Tuesday, December 30, 2008



"I bet you might be interested in speaking with a duck if you were to meet one who could talk."


Giant Emerald

My interest in the thief archetype peaked yesterday as this story popped up on Channel 2 news. Further brief Internet searching came up with this article from CNN.com. Apparently this is the biggest emerald ever, weighing in at 850 pounds! Not carats, pounds!

The whole thing just sounds shady, as it was apparently stolen from a warehouse in LA, and subsequently showed up in a warehouse in Vegas, and on e-Bay. E-Bay?? Who would actually buy a giant gem for 75 mil on e-Bay? This emerald was appraised at almost 450 mil. Wow. Not your typical cat burglar fare. I feel like writing a new Sherlock Holmes story about it. ~Jenn

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Psyched

Look at the link below for pre-research on the upcoming Summer 2009 Advanced Stage Combat Class: Jedi Camp (Lightsaber technique). This website is a folkloric/comparative literature site I always use in my DU classes for many reasons--the author has done her homework and has some really cool Joseph Campbell-esque folkloric traces through film and literature. This page off the website is specific to the lore, inspiration, and symbolism of the lightsaber. Enjoy, and get psyched up for the summer! Details on Jedi Camp to follow closer to summer.

Thanks to this site for the Master Replicas Force FX lightsaber image.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Place to Go on Friday

This Friday the 2nd of the new year is Testing Night at the Boulder Quest Center. This event used to be on Wednesday nights but now is set up as one of the coolest Friday night shows to catch in Boulder. Highlights of this Friday night will be: Jenn n Jeff in another Demo Team sword showing, also Jenn will receive Instructor level To Shin Do teaching rank, and, well, some no doubt fun belt tests as well. Be there for the show and stay for the potluck. Oh, and enter the free raffle to win a DVD of To Shin Do technique.

Jan. 2nd, 2009: BQC Testing Nite!
Adults/Youth/Demos begin at 6pm
Potluck after!
image from last month's BQC Test Nite.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stage Combat Darwin Awards

The Darwin Awards are awards given to people who, well, do really stupid things to get themselves killed, or nearly so. I assume the Darwin name refers to his concept of natural selection. Obviously those who receive Darwin Awards should not be part of "survival of the fittest."

The Unbeatable Bonzuko Team would like to institute an annual Stage Combat version of the Darwin Awards, and we want you lurkers' input on what the name of these awards should be. Jenn has made the poll in the left margin with what we think are the best choices for the name, but certainly if you have a better idea let us know here. The name with the most votes (or any suggested name we deem better than these) will win, and we'll begin nominations for the awards as soon as may be.

Also let us know if you think non-theatrical martial arts stupidity should be included in these awards.

It's Christmas tiiiiiime in the city

Or it was, anyway. Not sure how long we'll keep our sparkly tree up, but Jenn being the magpie she is, the sparklies will be up as long as isn't ridiculous. Maybe they'll be down by St. Patty's day.

And maybe this post belongs on TWS's blog instead, but heck. What do cookies have to do with the movement arts? Well, a lot if you count calories. Anyway, here's the collection of Christmas cookies from Grandma. We don't have a picture of Mom's because, well, they're all gone.
Happy Holidays once again, readers!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It's Christmas Eve, and this evening Team Bonzuko is going to Jenn's 'rents' place for to eat, drink, and be merry. Apparently brother Jesse is in charge of eats, so it should be a feast worthy of the holiday. I hope Dad makes his infamous egg nog.

All you blog lurkers out there, have a happy Christmahannukwanzaakah, solstice, wassail.....

(Thanks to http://library2.nalis.gov.tt/Portals/0/601/christmas%20tree.jpg for image)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

YouTube ninja

Before I recommend enjoying this insane Borat/Candid Camera meets ninja-movie parody, I must entreat you all, readers, to NOT try this at home (or anywhere else, for that matter). Though amusing to watch in this video, doing this sort of thing could get you in a fight, or arrested. PunchRobert.com did this so you don't have to. Enjoy! ~Jenn

Urban Ninja II

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stage Combat Final Exams

The MSCD Stage Combat class (THE 421C) performed their final scenes back on Dec. 9th to a small audience of fellow students and the one who was grading them--me! We had an even number of students this semester, so they all were in pairs, and all did really well showing their accumulated skills in staff, unarmed, and rapier. I posted one picture already from the event, but wanted to wait on the details until grades were in. Here's the rundown on the scenes:
  • Andreas & Noah: cranky teacher and rebellious student (hm...): loved seeing my textbook being used as a shield. Noah takes air (of course) and two nicely gory moments involving white tic tacs and blood on the white board.
  • Kris & Paul B.: Waiting for Godot: As a fight scene. With late knaps. 'Nuff said.
  • Rezal & Brady: Taming of the Shrew: Kate is infuriated with Petruchio's excellent avoids. some lovely status work, and combat waltzing.
  • Matthew & Chris: two well-spoken hobos fight over a nickel: Matthew also has some mad tumbling skills. Very good stage speed and escalated tension.
  • Mandy & Coco: "Lipstick and Love": two cute housewives go at it over a stained shirt. Really good staff work and some great hair acting. A comedic moment with a toy lightsaber. Line highlight: "Again? I'll get the tarp."
  • Jordan & Scott: archaeologists have an intellectual spat: the script had me rolling. Blue glitter is no doubt still everywhere in ARTS 271. Wonderful work with both holding the staff, also 2-rapiers vs. staff. A gruesome bite. Mummies and Treasure Quarterly.
  • Nate & Jason: "Brutally Honest": a period piece set at a reunion. Good throws and lifts, as well as an interesting way of using a duffle bag in defense. Much blood. See Nate's picture below.
  • Nick & Paul S.: "Ninja Monopoly": old-school kung fu movie line dubbed in by fellow actors. Excellent stage speed. Game board vs. staff. Bruce-Lee-esque blocks. Ground fighting.

