Signs of spring are usually premature appearances of Easter eggs in stores everywhere. When it happened this year, what did I do? Well, I didn’t start fantasizing about all the chocolate I was going to eat, that’s for sure. No… I began fantasizing about fighting with sticks and swords…time for ninja progress!
As you may know, I took my ECSPC level 1 exam last Easter. When this Easter began to roll around, I mentally noted the dates of the intensive course and exam. I forgot to write them in my actual diary though (never again) and by the time I came to write it in, I realised I had potential for a triple clash making the course nigh on impossible! Day 1 I would be modelling for an all-day, multiple-model bodypaint shoot that had been booked in for weeks. The week of the course also clashed with a week of possible audition workshop slots for a creative outdoor circus production that I had my heart set on auditioning for. I worried for days about what to do/ choose, but for the circus audition, it came down to booking just one slot, so I went for the Monday morning (day 2 of combat intensive) and then at the last minute, one of the girls was too ill for a full day of paint modelling so it was postponed! Crisis averted, I would take just one morning off the course to get to my audition.
Off I went to day 1 of the course!
Having not done any stage combat whatsoever since the last course I was rusty to say the least. Being back at the same venue reminded me of the mental fuzziness that would cloud over me when I was trying to take everything in as I was being instructed. It’s a bit like a slight mist, and things lose a little bit of clarity and get confused. Then I’d panic because I wasn’t fully absorbing everything because of the quick pace we were working at.
I don’t feel great about admitting all this, but I don’t want to publish an ‘everything was awesome’ blog, because it wasn’t. Also, you have to acknowledge your weaknesses to overcome them.
In level 1, despite the mist, I enjoyed myself. During level 2, I didn’t enjoy myself half as much. The course itself is just awesome, it was my personal journey throughout that was the hindrance. I reflected daily and learnt a lot about myself that week. Changing from synthetic weapons in level 1 to steel in level 2 scared me a bit, but I had wanted to challenge myself. Understandably, I was more concerned about safety and technique all the time. Level 2 also upps the anti with a dual weapon section of the syllabus; rapier and dagger. Retrospectively I really enjoyed this, but at the time I was stressing myself out. A lot. In an intensive course which leads up to an exam, I can see that I freak out. When I originally worked with Stagefight back in 2012 during a production, I thoroughly enjoyed stage combat without worry. So I know now that it’s not the combat itself, it’s the exam that triggers the stress. For me, applying combat in rehearsals and performance isn’t a problem and I’m far more comfortable and relaxed enough to learn faster and more efficiently. Quarterstaff was undoubtedly the most enjoyable for me this time around (I hereby welcome and encourage all mop and broom handle gifts!).
I hope you enjoy our rehearsal highlights video above, with fun retro/game D&B!