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Master Classes & Seminars

The girls had an awesome time at your workshop and learnt so many new skills. You were a wonderful wealth of knowledge and information…
-Amanda Huxtable (Director of Performing Arts, Perth Australia)

If you are in NYC then don’t miss the Second Sunday Seminars which cover a variety of subjects.

Jared teaches seminars and master classes locally and around the world.  He can tailor a seminar to your needs; whether you are looking for a 2 hour introduction or an in depth weekend examination.

Below are examples of a variety of classes. These have been taught for European sword groups, Acting conservatories, Opera masterclasses, Theatre summer camps, International Stage Combat conferences and Martial Arts conventions.  These are just the tip of the iceberg so contact Jared with your interest (jared@jaredkirby.com, 646 -382-6945).

Combat for Stage & Screen

Storytelling Through Violence

It is imperative that combat for stage and screen is used to enhance the story that is being told. This seminar will cover fundamental Performance Theory to help the actor clearly communicate their character’s story to an audience. Through simple exercises students will get to explore “actable” choices that will create a clear and convincing story for the audience.

Found Weapons Made Easy

The class will focus on the basic martial theory of cuts, thrusts and defenses with a weapon. By understanding the fundamental 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!

Skill, Luck or what the #@!?

Many plays, like Romeo & Juliet and Zastrozzi, call for choreographing a skilled swordsman vs an inexperienced one. Through an exploration of character choice we’ll build a fight that examines how to make an audience believe that an inexperienced fighter could win. So plan to be Julia, a young virgin; Matilda, a seductress; Zastrozzi, a mastermind; Victor, the protector; the fiery Tybalt or the enraged Romeo!

Killing, Death & Consequences
Contrary to what we see in many films these days, to take another’s life always has a cost and consequences. This acting focused seminar will look at the physical, psychological and emotional responses to killing and dying. This is an uncomfortable subject, but it is imperative to acting violence well. As Rocco Dal Vera said in “The Voice in Violence:” Just as real warriors perform an essential though anguishing service for society, actors also serve as courageous soldiers of the psyche. When we dig deep into the dark underbelly of the human ego and express our shadow selves truthfully in performance, we are helping the audience process that side of their natures, too. Society needs its stories in order to understand itself, and since drama is centered around conflict, violence lies at the heart of many great plays. Human beings kill. We make war. We rape, pillage, torture, and terrify. We can be brutal and animalistic. We even have the capacity to take joy in and revel in these horrors.  
Speed It Up

As fighters, we always want to go fast right away.  This is the antithesis of developing a good fight!  By focusing on partner work, breathing techniques and fluidity this seminar will show you how to practice slowly to learn fast and the clues that you need to pay attention to in order to know when you are going too fast.  In just 2 hours you can have a fight up to full speed and looking amazing if you follow a few simple rules.  Remember Fluidity = Fast!

The Martial Art of Stage Combat

This class is an intensive immersion into staging historical combat for the stage and screen. You will learn how a foundation in martial intent helps to create extraordinary fights. Whether your background is in Western Martial Arts, Stage Combat, Stunt Work or Dance you will benefit from exploring how to transfer historical combat styles into safe and exciting performances on stage or screen. Participants will choreograph short fight scenes then we will dissect each in order to apply a strong martial foundation to the actions and see how this makes the fight extraordinary.
As we progress you will find the fundamental principles of safety distance, cooperative energy, planar geometry and the process of developing physical actions are applicable to a variety of weapons.

How to start a fight

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?

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.

Basic Unarmed Combat

This course will be an in-depth study of general stage combat principles and give the students a foundation in unarmed combat.  Students will learn safe, effective techniques for performing unarmed stage fights, falls, and rolls.  Emphasis is on acting the fight, safety, and realism.   At the end of this course, students will be able to safely execute written choreography that has been given to them by a fight director. They will also be capable of choreographing a short, simple fight scene that is safe and integrates lessons taught in this class.

 Basic Swordplay

Techniques for the sword include: parries, cuts, evasions, basic terminology and acting the fight. Students will learn safe, effective techniques for performing unarmed stage fights, falls, and rolls.  Emphasis is on acting the fight, safety, and realism.   At the end of this course, students will be able to safely execute written choreography that has been given to them by a fight director. They will also be capable of choreographing a short, simple fight scene that is safe and integrates lessons taught in this class.  Weapons could include Longsword, Knife, Rapier, Rapier & Dagger, Rapier & Cloak or Smallsword.