All in all, I was extremely happy with everyone's work. Students can pick up their graded write-ups and detailed critique within the first two weeks of next semester. Good job, everyone,and I'll see you in January!

Images: Jordan & Scott on the cover of Mummies & Treasure Quarterly; Rezal & Brady doing Shakespeare; Noah & Andreas choking, flying, and punching. Taken 12/9/08.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Self Defense Video

Saturday the 13th I helped out with the BQC's Women's Self-Defense seminar. Both the Daily Camera and Channel 7 news came by to film the proceedings. View the Daily Camera link here, or click on the title of this post. And stay safe, boys and girls! ~Jenn

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Book

I just realized what an idiot I am--how long have I had this blog, and I haven't actually put up links to my book so you all can buy a million copies! What am I thinking?

Here's the Allworth Press site.
And the Amazon.com entry.
And how you can get it at Barnes & Noble.

Get many and enjoy! ~Jenn

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just like the game!

I've been playing my favorite game, Thief (when I haven't been grading finals, that is), and came across this news blip from comcast. This is weirdly cool--just like that one level in the game, with the spooky ghost that makes you find stuff in the abandoned insane asylum, and the nightmare music is playing, and you get trapped... I wonder what was going on with this guy. Maybe it's the adrenaline of burgling. Maybe it has something to do with the brightest full moon in 15 years. ~Jenn

Odd News - Malaysia burglar stuck for 3 days in haunted house

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sharp Knife Debacle #3

Check out this story MSCD colleague Christy found and sent along to me:

VIENNA, Austria — An actor's suicide scene became a little too real for comfort when he accidentally stabbed himself in the neck during a performance after a stage prop was replaced with a sharp knife at an Austrian theater.Daniel Hoevels of the Thalia Theater company from Hamburg, Germany, was supposed to be using a knife blunted for use onstage, but the knife had been switched with a sharp one for the show Saturday night.Vienna police said Thursday they were investigating "bodily injury caused by negligence."The theater company said the original prop knife was damaged and that instructions to blunt the replacement had been "carelessly" disregarded. It did not specify who it thought might be responsible.Hoevels received stitches for his injury at a hospital and was back on stage at Vienna's prestigious Burgtheater the next day. He was playing the role of Mortimer in Friedrich Schiller's "Mary Stuart."Hoevels declined to be interviewed about the incident.

:sigh: Hey, let's hear your ideas of what the Stage Combat Darwin Awards should be called. I'd like to start reviewing candidates like the above.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Movement Pic

Another random drawing from the Unbeatable Bonzuko movement image archives. Drumroll please:
Ah! Another aerial picture from Jenn's past. This is me rehearsing for Theatre of the Vampires (I think--it might be just a class, but I see one of the death-skull masks from one of the dance pieces on the floor behind me). Year: probably 1997. The low-flying trapeze is one of my favorite movement arts I've ever been involved with. It takes a lot of strength but also centeredness and flexibility, especially to be able to smoothly travel from floor to feet to air to ropes and back again, which is really the magic of the low-flying trapeze. I danced with these folks for almost four years, and then got into grad school and had to drop it. Jas also danced with them for a little while. Cynthia probably took this picture, so thanks to her!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This is How I Looked After my Final Exam

Nate after his performance on 12/9/08. We put the "fun" in "Fundamentals of Stage Combat." :) ~Jenn

More T-shirt glory

Haven't you always wanted your own theme music? Well ThinkGeek.com, the other most awesome geek-themed T-shirt mecca besides J!inx.com, has finally made one! Check out their blog post about it here. Ain't technology so much fun?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Theatre Review

This past semester, a group of 12 MSCD students took a class called Performance Ensemble. Their sole task in said class was to put together a play called "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" under the guidance of Dr. Marilyn "Cookie" Hetzel, professor extraordinaire and head of MSCD's Theatre Department.

The result of their semester of hard work was a lovely example of my favorite kind of theatre: what I call "coffee house" theatre or "storytelling" theatre. With only variously colored T-shirts, scarves, and a couple blocks and ladders, this group of talented young actors created the world of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I went to see them on Saturday and was wholly impressed. So much so, it made me jones for the Seuss show again...:)

Highlights from Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast:
  • The use of scarves: totally going to steal that idea
  • 9 actors forming the Caterpillar, 1 forming the hookah; all breathing and bubbling together
  • Kris (with Brian's arms) as Humpty Dumpty; the whole wall tilts as he extends his hand to Alice ("It is most provoking...")
  • Amazing transitions between scenes; actors forming not only all the characters but the backdrops with their bodies. Stage Movement students, take note!
  • Bonzuko's own Jas as the Hero, peering around the "tulgey wood" as behind him, 10 students swirl and form into a giant Jabberwock, which he then defeats with a "snicker-snack." Melissa as its head dies with much Jurassic-Park-esque screaming. The children (and Loren beside me) in the audience are in awe
  • Brilliant tea party scene with Melissa doing a Disney-like dormouse hilariously; Erica as a cross-eyed paranoid Mad Hatter; and the brilliant Brian as the March Hare. Brian's use of his scarf to form ears, which then express what's happening in the scene, was stellar
  • Talking about falls? The Red and White Knights both had some fabulous falls, as well as a hilarious fight scene. Their "horses" are precious. Jas as the White Knight does more break falling than anyone ever should on that hard stage floor. "Plenty of practice..."
  • Jas finds the perfect balance of being a narrator on stage: not upstaging the action, but making his voice clearly heard, also tackling the complex Carrollian language very well
  • Kudos to Brian, who, in the midst of personal loss, put on a great performance using his immense physical comedy talents

Really good job, kids. Know that that group of five little boys in the audience were not only mesmerized, but were reproducing the Tweedledum/Tweedledee dances in the hallway afterwards. You have done your work well. :) ~Jenn

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stage Combat Finals Reminder

See November 22nd's post for details and a map to the "funnest final exam on campus!" to see the flyer details, click on the image. ~Jenn

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Theatre Review

The 2008 Directing Projects at MSCD always astonish with the array and high caliber of talent that students can possess. I attended one of the two-night event, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed. I'm not just saying that to be nice and supportive of my current and former students (and my husband). I mean it--I laughed. Really!

