Past Classes


These are past classes that have been taught at the Paddy Crean
They by no means make up a complete list.


Film Fighting with Weapons in the Style of David Boushey
Instructor: Daniel Ford Beavis
This class will cover how to make your Youtube videos using edged or blunt weapons look more realistic for the camera. This class is designed to show you how to make good film fights without having to resort to editing for the hits to look real. This is a classic Dave Boushey class and I will present the ideas as he presented them to me.


Performing the Fight Series: Single Sword
Instructor: Daniel Ford Beavis
How fast can you learn and perform a safe stage combat/film fight? As students turn into professionals who turn into teachers, the amount of time that is offered or required to perform a fight varies greatly. Often Actor Combatants can work on a fight for a week, often regional theatres allow a few days rehearsal, often a film producer allows a few hours at best. In this class, we will use our 1.5 hours to learn a fight in the selected weapon, then perform it. You will be surprised how quickly you can be ready to perform if you put your mind to it. You might get a little sweaty though!


Performing the Fight Series: Broadsword
Instructor: Daniel Ford Beavis
How fast can you learn and perform a safe stage combat/film fight? As students turn into professionals who turn into teachers, the amount of time that is offered or required to perform a fight varies greatly. Often Actor Combatants can work on a fight for a week, often regional theatres allow a few days rehearsal, often a film producer allows a few hours at best. In this class, we will use our 1.5 hours to learn a fight in the selected weapon, then perform it. You will be surprised how quickly you can be ready to perform if you put your mind to it. You might get a little sweaty though!


Performing the Fight Series: Unarmed
Instructor: Daniel Ford Beavis
How fast can you learn and perform a safe stage combat/film fight? As students turn into professionals who turn into teachers, the amount of time that is offered or required to perform a fight varies greatly. Often Actor Combatants can work on a fight for a week, often regional theatres allow a few days rehearsal, often a film producer allows a few hours at best. In this class, we will use our 1.5 hours to learn a fight in the selected weapon, then perform it. You will be surprised how quickly you can be ready to perform if you put your mind to it. You might get a little sweaty though!


Stunt Fighting for Film: Film Fighting in the Style of Dave Boushey
Instructors: Daniel Ford Beavis and Rick Skene
The basics in adapting unarmed combat for use in Film. Many students know some type of marital art or fighting style, but can't seem to make it look good in their Youtube videos. This class will teach you the secrets behind making a film fight look good without editing. This is a classic Dave Boushey class!


Newton and Einstein - Gravity and Anti-Gravity
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
Newton's law of universal gravitation and Einstein's theory of special relativity define the General Relativity of gravity as "a geometric property of space and time, or spacetime." We will explore the effects of Gravity and how it consistently brings us to the ground. Using the system of 3D-A (Distance, Deceleration, Distribution and Absorption) we will explore multiple ways of falling into; falling over; falling with and falling down. Then we'll delve into the world of Anti-Gravity and work from a basis of contact dance and contact improv to understand the concept of posting, shared balance and universal weight. The goal of the class will be to familiarize yourself with your body through space both up an off the ground. Experiencing the get up, get up and get down effect. We may even jump around.


Tsunami Smallsword
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
No matter how good a fighter we feel we are, sometime we just need to get out of Dodge. This class will be focused on a skilled but unwilling participant doing their utmost to avoid the fight. A combination of smallsword meets Judo with a touch of Aikido mixed in for good measure, a fast and furious fight, light on its feet with many changes of direction. The goal will be to learn the fight and take it out of the classroom and adapt it quickly to whatever environment presents itself.


Art of the Exit
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
Although we may feel like the trick has been done, Parkour is still as popular today as it was 5 years ago. Parkour comes from the obstacle course method of training used by the military - "parcour du combatant" or "course of the combatant." We'll work on basic jumping, balancing, climbing and running, focusing on keeping your body's energy moving forward. We'll explore different ways to move through space, working with your own grace and style. Points will be awarded, a winner will be chosen. How cool will you look when Exiting, pursued by a bear?


The Ultimate Weapon
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
The debate has raged for years. Spear or knife; sword or axe; samuria or small sword; M-4 or I.C.B.M. This class will re-familierize you with the greatest weapon ever designed...your hands. Blocks, strikes, locks, traps, slips and slides - this class is all about handy work. Pulling from multiple martial arts systems we will focus strictly on the use of the hands - the most diverse weapon of all.


The Three Musketeers, Behind the Luxembourg, Working on a Broadway Bound Production
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
This class will recreate the new and improved version of the fight ‘Behind the Luxembourg’ for the Broadway bound production of The Three Musketeers with music by George Stiles (Mary Poppins). We will work with original music and script to re-enact this piece, eventually putting it on video for the composer, director, and producers to show what real trained stage combatants can do. This is a 9 person fight and students will sign up in groups. It is a rapier fight requiring left and right handed fighting, hand to hand, sword tossing, multiple attackers and a great deal of intensity. 4 Musketeers, 5 Cardinal’s guards in the epic battle that wins the trust of the Three Inseparables for d’Artagnan.


Triple D-A – Falling without pain
Instructor: Bryce Bermingham
Using the method of 3D-A, Distance, Deceleration, Disbursement and Absorption, students will learn how to make almost any fall possible. Work will be done on mats and applied to a fight with over 20 falls in it.


Film Fighting
Instructor: David Boushey
In that there is a significant difference between fighting for stage and fighting for film I will attempt to explain the differences and focus on the technical aspects of film fighting. Fighting for film is not as commonly taught as stage fighting and yet there are far more professional opportunities in the film industry that currently exist in theatre. It will be my charge to introduce students to the intricacies of film and hopefully open them to a whole new world of expertise and future employment.


Yoga for the Performing Artist
Instructor: Kathleen Boushey
Learn how to use Yoga to focus and calm the nerves when dealing with the stress of opening night and life in general! By combining stretching, balancing, poses and breath control it will help integrate the body, mind and spirit. Through yoga one can find the calm, focus and well being needed in a stressful profession, and for that matter in a stressful life situation which exists in today's difficult climate.


Making Aluminum Weapons for a Specific Production
Instructor: Lloyd Caldwell
I've been asked to choreograph several shows that required certain types of weapons which we not on hand, and were too expensive to rent/buy. So I made them from airplane aluminum and/or hard polymer. Given blanks cut to shape, we'll form them and wrap them. The students could leave the session with an aluminum combat knife they could finish for themselves.


Using Laban/Bartinieff Movement Theories to Improve a Fight Scene
Instructors: Lloyd Caldwell and Nigel Poulton
Teaching a broadsword or R&D sequence, then breaking it down in to core and distal movement, and finally into total gestural movement. It is a quick way to get actors to tell the story physically.


Oh Lucy!!!
Instructors: Lloyd Caldwell and Michelle Ladd
Lucille Ball was the Queen of physical comedy. She learned directly from Buster Keaton how to stay safe while throwing herself (and others) around. This class breaks down her comedy and looks at how to take the techniques of simulated violence to a more comedic level.


French Military and Court Salutes – 17th & 18th Century
Instructor: Jacques Cappelle
We’ll cover from the musketeer period to the French Revolution.


The Hungarian Cut
Instructor: Jacques Cappelle
The advantage and use of the Hungarian method applied to every single weapon form of combat from the rapier to Zorro’s saber.

The class begins with the method and concludes with a sequence "à la Zorro" (Fred Cavens) or "Prisoner of Zenda" (Jean Herremans).


The French Grip – Trust in your Thrust!
Instructor: Jacques Cappelle
The innovation of the French grip in the 17th century: the supremacy of supination/precision over pronation/strength.

We’ll perform technical precision exercises leading to a sequence ‘à la Valmont’ (Liaisons Dangereuses).


Smallsword
Instructor: Jacques Cappelle
Foil technique leading to juggling with the compound attacks or ripostes, attacks on the blade and all the prises de fer needed for the final sequences from Scaramouche and/or Le Bossu.


Rapier and Dagger
Instructor: Jacques Cappelle
Some very close, furious - but safe - Rapier and Dagger routines with lots of surprising attacks, ripostas and conter ripostes. In one word : FUN !


Wushu
Instructor: Eric and Debbie Chen
Wushu Basics of hand techniques, stances and kicking, leading into combinations, jumps, aerials and weapons, will be instructed methodically. Reactions, choreography, fight scenes and simple wire work will be the end result.


Paper Presentation: Cross-Cultural Interpretation/Reinterpretation in the Fighting Arts
Instructor: Marie-Heleen Coetzee
Theatrical combat techniques have been developed for numerous forms of warfare and fighting arts across the globe. This necessarily involves interpretation and re-interpretation of not only the fighting arts per se, but also an awareness of the associated cultural, performative and contextual conventions of the fighting arts. However, this process of interpretation/re-interpretation of an existing fighting style from its source context to suit the demands of a target context does not occur on 'neutral grounds' - especially if interpretations are situated around non-Western fighting arts. Many Western countries are historically associated with the violation and exploitation of indigenous cultures in service of nationalism, 'civilization' or other mechanisms of power. History, economics and the operations of power makes processes of interpretation/reinterpretation fraught with challenges such as avoiding cultural appropriation/exploitation and neo-colonialist impositions when adapting a culturally specific fighting art for theatrical purposes. The question thus arises as to how theatrical interpretation/reinterpretation of cultural fighting arts can be approached to circumvent the above mentioned challenges. This paper proposes Laban Movement Studies (LMS) as a cross-culturally viable approach to the theatrical interpretation/re-interpretation of fighting arts. LMS is an analytical and descriptive framework that can be used for the purposes of recording, reconstructing, observing, analysing and practising modes of movement and dance. It's application has extended into many areas involving the human body and bodily expression, from psychology to ergonomics. LMS focuses on identifying elements that are common to all human movement. Combinations, variations and manifestations of these elements are, however, culturally and individually patterned. This paper argues that it is this interplay between commonality and differentiation that positions LMS as an appropriate cross-cultural methodology for the interpretation/re-interpretation of fighting arts in theatre. The paper is followed by progressive workshops on using LMS as a tool for reading and constructing a variety of interpretive possibilities in fight performance.


Shifting Scenes: Laban Movement Studies and Fight Performance
Instructor: Marie-Heleen Coetzee
Laban Movement Studies (LMS) is a descriptive framework for recording, reconstructing, observing, analysing and practising movement in a variety of contexts. Laban identified elements of movement that are common to all human movement and that can be applied broadly or in detail using four categories, namely Body, Effort, Shape and Space (BESS). This workshop uses Laban Movement Studies (LMS) as a tool for reading and constructing a variety of interpretive possibilities and expressive possibilities in fight performance. Participants will create a short fight and play with BESS in order to vary character, attitude and relationship in their fight performances whilst crystallising expression.


