Mar 12 2010

First day with Marianne, Lars and Jürgen (Group One)

WHAT A DAY! I can hardly believe that we got through almost the whole primary Pressa system. While I’d gone over just about everything we did today at some point or another, it was a big day for me of things falling into place. It helps that we had a great group of people, but also Brad’s really perfecting his method of teaching Pressa. He’s found a way to break out the several elements of Pressa into manageable chunks, developed exercises to practice them, and introduce them in such a way that they all make sense. This allows us, the students, to understand our own bodies and movement, and also have tools for discovering the system ourselves. This allows us to have better ownership over the material and condition our brains to become better learners. I was coming up with a lot of my own images and connections today. THAT’S when I know I’m entering another stage of comprehension.

It was a really good “listening” day for me, too. I found that I was sensitive to incoming information, and was able to do something with it. At previous workshops/lessons, I’ve sometimes had trouble with “listening” (ie. seeing and feeling body language cues) and with interpreting the information. Today, even despite moments of frustration with myself, I was able to “listen”, be aware of when I wasn’t “listening”, and do something about it. A fantastic thing, especially when so much information is coming in.

As I had seen today’s material before, I was able to focus even more energy on watching HOW Brad was teaching: his sequencing, what he says, how he communicates with people, and more. I saw a lot of the things we spoke about during and since my visit to Virginia, and some confirmation of principles I’ve heard from other people. Actually, it’s really neat to talk to teacher after teacher, and artist after artist. Many people are saying some of the same things, but they just have a different vocabulary. The benefit of this is that I’m hearing slightly different versions and nuances of the same principle, which allows me to better understand it. I’m so grateful that I have this opportunity to do this study period (shout out to the Chalmers Arts Fellowship and the Ontario Arts Council!), and can fully devote time and energy to it. I’m learning so much about stage combat, acting and theatre, the technique and the art. Being exposed to such variety is helping me to develop as an actor, a fighter, and an artist in ways that I couldn’t — or it would take so very much longer — if I couldn’t travel like this.

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Jan 30 2010

Week one with Brad in DC

Classes are done for this week.  I am continually awed by his eye for the big picture and his ability to listen.  I’ve spend many years looking at the details which are also important, but the big picture is what binds it all together.  His style of teaching also involves observing and listening.  While this may not seem extraordinary (of course you have to observe and listen! How else can you see what they’re doing), what perhaps is amazing is how he applies the information he receives.  What seems to me like magic, though hopefully not for long, is how he anticipates the students’ needs.  He picks up on the tiniest cues and has a most appropriate response.  Well, beyond appropriate.  He has exceptional to solutions to problems, insightful interaction with people and clever redirection of energy.  Brad practices what he preaches.  Just as Marozzo’s grappling techniques require keen listening, good structure and positioning, and a choice from the many responses available, so does Brad, in his life and his teaching, listen to people and situations, remain unshaken by new stimuli, and chose a response that best fits the situation.  If I nothing else, this week I will listen.

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