Highlights of the 2008 MSCD Directing Projects Part One of Two (The "Director's Dozen"):
  • Packed audience with much joyful loving energy--the ideal audience for a theatre actor
  • "Getting it Back"--big red bags symbolizing love hauled onstage
  • Lovely tango dancing between two of my former movement students
  • "Downtown"--Jose, Katie O., and Brady were brilliant as snooty literati with a twist ending so fantastically orchestrated I can't write about it in this blog
  • Some great naturalistic comedy by former student Rob and another student named Dan whom I was very impressed by: it's hard to not finish sentences when you're acting. It's also hard to really listen
  • "18 Holes"--current student Andreas directed, current student Scott and Bonzuko's own Jas acted in a 10-minute play that went through 18 holes of golf. Great freeze-frames and fantastic physical comedy timing as well as tender moments

Good job, guys! ~Jenn

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stage Combat Club: November, December

December 2nd was our last MSCD Stage Combat club meeting of the semester, so anyone who is or wants to be a member, stop by this blog for news etc. about its doings and future plans until we meet again in the Spring.

The November meetings mainly have consisted of Nate and Jason Braddock rehearsing for their final fight for the class (see a couple posts below for that event's details), and Ken had some fun "adjudicating" them. We also had some more discussion about the Algorithm March and upcoming RMTA event in February. Jenn (and MSCD colleague Jay Louden) will be teaching two Stage Combat classes at the RMTA this year on Friday Feb 6th, so keep your ears peeled about that. The RMTA is up in Durango this year, and should be a pretty fun trip!

So we'll see you in January, everyone! Check your school schedules and look at Tuesday afternoon possibilities for meetings.

The MSCD Stage Combat club were: Jason Braddock, Nate, Nick B., Ken, and we welcomed new member Nick W. of UCD into our fun. BTW, I found out that it's totally kosher to include any students from all three schools on Auraria campus into our club, Metro-sanctioned though it is. We look forward to Spring semester. Happy break!


P.S. Special shout-out to Ken for manning the last-minute RMTA application wrangle. You rock!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Level Up!

Once again, Jenn has leveled up her ninja guy to brown-white belt status. Friday was a very fun test, with the new BQC Demo Team performing for the first time, and Jenn and Kim enter the last color series before Black Belt. Highlight reel:

  • Jenn n Jeff unleash the steel.
  • Free response in "wind" element
  • Thanksgiving leftover snax afterwards. What a party!

    Pictured: Jenn n Jeff Demo Team practice; Jenn has way way too much fun beating up other people's children.

Good job, everyone, and thanx to Hollie for being my personal photographer. ~Jenn

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jenn Enters the Void

The next BQC testing event will take place this Friday the 28th. That would be Black Friday, though for Jenn it will be Brown-White Friday instead. Ha.
This should be an exciting event, as the brand-spankin'-new BQC Demo Team will be performing their first demo at this event, along with the normal black belt demos which are always a good experience.

Also, Bonzuko's own Jenn will be testing her way into the next element, the last colored belt series before black belt. At least, that's the plan. We'll see if she gets her testing stripe this week.

Either way, the BQC test event is fast becoming the place to be in Boulder on the last Friday of the month. Here are the details for November's test:

BQC test: Friday, November 28th, 2008
Little teeny kids ("mighty dragons") go at 5 pm
Youth and Adults go at 6 pm
Thanksgiving leftover potluck and party directly afterwards.
Map here.

Come celebrate and enjoy the display of martial art-y goodness, and cheer Jenn on as she embarks on the home stretch of TSD.
Image is of Jenn "dying stylishly" from a BQC demo back in early 2008. Naginata (Kevin) vs. katana (Jenn). Naginata wins. This time. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stage Combat Class Final Countdown

The MSCD Stage Combat class has been working hard all semester (since mid-August!!!!) and are now ready to present their final exam performances. The requirements are: they must integrate either a published or original scene within their choreography, and must showcase all three weapons we've learned this semester (unarmed, staff, and rapier). Come by to support them and have fun!

The Event: MSCD Stage combat class Final Exam
When: December 9, 2008 10am-12noon
Where: Auraria Campus ARTS building room 271 (map here)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey, guys, I have a great idea!

We were chatting in the MSCD Stage Combat club yesterday about the really stupid (or really sad, or both) stories of stage combat gone awry or gone missing. We wryly chuckled about some of these disasters and realized someone thought whatever-it-was was a great idea. So we came up with a danger phrase:
"Hey, guys, I have a great idea!"

This phrase was, no doubt, the inciting incident for this Julius Caesar debacle in Aspen (pictured): http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20070830/NEWS/70830004

...and this Dracula tragedy in Texas, which I actually wrote about in the book: http://www.ringofsteel.org/reference/news.html

...as well as a stabbing I heard tell about at UCD? Someone who knows the facts comment here and let me know what really happened. Oh, and of course, the demise of Brandon Lee: http://www.thecrow.info/accident.htm

So if you hear someone uttering the above phrase, or this one: "I know what we can do!" Run away. Far away. :) ~Jenn
P.S. If we were to make a Darwin Award for stage combat blunders specifically, what would you name it? Comment here please, and we'll institute said award once we have the perfect name.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hey fellow lovers of this crazy English language! A new word has entered into the dictionary. Not the American slang dictionary, no, but the real live Collins dictionary of Britain. The word is:


The dictionary defines it as, "an expression of indifference or boredom, or an adjective meaning mediocre or boring."* Use it this week to commemorate its promotion of status into a real word. Or buy the "meh" hoodie at thinkgeek.com. I'm seriously considering it... ~Jenn

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Awesome Falling

Jas and I were watching genius Weird Al Yankovic last night--a compilation of videos we own. We were reminded of an amazing feat of break-dance-slash-prat-falling skill of a dancer in the video for "Dare to be Stupid." The video and song is obviously a parody of '80s techno-weird group Devo, as well as social commentary. The amazing faller I'm talking about is the masked, yellow-panted guy in the carpeted room. He shows up a couple times throughout the video. Once, it looks as though he lands right on his collarbone, though--see what I mean?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Algorithm March

Jason Braddock was asking about this infamous viral video (is it viral yet? I dunno...) that I absolutely adore. It begins to make sense (?!) when the ninjas join in. The dance is from a children's show called Pythagoras Switch from Japan.