Shifting Borders: Laban Movement Studies and Cross-Cultural Fight Performance
Instructor: Marie-Heleen Coetzee
Besides identifying elements of movement that are common to all human movement, Laban emphasised that combinations and variations of these elements establish patterns of expression and communication that are individually and culturally determined. In terms of cultural fighting arts, the cultural body patterns, the weapon(s) used and the associated fighting style are often inextricably intertwined. This creates a cultural congruency and stylistic consistency that makes the fighting style recognisable as 'cultural.' Whilst stage combatants are often very proficient in the technical aspect of fighting arts, their own cultural body patterns can interfere with the cultural body patterns fight performance, creating an incongruence between body patterning, style and the fighting techniques associated with the fighting art. An ineffective embodiment of cultural body patterns in fight performance can make it seem as if the fighting style and techniques associated with the use of the weapon were artificially transposed onto a 'foreign' body. This workshop will use LMS to analyse core cultural body patterns of a selected cultural fighting art; reconstruct the cultural body patterns and apply the patterns to a fight participants will construct.


Beginner Sword
Instructor: Meghan Cooke
Like really beginner, as in which end do I hold? What's the stubby thing on the "handle" and what the heck is a thwart?! (get my drift?). I'll never forget my first class at a Paddy - I was so confused!


Functional Fitness for the Stage Combatant and Stunt Person
Instructor: Meghan Cooke
How to stay fit, balanced and uninjured. And, how to train and prepare yourself for physical action especially when you can't (or shouldn't) rehearse repetitively. It could easily be a progressive class as we could dig deeper into analyzing the common movements used in our crafts (i.e. lunges, dive rolls, head snaps etc.). I would love to have some "toys" to use as I did last time: bosu balls, fit balls, med balls, skipping rope etc.


The Highland Sword Dance
Instructor: Meghan Cooke
Dating back to the time of Shakespeare's Macbeth the Gillie Callum (Sword Dance) is one of the most well known of all the ancient war dances. Learn the history behind the dance and the basic skills needed to perform this impressive dance of skill, agility and, wait for it ... fortune telling.


Movement Analysis for the Combatant
Instructor: Meghan Cooke
This class looks at the specific and unique physical needs of the stunt performer and stage combatant. Focusing on some of the most common physical skills and movements, we'll learn how to perform them repeatedly in day-to-day life while training to remain, fit and uninjured enough to do your job. This class will help answer questions such as: how to minimize chance of injury; how to physically prepare when it's not possible to do multiple repetitions of an upcoming action; how to stay strong enough to pull off a fight 8 shows a week; and what are the key biomechanical chains of movement you need to stay safe, healthy and strong. Or, simply put, how to stand up properly and initiate repetitive movement for the rest of your life. Be prepared to think, laugh and sweat.


The Tipping Point
Instructor: Ruth Cooper-Brown
Weight and Balance. Unconsciously all experienced fighters work around and support their partner whether they are a Stunt or Stage combat performer. Identify where we hold weight and how to manipulate it for fight purposes. Learn how to physically and unconsciously control, support and protect your partner for safer fights and shared energy work. Includes close contact work, lifting and clearing battlefield dead.


Be Present, There is Time
Instructor: Ruth Cooper-Brown
A quick way to access your fighting 3D awareness through fun Swashbuckling techniques and exercises. In other words how to become acutely aware of yours surroundings, obstacles, partner, weaponry, fellow performers, dangers and other potential issues while fighting. We look at ways to encourage your mind to believe that there is time while still being present in the moment. This awareness is normally developed over years of training but can be accessed earlier through these techniques.


Floor Fracas!
Instructor: Ruth Cooper-Brown
Ever had to wrestle, struggle, strangle, pin someone down or fight on the floor? This workshop explores the cheats and techniques of two people convincingly fighting on the floor without rolling over your joints or squishing each other. Also include those awkward floor slaps, hits and travelling strangles.


Think Before You ...
Instructor: Ruth Cooper-Brown
Fighting within your constraints: The shape is a consequence of the action not the primary objective. We start with defining the physical parameters: script, set, costume and character. Then the aim: truthful storytelling and controlling your audience. Then forearmed with our full intentions we can then explode into our violence resisting the urge to just throw a few pretty shapes! This workshop has developed from observing how student soften approach fight scenes from just the visual forgetting the justification of the action.


Knockabout!
Instructor: Ruth Cooper-Brown
Messy looking Comedy fights. How can we make our fights funny? Explore: the rule of 3, misleading the audience, silly actions, trips and falls, clear communication with your audience, underplay, overplay and the payoff. Eventually creating a Slapstick fight routine.


Knapp Clinic!
Instructors: Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown
A fun workshop encouraging you to step outside your own repertoire of knaptastic sound effects to discover different ways and new sounds for dramatic impact.


Black and Blue
Instructors: Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown
How to impact and collide with objects. Such as hitting walls, being thrown over tables and falling off chairs to being battered black and blue with an object. This class is taken from our shared experience of working on film. We have created our own techniques of how to lessen then blow when working with robust prop items.


Physical Storytelling in Combat
Instructors: John C. Davis
This class explores the "microstories" of stage combat scenes that make your combat pop. This class is for all level of actor. It will take the beginner to the next level and refresh the experience combatant’s technique.


Bullwhip 101
Instructors: John C. Davis and Spencer Humm
Learn to crack a whip like a pro, from basics to the techniques for developing advanced skills.


Bullwhip 102
Instructors: John C. Davis and Spencer Humm
Come get crackin'.


Basic Sword Play 101
Instructor: Jean-Pierre Fournier
So you have arrived at a fight workshop with little or no skill in sword play! Have no fear you now have the chance to set yourself up for the rest iof the workshop. JP will cover all the basic elements to get you on your way!


Theatrical
Instructor: Jean-Pierre Fournier
Using the script to enhance the character through the fight. With "Zastrozzi", by Canadian playwright G.F. Walker, as a basis, participants will use the character's given traits to create a fight, which in turn, enlightens the audiences' understanding of the character. Scenes include, Zastrozzi and Matilda, Bernardo and Verezzi, Julia and Matilda, and Zastrozzi and Victor. This will include some discussion of working with opera and ballet.


Paddy Crean Stuff
Instructor: Jean-Pierre Fournier
A small number of sequences and moves Paddy used in some of his film and stage works. Some of it includes moves for which one would say, "One would never use such moves in a real fight!" True… but he did this for stage and screen, with the audience and actor in mind. It was done for safety, “fun” and entertainment. He also used to say, "Good Stage Fighting is the true marriage of the art and sport." The sequences had names such as "Poop Deck Fighting", and " Baronial Hall Traveling".


It Will Make the Bear Dance to a Different Tune
Instructor: Jean-Francois Gagnon
The physical experience of living the music, that's my proposition.
In one of the previous Paddy Crean Workshop at the Banff center, I had given a conference with David Boushey concerning choreography for Opera and Musicals. This time I want to put participants in action, giving them the physical experience of moving with the music. Using the principles of a dance choreographer by blocking the movements on a music score - meaning having movements happening precisely on specific notes and specific beat in the music.
Fighting with a musical support is one thing but to be in synchronicity with the musical phrasing and the beat, stepping in tempo with the music, that something else.

Class ONE: You need to incorporate the MVT Rehearsing with the piano in a progressive process so we connect the sword moves and displacement 1/8 of the speed, 1/4 of the speed and we would then slowly accelerate as the movement's are acquired by the participant.

Class TWO: The mechanic is acquired. We need to let go, 1/2 speed, 3/4 speed then move to full speed searching to live and breathe the music. Not follow the rhythm but be the rhythm. Be in the moment with your partner.


The 19th Century "Canne d'arme" and Canne chausson"
Instructor: Jean-Francois Gagnon
The Cane was adopted in France at the end of the 18th century by the Bourgeoisie as a 'defence' weapon in replacement to the sword that was not allowed in the street anymore unless you where an Hussar. Cane training had a great influence on what came to be known as the walk of the Dandy. The number of Savate and Cane Clubs in France at the beginning of the 19th century is proof of its popularity.

The "Chausson" or "Savate" used to be an art of fighting mainly with the feet but included some hand boxing technique before its evolution into a sport. "Canne Chausson" was the savate kicks combined with canne techniques. It is rapid and demands precision and striking force, using the spring in the spine and its impulse in the ground. It has no reason to be shy in front of the sword.

This course will teach an adapted for the theatre version of "Canne Chausson" giving to the participant the occasion of doing a choreography as we are learning the cane specific manipulation and some of the kicking techniques.


For the Pleasure of the Quarterstaff
Instructor: Jean-Francois Gagnon
Partner work: text and physical action. Breaking down the acting beat. The intention in the gesture. Resistance Sharing and using the energy.


When the Character Dictates the Fight
Instructor: Jean-Francois Gagnon
Building the fight from the character. It is like building the choreography from a text. Using the Character mask we will build different characters and build the fight using a starting sword phrase that will be adjusted to the physical and verbal dialogue of characters.


Hong Kong Fighting
Instructor: Robert Goodwin
The fast and exciting approach to today`s action films. This class includes audio and timed cues; multiple kicks; various strikes; assorted blocks and ducks; footwork from boxing, Kali, and Shao-lin; unique punctuation and Hero postures.


T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Instructor: Robert Goodwin
The Chinese approach to mental and physical health that has principles directly applicable to fighting, combat and acting. The solo form and two person sensitivity exercises stress natural, relaxed movement and internal strength through softness. Most recently taught to Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx for "The Soloist".


From Strangers to an Ensemble
Instructor: Robert Goodwin
A one hour exploration through music, partnering and psychological approaches of movement that can allow loneliness, acceptance, affection and other natural feelings to manifest themselves in a crowded environment. Taught to the entire ensemble of "The Soloist".


Katana
Instructor: Robert Goodwin
Japanese sword techniques from Kendo & Iaido adapted for film and stage. Specific, traditional sword principles taught that give one an understanding of why this weapon, and its techniques, have not changed in decades. The breath control, patterns of movement, timing, footwork, drawing, cutting and Warrior Zen teach the focus and control of what has been often referred to as a three foot razor.


Exploring Line, Distance and Intention with Rapier and Dagger
Instructor: Gregory Hoffman
Using fight choreography of rapier and dagger this class will explore playing and depicting Intention of the fight thru changes in Line and Distance. The choreography will be challenging and taught fast and in order to explore in more depth how we can alter dramatic qualities of the fight by changes in line and distance.


