Testimonials

Directors

“A psychologically astute fight director…”
-Austin Pendleton

“Thank you for an exceptional work. The Otherworld couldn’t have had a better fight director…”
-Gisela Pereira (Director “The Otherworld”)

“He’s like the candy man, but his treats are swords, guns, knives, and blood packs.”
-Susane Lee (Director “Complete Works of William Shakespeare”)

“Thank you Jared Kirby for your fantastic fight choreography…as usual outstanding!”
-Jesse Michael Mothershed (Director “Taming of the Shrew”)

“I have seen Jared’s work as a Fights Choreographer and it is always clean, sharp, safe and fun to watch. He has a great network of young actors in New York and has broad expertise in Shakespeare, modern plays and the classics. I’d recommend him as an experienced Fights teacher and choreographer for any show.”
-Virginia Hammer (Artistic Director – Midlantic Theatre Company)

“Jared’s boundless imagination coupled with his experience and incredible knowledge makes his fight direction utterly transforming. He has been our fight director (for Hudson Warehouse) for a number of years and comes up with stage combat and sword fighting sequences that is completely unique to that show. His “fight” scenes bring the production up to another level, whether it’s the beginning of Romeo & Juliet where the warring families fight with “found objects” to Cyrano where he creates the 1 vs 100 sword fight that is rarely done on-stage because of it’s difficulty. His battle, with swords, fists, rolling pins, and 8 actors bouncing onstage from every direction, in countless different costumes and wigs, is a masterful display of his talent, ingenuity, and creativity. This “fight scene” got a standing ovation every night.
We are an outdoor theater company and he knows instinctively what works in our space. And he uses it to the maximum. Our directors and actors are always amazed at what is on the page — and what he brings to life. Everyone loves working with him — for his generosity, his incredible upbeat personality, and his ability to always push outside the box. Being with him while he’s working is a privilege and a joy. I have a show coming up and I can’t wait to see what ideas he comes up with for my many fight scenes. I can’t recommend Jared highly enough.”
-Susane Lee (Artistic Director at Hudson Warehouse Theatre Company)

Fight Directors

“I have known Jared for some time as a fellow instructor at the Paddy Crean International Combat Workshop. I have found him to be highly knowledgeable in his art and an excellent teacher who connects well with his students. I have no hesitation in endorsing him.”
-Braun McAsh (Swordmaster for Highlander TV series)

“Any actor would be blessed to have Jared helping them delve in to the moments when their character becomes involved with violent action, and any director will benefit from his knowledge not just of martial concepts, but of what makes for strong, interesting choices. Those choices are informed by his studies of martial arts, but also of dramatic and psychological approaches to violence that might have nothing to do with what we think of traditionally as “martial arts”.
-Partial review from Kevin Inouye of Fight Designer LLC

“It was with great pleasure that I was recently able to acquire a copy of Jared Kirby’s wonderful book, ITALIAN RAPIER COMBAT, Capo Ferro’s ‘Gran Simalcro’.
Jared edits and presents this work with a multitude of the Cappo Ferro prints and clear explanations to accompany each frame, in a small, and very accessible book, making it very easy to read and handle.
Since my first encounter with Jared at the IOSP’s “Paddy Crean” in Banff, Alberta, Canada, 10 or more years ago, Jared has engaged in and devoted himself to the study of historical swordplay under the guidance of the world renown Maestros Jeanette Acosta-Martinez and Ramon Martinez. Each year that Jared returns to the “Paddy Crean”, he does so with greater knowledge and skill than the previous years. He continues to grow, and now has joined the Martinez Academy to share and pass on these marvellous gems of history and cornucopia of techniques to the next generations. He has gone from an ardent student to an excellent teacher, and does it all with a spirit of generosity and graciousness that bespeaks a man of the sword, a true gentleman. He has become a terrific ambassador of the Martinez Academy and the kind of teacher that makes us want more. I am proud to be able to call him, “Friend!”
Respectfully,”
-J-P. Fournier (MFA, BFA, FM, Maitre d’Armes. Fight Directors Canada)

“I have only met Jared a few times at the Paddy Crean conference, each time as a student of his stage combat seminars. I continue to use his concepts and recommendations about distance and posture when I coach actors. In those classes, he is very attentive to particular questions and minutia about positions, yet his warmth comes through even when giving critique or correction. His lessons are not only practical, they are delivered with clarity of voice and illustrated with useful exercises.”
-David McCormick (Stage Combat Instructor at Academie Duello)

“He is also a very knowledgeable, patient instructor and would be a great addition to any program luckily enough to have him.”
-Donald J. Preston (CT SAFD/ at Theyfight stage combat school)

Students

“Jared was my instructor at the NYC Combat for Stage & Screen training facility, and director at a showcase for a series of fight scenes. I learned invaluable lessons about how to take hits, falls, and safely work with weapons, which are staples of my career to this day. He’s thorough, professional and has a clear drive and passion for what he does. Highly recommended!”
-Maya Santandrea (Stunt Performer The Walking Dead)