And I think that Mr. Braddock has a BRILLIANT idea for using this choreography in an upcoming play he's directing. I'll tell you all if he gives me permission to. You never know, he may want to keep it to himself till it happens. Brilliant idea, though!!!


Now, I originally fell in love with this dance because of the ninjas. But it looks like this show does the Algorithm March all the time, with different groups of people. Here's them doing it with a soccer team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX-41QnnbUE&feature=related And here with boxers/wrestlers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4DBxw9YMGs&feature=related . So much fun--it's a delightful movement puzzle that just makes me happy!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Movement Pic

It's just because I feel guilty for not having posted in so long. Sure, it's getting to be the end of the semester. Sure, I've just been sick. No excuse! To attempt to assuage my guilt, I am posting a random image from Team Bonzuko's movement background. As I type, I don't even know which it will be. Here's the random image drawing now, ready? ...

Oo, another RenFaire picture! This is (L to R) Tom Bag o'Donuts, Timothy, and me in 1997. This is the end of a silly Bugs Bunny joke that went something like this:

US and THEM are fighting, the MAYOR comes and stops the brawl.

US: But they started it!

THEM: Did not!

US: Did so!

THEM: did not!

US: Did so!

THEM: Did not!

US: (pause) Did not!

THEM: Did so!

US: ah-HA! *picture taken here.

We are armed with: (L to R) rapier & sword cane; rapier; and cloak. ~Jenn

Monday, November 3, 2008

Movie Review

Well, it's a TV review, actually.

Looking at all the media the Bonzuko household regularly had going on,* of course we always are on the lookout for good stage (well, film) combat. Jas recently got into the comedy "My Name is Earl," and since I have joined him in watching this, I have been struck by many things all at once. Everything just seems opposite to what you normally get on television. Let me explain:

First, the acting is really good. Sure, it's a bit commedia-over the top, but everyone is so well characterized and there are actual, real, honest moments in the show. No, really. Good acting on television. I went to acting school, I know what I'm talking about.

Second, the premise is so positive and sweet, the writing poignant, weird, and hilarious at all the right times. Wait wait, you're saying (I know you writers out there are perking up): a sitcom that's well-written?? Not possible! Oh yes, say I, and not only that but the show actually celebrates kindness, goodness, generosity, and in general trying to treat others well. The premise, you may or may not know, is that of Earl, a petty criminal and all-around ne'er -do-well that gets hit by a car directly when he gets a winning lottery ticket. He then sees Carson Daly on TV talking about karma, and he reaches an epiphany. He makes a list of everyone he has ever done wrong, and sets out to repay them in kind. The first repayment he makes, he regains his lottery ticket, ensuring he can live on just his karma and his list indefinitely. So each episode, of course, is another event he's attempting to scratch off his list. He has a myriad of supporting characters that are as colorful as you can imagine. I mean, what movie or TV show these days celebrates love and redemption like this?

Third, there are several actors who are excellent physical comedians and good movement people, and every role I could suggest to any of my Stage Movement or ninja-enthusiast students as a study in physically embodying a role. One of them, Darnell the "Crab Man," played the Rubberband Man in those Office Max commercials; one of the best clowns I've seen in a long time. And the stage combat, when there has been some, has been excellent. Great speed, a minimum of edits, realistic yet perfectly safe-looking. And for the most part it looks like the actors do most of the fighting. Highly recommended.

The bottom line: My Name Is Earl: **** out of *****. ~Jenn

*We have recently decided to nix the television. We lived sans TV for a few years when we first moved in together, and we decided the many dollars we pump into our cable wasn't worth it. We'd be working with mindless stuff going on in the background. Any TV shows we need to see we can easily catch online or through Netflix. And most of the time, it'd be best if we had a film or some music on anyway. We're very excited about this new phase in the Bonzuko hombu. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

SKH & Ninja Gaiden II

Saw this the other day on Stephen Hayes' blog. Quite enjoyable!

Ninja Gaiden II Video

Posted using ShareThis


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

How was your Halloween?

I got to dress up for class on Thursday, and I also wanted to get better for next week. So I spent Halloween evening and night into the witching hour eating candy, making merry, and playing Titan Quest with Jason and some of our friends online. It's a RPG game with an Ancient Greece theme, and we felt like we put on really cool "costumes" by making Halloween-themed characters and playing "trick-or-treat" in a virtual land. It was great fun, and I do feel nearly all better. Happy November, everyone! ~Jenn

MSCD Club: October

The MSCD Stage Combat club has been meeting Tuesdays 11:45-12:30 on campus, in the King Center dance studio, and we've been working on whatver the students want any given day. Remember, guys, this is a student-run organization; I'm just the resident expert. Some of the things we've worked on include variations or further explanations of techniques from class, as two of the men are in it now and the other two were in it before. Things like: other ways to twirl your staff, how to safely lift others and other wrestling-type safety issues, and knives knives knives!

I dig these un-sharpenable knives from Century: they are durable, good-looking, and I can get them easily from the BQC. They look so cool, in fact, that a campus policeman showed a group of us his real knife, held it up against these practice ones. Folded, they were so alike we could have switched knives without noticing. Open, of course, his blade looked quite a bit different! Now they also have bigger ones that look like Bowie knives that come in sheaths.

