Stunt School Day 3 – Dive Rolls and Mini-Tramp

Today I got to lead the warmup – pretty standard stretches.  Started again with rolls – this time down a line, so that we can make sure we’re rolling straight every time.  We also worked quite a while on dive rolls.  I’ve always had trouble with getting comfortable with the run-up, and also with getting height.  After a few ok dive rolls, Jenna put down a cone sideways in front of the mat, to force me to take off from further back, and to go higher.  It worked – I committed more to the dive roll, and that made them better.  Then she added a second cone a little later.  Then Aaron replaced them with a barrier of low stools, about a couple of feet high.  I could easily clear it, but it’s more about overcoming the mental part of diving over an obstacle.

This exercise really helped – I don’t think I’ve ever drilled a dive roll like this before.  If nothing else, that’s something I can take back to my gymnastics classes.  Once I got comfortable, Bob told me to come out of the dive roll in a fighting stance – to incorporate it into real actions I might do on camera.  Since I was pretty comfortable with the dive roll at that point, this was no problem.

Then the mini-tramp came out.  We’re jumping off it onto mats, to practice the different kinds of falls we’ll be using for high-falls:  suicides, headers, face-offs, and back falls.  It’s important to really use the mini-tramp to propel you, and to keep proper posture.

The suicide is where you land flat on your back with your feet facing forward.  The header is where you flip forward in the air before landing on your back (feet facing forward).  Face-off is when you are head forward and horizontal to the ground, then do a half twist to land on your back (feet facing back the way you came).  Back fall is when you fall backwards, onto your back (feet facing the way you came).

All of us had the most problems with the face-off:  ducking a shoulder coming down, or twisting too early, or not twisting the whole body at once, or twisting too late, or going sideways, etc.  To help with a progression on the face-off, we worked on front falls – essentially the same as a sprawl in wrestling.  Then we jumped off the mini-tramp into a front fall – to get the proper position we should be having before twisting.  Then onto the full face-off.  This time was much better, as we were able to get it reasonably well.

We finished up with a review and practice of the basic fight techniques we’ve been doing – tweaking to make them smooth and realistic.  We added knees, and worked on tackles as well.  The arm throw looked pretty good – Kofi did it with a front roll into a breakfall, and I did it with a shoulder roll into side fall.  All this is in preparation of some choreographed fight scenes, starting tomorrow.


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