2020 Class Descriptions

Double Stick in the African Tradition 

This class will explore the art of sword in the Maghreb, Northwest Africa, as it is preserved and practiced in living traditions such as el Matreg (stick fighting), Takouba (Tuereg Sword Dances) as well as from historical sources such as the “Kitāb al-makhzūn jāmiʻ al-funūn”, which loosely translates to “The Treasure that Combines All Arts” a manual that was originally written in the 9th century.


In this class, we will be focusing on the first time ever a unique style of Matreg called, (Double stick). We will cover basic techniques like stance, footwork, attack, defense, and how those techniques apply to dual-wielding swords!


Sword and Buckler

In the the Kitāb al-makhzūn jāmiʻ al-funūn (“The Treasure that Combines All Arts) there is cutting drill referred to as ‘Threading the Needle’. In this class we will be deconstructing this pattern and exploring how it applies to sword and buckler in battlefield or dueling context. As well as using earlier Islamic artwork in order to supplement our understanding of Swordplay in Medieval North Africa.


Long Stick
The stick was probably our ancestor's first tool and the art of using the stick as a deadly weapon can be found around the world. In this class, we will explore the use of the long throughout the African continent focusing on Wasan Sanda (Hausa), Wakaf (Algeria), Donga (Ethiopia), and Sukama (Tanzania).


Liancour Smallsword Practices
The Smallsword excersises of Liancour, how the Liancour encouraged his students through vigorous practice to master the sword. 


Jingju Introduction and basic training
A brief overview of Jingju from a western perspective, followed by basic training exercises that focus predominantly on footwork. Areas we hope to touch on include kicks, spins and stances. 
Jingju Swords VS. Spear - Spear technique
Using the template of a choreographed fight, this class will focus on basic Jingju spear techniques and stick handling. Areas to focus on will be stances, spins, hits and blocks. 


Jingju Swords VS. Spear - double sword technique
Using the template of a choreographed fight this class will focus on basic Jingju double sword technique. Areas to focus on will be stances, spins, hits and blocks. 

Apocalypse, NOW
A toaster, An umbrella, your neighbors cat! Who cares - It’s a weapon now! This class will explore the range of storytelling through found weapons. We’ll discuss the different categories, safety procedures and techniques of fighting with … anything!

Fight Direction 101
Want to be a fight director? Here are all the things you need to know that nobody tells you.

Knife: All Levels
Kev's BRT (Body Response Technique) system will take you through cuts 1-8 with 2 ‘finishing’ shots and avoidances 1-8 with 2 blocks and counter strikes for the ‘finishing’ shots. Some of you might go, “I’ve done this already”, and you probably have ... but not like this

Kick & Punch combos: Intermediate / Advanced
How do you sell a fight on stage or screen correctly? What works for the audience? What’s missing? Answer: reality!! If you’ve ever been in a real fight, you know that whatever you thought you knew about fighting, goes out of the window very quickly, and looking “messy, dirty, ugly” sells.

Broadsword into LongswordExamining how standard SAFD broadsword technique can be adapted into a more martially historical bent, while remaining safe, dynamic, and theatrical. 

Ukemi: The Art of Falling 
Whether you are the hero of the story and must hit rock bottom before rising up to the top, or you are an energetic extra, ready to take a hit, you must learn and perfect your ability to fall in order to be convincing while also staying safe.  In this workshop we will review falling concepts, breakfalling techniques, rolling fall techniques, scrambles, and some clever ways to approach practicing these methods to make them as realistic and effective as possible. 
Creature Movement
Rather than teaching a particular training modality or specific forms, the focus of this session will be to understand what it takes to create smooth creature-like movements to assist in character development and performance. Whether portraying an actual beast for motion capture, or a fighting character who is particularly feral, looking more animalistic just takes some know-how and conditioning. 
Realistic Firearms Handling
 There’s nothing that can end the suspension of disbelief when watching a film or other performance like noticing a character who is supposed to be proficient in something clearly isn’t. In this workshop, we’ll explore different approaches to performing scenes with firearms. We’ll cover what it looks like to know what you’re doing as well as how to appear to be a novice. This will include pistol and rifle grips, stances, and basic movement geometry such as clearing thresholds and using cover & concealment.
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes …
An exploration of physical points of articulation for efforts of aggression and specificity of reaction in characterization and storytelling. We will be exploring with both Unarmed and Singlesword.
Arming the Fight
Thinking outside the box in choosing props to arm your show that suits both your production design and budgetary restrictions. We will cover swords/ knives/guns/ sticks/ found objects/ stylized violence/ and Blood EFX

Back Alley Smallsword
Often considered an elegant and refined weapon, the smallsword can just as often be incredibly mean and gross.  We’ll throw out the class and keep all of the savagery. 
Class v. Sass 
Single Sword and Smallsword speak the same basic language, and we use the same kind of weapons for by styles but the nuances and flavor each brings to a fight is very specific.  So we’ll look at both individually and then find out if two great tastes do indeed taste great together.
Virtual Intimacy 101
This class will introduce and discuss the 5 Pillars of Intimacy Direction as developed by Intimacy Directors & Coordinators, and will also peek into some ways these concepts adapt to support intimate work in our weird new world of entirely virtual productions.  

Dumb Knife Tricks
From Arya Stark to the Winter Soldier, films are full of cool knife fights where people flip their weapons around from hand to hand like it's nothing. Is this a slick and highly effective way to fight? No. Not at all. It's a terrible plan. But does it look super cool? Yes. Yes it does. In this class, we'll explore several different ways to flip a knife around and how this kind of flair might fit into other knife combinations. 

Reactions & How to Play Body Pain
Where does a reaction truly start from? How does the body move when hit? How can a performer replicate that for stage / tv / film? This class will take you through the method of reacting by using the BRT system to break down the movement, to desensitise the body, to explain the ‘flinch’ principle and to make you look awesome when you’re being “hit”!