MSCD Stage Combat Club are: Nate, Jason Braddock, Nick, Ken, and Jenn. Right now, anyway. :) See you next week, fellas--bring your questions.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Movement and Song

These guys have had enough crazy YouTube exposure they really don't need me. However, I am always ready to celebrate the extraordinary as far as movement, and these guys actually sing really well! Look up "a capella" anything and you'd be amazed how much mediocrity you'll find. And highschool choirs, bless their developing hearts.

What I like about this group is the combination of an excellent (and hilarious!) musical arrangement along with a well-performed physical interpretation. Good work, Choir Redefined!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Almost Halloween!

Today was the MSCD Stage Combat Class' Sword Fight Performance, their last technique test before they begin the long process of scene-integration with three weapons for their final. Overall, they had some great costumes, some very sticky fake blood and a few groups stood out with well-created, well-put-together choreography. Erin Ramsey was a guest viewer for today--she's a MSCD student and a longtime student of Geoffe Kent, the SAFD guy in our neck of the woods. I was musing about how old my RenFaire outfit actually is. It's ten years old. Yes. ten. Hear that, Mom? (she made it)

Pictured are some of the highlights of today: the Rock Star vs. the Sith; Drama vs. Comedy (comedy is dead--get it?) and Jordan's so great costume. Another fight that was a standout was Nate and Mandy's Mexican Wrestler vs. Spanish Lady fight. There was a lovely head slam and the way the fake blood squirted down the wall...priceless.
Good job, everyone! ~Jenn

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


VoWoD -
Vocal Warmup of the Day


"That guy's eyes looked like two peach pies drying in the sky."


Special thanks to TERI! Teri is a regular blog reader here and practitioner of the VoWoD. She is a lovely lady and quite keen in the kitchen. Colorado has definitely improved since she and her esteemed mate, TROY, recently slid into town. Welcome, and best wishes in your recent endeavors! We support you. ~J

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 5

Hey everybody, it's Week 5 again at the Boulder Quest Center. Though I won't be there the rest of the week (Jas' b-day) it's still a great week to go and play those free class cards I passed out (if you didn't get one, get one from me whenever you like). Week 5 means that not only is it non-gi-week, but it's open-forum training (training by request) and bring-a-friend week for students.

My Stage Combat students get extra credit for going there, and have till the last day of class to use their cards, but again it's a good week to go play.

Also, this Friday is Halloween. It's also testing day at the BQC. It'll certainly be the place to be this Friday night, as there will be decorations, a sweet To Shin Do test to watch, and a potluck and party afterwards. If you want to go, let me know via email by Thursday class or evening, so I make sure and make it there. It should be a pretty fun display and excuse to dress up in costume (besides the MSCD class performance).

Speaking of that, the MSCD students will have a Halloween performance on Oct. 30th. They will be ready to show off their swordfighting skills in costume, and will be using their first fake blood packs. This should be a lot of fun as well.

So hey, come check out the MSCD sword class on Thursday and the BQC test on Friday for some costumed combative fun!

MSCD stage combat class: 10am-11:15am, Auraria campus, King Center 140. Map here.
BQC October belt test and Halloween party: at the BQC. Youth/Adult test 6pm, party after. Map here.
Images: Jenn and Hannah at the MSCD Halloween performance, 2007; Jenn and Thomas on Halloween at the BQC, 2007.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MSCD stage combat 2008

Halloween is around the corner, and with it the third skills test in the MSCD Stage Combat class. In this class, we learn the basics of three weapons: unarmed, quarterstaff, and single sword (rapier). They have already performed skills tests (very well, I might add) in unarmed and staff. On October 30th, they'll combine their Halloween costumes, fake blood packs, and rapier skills test for a no-doubt colorful exhibition. It's a tradition begun in 2006--there's usually a day during the week that either is or is very close to the 31st, and I figured what better day to learn how to make blood packs?

Posted here (with permission of the models within--thanks fellas!) are two pictures from previous skills tests in class: Andreas and Noah's unarmed highlight and Brady and Jordan's staff fight highlight. You can see here the excellent isolation and acting (Brady and Jordan's very funny janitor fight scene), and one way you can combine freerunning and stage combat to good effect (Noah rarely has his feet on the ground).

Enjoy these pics, and I hope to post some Halloween fight selections next week. ~Jenn

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More about Falling

It seems like we talk a lot about falling on this blog; but now that I've seen a short news bit on Noises Off at the DCPA, and am also typing on a big wrist bruise, I realize that what Jas always said in martial arts and stage combat classes is true--learning to fall and/or roll properly is the most important aspect of the movement arts you can learn. I believe Tanemura sensei (of the Genbukan) said something similar--I'll research the actual quote and get back to you.

Noises Off has many many pratfalls, and those of you who've had me for class will know and love these well. But one of the pivotal falls in the play is a fall down a flight of stairs. Now this is getting into the fence between stunt and stage combat, in that there's really no way you can do this without getting hurt a little. I was discussing this with the MSCD Club yesterday: the difference between stage combat and a stunt is: usually in stage combat you can do techniques and be relatively safe; at least, you can do things and not get hurt. When doing a stunt, you will get hurt. If you do it well, you won't be crippled or dead afterwards. Falling down a flight of stairs is just going to hurt you, no way around it. Actually, Jas and I were discussing how one could do a fall down the stairs every night for a long theatrical run, and we had some ways to make it safe-er, but not completely safe.

Very recently before this conversation, I actually fell down the Bonzuko home stairs. Yes, the club members did ask me how a ninja could possibly fall down the stairs by accident, ha ha thank you very much. The point is, I fell down a flight of stairs, actually very well--I'm a good faller and roller, so I didn't break or even bash any bones (remember I always say "put your meat down, not your bones" when falling). However, I have a big scrape and bruise on my forearm and a bruised behind. This is from doing it well. How would I do it on wooden stage stairs (mine are carpeted) more than once, say, once every night but Mondays for a couple months? Well...I'd have a lot of bruises, no matter how well I'd do it.