“Jared Kirby is one of those few people who have been able to blend Historical Fencing (which is fantastic with) and Staged Combat (again great) without detracting from either. If you ever have an opportunity to take one of his classes in either topic or better yet both, jump at it.”
-Chris Last (Seminar Student)

“The girls had an awesome time at your workshop and learnt so many new skills. Thank you for working with them and for the interactive workshop. You were also a wonderful wealth of knowledge and information and we could have listened to you all afternoon.”
-Amanda Huxtable (Director of Performing Arts, Perth, Australia)

“This was an awesome workshop and I had a great time. Jared Kirby’s teaching style is informative and fun. I was able to take with me the tools I need to stage a sabre fight. And I have never picked up a sabre before the workshop. Now i totally love the sabre and want to learn more. I am looking forward to attending Jared’s workshops in the future.”
-Sonja Burns (Seminar Student)

“An excellent class, taught by a patient, knowledgeable and creative person with a wonderful sense of humour. I learned and experienced more than I ever thought possible.”
– Julianna Ui Niall (Seminar Student)

“Jared excels at evaluating individuals, their situation, fitness levels, abilities and learning styles.  He provides a customized level of instruction, geared to the person’s situation and abilities.
Jared’s teaching and training have been a huge help in dealing with a threatening neighbor.  I started at basically zero in skills, as I usually try to avoid conflicts whenever possible.  But trouble was literally at my door.  Authorities were unable to assist.   Jared’s teaching and training:
1)      Developed the basic skills of avoiding or reducing injury in the event of attack, how to buy time to escape
2)      Helped me to learn how to recognize the level of a threat and how to respond with enough force to avoid/minimize injury while not using excessive force
3)      Reduced fear and anxiety during a conflict
I recently had to put this training to the test when the neighbor physically attacked me.  She went for the head and face, punching me several times, but I was mostly able to hold her back and push her away from me, significantly reducing the force of her blows.
I responded effectively.  Jared’s training and preparation prevented serious injury to myself and my neighbor and spared me the ethical and legal consequences excessive force would have had.  I was able to stay calmer during the incident than I would have otherwise.  The authorities are now involved.  This neighbor is still near me, but I have more confidence and have returned to some of the routines I’d abandoned in fear.  For example, while I’m still wary, I don’t cancel plans with friends for fear of leaving my home like I used to.”
-Private Lesson Student

“Jared Kirby has been an indispensable instructor in my growth as an actor, stage combatant, and western martial artist. In the past three years I have worked with him as a student, an actor, and a fight captain. He has a gift for communication, both with actors and directors, where he is able to concisely and clearly express ideas and concepts that draw from a wealth of knowledge and experience. His approach to theatrical combat is studied and devoid of ego. His razor-sharp focus pierces to heart of the combat: why must the fight occur and what changes the characters experience as a result. While Jared can handily choreograph extended fight scenes with spectacular techniques and gratuitous blood, one of his greatest lessons is to make the fight only be as long as is necessary to serve the story. While I cannot study with Jared continually in NYC, every trip I make across the country and beyond where I get to work with him is well worth it.”
-Hunter C. Smith (Performing Arts Professional)

“Jared is one of the most realistic combat instructors I’ve had the honor of working with. The martial integrity of his techniques combined with effective storytelling are at the top of his list. Something that stuck with me from his class – trust that you will keep yourself and your partner safe. Safety should be a given. If something isn’t safe you don’t do it. It shouldn’t be your first concern. Making the fight as rooted in reality as possible is first. If the audience doesn’t believe you, it’s worthless. Great advice for all acting. I eagerly look forward to the next opportunity I have to work with Jared.”
-Shanna Brown (Performing Arts Professional)

“I have worked with Jared multiple times in classroom situations. His skills in stage combat are among the best I know and have worked with. He is well versed in the standard language of stage combat, but is also flexible with all different styles.”
-Stephanie Williams (Actor)

“I worked with Jared in a couple Shakespeare productions in which he provided the fight direction. He creates smart, exciting fight choreography (whether that be hand-to-hand, or with knives and swords) that suits the play it’s being created for. His fight sequences play incredibly real to the audience while remaining safe to the actors involved. He has a deft touch when it comes to teaching the choreography to the actors in a fight scene.”
-Jeff Topf (Actor / Writer)

“Mr. Jared Kirby is a passionate teacher who effectively blends approachability and skill in his classes. He can communicate with all skill levels and has the ability to bring out the best in his students. I look forward to working with him again in the future.”
-Chris Last

“Jared’s ability to combine expertise in theater, western martial arts, and teaching make him a master of his craft. Few share his high levels of enthusiasm, knowledge, and the ability to consistently transfer both to his students.”
-Michael Reynolds (Actor)