Developing Physical Character for the Fight
Instructor: Gregory Hoffman
Using basic principles of Rudolph Laban that will be integrated into accessible terminology for the actor we will how we can quickly establish and create a baseline for a character physically, how this will radically adapt how a scene is played out, how quickly we can change from a physical choice and how this can be outside in approach to finding the truth of our character.

Working with small text assigned on Day 1 the actors will develop as a homework assignment a physical baseline for an assigned character and play out the first part of the scene, leading into the beginning of fight choreography, again exploring how a change in physical choice will lead to different actions, intentions and obligations in the playing of the scene.


Artistic Fencing with Walking Sticks
Instructor: Jonathan Howell
Combining simple movements (Basic steps) with some stick-twirling in a choreography that develops into sequences of combat - accompanied by music - we shall learn a routine with a partner. While it is not my intention to explore 'Bartitsu,' nor American Cane Fighting techniques per se, stick-fighting elements are obviously transferable and it is to be hoped that the routine may well offer food for further thought and exploration.


Morris, Mumming & Standard Combats
Instructor: Jonathan Howell
We shall explore the development of Standard Sword Combats as to be found in Victorian Stage Plays - and indeed, some of these short phrases can be seen in the Hollywood Swashbuckling films of the 30s and 40s. By combining elements from Morris Dancing, such as may be found in Arbeau's Orchesography, and together with elements from Traditional British Mumming plays, you will be enabled to create simple but effective choreography.


Hollywood Swashbuckling
Instructors: Jonathan Howell and Jacques Cappelle
Delve into the testing-style and cleanly-executed techniques of Belgian Fencing Master, Fred Cavens. Choreographer of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, Errol Flynn & Basil Rathbone; Don Juan, Errol Flynn & Robert Douglas (extensively doubled by Cavens himself); The Mark of Zorro, Tryone Power & Basil Rathbone; At Sword's Point, Maureen O'Hara; and many others. By re-creating some of his choreography from At Sword's Point, we shall enjoy a taste of Caven's choreography: for example - 2 Guards vs. Maureen O'Hara; moments from the final dual in which the hero is wounded and finishes off the villain with his Left hand.


Knife/Counter-Knife Combatives: Knife Fighting in the Close Quarter Range
Instructor: Steve Huff
This class will focus on the use of the knife while fighting at close quarters. This class will build upon basic fundamentals of fighting theory and examine how the dynamics of knife combat change at different ranges.
Basic Fighting Theory
Stances/Footwork
Gripping the Knife
Angles of Attack/Targeting
Cutting & Thrusting
Use of the Knife against other Weapons
Grim Realities of a Knife Fight: What to Really Expect


Early American Fighting Arts: The Bowie Knife
Instructor: Steve Huff
This class will examine the development and use of the bowie knife from a historical perspective. We will also examine how cultural influences play a part in fighting techniques and how regional differences in the use of the bowie developed as well as the approach of interpreting historical resources for developing a better understanding of period fighting styles.
Birth of a Legend: A Brief History of the Bowie Knife
Interpreting Historical Resources
Basic Fighting Theory
Form and Function: Varieties of Bowie Knives
Carrying and gripping the knife
Stances/Guards/Footwork
Angles of Attack/Targeting
Attacks/Defenses


Early American Fighting Arts: Tomahawk and Longknige - Fighting Arts of the Longhunter
Instructor: Steve Huff
This class will examine the development and use of the tomahawk and longknife/trade knife as a weapon along the American frontier. Migration of fighting styles and cultural influences and their role in the development of techniques for these weapons will be examined. We will also explore the approach of interpreting historical resources for developing a better understanding of period fighting styles.
The Development of the Tomahawk and Long knife
Basic Fighting Theory
Interpreting Historical Resources
Native vs. European Combat Theories
Carriage of the Hawk and Knife /Grips
Stances/Guards/Footwork
Angles of Attack/Targeting
Attacks/Defenses


Kill or Get Killed: An Examination of Col. Rex Applegate's WWII Combatives
Instructor: Steff Huff
This class will examine the close-quarter combat system developed by Col. Rex Applegate during WWII and presented in his monumental text "Kill or Get Killed." Application of these timeless techniques for modern defense will also be studied.
Topics to be covered will include:
Kill or Get Killed: A Look at Applegate's Work
Basic Fighting Theory
Unarmed Defenses
Knife Combat
Gun Disarms


When the Character Dictates the Fight
Instructors: Steve Huff and Kyle Rowling
This class will examine the martial principles and general fighting tactics of two of the most popular forms of gladiators - the Thraex and the Hoplomachus. The history and development of gladiatorial combat will be discussed as well as the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding gladiators. We will also explore the approach of interpreting historical resources for developing a better understanding of period fighting styles.
Background of the gladiators and the various types of fighters
Basic Fighting Theory
Conditioning and Training
Interpreting Historical Resources


Russian Spec-Ops and Natural Combat
Instructor: Spencer Humm
Before the Iron Curtain fell, the Russian culture had a thriving tradition of martial arts. Today, a piece of that tradition survives in the training of the Russian Speztnaz, the Russian special forces. This class will give you an experience into their unique approach to training for close combat, which includes many exercises and explorations rather than the drilling of specific techniques. We will explore movement, breath, knife work and partnering. This year we will also explore KGB-proven abduction techniques and hostage scenarios. The training style is always relaxed and fun, but the nature of the work is brutal and pragmatic.


Boxing for Dramatic Combat
Instructor: Spencer Humm
As Olympic saber technique formed the basis for what Paddy Crean's generation presented as a "swashbuckling" sword system, so sport boxing was the basis for unarmed fisticuffs. This class will provide an experience for performers and fight directors that have not had formal instruction in boxing to relate to the tradition and sport that is in the background of just about any punch that is thrown in the west. We will look at the basic punches, how boxers train, focus mitt and rope drills. We'll add some creativity to all of that and create some of our own interpretations of the movement style in some choreographic explorations. Come ready to throw some heavy leather!


Bullwhip Cracking 101, 102
Instructor: Spencer Humm
The art of the bullwhip permeates our dramatic culture. This class will take a look at the roots of the tradition in order to understand how and why whips are used. We'll look at basic to advanced cracking technique, understand the equipment and its care, and explore how to use whips of various styles and lengths. Everyone will get to take a crack at it!


Capoeira Angola of Bahia Brazil
Instructor: Eric Michael Johnson
For the adventurous and intrepid (and maybe mildly unhinged!) who want to explore radical potentials in the realm of unarmed martial arts, self-defense, and dance/movement, this series of classes with the sly trickster Perere will take participants into awesome body inversions, beguiling attacks and wily defensives. You will explore how to kick people in the head from handstands! How to evade (and apply!) takedowns and throws with cartwheels! How to use your head for something more productive than using it for silly things like thinking & other higher reasoning functions (like hitting people with it!). Capoeira Angola - an audacious art of war, liberty, and sorcery; created by Africans and their descendants in colonial Brazil to fight against centuries of institutionalized human enslavement - is brimming with strategy, deceptive cunning, playful theatrics, tumbling, and what only 'appears' to be nearly out-of-control martial arts: all wrapped-up in an amazing circle-game played to live percussive music and song. Can you dig it!


Kenjutsu: Archaic Japanese Swordsmanship
Instructor: Eric Michael Johnson
Kenjutsu: in this case - the combative battlefield use of the tachi (sword) was a mainstay of archaic warfare in feudal Japan, but was very different than the dramatic, theatrical, and often 'flashy' interpretations offered in the cinema. Battlefield kenjutsu is direct, efficient, terse, and often crushingly brutal. This master class will offer a brief glimpse into traditional kata (pre-arranged forms) training, methodology, and esoteric mind set of Japanese classical swordsmanship. While it is true that all Samurai endeavoured to follow the ideals of the Bushi (warrior), not all Bushi were defined by the code of the Samurai. This class will explore some of those basic differences.


The Irredeemable Edge: Brazilian Straight Razor Fighting & Self-Defense
Instructor: Eric Michael Johnson
Developed over generations by ruffians, hooligans, & tough guys and seasoned in the perilous street culture of modern Brazil; the navalha (straight razor) has justly earned its bad rap as one of the most evil hand weapons in the world. Delicate & fragile, devilishly sharp, and deceptively applied to fiendish ends - the straight razor has achieved a very special (if creepy) place in the modern mental environment as a tool of those who smirkingly stroll, perhaps, over the line into the more shadowy areas of human experience. Straight Razor-In-Hand, you too will explore some of the potential crossroads and applications involved in this most intriguing & beguiling of human grooming implements with a disciple of one of Brazil's last great masters of the art.


Knock 'em Down & Take a Fall – Brazilian Style
Instructor: Eric Michael Johnson
Take-downs, foot sweeps, Throws & Rolls exist to some degree in most all fighting and self-defense systems and traditions. But from the perspective of traditional Brazilian Capoeira they are refined into an all-together sublime art form in-and-of themselves. Based on the principles of Malicia or 'deceptive trickery' and blending with the pull of gravity, these techniques of giving and taking a tumble will at least amuse & entertain if not amaze.


Artistic Fencing
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
Feel like a winner? Ready for some demanding choreography? This 4-day course offers an exploration of stage fighting as a competition sport, as it is promoted by the International Academy of Fencing (Academie d`Armes Internationale). Instructors Kristoffer Jørgensen and Karsten Hoffmann both hold gold medals from the latest World Championships in San Marino in September 2008, and will take participants through excerpts of their winning choreographies.


Introduction to the NSFS Knife Fighting System
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
The Nordic Stage Fight Society has developed a consistent system for knife fight choreography, fusing both historical and contemporary martial arts, both Western and Eastern influences, with the stage combatant’s need for a readily usable vocabulary of stage friendly (and performer-friendly) techniques. This is a crash course, building a choreography as we go along.


Knife Disarms
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
Useful disarms against a knife-wielding attacker. Some even work!


Case Study Choreography: Knife vs Unarmed in an Elevator
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
2 persons. 1 knife. A nasty, no-holds-barred fight in a cramped space.


Introduction to Aikido
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
A hands-on introduction to the gentle and painful art of stealing your opponents balance.


Aikido and the Sword
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
Mixing armed and unarmed techniques, tracing how sword techniques have influenced aikido and vice versa, with some neat sword disarms included.


Rapier Disarms
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
Disarms for every season; some classics, some new.


Instant Rapier Choreography
Instructor: Kristofer Jorgensen
Ever had to come up with choreography on the spot? This class shows how to build fights really quick, using modules. This method is for when you just have to get the job done. It may not always be the height of the art, but it works.


