Stunt School Day 2 – Red Light Fever

It hurt to get up this morning.  The parts that ached the most:  neck (whiplash from not falling correctly), and legs (from getting up millions of times after falls and rolls).  Just drives home that the real test is not just absorbing and practicing all the new techniques that are being thrown at us, but also taking care of your body so that you can keep going day after day.

I’d never done something this physically challenging.  All the other times, it would be for a few hours, and then there would be a chance to recover for a day or two (or a week), before coming back for more.  At most, two or three days in a roll.  Now it’s 3-weeks, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day.  It’s quite a difference – I definitely will have to pace myself to make sure I make it through all 3 weeks.  Lesson learned from Day 1 – I didn’t hydrate well enough.  Have to make sure I have water readily available and throughout the day.

On arriving, Bob asked me how I felt.  I replied, “Beat up”.  After jokingly commiserating with the other students how sore we felt, we got ready to get started.  I wore my sneakers on Day 1, but my feet shifted a bit inside them as we did all the rolls and falls.  So I switched to wrestling shoes that I’d used when training in Krav Maga.  What makes them good for wrestling shoes also makes them good for this – snug, good ankle support, thin soles.

After stretching, it’s back to rolls and falls again – review of yesterday, and adding on more.  My neck and legs complained with the first front roll, but as my body got warmed up, the pain receded.  Still need some work on the dive rolls and barrel rolls – I’m sure we’ll do more of those in the coming days.

Then we moved into recap of the basic fighting moves we learned yesterday.  Today we added kicks (roundhouse to the stomach), leg kicks, slaps, chokes (rear naked choke), throws (arm throw into shoulder roll with side fall), tackles (into sit fall).  As always, doing the technique safely is the first requirement, and making it look good is the second requirement.  Making it look good for the camera can sometimes mean doing the techniques very differently than you’d if fighting for real.  For a lot of techniques, the reaction from the bottom man (the one receiving the hit), is what “sells” it and makes it look realistic.

Towards the end of the day, Anthony came in to visit.  He’s one of the instructors who will be teaching us in the third week.  Since we were working on some short choreographed fight scenes, we showed it to him.  My partner and I went first.  We were WILD – going faster than we were in rehearsal, stumbling over each other, all over the place.  The other group went too, more controlled.  Anthony gave us some overall feedback – need to watch where the setups are coming from, and the lines of where the punches are going – otherwise it looks weak and unconvincing.  We only had a few minutes to put it together, and we weren’t expecting to perform it for an “audience” (of a fellow instructor, which still counts), but still, we could’ve done better.

After Anthony left, we did the scenes again.  My partner and I were so much cleaner this time – we were controlled, didn’t fall over each other, good reactions.  Jenna’s comment was that we had “red light fever” – when in a performance situation, we got too amped up, and wild fight scene was the result.  Just have to get used to it, and practice so that we’re smooth and under control, whatever the circumstances.

With that we wrapped up Day 2.  We got a little preview of the coming days – will be focusing mostly on unarmed fighting the first week, weapons the second week, and then everything else the third week.  Of course, there will be the standard basic techniques like rolls and falls, and other things sprinkled throughout as well.  Can’t wait!

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