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FIGHTING WITH INTENTION*

Why?
Although it may be rather obvious, we strive to fight with intention to create the
illusion of character-motivated or impulse-driven movement instead of merely performing a
rousing good session of whackity-whack.
Commentary
In order to create the illusion of spontaneous movement we must look at what motivates
the characters to move. Each character has an objective - what they want. An obective may
change during the course of the fight. !amlet"s obective is to win a competition, but then he
discovers #aertes" unbated tip, and his intention changes. $bectives cannot be rigidly controlled
or premeditated they must evolve from reciprocity within the scene%with the partner. Instead of
thinking I must make her give me what I want by doing..., try thinking &hat clues is she
giving me that tell me how to proceed with getting what I want'
(our obective is basic and continuous. It can be intellectual - a conscious decision or
choice. It can also be instinctual, reactionary, impulsive and irrational. )or e*ample+ ,omeo has
ust found out his best friend is dead and there in front of him is the guy who killed him. !e
wants to punish -ybalt. $nly after the fight is over and -ybalt is dead does ,omeo reali.e the
conse/uences of his act, 0I am fortune"s fool10 !is lawyer would plead temporary insanity.
,emember, characters driven to physical violence are fre/uently in a highly emotional state of
mind.
#ife is made up of a continuous stream of intentions based on the desire of the moment.
&hereas an obective is a long term goal, an intention is a momentary desire, related to achieving
the obective. Intention is internal, a desire, and it gives birth to the action.
-o achieve an obective the character must take action, but action is the direct physical
result of intention. Action without intention is a meaningless gesture. An action may be a vocal
or a physical attempt to achieve the obective. In the fight, A wants to defeat 2 and live to tell the
tale - 2 ust wants to kill A. In order to achieve these obectives, both take action3 they cut, parry
and thrust. Each individual action does not need to achieve the obective. Actions can be
connected in a strategic series, working together. Actions are not only offensive. 4eep in mind+ if
the obective is to 0live to tell the tale,0 defensive actions are part of obtaining that obective.
The character's objective gives birth to a specific intention, which motivates the character to
take action.
2ill sees )red leaving with 5usan. 2ill wants 5usan 6obective7 for himself. 2ill needs to
stop )red 6intention7. 2ill steps in and shoves )red back 6action7. )red wants 5usan 6obective7.
)red wants to make 2ill look ridiculous in front of 5ue 6intention7. )red says 0!ey 2ill, I think I
hear your mommy calling16action7 2ill wants to take down )red in front of 5ue and shut his
mouth 6intention7. 2ill punches )red in the mouth 6action7.
8 )rom the 95:& 6AA:&7 ;<<=3 > )ight ?aster ,ichard ,aether, with additions and edits by ,obb !unter
Breaking o!n a Fight
-his worksheet is intended to help you make clear choices concerning each and every
moment of the fight. 2e specific and include as many notes as you can. &hile vocali.ations are
very important in this e*ercise, words are not. Although you may certainly speak if necessary, do
not feel compelled to speak. I do not want you to tell me who you are, I want you to show me
who you are.
"# &rite down your obective - the reason you will fight. 4eep in mind your obective can change
as the fight progresses. If it does, write your new obective in the margin @ draw an arrow to the
e*act moment that it changes. ,emember, rehearsals are a voyage of discovery. (ou won"t know
in advance what you will find. &ork by trial and error until you find something that works. -his
is why you must always work in pencil. In stage combat, start slow, collaborating with your
partner, as you try various things. )irst choices are not always right. $ften you won"t know what
is right until you find what is wrong. A$ 9$- ,B5! -$ CE,)$,?1 )irst, rehearse. $nly
when you are comfortable and confident, do you perform.
$# Bnder the word obective on your sheet are bo*es which must be filled in for each moment of
the fight. -his Includes the moment before the fight. 2e sure and fill in this bo*. -he 0moment
before0 is critical - filled with emotion, intention and energy. Is the posture of the character
intentional, or is there impulsive movement' (our body may be still, but very intent - a cat
watching a mouse, waiting for the right moment to pounce. $r your body may be active - sweat
dripping from your forehead, feet shifting, hands gripping and re-gripping the sword, eyes
darting back and forth, heart racing, breath short. Is the mindset of your character offensive or
defensive'
%# As you fill in bo*es be sure that every movement is identified as either intentional or
impulsive. Aid the character consciously decide on that move+ was it a choice' $r does your
character move because of an emotional state' Aid your character instinctively react to the speed
and une*pected action of your opponent' -hink about how your body moves differently,
depending upon on whether that movement is intentional or impulsive.
&# ?ark down whether each move is an offensive or defensive move.
'# Identify the intention of your move+ kill, harm, draw parry, feint, etc. ,emember a cut may
well have a defensive intention - to engage the opponent"s blade so they cannot attack with it.
#ikewise, a parry may have an offensive intention - draw your opponent into a rash attack to
open them up. 2e as specific as possible.
Aon"t forget your partner. ,emember it takes both of you, working together, to create this
illusion. Aon"t be afraid to go back and change things, but always as a team. )ollowing through
on your intention is not more important than your partner"s safety1
Dood luck1
8 )rom the 95:& 6AA:&7 ;<<=3 > )ight ?aster ,ichard ,aether, with additions and edits by ,obb !unter
FIGHTING WITH INTENTION*
&orksheet
8 )rom the 95:& 6AA:&7 ;<<=3 > )ight ?aster ,ichard ,aether, with additions and edits by ,obb !unter
8 )rom the 95:& 6AA:&7 ;<<=3 > )ight ?aster ,ichard ,aether, with additions and edits by ,obb !unter
(ctions
)check i* a++,icab,e-
Intentions
)check i* a++,icab,e-
.o/r Choreogra+hy Objective Breath01oca,
INT I23
OFF EF 4 H I( ( 56 Notes 3artner7s Choreogra+hy
I see !enry and approach
him.
I want to stop
him.
AonEt move
mister1
888 888
888 ?y
superobective
is to get his
eyes.
!e stops and asks what I
want.
I put him in a wristlock. I want to
overpower
him.
(our eyes
mister.
888 888
888 888 !e manages to get out of
my wristlock and slaps me.
I get slapped. 5ame as
before.
AonEt be
afraid, mister.
IEm not going
to kill you. IEm
only going to
take your
eyes.
888
I grab his hair. 5ame as
before.
A grunt as we
struggle.
888 888
888 !e struggles and manages
to get away.
I punch him then grab his
hair again.
5ame as
before
888 888
888 888
I9- F Intentional ?ovement
I?C F Impulsive ?ovement
$)) F $ffensive Action
AE) F Aefensive Action
4 F Intended to 4ill
! F Intended to !arm%wound
IA F Intended to Illicit Action%feint
AA F Intended to Aelay Action 6back off7
5B F 5et up another action 6bump-spike7
8 )rom the 95:& 6AA:&7 ;<<=3 > )ight ?aster ,ichard ,aether, with additions and edits by ,obb !unter