Stage Combat Training
Eugene has been studying stage combat since 2001. He began his studies at HB studios with Joe Daly and Ian Marshall. After 5 years at HB studios with Joe and Ian, he began his studies with the SAFD and Mike Chin at Brooklyn College where he got his MFA in acting in 2008. In 2009 he began studying at Swordplay with Joe Travers and has been there ever since. Eugene has Recommended Passes in all 8 SAFD SPTs and has accumulated over 900 SPT training hours with the SAFD as a student and a TA. Eugene has also been at various stage combat workshops in NY and throughout the United States.
For more details see CV or Bio below
A registered Advanced Actor/Combatant with the SAFD, I began my Stage Combat/Stunt Training studies in 2001. My first stage combat teacher, Joe Daly, was a fight director/stunt coordinator for many years with credits ranging from The Mission, where he trained Robert Deniro to swordfight and ride a horse, to being the stunt coordinator for Who's that Girl starring Madonna. Joe's philosphy of stage combat education revolved around the constant drilling of footwork and competitive sport fencing. He believed that first 'the fencer's true skill is measured by his legs' and second 'try these parry/riposte drills, that's how I learned'. Splash in some point targeting drills and you had his intro class. Once Joe was satisfied that these lessons were learned, then one was invited to his advanced fencing and weaponry class where you began scene work and exploration with weapons other than single sword. Joe was fond of assigning scenes that were historically based and would be interested in how the combatants would react to each other based on the dynamic truth of the moment. There my weapon studies expanded to broadsword, rapier/dagger, case of rapier, smallsword and transition rapier. Even though I was invited to the advanced class, I continued to take his intro class. I discovered that no matter how many weapons that I had learned and how much scene study that I had done, it was the foudational practices of fencing that helped me grow and develop as a stage combatant. The 5 years that I spent with Joe were where my physical foundations as a fighter were created, developed and nurtured and for that I am forever grateful.
While my focus with Joe Daly was primarily weapon work, my unarmed studies began under Ian Marshall. Ian was a teacher that had clowning as well as a stage combat background. It was under him that I discoverd the power of physical storytelling and the neglect of physical communication that existed in the craft of acting. It was also under him that I began my studies in stunt falls and advanced physical movement. High falls, being thrown through window frames were common occurrences in his class. I was with Ian for only two years but my time with him grounded me as a unarmed combatant and continues to have influence on my perception of the craft of physical storytelling and its importance. Ian would also introduce me to Delsarte and inspire me to bring Delsarte's principles on movement and physical storytelling to my future classes.
Amidst my studies with Joe and Ian, I was cast in a independent martial arts movie. At that point, I had been a martial artist for over ten years (more on that to come on the martial arts page) and was auditioning for many combative and stunt roles. On set while I was working on the choreography for a fight scene, I was struck by a ridge hand to the throat. After blacking out and waking up on the floor, I was told by the director to rehearse the choreography again. It was at that moment where my dedication to safety was realized and the knowledge that many individuals in the 'business' hadn't the knowledge or desire to keep their actors safe was born. I told the director that, "If we don't work safely, I'm not working". Needless to say, I was jobless soon after that conversation, but was relieved to walk away in one piece. What had become a dangerous experience would result in the establishment of a major principle for myself as a teacher/combatant/fight director moving forward. I would make it my responsability to keep my students, performers, or whomever I was performing with safe, and guide them to a place where that grounding in safety would allow them to excell. To find an organization that had these principles as their foundational practice would become a new focus.
While working on my MFA at Brooklyn College, I began my studies with Mike Chin and the SAFD. It was with the SAFD that my ideology for what stage combat needed to be was fulfilled. Their focus was to increase the education of stage combat with the main focus being safety first and then storytelling. This process circled around the Skills Proficiency Test, offered in eight weapon disciplines. My first SPT under Mike Chin's tutelage was Unarmed. After undergoing this process I began to comprehend how important this evaluation was and its importance to the development of my craft. It was a way to assess the ability of the combatant, challenge his/her's technique and develop and guide that technique moving forward. It was a way to apply subjectivity to an otherwise objective craft. In the hands of the Fight Masters that adjudicate you within an SPT, one was in good hands. They are the facilitators of the SAFD's principles and methodology. They would be the cartakers of guiding the future of the craft through its participants.
After graduating Brooklyn College I began my search for other SAFD classs in the NY area. This was when I found Joe Travers and Swordplay. My first SPT at Swordplay was in Broadsword in 2008. Joe is an excellent teacher, dedicated to safety and with a dedication to the finer details found in technique and crafting the physical story from moment to moment. He was also a history buff who rooted each weapon to its martial roots in order to instruct students on not only how it was actually done but also how history can guide our story and inform us as storytellers. He believed in making the dynamic truth a conglomeration of safety, martial principles, given circumstances, character relationship and conflict, and presentational showcase to an audience. I've continued to study with Joe and have taken multiple SPTs under his tuteladge. As of this point, I have accumulated over 900 SPT hours and have acquired recommended passes in all 8 SAFD SPT weapon disciplines. In late 2012, I was invited by Joe to become his assistant at Swordplay and have worked with both him and Nathan DeCoux since then. Nathan was Joe's assistant at Swordplay since 2001 and became a Certified Teacher through the SAFD in 2012. At Swordplay, I not only am a TA but I also cover classes, tutor students one on one during their SPT process, partner those that need someone for their SPT and am in the process of creating an intro to stage combat class (For students new to the craft covering the basics of Unarmed and Single Sword). Swordplay has also offered countless workshops through the years ranging from Swashbuckling to Roman Gladius to Renaissance Spear. Workshops that have rounded out my stage combat studies and helped to guide and develop my stage combat craft moving forward.
Besides going to the workshops at Swordplay, I also travel to regional SAFD workshops around the country. In January 2015, I was at the Winter Wonderland Workshop in Chicago (pics in gallery). I also plan on attending Cease and Desist '15 in Cincinatti and the Crawfish Boil '15 in Louisiana (pics soon to follow). Workshops are not only a great way to meet my fellow combatants around the country, but also a way to work with many teachers that I could not have otherwise. Workshops also open up my studies to new realms and ideas. My complete list of workshop classes that I have taken can be found in my CV.
My studies are continuous. To me the greatest quest in the world is that of knowledge, especially revolving around the subject that I love the most. From classes and workshops at Swordplay to workshops aound the US, to my origins at HB studios with Joe Daly and Ian Marshall, to my teaching at Brooklyn College, AMDA and Tom Toderoff, the journey continues on. I am honored to be a part of it.
2010 - present
2010 - present