 Acting the Fight and Script Analysis

Time and again an actor will focus on technical aspects of choreograph and drop character in the process.  A staged fight must follow the rules of dramatic structure so it’s imperative that the story is being told.  This class will explore acting throughout the fight,and keeping characterization in the choreography.  This includes working a scene up to the fight to make it believable the characters must fight at that moment.

Effective Auditioning For Fights

You’ve gotten a call back, Bravo!  Now there will be a fight call.  How do you prepare for it?  You will be surprised what the fight director is looking for.  This seminar will prepare you for  how to conduct yourself, what to say (and what not to say!) and some questions to ask.  Don’t get half way just to loose the role to someone more prepared.

Historical Swordplay for Stage & Screen

Is 2 better than 1: Rapier vs Rapier and Dagger

Though the use of a dagger can improve one’s defense, there are ways a single sword opponent can nullify its use. This workshop will explore tactics and considerations both parties should consider, whether you have a rapier and dagger or a rapier alone. Participants will then choreograph and rehearse short scenes.

Rapier Street Defense

Many scenes begin with the sword in scabbard. How and when a character draws can tell the audience a lot. This class will focus on how to be ready with the sword to defend yourself if you are assaulted in an alley. Tactics for drawing your sword and using your scabbard, cloak, dagger and other concerns.

Spanish Rapier for Stage

The true art and skill of Spanish fencing, La Verdadera Destreza, has been needlessly associated with a mystique for far too long. This class will remove much of that mystery. After introducing fundamental tenets of Spanish swordsmanship, the class will focus on practical techniques along with the corresponding footwork. We will go beyond the simple mechanics to cover practical applications of timing, distance and proportion as viewed by Spanish masters. No matter what your level of experience, by the end of this workshop you will be able to perform the basic techniques or have refined and elevated your abilities. If you are studying this as a martial art please come prepared with your rapier, mask, jacket, gloves and groin/chest protection. If you are studying this for stage and screen application then you will only need a rapier.

French Small-sword for Stage

This class will focus on how to transfer the fencing techniques of French Small-sword to the stage or screen. We will begin on the subtle manipulations of the sword and the precise footwork required to begin small-sword. This will move into fundamental drills that can be utilized to create choreography.

European Swordsmanship

Deconstructing Capo Ferro
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 analyze 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 defense in the attack.

When you know they know or ‘if C were a wise man

Capo Ferro often tells us what to do when we know that our adversary is a fencer. This workshop will focus on making the the most efficient choice to dispatch your adversary.
After a review of the fundamental guardia, footwork, offense and defences we will move into making the appropriate decision based on what kind of fencer your adversary is. To do this we will look at attacking to draw a reaction from your adversary in order to actually hit them. We will look at the difference between the feint and the false attack and when to use each (remind them that 25% of Capo Ferro’s plates start with a finta).

Fencing l’huomo bestiale

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.

The seminar will start with a review of the fundamental theory and exercises for Italian Rapier. Next, we will look at some drills to calibrate your sense of distance. Knowing how to manipulate measure to your advantage is instrumental to fencing the bestial man. We will then move into 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 workshop will culminate in the use of the rapier vs rapier and dagger to show that two is not always better than one.

Personal Defense

Personal defense does not require years of study to learn. Through simple, efficient actions, students will learn how to defend themselves when necessary.  90% of violent situations can be avoided, so this seminar will cover how to avoid or de-escalate a dangerous situation through verbal strategies and awareness skills.  Then you will learn the fundamental skills to keep yourself safe if attacked.  We will cover methods  of practical self defense including defense strategies and skills in perception, analysis, escape, avoidance, parrying, and striking.

Duelling Shields

One of Europe’s most unique weapons, the judicial duelling shield, is brought to life in this exclusive class. This weapon was used for judicial combat in Germany through the 14th and 15th centuries. Standing over the height of a man, it requires specific strategic and technical use, all drawn from original treatise sources.
Students shall learn how to control the weapon in single shield form as well as in combination with longsword. Techniques and feel of this weapon are quite unlike any other.
*Note: you must have access to Duelling Shields

See the Leonia Rec Programs for other great martial arts classes that can be offered.