I recently coordinated and performed in three demonstrations at the Martial Arts Festival UK organized in Leicester by Kwoklyn Wan, a well known martial artist and Jeet Kune Do instructor who runs a number of schools based in and around the same town.
Choreographing a demonstration always requires some level of preparation while I personally prefer avoiding a complete rehearsal of the whole thing. Punching, kicking and blocking, attacking and defending is something we do in every lesson so my basic strategy is always to have a script about what will be done but leaving the interpretation to the individuals in order to ensure the performance to be more realistic. Ultimately a fight cannot be rehearsed.
I believe that the main objectives of a demonstration are:
- To give a basic idea of the main techniques in terms of kicks, punches, stances and guards for your particular school or style;
- To be interesting for the person from the general public that doesn’t have even a basic idea about martial arts as well as gaining respect from fellow martial artists;
- To show the level of skill of your school or club;
- To be catchy enough to inspire passers by to stop and watch.
Given the final results and the video we managed to produce I am very happy of the overall experience: all CARISMA members that were there truly enjoyed it themselves.
A point I always try to make in my demonstrations is that we must remember that martial arts are about fighting, personal development, controlled actions and well harmonised attacks and defence. Movements should look smoothly and effortlessly performed, otherwise we risk to be looking too much like street fighters. On the other hand the demonstration should be and look realistic: for my taste a bit too many schools were running shows that appeared too much like dancing rather that expressions of fighting arts.
I was highly impressed by the organization of the show itself and I congratulated several times with Kwoklyn about location, quality of staff and their competence, the great variety of martial arts being showed and the workshops run. I firmly hope I will be invited again to be part of the second edition of MAF-UK next year.