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  • - Hi I'm Victoria.

  • I'm an actress and I have to learn how to sword fight

  • in one day.

  • I am a last minute replacement to play Romeo

  • in a gender swap production of Romeo and Juliet.

  • I have to go on tonight

  • and I do not know the fight choreography.

  • So Robb Hunter, fight choreographer extraordinaire,

  • is going to teach me how to do the sword fights.

  • I hope I do not kill anyone for real.

  • [dramatic sound effect]

  • [clock ticks]

  • Thank you so much for taking time out of your day

  • to be here.

  • - You're very welcome.

  • It's my pleasure, my job.

  • So I know we have a limited amount of time today

  • and you have to go on tonight.

  • So no combat experience on your part.

  • And we're gonna need to get you up to speed

  • as soon as possible.

  • - [Victoria] Okay.

  • [upbeat music]

  • - The fight that you're gonna do with Tybalt is a fight

  • where the emotions are very high

  • and there's a lot of passion

  • and you're just gonna be trying to swing it at her

  • and kill her.

  • - That wretched boy that did consort him here

  • shalt with him hence.

  • - This shall determine that.

  • [sword clank]

  • [grunting]

  • [yells]

  • [gasps]

  • [gentle music]

  • [upbeat music]

  • - I'd like to look at a few clips from films

  • that have notable sword fights in them.

  • Many fight choreographers hold this up

  • to be one of the best sword fights

  • that has ever been filmed.

  • Everything is meant to like kill and drive that objective

  • to win this fight of life and death.

  • [swords clanking]

  • - I always want to know where the actors end

  • and stunt doubles begin.

  • - They do a good amount of their work.

  • [swords clanking] They do a lot of face time.

  • [yells]

  • This is certainly not Liam Neeson's first fight on camera.

  • And this fight was choreographed by the way

  • by Bill Hobbs who passed away just last year,

  • probably the greatest sword master for film.

  • All his fights are super realistic.

  • We could watch this stuff for days

  • and never see the same thing twice.

  • [dramatic music]

  • [growls]

  • Look at this, this fall.

  • It's like it looks spontaneous.

  • It looks like it's affecting him

  • in different parts of his body.

  • Pitches forward and doesn't blink

  • as the sword almost hits him in the eye.

  • In a good film, the fight really tells a story

  • and it progresses us through.

  • In a fight like this, that wasn't a fight just for,

  • you know, for fun or for the spectacle of it.

  • That fight was a resolution

  • of these two characters' existence.

  • So our job is to make sure that that fight kind of finds out

  • where these characters live

  • and how they're experiencing this moment

  • and help them, you know, fulfill their objective,

  • help us tell the story to the audience.

  • [upbeat music]

  • These are the swords that we are going to be using.

  • So the fencing blades are nice and light.

  • The blade's nice and flexible.

  • When you hold it, this is called the hilt.

  • Everything that's not the blade is the hilt.

  • And you're gonna lay it in your hand

  • and let your fingers go in this curved part

  • and that's called a knuckle bow.

  • Protects your knuckles.

  • Your pointer finger, you want to slip through

  • this little area right here called the pas-d'ane

  • and that will give you a little bit more control

  • over what you do with the point of it.

  • - Mm-hmm, alright.

  • - Give her a try.

  • - Okay.

  • - You would hold it like you would a bird:

  • tight enough to that it doesn't escape,

  • but not so tight that you crush it

  • because you want a lot of flexibility in your wrist.

  • You want to be able to move the weapon all sorts

  • of different ways.

  • - Okay.

  • - The action that you take with the sword is much

  • like fly fishing where you're trying

  • to get the weapon to go in such a way

  • that swings like your fishing line out.

  • - Okay.

  • - I've taken to tell people imagine

  • that you've got like a piece of gum stuck

  • on the end of your sword and you're trying to sling it off.

  • - I feel like my wrists are not.

  • - That's, what that did was it made the weapon stop

  • over here instead of going through me.

  • So if you're trying to get something off your weapon,

  • you wouldn't just swing it around.

  • You would go [grunts] get off.

  • - [Victoria] Right.

  • - There's a lot of things that we do

  • to keep the other person safe.

  • One of the first things that you do is communicate

  • and that's our big start off safety,

  • that we always make eye contact and we look at each other

  • before we do anything.

  • Next things that we do is we check our distance.

  • We have protocol so that when I'm swinging at you,

  • I'm really not swinging at you.

  • I'm often swinging where you used to be.

  • - Do I have like a wind up?

  • - You're already doing it.

  • - [Victoria] Great. - We call it the cue.

  • - [Victoria] Uh-huh.

  • - So the cue, it tells the story

  • by saying I'm gonna gather energy

  • and send it at this opponent.

  • So do that again and this time I'm gonna parry.

  • - Okay.

  • - Are you familiar with the term?

  • - I'm assuming you're gonna step away.

  • - I'm not.

  • - Okay great.

  • - I'm gonna block it.

  • So a parry is just simply blocking an attack with a weapon.

  • So give me that cue and that attack.

  • - Okay, I'm feeling very on display.

  • - That's okay.

  • We'll fix little details in a moment.

  • - Thank you, okay.

  • - Great, the most dangerous part of this weapon

  • and most swords in general is gonna be that point.

  • For us, I want to minimize the amount of times

  • that this is directly between the two of us.

  • We divide the body in half through our centerline

  • and through our midline.

  • We want to avoid the point

  • of this weapon crossing your centerline.

  • It also allows me to do things like boom,

  • take these big actions around here.

  • - Yeah it looks cool.

  • - Pow and boom.

  • So let me have you do that.

  • So I'll do it once, boom, boom, boom.

  • You can make sound effects if you want, boom,

  • and then we'll stop.

  • - Okay. - And I'll just be a target.

  • - So you started down here?

  • - Start here. So we're gonna start left, so yeah.

  • - So right.

  • - And then take it all the way around

  • to the low line on the other side.

  • - Take it all the way like that?

  • - Yup, and then just cue straight back.

  • - There?

  • - Yup and then take the long way around

  • to get to the other side.

  • Great, yeah, perfect.

  • Looks like you've done this before.

  • - Haha, no it doesn't.

  • Don't lie to me.