helping to develop Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

He started BJJ in 1998 at Lotus Club Academy and instantly fell in love with the sport, the competitions, the principals, values and benefits the martial art gave him, like the life quality, change of habits and how it could help rebuild a new and better personality, principles beyond self-knowledge along with the opportunity to express his human potential with the help of "soft art" (meaning the word jiu-jitsu in Japanese).

The experience on the mats (training, competing and teaching) made him decide to leave Public Relations University in 2003 and a long path of studies in Technical High School, studying Social Communication before completing a Degree of Physical Education with specialisations in the field of sports, fitness, educational, psychology and oriental therapy, this helped him to improve his jiu-jitsu classes from the physiological to pedagogical part, both Degrees were funded by 80% athlete scholarship in UniSantanna University in Sao Paulo.

Black Belt since 2005 from Lotus Club BJJ (Sao Paulo - Brazil), in September 2008 he moved to Italy to teach and to make his Italian citizenship from his Italian Grandfather, in January 2009 he accepted an offer to teach and referee in Arizona USA until July 2009, after spending time in Arizona he went back to Brazil to finish his P.E. Degree and finished in 2010. In August 2010 he went back to Italy (Palermo) for 7 months teaching, and in 2011 he was hired for fight representing Italian national team of Ne Waza BJJ in the Olympic committee federation. In August 2012 he moved cities to Taranto settled permanently in Europe, teaching in various cities around Italy, competing, coaching for the national Italian team, refereeing and promoting championships around Italy, Germany, UK, Portugal, France, Israel, Netherlands, Russia, UAE and Switzerland. In one of the UK tournaments he met his wife Clarissa Coppa in October 2012 and after that they decided to live together in London in August 2013. In September 2014 they accepted a good Job offer to live, train, referee and teach in Al Ain - UAE (Marcelo working with GHQ, UAEJJF and in a Military College and Clarissa in the schools BJJ project), On the 7th March 2016 Sienna Luiza Coppa was born, made with a lot a love for sure from this wonderful marriage in Al Ain City. In November 2017, the Coppa family left UAE with the BJJ mission accomplished there, and moved for good in Clevedon UK
to continue their BJJ work in his association (Coppa BJJ Brazil, UK, Germany and Italy) and with his 5 Black Belts Teachers within these countries.

He is also head referee in UKBJJ Association training referee’s and running courses. Now his main focus is to establish his BJJ Dojo in UK, and is very excited about the new project with EPIC family and Andy Cleeves, called EPIC COPPA BJJ.

He won several championships, to include World Titles in (Abu Dhabi) 2016, (Brazil) 2013, (Vienna) 2012 and (Cali) 2011, Armed Forces UAE tournament 2015, Brazilian Nationals 2013, 2008 and 2007, Europeans (Lisbon) 2012, (Hanau) 2011 and (Modena) 2010, Pan-American 2009 and 2007,
some international cups in Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Argentina, University Brazilian Federation (he awarded a athlete scholarship in 2001 and after became a University Athlete Coach in 2006) 2010, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001, and many others tournaments in your home city (Sao Paulo)
competing since white belt (1998).

His referee career started since he was brown belt (2003) working in Sao Paulo state federation, in 2005 he became an international referee for the CBJJE (Brazilian federation), IBJJF (International Federation) in 2011 and UAEJJF (UAE International) in 2013. Since 2013 he has been a head referee
for the UKBJJA, teaching and promoting referee courses around UK.

Always aiming his efforts to develop and pass this "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle" seeking to help the evolution of the sport as retribution for what martial art did for him so others can practice and receive the same benefits, believing that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a huge force of social transformation.

His mission is to work with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a great tool to increase our body consciousness with functional movements (adapting from the ground
fight techniques to use everyday), develop our body expression (calm to not react, think and choose a better answer under pressure) and a therapy activity (where we can learn about self knowledge, discover new aims to improve ourselves, trying and adapt ways to archive that goals with physical activity and having fun), stimulating, promoting and sharping the best of ourselves.

