A Report from the 2012 Louisiana Stage Combat Workshop.
Having This Much Fun Shouldn’t be Legal, BUT IT IS!
The Boil turned 21 this year! Louisiana Tech University’s Stage Combat Workshop, affectionately known by its nickname, “The Boil” took place Easter Weekend, April 5th and 6th.
Any great workshop starts on minimal sleep as it did for me Friday morning, after a long drive from SW Florida the day before. However, a cup of coffee and one glimpse of Coordinator and Fight Master Mark Guinn’s crawfish pantaloons was all it took to stimulate the senses for the day ahead. Glancing about the room, it soon became clear precisely how great a weekend it would be. The Tech Theatre Players and FM Guinn had done yet another amazing job acquiring staff from all over the United States, many familiar faces and some new.
As I began to peruse the class offerings, I found myself torn, trying to decide what classes I would take and from whom. So many eclectic offerings would prove very hard to turn down. Among the most popular sessions were CT Tim Bell’s stunt classes in which he set several advanced students on fire and demonstrated the use of ropes to assist in action and achieve Matrix like fight styling. Though I was not personally in attendance, I heard endless tales of the awesomeness that took place. I also missed out on a number of classes in compliance techniques, Silat and Kali martial art forms, tactics for safe and interesting gunplay, and the ever popular Bubba Brawlin’ from the likes of FM Guinn, FD Bob MacDougall, Gurus Jeremy Lovejoy and Kryss Northrup, and CTs Michael Anderson and H. Russ Brown.
Instead, I chose to focus this year on returning to the study of the eight SAFD sanctioned weapons so that I may not only brush up on my proficiency, but gain some insight into how the numerous CTs, FDs and FMs were approaching them in their instruction. I have been blessed with the opportunity, along with three others in attendance at the Boil, to train at the Teacher’s Certification Workshop this summer. The knowledge that those three weeks are imminent certainly seemed to influence the four of us as we navigated our weekend, seeking gems of wisdom from the experienced ranks of FMs and FDs and appealing for guidance from some of the newest CTs who had recently undergone the same adventure in scrutiny.
In fact, one particular class evolved into a sort of bull session with two of the Society’s newest Certified Teachers, Brian Evans and Fulton Burns. As fate would have it, a friend and I were the only two to attend this class which was intended to emphasize shield attacks in Sword & Shield. Instead it became a very collaborative discussion and sort of laboratory for choreography and solutions to common problems. Equally refreshing and invigorating was the opportunity to develop Rapier & Dagger choreography defined by fight logic under the tutelage of CT Lewis Shaw and FM k. Jenny Jones. FM Jones and her assistant, AA/C Chris “Lito” Tamez, also took home the most creative class award for their “Skittles” class which challenged students to derive unarmed fights from representative bingo cards and colored candies. Of course, no weekend would be complete without a little flourish courtesy of CT Leraldo Anzaldula’s advanced quarterstaff, and some knife action followed by advanced falls and rolls down the side of a hill – these being performed for the amusement of CT Jason Armit and a very happy band of chiggers.
As the sun set on Saturday evening, having worked hard for the last few days, I set my eyes on the prize we had all earned – the Crawfish Boil. Three hundred pounds of crawfish made for an excellent feast on Easter Sunday; followed by opportunities to explore silks, throw tomahawks and knives, and to enjoy the company of this family of oddballs we had all grown to love in such a few short days. I believe Lewis Shaw said it best, “The greatest thing about coming to Louisiana is the opportunity to socialize. You don’t get that at other workshops. At least not like this.”