Swashbucking with Furniture
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
An exploration begun at the 2010 Paddy Crean, this class is a workshop in choreography, space, getting out of the way of your own creativity, and a re-interpretation of the craft of choreography. This class is also a personal sharing of the directions I have pursued as a fight director recently, and of the process employed to clear doubts and obstructions and to collaborate more openly. Very often the choreography process begins with text and narrative - what is the story we're telling? This class flips the process and begins with the question - what do we want the audience to experience? Using generic single sword technique students will choreograph short fights, map that choreography onto diverse spaces, and explore ways to bring the dynamic creativity of space back into neutral space. The goal is to acquire strategies and tools to break out of choreographer's block, create more dynamic fights, and tap your own strengths as a movement artist. Students who played with us last time are welcome back - we have new obstacles for you.


Bond vs. Bourne
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
Wall slams, gator rolls, elbows, knees and a ticking clock. The class began as a desire to push the execution of unarmed stage combat beyond the "John Wayne punch," and a question about whether it was possible to tell two overlapping physical stories. Part of my ongoing exploration of staging and space, this class re-imagines the goals of combat through close quarters unarmed work. Most theatrical fights boil down to epic duels between champions, but plenty of combat (especially in television, film, and video games) occurs en route to another task: defusing the bomb, rescuing Robin Hood, carving your way to the witch king, dispatching henchmen and minions. This class will explore this other world of fights, and give students ways to bring this narrative and aesthetic into their work as performers and choreographers.


Blood Effects of the Grand Guignol
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
This class offers a process for designing blood effects and their effective integration into the rehearsal and performance process, as well as a practical hands-on guide to easy and inexpensive tricks of stage blood. Dress for the mess, but we'll also have a safe splash zone to watch.


Re-Introduction to Rolling and Falling
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
For students with little or no experience rolling and falling or students who want a refresher on how gravity and their body can be more friendly. We'll cover methods for breaking down a stage fall, anatomical principles, and alternatives to work around costumes and injuries - but mostly we'll fall down a lot.


Rolling With Furniture
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
As sets become more like playgrounds, and audiences look for more dynamic fights, actors need to expand their athletic tool box. This class will mix simple parkour with stage movement as an introduction to rolling, vaulting, and moving over basic surfaces.


Victorian Swordplay for Modern Students
Instructor: Casey Kaleba
Actors from Shakespeare to the Victorian era would have had less than a day to assemble dramatic fights - modern teachers often have a short time to run workshops or choreograph fights. When time is of the essence, stock routines and patterns solved the problem, and this class is designed for teachers to work safely, simply, and swiftly. We'll cover basic techniques, classroom strategies, and how to get inexperienced actors work up a "Pirates of the Caribbean" fight in an hour and half.


Found Weapons Made Easy
Instructor: Jared Kirby
The class will focus on basics cuts, thrusts and defences with a weapon. By understanding the basic principles behind these actions you will learn how the same principles apply to a variety of found weapons (i.e. a pen, rolled up newspaper, keys, etc). Participants will then choreograph and rehearse short scenes so make sure to bring a few items that you would like to fight with!


The Martial Art of Stage Combat
Instructor: Jared Kirby
Advanced/Intermediate students and choreographers have found it very valuable to not only see how these swords were really used, but to learn how a martial foundation to choreography creates even more interesting stage/screen fights. Will focus on the Rapier, but applicable to many weapons


Capo Ferro's Guardia
Instructor: Jared Kirby
An in-depth look at the two dozen detailed directions that Capo Ferro gives in forming his guardia correctly.


A Time to Kill
Instructor: Jared Kirby
By looking at the application of "Tempo" to stage choreography we will explore different ways to get gasps and audible responses from your audience.


Cutting and Thrusting: Metamorphosis of the Sword and its Influence on Technique
Instructor: Maestro Ramon Martinez, Maestro Paul MacDonald, Maestro Jeannette Acosta-Martinez, and Jared Kirby
Through the centuries, the design of the sword has changed to fulfill the needs of the function of that Period. This Progressive Symposium will examine how the evolution of the sword influenced the way it was manipulated. This seminar offers the opportunity to analyze the application of Fencing theory as it is applied to four different weapons; Spanish Side-sword/Rapier, Backsword, Italian Rapier and French Small-sword. Each day, all four classes will look at the same principles so you can see how these principles apply very differently (or similarly) to each weapon

The concepts to be covered are:

  • Day 1: Posture, Positioning and Movement
    • The Guard(s), stance and how to move differently in each
  • Day 2: The Attack: Cut and Thrust
    • Mechanics of the actions focusing on defensive considerations
  • Day 3: Offensive Defence
    • Considering your Defence while striking
  • Day 4: How to start a fight
    • Entering safely
  • Day 5: Control your Adversary
    • Controlling the interplay by controlling the blade, distance and time
  • Day 6: Let's Get it On
    • Analyzing the Assaults


How to Start a Fight
Instructor: Jared Kirby
A staged fight must let the audience learn more about each character through the fight, but many choreographers focus on just doing this IN the fight. This class will focus on building a scene to the point of violence in order to make it believable that the characters must fight.


You Wanna Get Close
Instructor: Jared Kirby
A good sense of distance has saved many actors and martial artists from being hit. This is not a conscious decision; it comes from a sense or feeling of distance. This class will focus on different ways to calibrate your internal sense of distance and look at how we use that sense differently in combat for stage & screen or martial arts. Time permitting we will examine how to carry this into the scene to show the audience how an understanding of distance can tell them more about your character.


Spanish Rapier for Stage
Instructor: Jared Kirby
This class will focus on how to transfer the fencing techniques of La Verdaderda Destreza to the stage or screen. It requires a working knowledge of the Spanish Rapier already so you must take the Spanish Rapier class with Maestro Martinez or have studied it with him at some point.


French Small Sword for Stage
Instructor: Jared Kirby
This class will focus on how to transfer the fencing techniques of French Small-sword to the stage or screen. It requires a working knowledge of French Small-sword already so you must take the French Small-sword class with Maestro Acosta-Martinez or have studied it with her at some point.


Deconstructing Capo Ferro
Instructor: Jared Kirby
Although Capo Ferro has not left us a "manual" to work from, his brilliant treatise hold the keys necessary to recreate his system of fencing while also giving a wonderful glimpse of contemporary fencing as well as the opinions of other masters. This weekend will give you guidelines to understanding how Capo Ferro presents information as we work on distilling his system from the source.

Class will begin with the posture and guard which are the foundation of all fencing. We will look at how Capo Ferro explains his guardia and where to find the information in his book. Using this information we will then assume the posture precisely as he describes and illustrates. Once in the proper posture, we will add the weapon and position it exactly as Capo Ferro describes in order to form his one and only guardia. From this guardia, we will examine how Capo Ferro prepares and executes an attack. Start with his footwork; we will analyse the passo straordinario in order to perform the precise mechanics of his unique "lunge." Next, we will examine how to enter the fight and create tempo for your attack. The class will conclude with an examination of how to position ourselves to facilitate defence in the attack.


A Time to Kill
Instructor: Jared Kirby
A killing blow should surprise the audience and draw a visceral reaction from them. That can be done by delivering the kill shot in the correct tempo or by using different tricks of the trade so this class will show you just how to accomplish that!


Fencing l'Huomo Bestiale
Instructor: Jared Kirby
Typically we focus on using the Italian Rapier to fence another skilled swordsman, yet, more often than not, we are forced to use the rapier against ruffians and l'huomo bestiale (the bestial man). This workshop will focus on how to apply your fencing to deal with unpredictable sword slingers, vulgar fencers, and thugs. Knowing how to manipulate measure to your advantage is instrumental to fencing the bestial man. We will look at applying your fencing against the "standard" tricks you will encounter as well as the vulgar fencers' practices. Come prepared with problems you have encountered and we'll address them. This will culminate in the use of the rapier vs rapier and dagger to show that two is not always better than one.


Les Femmes Fatales
Instructor: Michelle Ladd
Women throughout history have bravely fought against and amongst men. This class takes a handful of these amazing women and delves into their world and the fight styles in which they would have been trained.


Skirts and Heels
Instructor: Michelle Ladd
So, you've learned how to fight in your sweats and tennis shoes, but what happens when your scene requires period costuming OR modern female garb of stilettos and a mini-skirt? How do you take the training you've received and keep yourself "safe and effective" in heels and skirts? This is a hands-on class tackling these and other issues women (particularly) face in performing stunts for stage and screen. All participants need to bring a skirt (the longer and fluffier the better) and some sort of heels. (This class is not limited to women.)


Staging a Group Film Fight
Instructor: Michelle Ladd
Ever wonder how a stunt team puts together big group fight sequences? As a member of this class 'stunt team' you will work together using both pre-choreographed sequences and your own choreography. We will work with the same time constraints that you might find on set, and practice performing both feature fights and core background team fights.


Domestic Violence vs. Contemporary Violence
Instructor: Michelle Ladd
Domestic violence and contemporary violence require more specialized grappling and struggling than traditional fight styles. But what really sets it apart is mind set. Taking similar choreography but utilizing either of two differing psychological aspects to your interpretation creates interesting and dynamic stories.


Envirocom: Developing Environmental Awareness
Instructors: Michelle Ladd and Nigel Poulton
Forget the "here's what you do if a bad guy comes at you" stuff - it's probably too late. Learn to avoid the situation altogether. Assess your environment for threat and potential harm and move through the world in a more assertive and empowered way by being more aware. Areas of focus will be: Movement/Trip Planning and Planning Contingencies, with an acknowledgement to Situational Strategies.


Combat Theory
Instructor: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will focus on the anatomy of the attack and the application and control of the basic aspects of all combat: Time - Distance - Proportion - Base - Balance - Structure. It will focus on application of techniques that allow you to break down your opponent's attack by control these aspects within your opponent's fight. It will begin in unarmed, then move to knife. We may continue through to longer weapons if we have enough time and there are enough weapons for everyone in class. These principles are universal and understanding how they work is crucial to surviving any combat, be it warfare, close quarters combat or a civilized duel.


Maquahuitl
Instructor: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will explore the basic concepts of the use of the Aztec weapon known as the Maquahuitl. It is a roughly three foot long, four inch wide club with obsidian shards glued into the sides. This was the Aztec sword that struck such fear into the Spaniards. We will look into how such a weapon could be used effectively against another of the same as well as against the weapons of the Spanish Conquistadors.


Ground Fighting
Instructor: John "Doc" Lennox
Perhaps the worst position to be in when engaged in a fight. We will explore the possibilities when you are stuck in a ground fight- what options you have, how to apply combat theory to get you out of it, and how to counter attack. Then we will look at how these tactics can be safely applied to the stage to make nasty looking dirty ground fights.


