She Kills Monsters

The play She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen is a show breathing new life into theatre. Its reliance on sword fights at important moments is making the study of stage combat more popular, and because the story focuses on two sisters, it encourages women toward action-hero roles. Here’s the short synopsis from the publisher, Samuel […]

Sword Fight Filming with Adorea

I am a big fan of Adorea Olomouc, a stage combat troupe from the Czech Republic. I’ve shown their YouTube videos to Academie Duello’s Demo Team for both stage combat training goals and filming sword fighting. I have to apologize to my regular stage combat students that I didn’t direct you to them sooner. What […]

Simulation Over Style

My approach to stage combat has three priorities: Safety, Simulation, and Story. This is a small but important departure from the standard Fight Directors Canada version that students will see in their glossary: safety, storytelling, and style. Here is why I believe simulation beats style and gives us a clearer understanding of what we do […]

Trailer Ricochet: John Wick Chapter 2

I was reluctant to see John Wick (2014) because I didn’t think the story of an unstoppable gun-toting Keanu Reeves seeking revenge for his puppy would be entertaining. Boy, was I right. But what the story lacks in… story… it makes up for with action. The gun-fu as performed by Reeves is exceptional. And now, […]

Emotion in Action Film Editing

As combat performers, we often get obsessed with the improvement of our physical performance. We often assume that the emotional aspect will happen by itself. But, it’s important for both choreographers and performers to incorporate the anger and fear and pain and exhaustion of battle into your rehearsal and practice. I’ve expounded on this before. […]

Copyright and Choreography

I’m rewatching a fun horror/comedy called John Dies At the End. It opens with a zombie variant on Theseus’ Paradox. The question posed in this paradox first posed by Plutarch is: If a ship gets damaged a little bit voyage by voyage and is gradually repaired so that every plank of wood is different from […]

Is Focus Stressful?

Do you find it stressful to keep trying the same combat movement again and again, knowing with each pass that it still needs improvement? When working with a partner, does it raise your blood pressure when things go wrong? And as soon as it goes correctly, do you want to stop? Alternately, in some cases, […]