Cease and Desist 2012: A report from the Cincinnati Stage Combat Workshop.
This year, I attended the Cincinnati Regional Workshop, the Cease and Desist, for the very first time. I had a blast. If you’ve never had a chance to attend this one, it’s well worth it. I got to work with a great combination of new faces and old friends, work in a nice facility and generally have a fantastic time.
Our group arrived (I had three students from Frostburg State University along with me) late Friday afternoon, braving the Cincinnati Traffic (traffic? What traffic? This was an easy drive for us!) to get to Northern Kentucky University, and met up with Josh Pikar, one of the workshops three coordinators. (CT’s John Baca and Gina Cerimele-Mechley being the other two) We chatted for a while, introduced Josh to everyone else, and then met up with the interns and helped load in the weapons we were loaning to the workshop as well as other items like breakfast, t shirts and bottles of water.
And, to me, that was one of the great things about the workshop, making it special. The Cease and Desist is small, and doesn’t have a large budget, so everyone kind of pitches in where they can. Certified Teacher Christina Traister brought all her quarterstaffs, Adam Noble brought his Rapier and Daggers, and escrima sticks, We brought Broadswords. All the participants were completely wiling to jump in and lend a hand wherever it was needed, whether it was your job or not.
The classes were a great balance of all levels. CT Michael Anderson taught some really wicked and difficult knife classes, CT Leraldo Anzaldua some tremendously rhythmic and difficult “Assassin vs. Assassin”, I personally taught everything from contemporary violence to a class completely devoted to working off the Talhoffer manual, utilizing the broadsword in any way except actually swinging the blade, Fight Master Chuck Coyl taught a beginning singlesword class that quickly challenged the students to switch hands and work far beyond their level. In fact, CT Adam McLean and I had several discussions about this shared pedagogical view; it seemed all the teachers there were pushing student to work beyond their level, challenging them to think about what we do in new ways, and watching them succeed over and over again. It was one of the things I was extremely impressed with: the level of dedication and hard work displayed by all the students and instructors I came into contact with, assisted, or just stopped in to observe.
And, something special for me, the Cease and Desist collected monies last year to help me through my illness; this year was no exception. The raffle was able to donate money to help out family: Maria Henriksen DeHoff’s father, a fellow cancer survivor. (it’s an exclusive club. Rushtar does NOT recommend joining.)
The only downside of the entire weekend was that CT Jay Burckhardt was injured doing stunts the week before, and unable to attend. The interns made up a Cease and Desist T shirt for everyone at the workshop to sign and sent it to him afterwards, a great and thoughtful get well gift.
And things like that happened the whole weekend, which was one of the coolest things for me. I felt like I was spending a holiday weekend with family and friends I love. I had great conversations, fantastic food, fun times, sword bashing, wrasslin (thanks Greg Poljacik), Mass Battle Basketball (Gina), and, de rigeur, Lightsaber. (Baca) I can’t wait to get back to this workshop!
Two of my students provided the following quotes:
• The workshop was absolutely phenomenal socially, mentally and physically. I was able to meet all sorts of people from different states who were united in learning safety and stylized techniques for Stage Combat. I was also able to experience new fighting styles, weapons, and techniques, that I probably wouldn't have been able to learn on my own: notably the Escrima, which was a phenomenal weapon that I had never heard of before the trip, but one that I would love to keep learning about. Jacqueline Neal
• What I've learned most about Workshops is that no matter how good you think you are, how much experience you have, and what you've learned, there is always room for more improvement and learning. And what is even better, you can always have fun in the process. The workshop was an amazing experience, and well worth it. Eric Brown