Gio Marchese

Gio Marchese

Senior Coach - EPIC Brislington & Director of Ring Sports

“I think Epic is a fun family orientated club where the name really speaks for itself.”

When you look at his competitive achievements it’s easy to see why Gio Marchese is such a valued member of the Epic team. With over 20 years of (successful) competition on the national and international circuit across TaeKwon-Do, Boxing, Kickboxing and K1, Gio has become a multiple English and British Champion across multiple associations and also achieved the WKA World title in Orlando in 2012. Gio is an easy-going character and known as a bit of a cheeky chap. “I like to train hard, work hard and then every now and then party hard (but only when I’ve earned it)” but when it comes to sport, coaching, training and competing, however, there is a totally different side to Gio, a side that sees him one hundred percent focused, dedicated and passionate and thriving on positive energy.

Gio brings to his role a vast knowledge of what it takes to be successful in a competitive situations as he has lived and breathed fight and tournament preparation first-hand from the training to the diet and then to the fight/competition itself but is quick to stress that the Epic framework caters for so much more than fight training- “People should join Epic if they are looking for a skilled delivery of a martial arts syllabus whilst learning through fun and hard work. Whether you are looking to compete, grade through the belts, gain confidence or train as a social hobby Epic covers all angles.”

As a veteran competitor and valued Instructor Gio has gained the respect of his peers in the martial arts world, so his words carry weight when he says of Epic-“I think Epic is a fun family orientated club where the name really speaks for itself, each instructor and class is full of Energy, Positivity and Inspiration which will give the students Confidence.”

Andy Gill

Andy Gill

Senior Coach - EPIC Bradley Stoke, Filton & Director of Development
Clarissa Coppa

Clarissa Coppa

Senior Coach - EPIC Coppa BJJ

Clarissa Coppa, comes from a family of teachers, both, parents and grandparents, so teaching in definitely in the blood, Clarissa’s background has mainly been in recruitment and client relations, but her passion has been for mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past 10 years. She first got into martial arts through her love of fitness and soon started boxercise, before going on to train MMA with Trojan Free Fighters, where she developed a love for martial arts, later on she decided to specialise in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She has competed in various high level tournaments including being a runner up at the CBJJE World Championships in Sao Paulo at blue belt, winning the European Master 1 Championship at blue belt and is current UAEJJF Master 1 World Champion at brown/black category.

She has for the last 3 years been working on a unique project in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Education Council who teach jiu jitsu for the schools. She worked full time teaching two age groups of girls, 9-14 and 16-18, so has a broad range of teaching ability for different age groups, and experience of running and attending tournaments and competition preparation for children.

Her background with jiu jitsu started with Italo Ferreira Nunes who she trained with at Trojan Free Fighters as a white belt, until she moved to London due to work, where she started training MMA and no Gi with Thiago Monstrous Borges with whom she received her blue belt, before training Gi with Lucio Rodrigues and Paul Hartley, who she received her purple and brown belts from.

In 2012 Clarissa met her husband at a jiu jitsu tournament In Kent, She really gives him credit for getting her to take jiu jitsu in a Gi seriously, and she really got the bug! She has now developed a very similar style to Marcelo as they have a similar body type to jiu jjtsu. They can normally be found rolling around on the smallest mat in the strangest locations!

In 2016 Clarissa and Marcelo had their first child Sienna, Clarissa spent her whole pregnancy teaching up to a week before the birth, she resembled a large whale, and often had to be helped up off the mat from her students!, but she really enjoyed to keep active and still keep her head in the way of jiu jitsu, even if she wasn’t able to roll.