Another post about falling--learn how to do it, learn how to do it well. It's everywhere in theatre, martial arts practice, even in life.
Picture is of Kim practicing a throw, and me falling blurrily. BQC 2008.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Movie Review

I thought, since we're always looking for good films, especially films with good fight scenes, I'd begin a movie review thing here, just mentioning movies we've seen recently, etc. especially if they have many stunts involved. I'll also most likely include select TV shows.
Today's film: 18 Fingers of Death. The premise here is actually hilarious--written and directed by a martial arts actor, it's a mockumentary about a martial arts/action star that makes his next movie with the help of a sassy African-American highschool kid. Several cameos in here, from Lorenzo Lamas to Pat Morita. The reason we even put this one on our Netflix is: the many parodies--this film pays mocking homage to any martial arts actor/action star you can think of, and has really solid martial art-y fight choreography. However,

...the bad acting and awful script just doesn't hold it together as I'd hoped. There's too much badly-written story, stereotype jokes that jump back and forth between racism and just eye-rolling lameness, and there's not enough of the parody stuff that makes it interesting to begin with.

Highlights: Lorenzo Lamas as an Antonio Banderas spoof; filming a martial arts scene in a park, with obviously homemade costumes; the "martial arts acting" class where students learn to move their lips off from their speech; the ditzy female lead obviously is a stuntwoman or at least trained; and finally, the stuntpeople's rehearsal, wherein they learn how to circle the hero and snake their heads at him.
Bottom Line: ** out of *****. Image from myspace-893.vo.llnwd.net/.../87/627967893_l.jpg

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Since our inception of the Genki Kai back in '97 I've been pondering the issue of credentials. Who gives 'em, who should give 'em, why they're given, etc. Before studying in the Genki Kai's club-like atmostphere, I studied with Stage Combat teachers that were campus space-scavengers just like I am now. Before that, there was a children's theatre troupe that practiced outside, and of course, my mom's creative movement classes in various studios in Boulder. All of these people were legitimate, talented experts that I was happy to take direction from, and the lessons from whom I still use in my current movement classes.

Now, when you take dance classes, you don't get credentials unless you later get your degree in dance. Being a member of a theatre company, even one that practices in parks, is its own credential, resume-worthy. At a school or college, you end up with a diploma or a degree, also a credential in itself.

I've noticed the combat arts are different. For some reason, a martial arts practice just doesn't seem as publicly "legit" without some kind of belt system. And I've been getting more and more questions lately from Stage Combat enthusiasts about certification, where they can get it and how. My telling them that they can put this college course on their resume just doesn't seem to have the same impact in their minds as a certificate. Why?

At the Genki Kai, we had our own belt system which Jason developed based on an old Japanese model of the 36 Ninpo essentials. As of now, our Bonzuko Movement Arts certificates in Stage Combat are in their infancy--those who took the summer Advanced class got one commemorating their successful completion of Advanced Unarmed and Taihenjutsu. I don't give a certificate out for the college course. I'm not sure why I don't, nor if there is any conflict between earning college credit and getting a Bonzuko certificate.

Having been a part of the formation of the Genki Kai's belt rank system, I realize that any belt system or certification is made up by someone. It's just whether that someone is known publicly as an expert or as a bozo. Really, that's it. Anyone can go buy a black belt online. But it comes down to this: my Oreo belt from the Genki Kai is just as legitimate a martial arts credential as my To Shin Do black belt will be. Why? Because in each case, I received the belt from an expert in the arts, one that has done his homework, has many years of experience, and himself puts his art into practice every day. Sure, Stephen Hayes is just a bit more famous and experienced than Jason Boughn, but both organizations are high quality, the men in charge of them good martial artists, and I'm proud to have a belt from both. Would anyone say the Genki Kai doesn't give out a "legit" black belt? I don't think so.

So why then is the SAFD the only organization to be considered "legit" to give out records of education for the arts of Stage Combat? Why would students of mine want to go pay lots of cash to get SAFD certified if I can give them the same education and resume-worthy experience (and even a certificate), just not with an SAFD stamp? I was this close to contacting Geoffe K. and asking what it would take to get me on the SAFD teacher-certification track, and then I had to stop myself. Why did I decide to step off that track in the first place, ten years ago, when I was being groomed for being Geoffe's wing-man and more? Why did SAFD reps act funny when approached about submitting back-cover quotes for my book? Am I really less an expert than the SAFD higher-ups? (the answer: no!) :)

It seems that what we have here is a monopoly. This is something you don't get in the martial arts because there are so many schools around, so many different martial arts to choose from. The SAFD was the first organization to, well, organize in the U.S. and actually formulate a curriculum that could be consistent. So there aren't many different schools for stage combat--they're all SAFD centered. Bonzuko Movement Arts even uses some SAFD techniques and drills (I was first trained by them, after all), but we also use our martial arts expertise to formulate our curriculum. We should be able to function just great in the same world together, and any student should be just as happy to get a Bonzuko certificate as a SAFD one. Likewise, any director should be just as impressed to see a Bonzuko certificate on an actor's resume as a SAFD one. Right now, there's only one difference between the two.

The one difference is: the public eye. That's the kicker, isn't it. That's why more people might recognize my TSD black belt over my Genki Kai one. That's why my students are asking me about SAFD certifications. So I guess the answer really is: publicity. All we need to do is sell more of my books, do more Bonuko Movement Arts classes all the time, and get this blog viral! :)

I'd like to hear what you all think of this--take a second and post responses, as this is on my mind a lot lately and I think lots of cool stuff can be done once we figure out how to continue.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Question Answered

Hi, club members! Inquiring minds wanted to know about that J!nx website photo that got put up of me & Nick. The direct link to the picture is on August 5th's blog entry. So check that out-- the forum thread discussion below it is pretty amusing as well. :)


Sunday, October 12, 2008


Vocal Warmup of the Day

Approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker
"Note the rhythm of the mind with changing forms."

