Have a break from my worries about the upcoming election! I’ve just received excellent news on the stage combat front! You see, I am an Actor Combatant, as recognized by the Society of American Fight Directors, a national organization dedicated to the creation of safe and entertaining fake fights for stage and screen. This means that I’ve taken classes in many kinds of stage combat (unarmed, single sword, and rapier and dagger, in my case), and I’ve passed tests in each. Each test involved acting out a two-person fight scene in front of a judge, convincing him (It could be a her, but so far, all of my SAFD judges have been men.) that I can do certain required fight moves, act, and avoid injuring myself or my fellow actor, all at the same time. In the course of all of this training, I’ve become quite addicted to stage combat. It’s goofy! It’s fun! And as much as it pretends to be about violence, it’s actually about meeting lots of very nice people and taking care of them throughout the scene.

Well, in May 2008, I got to feed my addiction by attending the Rumble in the Rockies, a weekend-long intensive workshop in Denver. The Rumble happens about once a year (whenever its organizer, super-busy SAFD President Geoffrey Kent, finds time to put one together), and always revolves around a particular theme, culminating in a big mass fight scene, which is videotaped so we can share it with the world. This year’s Rumble was (appropriately for Colorado) all about the Wild West, so I got to spin pistols, get tossed over bars, crack whips, brandish knives, and punch lots of cowboys. And, in the end, I got to be part of a giant barroom brawl.

The great news is that the video of our final scene has just been released on YouTube. You, and everyone else on the web, can now watch me get punched, get thrown over a bar, and have a bottle smashed over my head! What fun! You can also see my talented classmates doing all kinds of fun things—my favorite is the cute little saloon girl who jumps on the cavalryman’s back and starts punching cowboys. Check it out, below! I’m the cowgirl by the bar on your left, in the 70s Neil Young fringed jacket and the light hat … hey, does than mean I’m the good guy?