In March 2016 Sienna was born, after 45 days she was back at work teaching, and used all her break times and the other teachers to get herself back to fitness, so not to be away from Sienna in the precious hours she had off work. In April 2016 she decided to enter the Uaejjf World Championship as a long shot, as she felt her training was good, but definitely did not put pressure on herself as she knew that her life style was not necessarily the same as some of the appoints, but to her surprise she won the brown/black category for Master 1, before being surprised by Marcelo by receiving her Black Belt in 2017.

We are now very excited to bring Jiu Jitsu to the Epic family, not only to develop and teach self defence skills to students, but also to show the life style and benefits it can bring with both kids, and adults. It can improve confidence, communication and interaction skills, as well as coordination skills. It can teach discipline, and aid weight loss and improve the mind, which can help with academic performance and improve focus and concentration

I am also looking forward to working with women to show how you can easily and confidently defend yourself with minimum effort, in a safe friendly environment, where you can afford to try positions make mistakes, have fun whether it’s first time, your experienced, coming back to fitness or recovering from pregnancy.

Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Senior Coach - EPIC Filton & Bradley Stoke

“I think Epic is a great place to train for martial arts for ages as it is run by World Champion instructors who can share their knowledge so you can become the best at what you do.”

Ben’s family have always had a positive association with the martial arts and Ben, for his part, has trained for many years, gaining his black sash in Lau Gar Kung –fu. Outside of training and sparring, Ben likes to relax with a spot of fishing, a hobby in tune with a man known as easy-going and honest but also noted for his good sense of humour. His nature is reflected in his selfless attitude as Ben enjoys seeing his students achieve their grades as much he did achieving his own 1st Degree Black Sash.
This feeling of pride in his students ties in with Ben’s enjoyment of his role as Instructor as he thrives on helping his students to achieve better fitness and discipline but most of all, he gets an extra buzz each time they become more successful in their Kung-Fu by achieving their next sash. He facilitates this journey through his in-depth knowledge in Kung- Fu and ensuring that students get all the help they need in achieving their sashes, all the way up to Black Sash.

His views on the Epic set-up are equally positive-“I think Epic is a great place to train for martial arts for ages as it is run by World Champion instructors who can share their knowledge so you can become the best at what you do.” With this in mind, Ben is no doubt that training with Epic gives students the opportunity to train in a family friendly environment and to achieve their full potential whilst gaining lots of energy, positivity, inspiration and confidence.

Sophie Vallender

Sophie Vallender

Senior Coach - EPIC Nailsea
Mike Kingscott

Mike Kingscott

Senior Coach - EPIC Portishead & Head Referee

“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.”

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts

Senior Coach - EPIC Yate & Chepstow

"Energy. Positivity. Inspiration. Confidence. That really does say everything you need to know about what we do"

Matt came to EPIC with a diverse set of skills from the world of self defence. Having started training at the age of 5, he has tried many different martial arts before settling with the ones he is qualified to teach. Those arts are Krav Maga, Kickboxing and Eskrima. Matt brings with him a rounded experience from the world of martial arts.

Matt started competition fighting in 2015 with EPIC having previously concentrated his efforts on learning the street survival tactics. He is loving the challenge and continues to push himself with training and also through coaching his students. Matt has a tough stance on discipline and always demands respect from his students.

His passion for what he does really shines through and anybody who meets him will understand this. He trained in Israel in 2013 and Switzerland in 2014, as well as attending all the high profile seminars he could get to in his Krav Maga training since 2010.

As well as holding a black belt in kickboxing and his instructor certificates in the other martial arts, Matt also is a qualified door supervisor and cctv operative as well as a qualified level 1 FA football coach for children. He took extra modules in security including advanced Physical Intervention and handcuffing for restraint. He is currently working on his Level 3 Personal Training qualification and relishes every challenge that comes his way.

Matt always wants the best for anybody who trains with him and will always get involved to try and help when possible. This is what he states made EPIC so appealing to him and therefore re-enforces this message to others.

Amy Kingscott

Amy Kingscott

Senior Coach - EPIC Portishead, Bradley Stoke & Filton