How to get stage combat training
There are two companies you need to look at and get in contact with: the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC) - www.bassc.org - or the British Academy of Dramatic Combat (BADC) – www.badc.org.uk. I myself trained at a drama school for two and a half years with a BASSC tutor.
Both have fantastic tutors at the top of their game who teach at drama schools, as well as in the industry training actors and choreographing fights in theatre, film and TV. My tutor choreographed fights for Othello at The Globe Theatre (fights which got mentioned in reviews which apparently never happens), and our examiner had choreographed the fights on Troy, and had just come off working on The Dark Knight. This should give you some idea of the credentials these guys have, and saying you have trained with them will in turn give you that credibility.
Each body offers courses and qualifications from beginner/foundation level up to advanced/masterclass. They also offer specialisation weapons courses, such as broadsword or rapier & dagger, and offer firearms workshops as well. You can also choose a course that is more specialised for film work, learning the techniques that are needed for a fight to play convincingly on camera rather than on stage.
You need to work up the levels from beginner to work your way up as each level requires certification, and with the first level you start with a Rapier & Dagger and Unarmed exam. You can work your way up to becoming a stage combat teacher or fight director, and the courses run in the bigger cities across the country, however the majority are held in London as that’s where the majority of the industry is. Courses can last for a few hours, through a day, across a weekend, across a few weeks or longer.
Finally, you don’t have to be an actor to join in –they are open to all, whether you’re a director, extra, or even a historical re-enactment society member, if that floats your boat. Just go to the links above and you’ll be pretending to kill someone in no time.