“Jared is an absolutely brilliant and highly creative stage/screen fight director and instructor. He works incredibly well with performers and students of all ages and all levels. He has a fantastic eye for what will work the best for any fight scene and also possesses the rare ability to adapt and change a scene last minute, on the spot. Jared is definitely one of today’s top fight directors/instructors in the world!”
-Amy Suznovich (Independent Music Professional)

“I’ve worked with Mr. Kirby and Art of Combat on several occasions, and I hope to continue supporting their work. They set the bar for professionalism, courtesy, communication, respect, knowledge, safety, and results. They know how to get work done, have fun, and be safe.
I’ve been behind the camera, and I get to watch all the interactions. Mr. Kirby and Art of Combat provide excellent instruction in an environment that fosters learning and an exchange of ideas and growth. It is a balancing act juggling leadership, people dynamics (any size group/individuals), and the energy and physicality of what they do.
It’s one thing to get the job done. It’s another thing to get the job done right, the first time. I am happy to recommend Mr. Kirby.”
-Shirley Chung, absolutelyperilous.com (Visual Artist, Fight/Stunt Photographer and Media Developer, VFX)

“Jared really knows which end of the sword to hold. His extensive knowledge of historical fencing styles and dramatic principles gives his work an air of authority and authenticity.”
-Zorikh Lequidre (Actor)

“I’m over 50 and have studied many different skills in my life. Jared is just about the best teacher I have ever had. No-one else so clearly breaks down the skills into steps and then shows you how to master each step. Next thing you know, you’re doing things that seemed far beyond your reach. I can’t recommend him highly enough.”
-Ben Pologe

“While I’ve known Jared for over a decade now (since the 1999 Paddy Crean workshop in Edinburgh) amazingly it was just this last weekend at the 4W workshop that I finally got to work with him in the context of fight direction.
I knew he was a serious student and teacher of historical fencing, but was delighted by his fight direction as well. Any actor would be blessed to have Jared helping them delve in to the moments when their character becomes involved with violent action, and any director will benefit from his knowledge not just of martial concepts, but of what makes for strong, interesting choices. Those choices are informed by his studies of martial arts, but also of dramatic and psychological approaches to violence that might have nothing to do with what we think of traditionally as “martial arts”.
As a fight director myself, it was a rare treat to get to have someone like Mr. Kirby observing, guiding, and directing myself for a weekend. Here’s hoping we get to play again some time.”
-Kevin Inouye (Assistant Professor at University of Wyoming)

“Jared is an experienced and personable fight director/instructor. He is a pleasure to work with and I hope we cross paths soon!”
-David D’Andrea (Entertainment Professional)

“I first met Jared Kirby when he was casting a reading of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, and I was recommended to him. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and the rest of the cast. It was evident from the start that his stewardship of the reading was efficient and warm-hearted, relaxed and professional, and his performance of Leontes well-informed and passionate, and subtle. The reading was a great deal of fun in the fellowship he inspired.
I have since worked with Mr. Kirby, the Fight Director, in the classroom, and in productions of Hamlet, and Cyrano de Bergerac for the theater company Hudson Warehouse, where he is a Resident Artist. In the classroom Mr. Kirby shows, and shares both a great knowledge of the history of combat, and, as one of his classes is entitled, the “Art of Combat for Stage and Screen”
Mr. Kirby is all about the work and never digresses into mere lecture. For the beginner or the experienced student, Mr. Kirby is most particular about attention to the basics of footwork and posture, and begins his classes with the establishment of a relaxed and free movement of the body before anyone ever picks up a weapon.
As a Fight Director for the productions on which we both worked, I saw Mr. Kirby inspire immediate trust in the actors that he had just met, not only by his professionalism, but also because of his imagination. From the start of rehearsals of Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac, he described and subsequently led the cast to achieve some of the most exciting, humorous, and dramatic, stage combat I have had the pleasure and privilege to experience.
Lastly, I must add, that I did play the role of Cyrano in that aforesaid production, and Mr. Kirby was my Fight Director. I say this because, I had adapted the text, but I was not originally cast in the title role. Due to an injury to the lead actor, I had to come in half way into rehearsals and learn the fights. Under such circumstances, Mr. Kirby confidently took myself, an actor who had not touched a sword of any kind for a few years, and led me patiently and firmly, with absolute clarity in his teaching, towards an understanding of not only the mere steps and moves of the choreography, but the telling of the story and the revelation of the character within the fight direction. And in this production, Cyrano, who usually only performs his 100-1 fight offstage and tells about it the next day, instead performed it under onstage. (I believe we ended up limiting this melee to perhaps 35-1, with many actors fulfilling the roles of Cyrano’s poor victims.) It was very entertaining, and simply great fight direction.
I most enthusiastically recommend Jared Kirby to you and your company.”
-Joseph Hamel (actor, writer)

Marketing Companies

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