2014
02.17

Picture this. A heaving mass of people against the wall. Pens being thrown to friends like life lines. People standing. People on the floor. The huff of the late and the delighted sounds of the first there. This is class sign up at the Paddy. The hours you have spent pouring over the class descriptions goes out the window when everyone seems to want the same thing as you.  However, not getting the class you wanted means nothing. Everything at the Paddy has something to offer, sometimes you learn the most when you give in to not being in control.

Here are just a few of my favourite class that I attended. If I wrote about them all, it would be a novel.

RUSSIAN SPEC-OPS AND NATURAL COMBAT

“Before the Iron Curtain fell, the Russian culture had a thriving tradition of martial arts.  Today, a piece of that tradition survives in the training of the Russian Speztnaz, the Russian Special Forces. This year we will also explore KGB-proven abduction techniques and hostage scenarios. ”

This was one of the first classes I attended at the Paddy and it completely blew my mind right open. Spencer Humm was such a fountain of knowledge and experience that I immediately wanted to attend every class he was leading. What really struck me about Systema was the practicality of the brutality, completely emotionless and very time efficient.  Techniques included: how to kill someone in a movie theatre, how to abduct someone in a team while using a carpet….seriously.  Spencer also dropped the knowledge bomb on me with his mantra “what is in the way, becomes the way” and I use that whenever I come up against an obstacle in any part of life. Yeah, it hasn’t gone as planned, we can either stand here stressing about it OR it’s happening, get on with it.

RICK SKENE – STUNTS

If you see this man’s name, go and learn from him.  Rick Skene is one of the leading stunt coordinators in North America, and is very generous with his knowledge. Rick led classes in fighting for film, concrete moves you need to know in the stunt industry and much much more. Giving away his experience is no something you always find in this particular industry and you know you are learning from someone who has done it.  All of his classes end with hugging it out…how can you not love this man.

NUCLEAR SMALL SWORD/SMALL SWORD AND CLOAK

You want exciting and fantastic choreography…go and work with Ian Rose in Philly. He brings everything into the art form that you want from sword choreography, dynamic moves twinned with perfect execution… and you get to Zulu lunge. Not going to tell you what it is, go and find out. You will love it, your thighs won’t.

I also attended his small sword and cloak class assisted by the legendary Siobhan Richardson (who makes the perfect cloak, I kid you not). It reignited my love for cloak, as the last time I picked one up was while I was training for my Advanced, where the stress of perfection takes some of the joy out of it. This class brought it all back and now I am even starting to try and make my own cloaks.

FRENCH SMALLSWORD FOR STAGE

Jared Kirby studied under Maestro Acosta-Martinez and is a leading practitioner in the sword arts. I took this with several of my friends at the very end of the week. What was wonderful about this was that the class was filled with small sword enthusiasts who just wanted to learn and relish in the technique and skill required for this art form. We took our time and perfected line, form and attack developing our own skills. I am still using the form that I learned in this class when I am choreographing a fights here in the UK.

SELF-MYOFACIAL RELEASE

“Learn how to enhance your muscular elasticity, work out those kinks and focus on some of the most common causes of injury and tightness…”

This…saved…my life. By day 5, you are pretty broken, obviously in a great way. But damn, you are tired and very sore. Myofacial release with the foam roller has now infiltrated my daily life, as a movement specialist taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can bestow on yourself.  I cannot recommend learning about myofascial release and foam rollers and when I run workshops, my roller now comes with me so I can pass this onto my students.

ADVANCED TAKE DOWNS AND THROWS

Superman, Spiderman, splat! The single best way to get to the floor, with the best name ever.  Go and find Kyle Rowling and learn this! This class was all about throwing each other about effectively and safely which is exhausting but super fun for any combat enthusiast.

KNIFE FIGHTING IN CLOSE QUARTERS, TOMAHAWK AND LONGKNIFE, BOWIE KNIFE, GUN DISARMS, MAQUAHUITAL…

You know when you meet someone…and you know they are telling you something because they have done it in real life…yeah….this guy….right here, Steve Huff. When armed with John Lennox you have the perfect storm of awesome, funny and deadly. From how to kill with a pen to Maquhuital these two know their business and will share all of their knowledge with you.

Other favourite classes included: Italian Sabre for Stage and Screen, Boxing for Dramatic Combat, Bullwhip Cracking 101, The Vetruvian Actor, Breath and Fight, Bartitsu, Domestic vs Contemporary Violence…so much!

The next Paddy Crean is this December 2014 / January 2015. Go. Fight. Grow. Be a combat dork!