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  • Writer's pictureAbby Messina

Certified in Unarmed Combat!

Updated: May 23

As of Sunday, December 10th 2024, I am so excited to share that I passed my SPT (Skills Proficiency Test) with Recommendation and am officially certified by the SAFD in Unarmed Combat for stage and screen!

This has been the culmination of lots of sweat, hard work, and plenty of bruises (and lots of smiles, to be completely honest), and I couldn't be prouder. This feels like the true beginning of my journey in the world of combat, and what a splendid way to kick this journey off.

For those of you who may not know, the SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors) is an internationally recognized organization that is "dedicated to promoting safety and fostering excellence in the art of stage combat". They also provide certifications in various weapon paths, where combatants are required to take a minimum of 30 hours in a weapon path with an SAFD-certified Fight Teacher before taking a Skills Proficiency Test (SPT) before an adjudicating SAFD Fight Master.

There are two different types of SPT passes: a basic pass, and a pass with recommendation. According to the SAFD's website:

A basic pass is given to students who demonstrate technical proficiency with the weapon, while creating a sense of tension and the illusion of danger. A recommended pass is awarded to students who do all of the above, but perform with a strong sense of character and demonstrate a high level of acting and performing technique.

I've been training for a little while now since living in NYC, but after having to take some time off from training due to health issues, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to continue pursuing my passion. So getting my official certification was a beautiful reminder that life may throw you some nasty curveballs sometimes, but the Universe can also be incredibly kind and giving. Long story short--I learned that if there's a will, there's a way, and not to question the moments of good you get in your life.

There are a few folks I can't thank enough for helping me on this journey. First, Neutral Chaos Combat and Rob Aronowitz for the wonderful training, and Fight Master Nigel Poulton for his adjudication, his knowledge, and for my Recommended Pass. I also am forever grateful to my TAs Simon Kiser and Brandon Meeks for their knowledge and unwavering support to myself and my Unarmed classmates.

It would also be remiss of me to not extend my gratitude to my phenomenal scene partner, Mimi Lam, who took care of me as a scene partner and friends, and to all of my amazing friends and family for supporting me in this journey every step of the way.

To more fake violence in the future! ⚔️

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