I just got home from three hours of great play with Jackie and Adam. They very graciously introduced me to the basics of single-hand rapier fighting. As with my experience on Henry V, I am very impressed with how similar the discipline of Stage Combat (SC) is to the discipline of actual martial arts study. While SC is very stylized for dramatic effect and actor safety, it seems to require the same sort of mental acuity and focus as classical martial arts training.
After my rapier lesson, I did my best to introduce Jackie and Adam to some of the fundamentals of Japanese swordsmanship.* Mostly, we focused on basic sword ettiquette (how to hold, carry, exchange blades), simple cutting mechanics/postures, and historic/societal dynamics; all of which I hope may be of use to them if staging a duel, battlefield or “dojo-challenge”.
Everyone enjoyed our “play time”. I hope Jackie and Adam got as much out of the time as I did. At the behest of both of these talented fight coreographers, I took a look at www.safd.org, the website of the Society of American Fight Directors. The following blurb is lifted from their site and outlines what SAFD is all about. I intend to further investigate and perhaps participate in a workshop over the summer.
The Society of American Fight Directors is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safety and fostering excellence in the art of directing staged combat/theatrical violence.
* Disclaimer: Out of respect for my teachers, I need to be clear that I did not introduce any specific techniques from either Shinto Muso Ryu or Muso Jikki Den Eishin Ryu, nor did I present myself as a qualified teacher of either art.