Boarders Away! The Use of Close-Quarter maritime Weapons of the Golden Age of Sail
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox and Steve Huff
This class will examine the forms and use of various types of maritime weaponry of the 16th-19th centuries and how to interpret historical resources for developing a better understanding of period fighting styles. The focus of these weapons will include the cutlass, boarding axe and dirk as well as miscellaneous "weapons at hand" such as slungshot and belaying pin.
Maritime Weaponry: Forms and History
Interpreting Historical Resources
Basic Fighting Theory
Carriage of the Weapon
Stances/Guards/Footwork
Angles of Attack/Targeting
Attacks/Defences


Multiple Opponants
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox and Steve Huff
This class will explore the tactics and techniques of dealing with multiple opponents in a real fight. We will also look at how to do similar techniques for stage and film and how to create a realistic looking multiple opponent fight where the attackers don't take turns coming in...cause that happens in real life.


The Cabala and the Cube
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will study the grappling techniques of various Renaissance masters such as Marozzo, Dürer, Fiore, etc. through the basic concepts which allow them to work: The Cabala and the Cube. The Cabala is a series of points on the body which allow one to force their opponent to move in the desired direction. The Cube begins as a grid pattern for footwork. To create a full pattern of movement, the grid is then brought into the 3rd dimension as shown below. This class will show how to use this concept to defeat an opponent in grappling.


Unarmed vs. Knife
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This is a class on dealing with an opponent who is armed with a knife, while you are unarmed. It will explore stance, tactics, mind set and techniques of disarming, taking the knife away and immobilizing the opponent.


Stealing Time
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class shows how to force your opponent to do what you want them to do during their time in a close quarters encounter.


Two Negatives Make it Suck
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class explores the theory of unarmed and armed close quarters combat and how to systematically break down your opponent’s offensive structure.


Boarding Actions: Cutlass and Axe
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class focuses on weapons of shipboard combat - Cutlass, Boarding axe, tomahawk, knife, and slingshot. Included in this is single weapon vs. double weapon, and drills to deal with close-quarter combat.


The Art of Combat System
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This is the system of stage combat used by my company, Art of Combat. It is historically based, and shows how a fight director can make historically accurate, and very exciting fights.


Acting the Fight
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class is how to add the characterization into your choreography. It is extremely important for the new fight director, and is also very useful to the actor/combatant, as it will explore how expressions and body language help tell the story of the combat.


Knife/Counter-Knife Combatives: Knife Fighting in the Close Quarter Range
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will focus on the use of the knife while fighting at close quarters. This class will build upon basic fundamentals of fighting theory and examine how the dynamics of knife combat change at different ranges.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Basic Fighting Theory
  • Stances
  • Footwork
  • Gripping the Knife
  • Angles of Attack/Targeting
  • Cutting & Thrusting
  • Use of the Knife against other Weapons
  • Grim Realities of a Knife Fight: What to Really Expect

Students are encouraged to bring some form of knife simulator (preferably rubber) or a short wooden dowel as well as protective eyewear. Hand protection is also highly recommended.


Early American Fighting Arts: The Bowie Knife
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will examine the development and use of the bowie knife from an historical perspective. How the weapon was used and how cultural influences play a part in fighting techniques will also be examined.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Birth of a Legend: A Brief History of the Bowie Knife
  • Basic Fighting Theory
  • Form and Function: Varieties of Bowie Knives
  • Carrying and gripping the knife
  • Stances/Guards
  • Footwork
  • Angles of Attack/Targeting
  • Attacks
  • Defences

Students are encouraged to bring some form of bowie simulator as well as protective eyewear. Hand and forearm protection are also highly recommended.


Early American Fighting Arts: Tomahawk and Longknife – Fighting Arts of the Longhunter
Instructors: John "Doc" Lennox
This class will examine the development and use of the tomahawk and longknife/trade knife as a weapon along the American frontier. Migration of fighting styles and cultural influences and their role into the development of these fighting styles will be examined.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • The Development of the Tomahawk and Longknife
  • Basic Fighting Theory
  • Native vs. European Combat Theories
  • Carriage of the Hawk and Knife
  • Grips
  • Stances/Guards
  • Footwork
  • Angles of Attack/Targeting
  • Attacks
  • Defences

Students are encouraged to bring a tomahawk and knife simulator as well as protective eyewear. Hand and forearm protection are also recommended.


Safety, Story, Style
Instructors: Daniel Levinson
This workshop will focus on character, storytelling and style. This will give the performer the opportunity to move beyond just the technique and really focus on the acting when building a fight scene. We will use short scripts from various productions like: Fight Club, Stalag 17, and The Dispute, to help the participant work on making strong acting choices that further the story and marry physical techniques to the written text.


Comedic fighting
Instructors: Daniel Levinson
Fights can be funny for so many reasons, many of them intentional. We will explore some of the ways we can find a laugh or two in physically inflicting pain. Let this class help you exercise perverse humour in a safe and judgmental environment. Warning: you will be made fun of.


Foundation Sword
Instructors: Daniel Levinson
A workshop for those who are western stage combat sword deprived. We will work on a universal sword system that allows the participant to adapt and develop to the various western single swords used most commonly in stage combat. This class will focus on parries, attacks, and footwork.


Quarterstaff for Stage Combat
Instructors: Daniel Levinson
This class is a simple take on quarterstaff for those participants who have not yet had a chance to learn stick work. We will be focusing on parries, attacks, footwork, and looking cool. Think of it as the finer art of six-foot-long stick fighting for fun and profit.


Lunging as if your life depends on it, even if it doesn’t!
Instructors: Cecil Longino
From the 17th Century forward both the Italian and French schools of fence are using a lunge as a primary method of delivering an attack. This class will painstakingly examine performing a mechanically and martially effective lunge. In conjunction with the lunge, we will also cover the additional actions of the subterfuge and redoublement.

Time permitting we may discuss some of the slight stylistic and aesthetic differences of the lunge found in various fencing treatises of the 17th and 18th Centuries.


Italian Sword, Dagger & Cloak
Instructors: Cecil Longino
Vincentio Saviolo very clearly spells out in his treatise, "His Practice in Two Books, the surest method to learn fencing is to begin with the single sword through this rather direct statement. "The true foundation verily and the true beginning from whence you may learn all things belonging to this art, is the rapier alone, and from it will I begin, and you shall perceive of what great importance this beginning is, and how without it hardly or never any commeth to true skill and perfection." Saviolo is not alone in this assertion among 16th Century fencing masters. In this class, we will explore a series of fundamental single sword actions along with the underpinning theory governing these actions. By relating the theoretical elements of time, measure, angulation and proportion directly against actions performed by our partners, we should gain a heightened physical understanding of Saviolo’s true foundation. Over the course of five days this class will build from the single sword foundation to practicing similar actions with the weapon combinations of sword & dagger and sword & cloak.

For Saviolo to claim the single sword can teach you everything relating to this art then our foundation should hold equally well whether we perform the actions with a sword alone or with a sword and companion weapon.


Quarte: The Handsomest Figure in Fencing
Instructors: Cecil Longino
French fencing masters such as L’Abbat and Olivier, alongside a host of others, praise the beauty and facility of the guard position of quarte. This class will focus solely on the offensive and defensive use of the quarte position in the French manner. Actions practiced will include the straight thrust in qaurte, disengagement, parade of counter quarte, the feather parade and quarte over the arm.

While practicing these specific drills against partners we will be following exact rules laid down for the use of the small sword. These rules are designed to keep the fencer safe in both attacking and defending. If one follows these, they cannot help but fence beautifully, beauty consisting in rule, as mentioned in Monsieur L’Abbat’s anglicized version of his fencing treatise, printed in 1734.


An Introduction to Girard Thibault's Academie de l'Espee"
Instructor: Jeannette Acosta-Mart’nez
Long considered "ponderous" a "bibliographic curiosity" and an "enormous volume of nonsense," this very important treatise through its highly detailed illustrations, helps to document and provide a window into the theories and practices of the Spanish school. Contrary to what many fencing historians have stated Thibault's theory and practice of swordsmanship is presented in a clear and very detailed manner. This class will cover some of the unique aspects of Thibault's Cercle Mysterieux , which differentiates it from the mainstream of the Spanish school. The students will go through a complete chapter interpreting each circle and how they relate to each other. Students should have prior experience in rapier.


Smallsword: The Elements of Combat
Instructor: Jeannette Acosta-Martinez
This class will cover foundational elements that are crucial to understanding small-sword fencing and the strategy of the combat. We will first focus on the technical aspects of the guard positions, the positions of the wrist in offence and defense and the mechanics of opposition. The class will then focus on applying these technical skills including the use of the un-armed hand, auxiliary weapons and close combat techniques to the tactical consideration in the assault, the duel, street self-defense and facing other weapons. The students will be asked to consider scenarios in varied locations and circumstances. Students should have prior experience in small-sword and be prepared for a full contact class.


The Use of "Counter-Offensive" Techniques
Instructor: Jeannette Acosta-Martinez
There are specific techniques, which fulfill at the same time the functions of attack and defense. Executed when the adversary attacks these techniques strike the adversary in the midst of their attack preventing the attack from arriving. They are executed by displacing the body, such as voltes, passata sotto, inquartata, coup d'arret, and scansi. We will look at the appropriate usage of these techniques by delving into the concepts of time and measure.


Interpreting the Play in It's Historical Context
Instructor: Jeannette Acosta-Martinez and Nigel Poulton
We will examine the fights in two period plays from two different centuries. We will go through an in depth analysis of the historical context within each play by looking at the character, the time period, the social class, the fashion and the weapon. This will give us the framework with which to interpret the fights. We will then look at the appropriate us of the weapons in those periods to draw from for the choreography that the students will create.


Rapier in the Streets of Spain
Instructor: Ramon Martinez
La Verdadera Destreza the true art and science of Spanish rapier fence has often been erroneously thought to be ineffective against the common ruffian or accomplished desperado. This workshop will delve into the not so pretty side of the Spanish school in other words, methods employed in less than ideal situations. The ambush, sudden attack and/or brawl including the immediate surroundings in which the swordsman may find himself will be the main focus of this workshop. Fighting in close quarters, alley ways, open plazas, doorways, narrow archways and darkness against determined single and multiple adversaries require a specific type of awareness as well as tactical and strategic decision making that is more akin to the battlefield than to the dueling field. With this in mind we will apply methods that include the single rapier and its auxiliary weapons such as the dagger and cape. Students should have prior experience with the rapier, its auxiliary weapons and be prepared for a full contact class.


