Dahlia Katz, Rosie Gruen, Hannah Meskin, and Amanda Scheidt
11 February 2013
Stage Fighting Techniques
Throughout time, plays have been a source of entertainment for people all over the world. Especially before the use of technology, plays allowed for people to escape their harsh, poverty stricken lives for a short period of time to jump into a world of violence, action, and romance. Stage fighting is a method that has been used for thousands of years to enhance productions and make the action packed scenes appear more realistic. While the language of plays were translated in many countries, stage fighting was a universal method that could be used in any play in any country. Three prominent techniques that are often used during stage fighting are fake punches, breaking a fall, and a kick.
In stage fighting, hand-to-hand combat is one of the most useful techniques because it is so common in plays. The most common form of hand-to-hand combat is the punch, so it is very beneficial to know how to perform one. According to the Stage Combat Tutorial, the best way to perform a fake punch is by using what is knows as a “knap,” which is when an actor hits himself, usually on the chest, in order to simulate the sound of a punch. In many cases, the actor using the knap will have his back facing the audience, while another actor punches him so as not to ruin the illusion of the punch by revealing the knap to the audience. Also, in order to make the punch seem more realistic, the actor being punched should jerk the area receiving the punch. Knowing how to perform a punch in stage combat is advantageous because it can add realism to a fight while exciting the audience.
A break fall is a very powerful method of stage fighting that involves a motion that transfers the energy from a fall or roll. The three main types of break falls are a side fall, back fall, and a front fall, which are all performed in different ways. While performing a side fall, one should “bend his or her knees and fall with the majority of the impact on your thighs”(Wolfe). This allows one to fall on his or her hands in the direction of the force to exert more power. The back fall allows one to “step back with one foot and bend down so one leg is completely bent underneath your bottom and the other foot is in front” (Wolfe). This type of break fall allows the fighter to curl backwards with his or her hands to the side to make a smacking sound with his or her arms. The stage fighting method of break falling is very beneficial and allows the fighter to fake out the other fighter while still exerting power.
A kick is a common technique used in stage fighting, so it is useful to know how to kick the face, stomach, and groin. According to the Society of American Fight Directors, The easiest way to kick one’s face is to have one actor on the floor while the other is standing. The actor on the floor should put their hands together in front of their face while the other actor kicks their hands. A kick to the stomach is also commonly done with one actor on the ground while an actor standing over them pretends to stop their foot on their stomach. A kick to the groin area is one of the most challenging kicks to perform. To perform a kick to the groin, one actor should place their hand where they want to be kicked while the other actor kicks the targeted area, and the actor being kicked should bend over. A kick is common technique that can make a performance more realistic in most stage fights.
Stage fighting is a system that has been used during performances for many years. Techniques such as fake punches, breaking a fall, and kicking can be used to enrich productions in ways unimaginable. Not only does stage fighting make action filled scenes more exciting and convincing, it really grasps the attention of the audience. Stage fighting ensure that the crowds who attend a production, are paying attention and interested in the plot of the play. If it weren’t for stage fighting, plays would not have been as popular of a phenomenon as they were throughout time.
Wolfe, Eric. "Stage Combat Terms and Definitions." Google Docs. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.
Society of American Fight Directors. SPT Required Techniques. 10 February 2015 <safd.org>.
Stage Combat Tutorial. Dir. Tee. By Tee. N.p., 18 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCTxIcljjQ0>.