Movement Enhancement for the Actor through Training in the Martial Arts
Martial Arts can enhance the actor’s craft through the training of Movement. Not many actors will quickly see the connection in how their craft could be enhanced through martial arts. A successful actor should train their whole instrument which includes mastery of movement--knowing how your body moves, your perceived limitations, and discovery of your full capabilities.
Regardless of one’s individual stature, just having a strong physical presence without doing anything is what any actor would want to achieve--to be captivating just by standing there. From a Martial Arts perspective, a strong physical presence would give pause to an opponent from combating them.
Our CINCO ESTILOS URBAN ARNIS class trains a student in developing an awareness of a fellow person, or persons around them. Actors train to observe and absorb the mannerisms, voices, walking patterns, and postures of other individuals so they can successfully portray them. Studying this aspect through the vehicle of the Filipino Martial Arts enhances this by paying closer attention to the gait or approach of someone, their instinctive way of balancing after their stability is displaced, and signs of their level of proprioception awareness.
Taking up a Filipino Martial Arts class is invaluable for an actor, because training an actor how to move is challenging since very little instruction can be conveyed verbally. You literally need to move in order to learn, and everyone moves differently, so there’s no universal method or technique in which to teach movement to an actor, which is where the value in a Filipino Martial Arts class comes into play.
Movement classes are still not commonly offered or properly taught at acting institutions, so there’s an increasing need for movement exposure opportunities for the actor to add to their "acting bag" so they can be that much more competitive and confident. The aim of movement training for actors is to strengthen one’s body, focus your breath, open the mind to the surroundings, recognize the way their body moves, and to be in control of it at all times. The same goals are found in Filipino Martial Arts. You want to be in control of your body, your movement, your breathing. You want to know your intention, your reach, your motivation. Actors and martial artists alike need to have these skills ready at their disposal to call upon at any moment with ease and confidence.
Breathing is crucial for both the actor and martial artist. Training in movement, whatever the medium may be, helps you to recognize and release unnecessary tension that can tire you out prematurely. You don’t want to hold your breath and you don’t want hyperventilate either. Developing a controlled breathing pattern enables long-term endurance so they don’t tire out during a stage-combat rehearsal, or the filming of a fight-choreography scene, or worse-case-scenario a real-life skirmish.
The CINCO ESTILOS curriculum covers a variety of styles, techniques, and disciplines allowing the opportunity to develop one’s balance, tempo, and timing, perfecting awareness of spatial relationships and kinesthetic responses, and enhancing coordination, versatility and courage.
(For more insight to the CINCO ESTILOS SYSTEM, please click "Filipino Martial Arts" on the menu bar above)
One paralleling example between Acting and Martials Arts can be discovered through the examination of the Suzuki Method of Acting. Both Suzuki and Martial Arts focus on the idea that an action or reaction starts and ends with the foot. As such, they both focus on foot stepping patterns designed to develop the ability to create a stable approach or response, which also conveys a plethora of non-verbal communication.
Another example would be the Williams Technique, where the idea that intellectual training is best taught through physical communication, exploring an awareness of sensory-stimulation through the practice of allowing one to become aligned with the experiences of a situation that present itself. Interestingly, this particular technique is cyclical. The initial sensory observation creates a specific experience, in which that experience inspires a specific type of behavior or response, which in turns recreates or reinforces a new sensory response when a new observation is introduced.
Training in the CINCO ESTILOS URBAN ARNIS METHOD can help you:
Sensei Gerry's story was recently featured in the new book, "The Kenpo Continuum," volume 2. It is a great honor to be recognized in this manner, and Sensei Gerry feels very fortunate to have been included in such an undertaking.
This book is a compilation of stories and mini-autobiographies of many of today's American Kenpoists, and was compiled by Amberican Kenpo Black Belts, Amy Long, of Sacramento Kenpo Karate, and Dr. Carl Totton, owner of the Daoist Institute, in North Hollywood, CA.
To purchase your copy, go to: www.kenpocontinuum.com.