Italian Sabre for Stage and Screen
Instructor: Ramon Martinez
In the late 19th and early 20th century stage and film sword combat was based on classical foil and sabre fencing. This class will examine how knowledge of these weapons was utilized to interpret period fencing. Focusing on the sabre, the students will be instructed in basic technique and introduced to the swashbuckling style that was so prevalent in film during the first half of the 20th century.


The Fashions of Violence
Instructor: Ramon Martinez
The manner of carrying swords and other weapons varied in accord to the time period, country and social position. For both historical fencers and actors these are invaluable skills. This knowledge provides an open window into the period and for actors in their process of developing their portrayal of a character. This class will look at the different methods of carrying swords and how to draw and re-sheath them in variety of situations and settings. We will also look at how daggers, cape/cloak, hat, gloves, etc, should be worn and how these can be used as both offensive and defensive auxiliary weapons.


Cane Self-Defence (Non-Bartitsu)
Instructors: Ramon Martinez and Jeannette Acosta-Martinez
In recent years Bartitsu has become increasingly popular, yet when it was created at the end of the Victorian era, its popularity was short-lived. Be that as it may, researchers, fight directors, actors and students of the martial arts should know that techniques for self-defense, particularly with the cane were developed and taught by all competent fencing masters in Europe and the Americas throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Since the 18th century, it was the custom for the gentleman of quality to always carry a cane or walking stick. More than just a fashion statement it is a weapon of self-defense for many and varied situations. This was especially true when the sword as an article of everyday dress was no longer commonplace. In this class the students will be taught a variety of self-defense techniques. These are design to be very simple and brutally effective. We will also look at the use of the common umbrella, which can also be a formidable self-defense weapon when used in a similar manner to the cane.


La Destreza del Zorro: The Spanish Swordmanship of el Zorro
Instructors: Ramon Martinez and Nigel Poulton
Author Johnston McCulley introduced Zorro to the world in 1919 in the pulp magazine story The Curse of Capistrano. This was later re-titled as The Mark of Zorro in 1924 for the novelized form. Thus a legend began and more books and movies followed. The story is set in early 19th century California circa 1822 - 1848. However, the legend unfolds not in the actual place, culture or even exact period but in McCulley's romanticized California. In the early 19th century in the dominions of Spain; rapiers, sabres and small-swords co-existed. Looking at the culture of the time and the character as written by the author I will take the class through my analysis and interpretation of the weapon the fictional Zorro would have carried and how he would have wielded it. Students should be prepared for a full contact class.


Backsword - From the Mists of Time...
Instructor: Paul MacDonald with guest Matt Richardson
Effective method and technique of basket-hilted backsword/broadsword has been largely lost and misunderstood for at least two centuries. For any production based in Jacobite Scotland and for all enthusiasts of this culture and weapon, this workshop shall bring backsword to Life. The focus shall be on single combat with single sword and shall examine how movement is dictated by the weight and balance of this particular sword. Students should gain an understanding and practical ability in blade and body mechanics. We shall also study how to translate these movements and effective combat techniques to stage. Ideal for staging your next Highland rising!


So, Which Sword's Better? - The One You Hold
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Throughout history, countless duels have been fought with single swords. It was remarkably common for different sword types to be pitted against each other. This class shall examine and practice the often found scenario of two of the greatest dissimilar weapons - back/broadsword against smallsword. This is a fascinating study that allows us to better understand the advantages of each sword's movement parameters and offset the opposing weapon's mechanics against itself. Participants will learn and practice various techniques and counter-techniques for the ultimate advantage of either weapon.


Kennetic Dagger Training
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Many students will have trained in some form of knife/dagger fighting. This class steps up the tempo and realism of training actions with the intention of generating a greater understanding of the force-on-force close combat fight as well as promoting effective swiftness and courage in the heat of it. For all martial artists, this class will translate well across all training areas. For the stage combatant, this will be an invaluable insight into the look and "feel" of close combat with realistic intention and action. Look Smart Soldier! - Effective movement and timing in military drills and skills. Many productions call for portrayal of military personnel in a modern or period setting. A familiarity with soldierly conduct and drill instruction can be of immense benefit to the actor or director for such settings. This class aims to give all participants a taste and a feel of authentic regimental drill (foot and rifle) from a wartime perspective.


Making the Cut - Progressive Backsword
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Progressive classes moving from the fundamental principles of stance, movement and blade mechanics towards advanced techniques and strategic considerations.

  • Day 1: Posture, Positioning and Movement.  [The Guard(s), stance and how to move differently in each]
  • Day 2: The Attack: Cut and Thrust [mechanics of the actions, focusing on defensive considerations]
  • Day 3: Offensive Defence [Defending and striking at the same time]
  • Day 4: How to start a fight [Entering safely]
  • Day 5: Control your Adversary [Controlling the interplay by controlling the blade, distance and time]
  • Day 6: Let's Get it On [Analysing the Assaults]


Stick it to him! - The Art of Devastating Quarterstaff
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
If you have ever wanted to know exactly how to make that big stick really work, then look no further!

This shall be a hands-on practical class in the effective martial use of quarterstaff at all measures from long to close. The MacDonald Academy method is based upon all surviving textual references from the C17th and C18th for martial application of the European staff.

This is an extremely effective combative way to strike and defend with the staff. For stage combat, it also looks visually dynamic, sells every action given and is martially valid!

From long staff, through half staff and into close combat techniques and counters,=2 0this shall be one fast paced and energetic class.


How we Won the War! - WW2 Commando Close Combat
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
A demonstration of the highly effective combative fighting methods of the British Commandos and Allied special forces of WW2.

The British Commandos pioneered military special forces raids and tactics, and all training given to special forces Worldwide today has its roots from the special training centres of the Highlands of Scotland during the 1940`s.

Paul MacDonald shall present this demonstration of the original methods of unarmed and armed close combat, silent killing and combative use of the pistol, as taught by close combat legends, Fairbairn and Sykes.


Signs of the Times - Symbolism in Western Martial Arts
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
A seminar class examining what lies behind martial symbology within Western martial arts.

Principally looking at specific images from the C15th and C16th, this class shall take participants on a perceptive journey, interpreting the esoteric elements of the Art and the self in combat.


Down and Dirty with Brad and Paul - Medieval Dagger Combat
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Join Brad Waller and Paul MacDonald as they combine their martial experience in this close combat dagger class. Most basic elements of play shall be covered, such as grounding, movement, making a strong defence, swift disarms and counters to all actions.

Techniques are drawn from treatises of the C15th and C16th and shall be effective for both martial artist and stage combatant. This shall be one physical class, up close and personal!


Like a Good Whisky - C18th Small Sword of Donald MacBane
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Donald MacBane was a fighting legend in his lifetime throughout the C17th and C18th as a Highland fencing master and soldier.

He was a veteran of many battles, skirmishes and duels, and developed a unique method of small sword fencing that was as subtle as it was strong. This was specifically designed to counter the common methods of the day, and was put to practical use on many a combative occasion.

Participants shall learn and practice core elements of this method as well as hear many a fighting tale from the incredible life of the old gladiator MacBane.


Mind Over Matter - Inside the Medieval Mindset
Instructor: Paul MacDonald
Throughout the history of Europe, much has been written on martial weapons and technique. Little has been said regarding what it takes to know, control and offest our internal elements that allow us to prevail in antagonistic combat. This class shall take students on that journey within, to better know ourselves and our opponent in single combat. The focus shall be on Fiore dei Liberi's mysterious segno illustration from the early 15th century and reveal different levels of understanding in this unique study.


Katana
Instructor: Braun McAsh
The major technique of this class will be based on the works of Miymoto Musashi (Shimnen no kami Fujiwara no Genshin, also known as Niten Koji) and his school of the Itto (single sword) of the Niten Ichi Ryu. (Two Heavens as One). It will also incorporate elements of other forms of Iaido such as the Seitei Gata and Aiki Batto form as well as individual techniques attributed to masters such as Sasaki Kojiro. It will include cutting and parrying as well as the use of the left hand when not engaged in the grip. The Niten Ichi Ryu, together with techniques from Korean Gum Do was the basis of the katana technique for the character of Duncan MacLeod on the TV series "Highlander," as choreographed by the instructor, F. Braun McAsh. This course is for beginners or intermediate practitioners.


Combat Knife
Instructor: Braun McAsh
Knife combat is not only difficult to stage for both stage and film because of its close proximity, it is also possibly the most dangerous form of bladed combat in which one can engage. There is no safety distance as in sword. Multiple hits can occur with blinding speed. This course will teach real knife combat techniques that the instructor teaches to both civilians and the military as a close combat art. Techniques will also be taught that are appropriate to film and TV due to their visibility (body movement "unstacks" the performers). The techniques are modern, but certain historical techniques will be demonstrated and discussed. No prior experience is necessary for this course.


Rapier Technique of the Italian Masters – Filthy Rapier Tricks 101
Instructor: Braun McAsh
Rapier combat evolved over a period of over 150 years to go from an edge-predominant weapon to a point-predominant weapon. Each subsequent significant master simplified, refined or complicated the styles of those who came before. This will examine as a broad physical overview, the progression of technique from Agrippa through to Alfieri, touching on such masters as Saviolo, Grassi and Fabris and utilizing a wide variety of stances, attacks, defences and, of course, Filthy Rapier Tricks designed to kill, cripple and otherwise annoy. This course is designed for both the film and stage practitioner and historical stylist. Some prior experience would be helpful.


The Elements of Choreography
Instructor: Braun McAsh
The Elements of Choreography take the student through all the things that impinge on combat action: the set, set decoration, costumes, props, lighting and special effects, the script, actor and director, etc. In other words, all the questions that must be posed and answered before the first stroke of choreography may be staged. Learn all the considerations necessary to discover the story of the fight, maintain its integrity within the narrative of the script and the actor's interpretation of the role, deal with multiple departments whose jobs often conflict with your own, and create exciting and safe choreography.


Tybalt's Mysterious Circling
Instructor: Nigel Poulton
How did the furious Tybalt get defeated by this young upstart Romeo? Why did he come back? Was there a flaw in his technique, did he underestimate him, or did Romeo find in him that something that would allow him to prevail? As this as our premise, we shall explore the intricacies of technique, tactics and storytelling as we implement a multi-layered creative process, that finishes by setting the work to music using Prokofiev's score of Romeo and Juliet and Nigel's recent work with the New York City Ballet as inspiration.