Saturday, October 11, 2008


What are you going to be for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Answer is: Lightsabers!

Since many of you have already guessed what this product is, we'll supply the answer.

Master Replicas makes the sweetest line of lightsabers you will ever wield. No, they don't telescope, but the light effect does. So that's pretty close. Though the instructions say not to fight with them, they actually make that clashing sound when they make contact with each other, so...hey, if you use good stage combat technique they are quite sturdy. The Unbeatable Bonzuko Team has fought stage-combat-wise with them in the vasty hombu living room and they are good as new.

On the Bonzuko Hombu wall hang four of these beauties: the lightsabers belonging to Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker (ep. IV), and two Yoda ones. The Yoda ones are arguably even cooler, as they are short. Jenn has even used the Luke one in her right hand and a Yoda one in her left, a-la Rapier & Dagger.

Which ones are next on our list? Mace Windu of course (hello, purple), the two-sided Darth Maul, and Obi-Wan's from ep. III. They also make Han Solo's blaster.

These coolest swords you'll ever own run around $100 each, sometimes more, sometimes on sale for less. We suggest going to Amazon.com and scoping out deals. Those available this summer should start saving pennies in the jar now, as this summer's Advanced Stage Combat class will be all about lightsaber technique. Yes, geeks, they make that noise when you whoosh them around, too. And the turn-on, turn-off noises, too. ~Unbeatable Bonzuko Team
Pictured above: Jenn, Jas, and John as Jedi.

Monday, October 6, 2008

More About the MSCD Stage Combat Club

I have decided I will be doing a monthly post here about the MSCD Stage Combat Club. If I did one every single week for a semester, it might get to be a bit much. :) So look here around the end of each month for a rundown, summary, and updated news re: our soon-to-be-illustrious little group. See you around Halloween. ~Jenn
The above picture is from Halloween 2006. Tom G. here was left without a partner, so his hand turned evil and he had to fight his own hand for his Sword performance. MSCD Stage Combat 2006.

Scieszka in the House

...the Boulder Bookstore, actually.

Saw Jon Scieszka yesterday read from his new autobiography at the Boulder Bookstore. He's the sublimely sarcastic writer behind such children's snark-classics as: The Stinky Cheese Man, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Math Curse, Squids Will be Squids, and many more.

He's also the first ever Ambassador for Children's Literature, which means he's big on promoting literacy, and those of you who know me will know I'm all about laughing while learning. :) His two newest projects, Guys Read and his autobiography Knucklehead look really interesting. The former is an anthology of writing by male writers about what it's like to be a guy. This book is meant to encourage boys to read more. The latter is a combination scrap book, memoir, comic book...and I'm really interested in an autobiography written this way; I'd like to try it myself.

At the event, he read a story from Knucklehead called "Crossing Swords." Hilarious. Not about weaponry, but about urination and having six brothers. :)
Here's an NPR story about Guys Read: check it out, guys and girls: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4649807

Friday, October 3, 2008


Wow, has it been a long time since I've been within the hallways of Boulder High. I mean, a LONG time [insert Obi-Wan quote here]...

Today the Boulder Quest Center did a demo at Boulder High School, in the middle of the very loud and cement-floored cafeteria. It was a blast! We scared and excited those who watched, and did a lot of sweating and free-response stuff, with weapons and without. We did one half-hour presentation and then another a half hour after that.

I was pretty pleased with my own level of falling and rolling--I mean, I always call myself good at taihenjutsu, but it's rare I ever do said taihenjutsu on anything but mats. The floor in the cafeteria was slippery, smooth concrete. Not dojo mats, not gym mats, not even a wooden stage or gymnasium floor. Not only was it predictably hard to fall on (literally hard!) but we had to watch our footwork as well. As Kevin said, "It's a place to use good taijutsu."
I had a heckuva lot of fun.

BQC @ BHS event: performers: Jenn, Justin, Keegan, Kevin, and Simon for the second one. Kudos using your lunch period for this, Simon! I brought my camera, but didn't have a chance to snap any pictures, unfortunately.

Safety Tip of the Week: tater tots are slippery. ;)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Vocal Warmup of the Day

Approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker
"A cold bowl of red noodles flavored with yogurt accentuated by cucumbers and cooked jellyfish." ... Doc Hattori, Iron Chef Japan

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stage Combat Club News

Enough people at MSCD continue to be interested in the fine arts of fake fighting. Many of them composed my little informal bands of performers that helped me immensely with my two booksigning events in Boulder last year. The Advanced Class you can read about on this blog was also a product of said interest.

After having waited to hear from the official officers of the MSCD Stage Combat Club, I decided to go ahead and make a meeting time that worked for me and see who showed. Unfortunately, our President, Wee Katie, has an opposite schedule to mine. Maybe she can be in charge of meetings on a day I'm not there. We'll have to see about that. ANYway,

The four gentlemen that came by are psyched and ready to start playing Tuesdays, 11:45-12:30 this semester, and are already looking forward to this summer's Advanced class as well. Now let's gather our folks, have an election, and get some fund-raising started. I want to start looking at plans for RMTA.

So for those interested: You have to be a MSCD student, and have to be free to play with us Tuesdays (for now--there may be more meetings later). You don't have to have any Stage Combat experience or you can be a professional, or anything in between. Once we get our official stuff going, there'll be a due of $5 per semester. Cheap!

MSCD Stage Combat Club news and posts will appear here on the Bonzuko blog, so anyone in it or interested in it should visit here often.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Number Nine...Number Nine...

No, I'm not going to tell a long, sickly-sweet story about how we met and fell in love and it was all flowers and happiness. Though it was happiness. More Legos than flowers. And pirates. And trapezes and the Renaissance Faire. Coffee or Chai?

