Master Steve Tappin (GB)

Master Steve is the Chief Representative and Examiner for the ‘Escrima Concepts’ (EC) martial art system. Steve is currently instrumental in bringing people together from different martial arts to improve relationships with a view to bring people together for knowledge and friendship by helping to establish the ‘The Alliance’.

Steve has been training and teaching in the martial arts sector since 1972. In 1976 he began his studies of Escrima in London among the first instructors to teach Escrima in Europe. Late 1977 he started to see the potential of the art and took things far more seriously. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Steve fought in competitions with and without weapons. He fought in some of the first Escrima Tournaments held in Europe and now helps to organise tournaments aimed at today’s students. As his knowledge grew he understood the Escrima system more and more and become totally convinced that the honesty of the system at that time made this Escrima system a system way ahead of its time. With continued lessons, help and advice from his teachers and friends, not just from Escrima, he continued his studying. He never realised then that better things were to come. But it was going to get worse before it got better!

A quote from Master Steve:
“Students joined and left without understanding our system of Escrima, most people never saw the bigger picture, we always did, and perhaps we just got into the psyche of it. I’m very confident now when I take a class. I’m a time-seller. Someone comes to my seminar now and I can teach them in one day what it took me months to learn. “The result of my experience can actually save people time.”

Steve worked as a fire-fighter from 1978 – 1989 for the London Fire Brigade and his shift system meant that he had days off duty, enabling him the time to train. He spent his spare time studying martial arts and occasionally working in security as a doorman to supplement his income for his family and to train in Escrima. His work as a fireman and in security put him in some dangerous situations where his senses and body were used all the time in difficult environments and circumstances and he learnt what works and what did not work in practice instead of relying on theory alone. He realised he needed to understand how the body works to improve his knowledge of martial arts and attended courses which would do this.

In the early eighties Steve had a serious accident, which resulted in an operation on his back – he slowly improved but was never cured and was unable to train for a long time. When Steve went back to training he found that to train in certain ways hurt his back. His understanding of how the body worked enabled him to evaluate his problems – his disability improved his ability so to speak. This helped him to understand some of the finer points of Escrima and weapon training such as isolating movement and dissecting techniques – he now started to learn how to teach.

He also realised that he needed to learn to educate members, it was not about if he was the best or his friends and teachers were the best fighters, it was about being the best educators and improving the needs of every member be they great fighters or not. The system can only ever be as good as the students and members it teaches.

Steve’s whole attitude, research and study changed from this day on and he appreciated more the influence of Grandmaster Brian Jones who produced Instructors that teach around the world due to his knowledge, directness, honesty and principles that perhaps produced the first MMA in Europe with his integrated system that was established in the 1970’s. As in most things it takes time, experience and maturity to recognise the true influences of great men and to recognise the copy-cats. Steve is more grateful now to Brian Jones and others like John Waller (Master of the Guild) than when he first met them – who are both masters of their arts but keep their integrity and have only changed for the better – to the luck of all who know them.

Steve eventually had to leave the Fire Brigade for medical reasons and worked for British Telecom (BT) until he decided to leave BT to go to college where he studied Sports and Leisure Management, he then went on to University to study for his degree on Leisure and Sports Management (Business Studies Course), whilst studying he continued to train and give seminars. Throughout his life he gained coaching awards and academic achievements in many sports including weight-training, weight-lifting, fitness training and assessment, circuit training and many other qualifications relevant to progress the martial arts. Steve also did voluntary part-time work at a gym that specialised for sports, the disabled and special needs groups managed by Dave Kaye a Senior Staff Coach for BAWLA where he learnt more about the body and how it works.

In 1979 his interest grew in European combat history and he joined and contacted different historical societies to satisfy his interest. Over the years he made contact with several prominent people from the re-enactment and craft world (such as Roger Lankford and Roy King) he was also very lucky to meet his old martial art friend Del Connelly who opened up his organisation to him and seminars in the UK and Europe soon followed which eventually lead to him teaching and giving demo’s for other large organisations throughout the world.

Steve sought like-minded people with weapons skills to research how they worked and to see if they shared the same ideas that he had concerning principles, theories, strategies and values of Escrima that he continually analysed for the benefits of future membership. Steve acknowledges the help and support of research from John Dovey, John Sullivan and Stephen Kinvig during these periods.

Throughout this time Steve continued to train in Escrima and taught in London and entered his students in several competitions. His club won its fair share of awards in the UK and Europe – many were won by Paul Leslie AKA ‘Big Paul’, now a 3rd TG teaching in London (see profile page).

