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Lee Tamer

Fight Choreography?

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I was thinking of doing some fight scenes in an upcoming short. However I know nothing about martial arts. Is it necessary to have a background in martial arts before doing choreography?

 

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

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Look at local theaters, and martial arts groups. I'm sure you can find someone in those groups that have stage combat experience. I wouldn't recommend doing your own choreography. For starters, if you have no training, you don't know how the moves are supposed to be executed in real life. I have found the best combination is a person with real martial arts training, and stage combat training. They'll be able to design and train the actors to deliver the moves without endangering themselves, or the people around them. Also, if you are directing, your mind will be in many places, focused on the acting performance, if the fight is not optimal it'll take your audience out of the moment.

I was directing a project where I choreographed a sword fight at the end, and due to me focused on the acting, the fight suffered. (keep in mind, I've studied and now teach European Martial Arts for 7 years, with a focus in blade work). It suffered enough that for the opening knife fight I brought in another instructor and had him do it, this sparked a combat expert to call me and offer to redo my final fight, which I had to do, with a great loss of time and money due to me wanting to cut corners and do it myself.

 

Call around, I'm sure you'll be surprised what you can drum up. Where are you located?

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I was thinking of doing some fight scenes in an upcoming short. However I know nothing about martial arts. Is it necessary to have a background in martial arts before doing choreography?

 

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

Like the previous poster before me stated, just find a local martial arts group willing to do it for you, and you'll be set. Years ago I used to I know some guys who know everything from Philipino stick fighting, to caporiea, to judo to Tae Kwon Do. We used to stage demonstrations, and I was able to get some local students to stage scenes and demos for a series of videos. They were friends, so their fee was minimal.

 

If you don't know them, then you need to pay them. If you know them casually, then you can possibly lower the fee. For me it's a promise of Pizza a Beer afterwards.

 

Either way you'll get your footage.

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