Thursday, August 6, 2009

We've moved!

Hi lovely lurkers--guess what?

We have updated and upgraded the Bonzuko blog: it's now found at All the past posts you have enjoyed before now are there, as will be all the new posts. So go there, refresh your subscriptions, all that jazz. It's a new day for Bonzuko!

We hope to see mamy astute and intellingent comments on our new site. Thanks for your readership, and we'll see you there!

~Jenn & Jas

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fight Clip Club

This is the video Kevin put together from the Boulder Quest Center's Youth Sword Camp. Bonzuko's own Jenn helped the kids out the last day of camp with choreography tips and a theatrical sword drill that they then used to build their very own swordfights. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Star Wars Uncut FTW

Well I now have a renewed appreciation for film editors. Sheesh! I counted approximately 13 edits for our 15 second scene.

Oh, wait, let me explain:

Star Wars Uncut is a project you can see here--basically, what these insane geniuses did was divide Star Wars: A New Hope into 15-second increments. Web crawlers then could claim a scene, re-film it themselves, and upload it. What will result is a giant Internet-produced quilt version of the film.

Since I was teaching a lightsaber class this summer--well, perfect project for class members, eh? Little did we know how many freaking moves there can be in a 15 second space!

Here's our entry: (sound isn't perfect but surprisingly close!) ~Jenn

Monday, August 3, 2009

Three Rules For Actors, and Everyone Else

A while back, I wrote about how the Three Rules from Acting training (objective, tactics, obstacles) served as guidelines for writing strong prose—I renamed them the Three Rules for Protagonists. As I did so, I noticed that the Three Rules also apply to the martial arts. Having recently weeded through a bunch of old MFA musings re: the Three Rules and Mamet’s “Where Do You Put the Camera?” it hit me that his theories of simplicity in filmmaking had everything to do with warriorship and the Three Rules.

Whew. Let me begin my explanation with a Mamet quote (from the abovementioned piece):

“As long as the protagonist wants something, the audience will want something. As long as the protagonist is clearly going out and attempting to get that something, the audience will wonder whether or not he’s going to succeed. The moment the protagonist, or the auteur of the movie, stops trying to get something and starts trying to influence someone, the audience will go to sleep.”

As long as an action fulfills the protagonist’s objective, then it’s a strong choice. If it’s merely interesting and only interesting, it will not actually be interesting to the viewer. The same holds true for writing: the minute a writer stops writing beautiful, interesting prose and concerns herself with “what do I want” (Rule 1), she will begin to write gripping works of whatever genre. Mamet calls this “uninflected” which I love as a term for this idea of unadorned, simple, compelling work.

How does this relate to warriorship? In the martial arts, it’s easy to fall into what I call the “coolness” trap; it’s the same trap both actors and writers fall into. It’s irresistible to the ego to write interesting stuff; to be interesting onstage: in other words, to appear cool. The ego doesn’t want to look boring or plain, it wants to look cool. It seems contrary that the least interesting choice is actually the strongest, and that the less information you give a reader/audience, the better they will get into the story. The exact same thing happens to a martial artist: we see so much over-the-top action in films that looks so cool: wire-fu, elaborate long fight sequences, sleek catsuits, macho setups for sport fighting like cages. The problem for the artist’s ego is that the really cool-looking stuff of martial arts is in fact the least effective in a real fight. Same for an actor, same for a writer. And now I’m writing this, it occurs to me that we could probably say this for any art form…

The Three Rules For Warriorship:
1) What do I want? (Objective) –do I want to attack or defend myself? Do I want to cause harm? What specifically do I want to do, physically? How do I want the fight to end?
2) What do I do to get what I want? (Tactics) –What actions specifically do I need to achieve my objective? Weak or waffly (or “cool”) choices here will fail, in a much more obvious way than just a mediocre performance or piece of writing. In a martial arts situation, a weak tactic leads to a smack in the head or even a fatality (or a lost match, if we’re talking sport martial arts).
3) What stands in my way? (Obstacles) –is my opponent’s guard up? Armor or weapons involved? Are there innocents anywhere? Is the law on my side? Is the space restricted, either physically or otherwise?

What’s the conclusion here? That good art should be “uninflected, … requiring no additional gloss” (Mamet again). Keep it simple. Which, of course, is the most difficult thing about mastery. For more of Mamet's words of wisdom, check out his book On Directing.
Image is Jenn and Boaz doing a theatrical thing in a martial arts studio. Go figure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


This is the video that I call the Making Of Our Star Wars Uncut scene. Now, we'll be uploading our scene to the site soon, but there are 13 edits within the 15 second scene, so for now enjoy this peek into our process, lovely lurkers. And take a moment to remember the lightsaber class. ~Jenn

Here's the scene we're trying to recreate:

Are we close? :)

Random Latin

sic transit gloria mundi
- so passes away the glory of the world.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lightsaber class

Here, lovely lurkers, is the culmination of the 8-week summer Stage Combat class in lightsaber technique. This is the conclusion of our summer efforts. We had a great time! ~Jenn