The Slap
Instructor: Nigel Poulton
Vsevolod Meyerhold was one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the 20th century, but ironically very little is known about either him or his system, much of it believed to have been lost in the intervening years between Meyerhold's death in Stalinist Russia and today. Despite the system having been continually reconstructed and theoretically debated over the years few practitioners have experienced the living tradition of the training, which involves the progressive development of physical, spatial and interpersonal awareness that progresses to a critical compositional and performance awareness. An integrated training process that centres around a number of key principles to develop a physical and theatrical language that underpin a greater understanding of the performance craft. Nigel is an experienced student and practitioner of the system and has been developing a movement pedagogy that has been practically incorporated through his work with some of Australia largest theatre companies in a number of critically acclaimed and successful stage productions.


But I am Fencing? (Aren't I?)
Instructor: Nigel Poulton
Really? Let's debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about how we define and represent the art forms that inform what we as fight practitioners do. Through a practical application of theory we will explore instinct versus cognition as we seek to narrow the gap between fantasy, misinformation and reality.


Film Castaway
Instructor: Nigel Poulton
What should you expect at a stunt casting? Are you prepared? This is a workshopping of concepts and ideas that will both prepare and test you for situations where you are being asked to present your specific and hard acquired skill set in the best possible way. Based on Nigel's experience in conducting fight specific casting for theatre and film, this is a challenging and informative workshop.


Women in Stage Combat
Instructor: Niki Price
Not to exclude you blokes, of course! We look at what women go thru to deal with stage combat, from domestic violence situations, dealing with aggressive male characters/actors, how to play 'the victim', kick arse fantasy female characters and not forgetting historical women and their desire to fight for something that was important to them - Boudicca, Joan, Moll etc. Also how great the woman fighter is with her desire to tear into another human, not just bruise the surface with a John Wayne punch!!!


Basic Law for Actors
Instructor: Randall Reade
Learn the basics of contract law, and how to enforce a contract. We'll take real world situations that artists find themselves in and learn how to protect yourself and your assets, legally.


Anti-Aging Methods for Actors
Instructor: Randall Reade
Learn how to find the best products to keep your face looking as youthful as possible, and why good nutrition is an essential component. Find out the latest scientific techniques to keeping a flexible face and fight off cellulite.


Abandon and Flow
Instructor: Ian Rose
A class focusing on learning to really let go and fly in a fight. The class starts with learning simple choreography, building confidence and learning how to ride that edge of safety and control in a stage fight.


Cutlass Fun
Instructor: Ian Rose
This is a fun cutlass class that focuses on a blending of martial arts styles. This style of cutlass is derived from stealing Kali/Escrima, Chinease Dao and European weapons styles into a synthesis of Cutlass fun.


Smallsword and Cloak
Instructor: Ian Rose
Exploring the use of the cloak in combat as a companion weapon to the smallsword. The special nature of the cloak as a multifaceted weapon will be explored.


Nuclear Smallsword
Instructor: Ian Rose
A dynamic approach to smallsword. A focus on vigorous footwork gives an explosive style to this sometimes dry weapon. Energetic movement (hand and foot) is used in conjunction with this accurate and deadly weapon.


Cloak and Dagger
Instructor: Ian Rose
The use of the cloak is taught in conjunction with the dagger. An aggressive, street oriented style of combat is taught for the 17th Century spy in all of us.


Flexible Weapons - Flippy Twirlies with Chains
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Of the five different 'Weapon Families' identified by Kyle after 34yrs of martial arts study, the Flexible weapons are undoubtedly the hardest to master, particularly for use on the stage and screen. By using a length of heavy duty plastic chain Kyle will guide you through the basics of understanding the how this weapons moves and some of the fundamentals required to use it safely and effectively.


Advanced Takedowns and Throws
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Through his long time love of Japanese martial arts and his recent studies and exploration into the Ancient Greek martial arts of Pankration and Parmachon, Kyle has interpreted a variety of functional throws and takedowns and modified them for use in stage and screen productions. These takedowns require two people working in complete unison for them to be safe, rather than their practical applications being one sided. This class should be restricted to those with good stage falling skills already.


Fighting for Film
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Stage and Screen fighting, whilst they share similar principles, are really vastly different art forms. Kyle has used his extensive knowledge and experience in film combat to create four simple principles to help any Combatant perform better, and get the 'take' quicker, during a film fight. Kyle will share these principles and get you to put them into practice.


Performance Theory: Interpreting the Given Circumstances to Build a Believable Character
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Kyle's unique approach to character building and fight performance is something he calls 'Performance Theory.' It is a set of simple steps that assists a performer to create and maintain a believable character from the information within the script, and by doing so imbed a truthfulness and depth to a seemingly ordinary character.


Flexible Weapons
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
If an object bends or folds in any way, then it falls into a family of weapons known as ‘Flexible’. Whips, chains, nun-chuku or a leather jacket; all of these items share similar characteristics and require specific techniques, so as not to become lethal to their user. Learn the secrets to controlling the most uncontrollable weapons on the planet; as we first identify what ‘flexible weapons’ are, then discover their strengths and weaknesses in combat.


Greek Spear & Shield
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
The Ancient Greeks were some of the earliest and greatest warriors of all time; they conquered most of the known world and their primary weapons were the humble 'Spear & Shield'. Although almost every culture in history used the spear and shield in combat, it was the Ancient Greeks that really made an art-form of it. Learn the ins and outs of fighting with the spear and shield; both in group formations, (the Phalanx), and in single combat; as well as exposing some of the myths and realities of fighting with these weapons. Kyle trained Eric Bana for "Troy" and he has continued his study of this weapon system since, making it one of his specialities. He presented some of his work on this topic at last year’s Shenandoah Project.


Fighting on Camera
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Learn how to make the most of your combat skills for film, by understanding the camera frame and your position in it; as Kyle shares some of his personal tricks and tips for ‘Fighting for Film’. Kyle appeared in two of the Star Wars films, fighting as Count Dooku and General Grievous. He also worked as Sword Assistant to Nick Gillard, intently in the Fight Department for these films; as well as for this year’s blockbuster “Wanted”, where he served as the knife specialists and fight double, and dozens of Australian productions.


Firearms with Flair
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
Learn the basics of 'Theatrical Firearms' use, including holding the weapon, stances and body positions, safety tips and some nifty disarms. Explore a mix of some highly realistic techniques, as well as a few fun ones for theatre and film.


Control & Commit - Advanced Striking Techniques for the Stage
Instructor: Kyle Rowling
The main differences between stage and film fighting are two-fold: distance and speed. To that end Kyle and the other members of The Sydney Stage Combat School, have been working hard on developing a series of principles and practices that allow us to create much more violent and believable striking techniques for use on stage and screen. As these techniques require the Combatants to be working at a close distance this class is for Intermediate to Advanced students only.


Stunt Fighting for Film - Concrete Proof Partnering
Instructor: Rick Skene
Stunt work usually happens on location where concrete floors are often the norm. Action films predominantly resolve themselves in a climactic confrontation in a warehouse hideout. The stunt performer should have "concrete proof" technique in order to fully prepare for these challenging conditions that are all too often the norm. As a stunt coordinator I find these techniques have become a basic requirement for all my stunt performers. The class will focus on the stunt performer skills of partnering for throws and teardowns. Techniques will be taught on gym mats with an eye toward perfecting them for hard surfaces. All techniques can of course be applied to stage combat choreography. Where the actor skill exists they can be used to great effect.


Stage and Film Jiu Jitsu Techniques: Exploiting the gentle art for safe throws and partnering techniques
Instructor: Rick Skene
Description: the course will explore various Jiu Jitsu throws teardowns and locks that can be exploiting in a stage and film performance to safely and gently appear to toss and submit you stunt or stage partner.


Stage and Film Jiu Jitsu Techniques - Ground Game: Exploiting the gentle art for reverses and ground tactics
Instructor: Rick Skene
The course will explore various Jiu Jitsu mounts and reverses and submissions from the ground.


Stunt/Stage Fighting: Essential Licks
Instructor: Rick Skene
A sampling of the disarms, blocks, locks, and reverses that are the bread and butter of film fighters will be covered. Techniques covered will run the gamut from the simple and essential to the flashy and useless. All techniques can of course be applied to stage combat choreography. Where the actor skill exists they can be used to great effect. This class is open to all beginner and intermediate students.


Choreographic Seminar: Advanced Choreography for Film
Instructor: Rick Skene
This is the Bear thing. Techniques, issues and processes for real world working in film as a fight choreographer. Topics covered will include: duties of the choreographer, serving the story, serving the film, working with stars, planning the shoot able beats, protecting your performers, minefields of the film world, understanding film culture and using its idiosyncrasies to your advantage.


Non-Human Movement and Fighting for Film
Instructor: Carrie Thiel
So, you've been cast as a Troll in "The Hobbit," or a Predator in "Alien vs Predator 2." You've been to wardrobe and are in costume, but now what? Are the prosthetics enough to make your performance believable? How do you differentiate yourself from the other creatures in the film? Learn how to move, think and fight as a non-human by interpreting the tools (costume, weapons, prosthetics) you have been given.


How to Fall Without Hurting Yourself - Core Strength for the Performer
Instructor: Carrie Thiel
In this practical, non-martial arts oriented class, Carrie draws from the disciplines of gymnastics and pilates to teach fundamental movement skills. Where is my core and how can it help me move and fight with grace and strength? How can I fall safely, on stage or off, at any age or fitness level? Better your posture and flexibility and develop a deeper awareness of your body...the most important tool a physical performer has!


Movement/Performance Capture
Instructors: Carrie Thiel and Michelle Ladd
Learn what is involved in performing combat sequences for motion (or performance) capture as used in film and video games. This progressive class will include some lecture demo and Q&A time as we explore the process of creating combat movement for motion capture. Both "hero" performance capture and "crowd battle simulation" capture will be addressed as Carrie and Michelle share with you over 15 years of their combined expertise in this specialized field.


TMA Theatrical Martial Arts
Instructor: Bo Thomas
How to do a martial art fight easy and fast. This is built around the normal vocabulary we use in stage fighting. You can get an inexperienced actor to look like he knows what he is doing.


Fighting More than One Opponent
Instructor: Bo Thomas
A lot of fights are between 2 people, so how to do a fight against more than one. Floating fights, keep the fight going and fight against everybody at the same time.


Rhythm and Tempo Fighting
Instructor: Bo Thomas
Film inspired, Jackie Chan fighting, Kayse fighting. It gets easier to make fast fights when you think in terms of rhythm and tempo.


Fights in Small Spaces
Instructor: Bo Thomas
You don’t always have the luxury of a big room, or a big stage. We are going to explore different kinds of work style and how to work with scenography.


Parkour and Stage Fight
Instructor: Bo Thomas
Can these to things work together! Let’s see what happens.


