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Finding my (Fight) Family

April 30, 2014

I am now six months post-injury that had me sidelined from all stage combat/dance activities last year. Since the doctor gave me the thumb’s up, I was really eager to get back into my classes again and I am realizing that my body is now stronger than ever. I thought the best way to celebrate my return to fighting was to officially, finally join the Society of American Fight Directors (!) but a friend suggested an ever better way: going to The Louisiana Tech Stage Combat Workshop (The Boil).

A caravan of friends and I road-tripped it out of the still snowing state of New York and drove all the way south for twenty-four hours straight, arriving in the wonderfully sunny state of Louisiana for a whole weekend of stage combat. I have never seen so many people casually carrying around swords and whips! Even at my school, which is super invested in stage combat, it’s still confined to only what our two teachers can offer. It’s one of those things I’m noticing, the closer I get to graduation – I have been in my little college bubble for so long that I can only judge based on my “bubble level” and my classmates who are also in that bubble alongside me. Getting off-campus, out of my comfort zone helped me pop some of those illusions.

In two days, I took TEN classes of my choosing. A year and a half of training has me pretty firmly placed on a intermediate level but because I’ve had such good training, I was able to keep up in the advanced classes too. I even got to try new things, like smallsword and how to fight while handcuffed (!). But I also got a different perspective on what is stage combat and how to apply it by studying with other teachers and students. One teacher in particular reminded me how important it was that “actor” came before “combatant” in the title “actor-combatant” while another helped me reach an epiphany in the first five minutes of class, an epiphany that I’ve been trying to grasp for years.

On the third day, there was no classes. Instead, everybody was invited to the real Boil – a Louisiana crawfish barbeque in the backyard. People were cracking whips, enjoying the knife and tomahawk throwing range that  had been set up, trying out the aerial skills hanging down from a tree, kids were hitting a pinata. It was just one big fighting family, enjoying each others’ company on a glorious Sunday.

I drove out of Louisiana with bruises, weapons and friends. I could go on and on about how amazing my very first stage combat workshop was but what this blog post “boils” down to is this: find your family. The people who want to work together, learn, play. They who will let you sleep on their couch. Where even on the other side of the country, it feels like coming home.  SAFD, thanks for letting me join this fighting family – and thanks, college family, who introduced me to the SAFD in the first place.

College Sig

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