The Unbeatable Bonzuko Team (that would be Jason and Jenn) celebrates their 9th wedding anniversary today. And no, it doesn't feel like it's been that long. It feels like yesterday, and an eternity. See? I'm already sounding like a slow-dance song from the '80s. Instead, here's a highlight reel (from Jenn's brain) of that fateful week back in 1999.

  • Swords presented together as an engagement present. We lived back in the house on Aurora then. Martial arts classes in the park under the storms.
  • Roommates cheerfully toting cases (yes, plural) of Beamish stout, jugs of Brendan's irish cream and Jameson's whiskey. Heard of the Irish Car Bomb cocktail? We discover it makes a good breakfast drink.
  • Either that Tuesday or Thursday went to Sushi Zanmai with all friends, local and otherwise. What ensued was the LARGEST boat of sushi anyone has ever seen. They play "Happy Birthday" for people who go there to celebrate-- a Japanese guy playing an electric mini-sax. We had what he called a "wedding song." It was odd. We tavern-cheered until the wait staff began to smile nervously. The tea room next to us joined in.
  • Wednesday was the bachelor/bachelorette party. It was combined: we're freethinking that way. R. Bryan Meeks and Leah D'abate made an elaborate treasure map. Everyone dressed in pirate garb and split up into two crews: Jason's and Jenn's. We went out into wild Wednesday Boulder and did all the things on the map. Cryptic things we could interpret how we wanted. Highlight for Jenn: in response to the request "Obtain a blessing from a public servant" Jenn drunkenly walks up to a police officer in his car, explains her mission. He slowly gets out of the car, looks at her pirate crew sidelong, takes her hand, and haltingly wishes happiness and joy on her forever.
  • Night before the wedding our friends haul us up to the mountain and engage in a hand-fasting ceremony. That was for them.
  • Extremely windy wedding ceremony with a drumming minister, a forgetful photographer, and many crows overhead. Oh, this was at Flagstaff amphitheatre. Awesome view. Jenn's bridesmaids freeze to death, and Jenn is nearly carried away on a cloud of tulle.
  • Trnasitional sushi at Zanmai, sporting newly-gifted crystal mala, we see the bridal suite @ Boulderado. Very burgundy and Victorian.
  • Reception at Boulderado. Much red wine and not a drop on the dress. Drunken relatives and friends. I think Kristin caught the bouquet. Jesse DJs and ends the night with the closing "yub-yub" song from Jedi. Many relatives end up down in the Catacombs.

That's Jenn's fragmented memories. Drink a bottle of pirate rum or a car-bomb in honor of us today, and remember it if you were there! ~Jenn

The pictures above are what we both looked like when we first met. We did the dagger-throw trick at RenFaire and the rest is history. Pictured are: Jason in his Renfaire gear in '97, Jenn in rehearsal at Frequent Flyers Dance Co., also in '97. Ah, they grow up so fast...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Wrapped Scallion

The Wrapped Scallion is Jason's alter-ego online, commenting on mystique gastronomique. Beers, foods, restaurants, cooking, ....

Check it.

Feeds will show at the bottom of the page, below our columns as they are posted.




Vocal Warmup of the Day

All VoWoD entries have been officially approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker (pictured). Enjoy and use these freely in your classes and venues!


"Today in this tiny Tennessee town I test the taste of true whiskey."


Sunday, September 21, 2008

SKH Seminar

Okay, so it's not the coolest picture in the world. But the seminar was really fun.

Did you go and look up Stephen K. Hayes so I don't have to explain who he is? Good. :)

He was out at the Boulder Quest Center on the 13th and 14th and the theme for the seminar was Shinden Fudo Ryu style ninjutsu. The emphasis throughout was on natural movement, or techniques "without a lot of extra junk."

It was an interesting group dynamic (several TSD black belts from everywhichwhere, lots of local folks, some kids included), and I noticed the altitude was getting to some. The way Mr. Hayes went about showing us the material was in short phases: he'd show one attack, and have us mix-and-mingle to try it on a few different people, then he'd call us back and add the defense. Then the counter. Then the counter to that. Then the counter to that. And so on. I understand this is the way the TSD black belt training tends to be.

He did well catering to all the ranks (and abilities) that were present, and had some talks too, about many facets of martial arts philosophy, as well as how great TSD is and how excited he is at its growth. He has a way of asking questions and asking that people raise their hands to respond to him--by the end of the first day, hands were bobbing up and down all over the place!

Then the evening of the 13th, a bunch of the attendees went up to Kim's house and had a meditation session, then more people showed up to watch the BQC's first black belts do their demos and get their belts. It was really neato to watch the boys' demos with such scenery as a backdrop! I mean, look at the view (pic is of Kevin and Jeff F. doing a demo with padded weapons)!

And the other cool thing is that I was able to exchange books with Mr. Hayes--he signed one of his for me and I signed mine for him. He was very sweet and enthusiastic about the book, which made me happy. After all, I cited one of his Ninja books because I use those Feeling Presence exercises all the time in my classes for my actors to discover spatial awareness and distancing. He remarked that he likes to go to blogs and quote from them, so any of you that are on his forum, keep your eyes out for Bonzuko pearls! :) And of course, I hope that Mr. Hayes feels free to comment profusely here as well--keeping up the dialogue is how movement arts evolve.

When he had the two black belt candidates up in front of him going for their belts, he asked them why they were there--why did they want to get their black belt in TSD? I have lots of thoughts about this question myself. I'll hopefully be able to gather my thoughts enough in the next few months to post some musings on the subject.

Anyway, suffice to say that it was nifty having Stephen Hayes out here and great to work with some new and old friends. Thanks for this seminar, BQC!
The picture above is from the previous Stephen Hayes seminar, in 2006. Pictured (L to R): Stephen Hayes, Jenn, Rumiko Hayes.