Massage Class
Instructor: Bo Thomas
Held later in the week, when everybody is sore.


Feats of Daring: Lifts, Carries, and Comic Acrobatics, Part I
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
aka, "How the human body supports weight--its own or someone else's." aka, "Things to do on stage, other than standing around." We begin with individual explorations of the basic kinesiology of balance and then move toward partner work in giving and receiving weight and contact improvisation. Utilizing the Swiss acrobatics maxim, "I put my center under the thing that I do not want to die," we study basic techniques for lifting, carrying, and catching human bodies. We then progress to more complicated balance' techniques which have both violent and non-violent applications. Great for slapstick, clown, ensemble work, and developing advanced grappling choreography.


Deadly Feats of Daring: Grappling Off the Ground, PART II
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
Prerequisite: Feats of Daring, Part 1
This Intermediate/Advanced class continues the work of Part 1, allowing participants to develop their own techniques and to apply the studied techniques in unarmed choreography, ranging from spectacular slapstick to vicious, realistic grappling.


Dust Off Your Arlecchino: Today’s Commedia dell’ Arte
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
International Commedia artist, Matthew R. Wilson, who has served as an instructor at Antonio Fava’s Stage Internazionale di Commedia dell’ Arte since 2004, leads an interactive workshop on the history, theory, and techniques of the Commedia dell’ Arte, in which participants will learn the gestures and behaviours of the major Commedia types and also discuss how this Renaissance art form relates to the theatre of today.


Unarmed with Knives
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
An introductory class in Knife fighting with an emphasis on Knife as an extension of unarmed, close-range technique. Introductory Knife skills include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; cuts and thrusts to a variety of targets; hand checks; off-line footwork (thwarts, traverses, and avoids); and simultaneous action. After partner drills on knife techniques, participants will be taught a brief, unarmed fight, containing punches, blocks, avoids, and grappling. Then partners will be asked to study how the same choreography could be modified for cases in which one combatant has a knife, both combatants have knives, or one combatant has 2 knives. The instructor will monitor this student-centered exploration, and then partners will present their brief "scenes" to the class for observation and discussion of similarities & differences between Unarmed & Knife techniques.


Broadsword Slapstick
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
This Basic Broadsword class will introduce Broadsword technique in the context of comedic fights (e.g., Ajax v. Thersites or 2 Capitani in a Commedia dell' Arte duel). Introductory skills include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; cuts, thrusts, and swipes; parries in all lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); and linear & non-linear footwork (esp. thwarts and avoids). Additional concepts will include non-traditional uses of the Broadsword (such as "attacks" with the flat of the blade, quillons, or pommel), lazzi of battlefield mistakes, and Keystone-Kops-style chase sequences (with avoids, thwarts, crawling between legs, etc.) Basic partner drills will serve to introduce the weapon. A short bit of choreography will allow participants to rehearse a fight. Then participants will be encouraged to embellish choreography with lazzi, catastrophes, and character motivations (e.g., an accidental fight, a duel between cowards, a "bruiser" chasing and being bested by a twerp, etc.).


Where to Put the Pointy End: Smallsword Technique
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
An introduction to Smallsword as a unique style of swordplay, this class focuses on developing skills in point work and understanding the tactical strategies behind thrusts and supinated parries. The class begins with a very brief introduction to the historical Smallsword style and a primer in how the weapon is held and utilized. The focus of skills is on eye contact; maintaining safe distance; precise thrusts to high- & low-line targets; efficient, supinated parries in high- & low-lines (7, 8, 6, 4); and basic, linear footwork. Simple partner drills build to a short, choreographed sequence emphasizing parry-ripostes, deceptions of parries, and Smallsword prises de fer, with an emphasis on safe & efficient point work and the physics of superiority in prises de fer (e.g., thumb in opposition, forte to foible, etc). Efficiency over speed, technique over force, and style above all.


No Hands Tied Behind Your Back: Intro to R&D
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
A Basic class in Rapier & Dagger introducing the simultaneous action of double-fence fights. Introductory skills include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; parries with each weapon in their outside lines (2, 3, 5 for each weapon); cross parries, reinforced parries, replacement, and parallel parries; thrusts and cuts with both weapons; and off-line footwork (thwarts & avoids on the circle). Partner drills will introduce cuts and parries to all lines. Then a brief piece of simple, double-fence choreography will be taught (initially without simultaneous action or double-weapon parries). This choreography will then be slowly enhanced by the inclusion of the "off" weapon for double-weapon parries, stop thrusts, and double-time encounters.


Buckler Bashing: The Shield for Offense and Defence
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
A Basic Sword & Shield class with an emphasis on the Shield as both a defensive and an offensive weapon. Introductory skills include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; cuts to all lines; parries with sword and shield; offensive moves (swipes, punches, presses) with the shield; and basic linear & offline footwork. Partner drills will serve to introduce proper technique for cuts and parries. Then participants will rehearse and present a choreographed sequence emphasizing the use of the shield for both defence and offense.


The Long and the Short of It: Intro to Quarterstaff
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
This Basic Quarterstaff class will introduce the weapon with emphasis on its adaptability for close-, medium-, and long-range combat. Introductory skills include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; short-form and long-long form cuts and parries; long-form thrusts; and linear & off-line footwork. Partner drills will first introduce short-form cuts & parries, followed by long-form cuts and parries. Then participants will rehearse and perform a choreographed sequence that emphasizes transitions from short- to long-form and tactics of contracting or expanding fight distance.


Everything but the Seltzer: Unarmed Slapstick Comedy
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
This unarmed class focuses on the non-mimetic aesthetic of slapstick violence, including slaps, punches, kicks, hair/ear/nose pulls, eye gouges, lazzi, and the logic of non-realism. Participants will learn a variety of standard unarmed slapstick-style gags and then will be encouraged to choreograph sequences with a partner and invent their own gags and routines to present to the group.


Swashbuckling with a Side of Alexander
Instructor: Matthew R. Wilson
An introduction to Single Sword emphasizing Alexander Technique as a means toward achieving the grace and ease of classic swashbuckling. Introductory Single Sword skills covered include eye contact; casting energy; maintaining safe distance; thrusts & cuts; basic, pronated parries in all lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); and simple linear footwork. The pedagogical emphasis will be release and expansion--Alexander Technique principles necessary for "proper" form (or, at least, minimal wear & tear on the body and psyche of the actor!) These points of emphasis included relaxation in shoulders, neck, tongue, and jaw; thrusts and cuts that are fully released (with no excess tension or contraction); and a widening of safe "fight distance" that allows combatants to safely expand and pursue targets with full intent and commitment rather than "pulling" (i.e., contracting) attacks in close distance. Partner drills lead to a short, choreographed sequence emphasizing showmanship and style with the help of Alexander principles.


The Virtruvian Actor
Instructor: Scott Witt
Inspired by the concept of The Virtruvian Man and the words of Shakespeare

"He fights as you sing pricksong: keeps time, distance, and proportion." (Romeo & Juliet: Act 2 scene 4)

"... For if a man can be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described there from. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are completely square..." (Marcus Vitruvius, De Architectura, Book III, Chapter 1, p 3)

Amongst peers we take our understanding of time, distance and proportion for granted. However many actors still fail to truly represent it in a dramatic (or comedic) form. During this class I shall share with you various experiments and ideas I have been playing with to help actors gain greater insight to - Time, Distance & Proportion!


Fighting to Lose
Instructor: Scott Witt
I am curious to explore how actors who are physically coordinated can play uncoordinated characters, just as much as I am for uncoordinated actors to portray coordinated characters! Fight to Lose is a counter intuitive look at how not to fight! This class is designed to deconstruct and analyse the structure and alignment required by the skeletal and muscular systems when developing physical attributes for in effectual combatant.


Raw Fighting
Instructor: Rachel Bown-Williams
When performing Stage Combat the emphasis is often on getting the choreography right and then adding the character, intention, motivation later. This workshop encourages students to connect find the intention and motivation to create the move. Allowing actors to be in the moment respond, react and remain safe from the very start.


There can be only One!
Instructor: Rachel Bown-Williams
Helping students find the rhythm of a sword fight through intention and response.


Shady Characters
Instructor: Rachel Bown-Williams
Drawing influences from Melodrama, silent movies, film noir and shadow theatre. We look at the physical story telling of the fight.


From Start to Finish
Instructor: Rachel Bown-Williams
A class exploring the various stages we go through in the build up to a fight and then the resulting action. Drawing from human behavior, physical gesture and signals.


Sword and Cape: From Combat to Choreography
Instructor: Mike Winderman and Siobhan Richard
This class is about breaking the barriers between Historical Fencing and Performance. We will be looking at the Sword and Cape techniques from the Opera Nova of Antonio Manciolino, a rare Fencing Treatise, and the oldest Fencing Treatise in the Bolognese School of Swordsmanship. In the first part we will work with each plate in the Sword and Cape sequence and it's accompanying text; their timing, distance, and the tactics and strategy behind them, experiencing how this sequence is executed as a martial art. Then we will show how to de-construct these actions, turning them into choreography that is not only safe, but also gives performers a new movement vocabulary to base their sword and cape fights on. Drawing from Augusto Boal's theory that an actor must feel all the steps inside himself to be able to show them inside. This class looks at playing out each actor's intention in the fight and then bringing them together to create a realistic fight full of interrupted moves and actions.


My Favourite Guards
Instructor: Michael Winderman
This Class will cover the eight Guardia(guards) from the Italian systems of Rapier and Sidesword that I have found over the years to be the most useful. Practical Combat applications and tactics will be covered as well as how to use them to create different characters for staged combat.


Staged Combat on the Cheap: How to safely stage fights with Olympic Fencing Swords and Shinai
Instructor: Michael Winderman
This class would cover how to work with foil, epee, saber, and shinai when you are forced to do a show on a budget.


Principles of Staged Combat for Theatre – Basic to Advanced
Instructor: Laryssa Yanchak
Principles of stage combat for theatre that can be applied to all disciplines of combat work for stage to make your work safer and more believable. We will be using basic unarmed technique to demonstrate and practice these skills.


Selling It – Basic (to Advanced) – with Laryssa Yanchak
Want to know how to make your performance more convincing? We’ll look closely at being the aggressor, the victim, reactions and tricks to making your work more believable. Curriculum will include basic unarmed techniques for the stage and acting your way through a fight.


Introduction to Broadsword for Theatre – with Laryssa Yanchak
If you’ve never picked up a sword and/or want to make sure you look like you know how to use one, this class is for you. We’ll study technique based on historical fact but that has been adapted to tell a convincing story and keep you and your partner safe.