The Journey Begins - A Day On Phase I

Nervous… Tentative… The first steps are always the hardest, and that’s the same for the Warrior Masterclass Phase I. We’re at the Lord Roberts Centre on the third day of Phase I, and these Warriors in training have just taken their first steps on the journey to becoming Ultimate Warriors. When they arrived at The Lord Roberts Centre in Bisley they all had different reasons for being here.

Some are actors and actresses looking to add another string to their bow, others are aspiring stunt performers looking to see if this career is for them or hoping to start out as a skilled supporting artist, whilst some just simply love the movies and want to learn to fight like their favorite characters. They all had one thing in common though, a nervous energy, none of them knew what lied ahead.

By the time we arrived on the last day of the course, these students are now well versed in the language of the instructors. They have worked through an unarmed routine, and a sword and shield routine, both of which they have been assessed on. The students will all have different levels of experience when they arrive on Phase I, some will be accomplished martial artists, others have no experience at all, for many this will be the first time holding a sword since they were a child dreaming of being a knight of the roundtable.

This morning they are being introduced to the spear.  The Instructor rounds the troops up, and shows them the basic stance for an attack, he then sends them off to line up, like a hoplite phalanx all ready for battle. Next, they build in some movements as the Warriors work on moving forwards and lunging. Gradually, more and more moves get added to the routine, until they are ready. Their leader bellows a command at them. They all move in unison and scream back at him. He shouts again, and they move again. Within the space of twenty minutes, the group has gone from nervous looking beginners into an intimidating army.

The instructors then help to refine the routine. They give the students a couple more moves to the routine and then walk around the group, addressing each student individually, helping them to nail the moves. This is the most technically difficult routine they have learned so far. It takes the basic techniques of screen combat they have been working on and steps it up a notch.

They may be going through the routine in slow motion but there is still so much to think about. They’re thinking about the distance between them and their partner, if they get it wrong it can be dangerous. There’s also the positioning of their feet to think about, they’re constantly told that every move has a step, and if you move your arms and not your feet you’ll end up off-balance.

Then there are all the different steps of the routine to remember. One of the hardest parts of learning screen combat is routine retention. They have to combine all of this and add in the fact that they’re holding a dangerous weapon. It’s almost like learning a dance, just a hundred times harder, and with an added risk factor. These basics all need to be mastered though in order for the student to progress onto Phase II.

If these are the nervous first steps on this journey, then the signs for the future are promising. In just an hour of picking up the spear half the room is confident that they’ve nailed it. Not all of them have, but their confidence is a sign of how much they’ve grown in the three days they have been here. There’s a chemistry which has started to develop here, the group are laughing and joking with each other. When they stop for a quick break they all keep together, they either eat together, whilst some forego their breaks to keep training together, but it’s clear that an easy camaraderie has started to appear.

After the routines are down, the students are paired up and get ready to perform for the camera. This is then played back for them to watch, and so the instructors can give them some constructive feedback. If the feedback on the latter phases of the Warrior Masterclass can verge on brutal, here it’s more about safety, it’s a way to build the groups confidence as well as stepping in and adjusting any unsafe techniques.

When Phase I is over, everyone here leaves with a sense of accomplishment. They’ve all achieved something. Some will have never believed they could learn the routines, some will be proud at the level of physical fitness they’ve attained, and others will be amazed that they managed to make it to the end of the course. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everybody.

For a few, this will be the last we see of them, they may have found it too hard, or realised that they aren’t cut out for a career in screen combat. Most though will leave exhausted, but with a newfound hunger. A passion will have ignited, and they will be itching to get back and train. They may have arrived thinking they would just try it out, but now they want, yearn, and long to complete all the Phases.

It will become an obsession, and they’ll dedicate all of their free time towards it. Yes, for a few the journey has ended, but for a lot of these students, the journey to becoming the Ultimate Warrior has just begun.

We’ll see them on Phase II.

If you would like to start your Warrior Journey you can find our full range of course dates HERE.

Created by Sam on 12 Dec 2018

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