Steve and Stephen with their Instructors re-built their original system to form EC as they wanted to teach a system that was complete. After nearly thirty years of research, teaching, travelling and learning from mistakes and progressing what works and by understanding what makes a quality stand-alone organisation we finally have a system designed to meet the needs of everyone in our Escrima Concepts system, in a logical order, that will produce quality Instructors and students.

Concepts are explained in writing, theory and application, a syllabus has been prepared to include and highlight strategies and theories and to link each grade together as a stepping stone to each new level. Instructor Courses have been designed and Instructor Programmes have been progressed to prove the difference between student levels and instructor levels that concern Escrima only.

Steve and Stephen state that we now finally have what we should have always had, as we now have a very successful and social organisation. We all agree to teach everything, no secrets, just hard work, fun and dedication, this is what the Alliance is about for all their arts and members.

The Alliance has done much work in just a short time due to the constant hard work of its ‘Founding Members’ who are: Dai-Sifu Allan Jensen (Denmark), Sifu Benno Westra (Holland) and Master Steve Tappin (England).

Steve and the Alliance with Steve’s son Wayne and Escrima World and European Champion and BJJ World Champion Nic K-Osei 3rd TG (see profile page) for EC, also assisted by Sifu Riis made an introduction DVD on their systems and on the Alliance. This DVD has had huge success as it shows basic things without the Hollywood glamour or thug images of violence. The Alliance DVD is purely aimed at information to people who are interested in learning Kung Fu and Escrima and it is not aimed at advanced martial artists of our disciplines. More DVD’s aimed at all levels will hopefully follow in the next few years.

Steve’s love of weapons with unarmed applications, since the 70’s until now, brought him into contact with John Waller, who was working for ‘The Royal Armouries’ (GB), Steve was also introduced to John’s son Jonathan who had also been studying weapons for over twenty years. Training together began and friendships were formed between the Escrima system and the Royal Armouries. Steve with John and Jonathan Waller were ‘Founding Members’ of the ‘European Historical Combat Guild’ (EHCG) known as the ‘Guild’ an organisation that specialises in ancient combat interpretation. Steve is a ‘Senior Teacher’ of the Guild but his busy Escrima schedules has, for now, interrupted his teaching and training and so his recent input has been one of only support.

The Guild training is designed to develop and gain further understanding of the principles of weapon training, many of which the Guild and EC share, and to understand and explore the transition of these historical principles via Eastern and European applications to the modern environment. Steve works very closely, when time permits, with Jonathan Waller to spread the Guild throughout Europe and the USA. Many clubs (called Chapters) are now opening in Europe and the USA.

The Guild teaches a structured syllabus dedicated to the skills of the past whilst acknowledging modern concepts. We all avoid confusion by teaching Escrima and Swords as separate arts, although when teaching transition, distance, timing and other attributes EC do teach ancient weapons, to highlight weapon and body mechanics for fun and theory but not for syllabus.

Steve now teaches full-time (in-between academic research and writing), he has for nearly 20 years been travelling around the world teaching Escrima and demonstrating sword and ancient weapon techniques. Steve has also choreographed stage fighting for drama companies and has arranged fight sequences for video film companies. Steve has taught and still teaches police and security forces and he is in great demand. Steve also writes editorials for several European Martial Arts Magazines concerning Escrima, Medieval Arts and topics of historic and modern interest.

Steve is always first to point out that he has been very lucky with what he has learned and studied and to have had a few mentors and great friends and a supporting family. He feels privileged to be in the position he is and wants to pass on all the knowledge he gained over 30 years combined with what he has analysed from his own life’s experiences via work, study, training, teaching and research in martial arts to promote the complete art of Escrima Concepts with the help and input from Master Stephen Kinvig and others (far too many to mention). One day he hopes his sons, friends, colleagues and instructors will sit him and other Masters down and show them how the system can progress further then they will know their work is complete and that the art will continue when they retire. But not yet ).


Escrima Concepts:  Mittwochs 20:00 – 21:00
BJJ / Grappling:        Di. Do . 19:00 – 20:00 & 20:00 – 21:00 / Fr. 18:00 – 19:00 
Boxen:                         Mo. & Mi. 19:00 – 20:00 
Fitnessboxen:           Mo. 20:00 – 21:00 / Fr. 17:00 – 18:00
Fighters Fitness:      Mo. & Mi. 18:00 – 19:00 


Für das Escrima Concepts Training (Gruppen oder einzell),
können Sie uns über die Email
oder der Nummer +41 (0)788 390 670 erreichen!
Güterstrasse 6, 6005 Luzern