Stage Combat: Bare Fists and Brawls (Unarmed Combat)


From superhero blockbusters to Shakespearian plays, musketeers to mythological heroes, and pirates and princesses, great stories on stage and screen have great fight scenes! Picture buccaneers Barbossa and Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean or Rey versus Ren in the Star Wars sagas. Sometimes they use weapons and sometimes just their bare hands. Fight scenes can be thrilling, heart-breaking, or hilarious. This is the art of Stage Combat- creating the illusion of violence for storytelling in entertainment!

First quarter, students will explore unarmed fighting techniques, like those used in a one-on-one fist fight or a backstreet brawl. The class will practice basic punches, basic kicks, and a sit-fall. They will also learn a realistic-looking hair pull and ear grab and how to portray realistic pain responses.

Aspects of stage combat may look like fencing and martial arts, but are instead a different set of theatrical skills that mimic the contact sports, often in a dramatic and choreographed manner meant to convey conflict on stage or screen. Emphasis in stage combat is on safety, so techniques are learned and rehearsed in slow-motion and at increased distance between partners. Students will work with blunt, wooden dowels instead of bladed training weapons. The instructor will present and frequently review class safety rules. This class is best suited for students who are focused, have self-discipline, can follow instructions, and can work in a group. Topics in this Series: Bare Fists and Brawls- Unarmed Combat (Quarter 1); Swashbuckling, Single-Handed Sword (Quarter 2) Dueling, Double-Handed Broadsword (Quarter 3); and Daring Rapier & Dagger (Quarter 4).

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