Membership Levels and Fees

Through the Academy of Fight Directors Canada, we offer four levels of training for performers- Youth, Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. We use a progressive approach to actor training, allowing actor/combatants to build on prior skills and to eventually achieve a world-class standard of performance.

The Academy also offers apprenticeship and training for Fight Instructors who are qualified to teach all twelve disciplines across all actor/combatant levels.

Membership in Fight Directors Canada and The Academy of Fight Directors Canada costs $40 per year, and allows members in good standing access to our newsletter and online training resources, discounts at participating schools and props rental houses, and a voice in the future of FDC. There are discounts on memberships for Youth members, and for Basic members who are currently enrolled at a post-secondary school.

For a one-time fee of $30, members can also have a personal online profile in our searchable member directory. More member benefits are being added all the time!

New members can register at any time through our online registration page. Current or returning members should visit our membership renewal page (note that you must be logged in to view this page).

Details of the various levels can be found below.

Membership Levels and Fees

Through the Academy of Fight Directors Canada, we offer four levels of training for performers- Youth, Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. We use a progressive approach to actor training, allowing actor/combatants to build on prior skills and to eventually achieve a world-class standard of performance.

The Academy also offers apprenticeship and training for Fight Instructors who are qualified to teach all twelve disciplines across all actor/combatant levels.

Membership in Fight Directors Canada and The Academy of Fight Directors Canada costs $40 per year, and allows members in good standing access to our newsletter and online training resources, discounts at participating schools and props rental houses, and a voice in the future of FDC. There are discounts on memberships for Youth members, and for Basic members who are currently enrolled at a post-secondary school.

For a one-time fee of $30, members can also have a personal online profile in our searchable member directory. More member benefits are being added all the time!

New members can register at any time through our online registration page. Current or returning members should visit our membership renewal page (note that you must be logged in to view this page).

Details of the various levels can be found below.

Membership at the Associate level is opening to anyone who is interested in joining FDC. Associate members are not certified as actor/combatants, but otherwise enjoy all the benefits of FDC membership- a vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM),  access to online resources, and discounts for many FDC events. 

While Basic Actor/Combatant training is limited to adults age 18 and up, AFDC's Youth certification allows people aged 14-17 a chance to begin their training before they are eligible for Basic.

This preparatory course serves as an introduction to stage combat, including concepts like stage awareness, partnering, and creating believable illusions. The Youth Actor-Combatant is competent in the weapon systems at this level, and above all, safe. Youth students will also learn about the history and practice of stage combat, and the current practices within the industry.

The weapons at this level are Unarmed and Single Sword.

Unarmed

Unarmed combat is the most often used fighting in any performance. This includes falls, slaps, hair pulls, chokes, among others. High emotion drives these ordinary people to violence, so it is a great starting-point for actors.

Sword

Generic swordplay may be taught using a variety of swords, most commonly epee blades. FDC insists on blunt metal swords. The style is ahistorical, but may be characterized as “swashbuckling” or “sabre-like”. It is, however, based on proper fencing concepts and forms a foundation for historical styles studied later.

 

A Youth Certification is valid for three years, and can be renewed should it lapse before the student turns 18. A discounted membership rate of $50 for the duration is offered to all Youth members.

Note that FDC policy states that all prospective Actor/Combatants must hold a valid membership for the duration of their certification prior to testing.

The first level of certification is considered to be essential for all professional actors. The Basic Actor-Combatant is competent in the weapon systems at this level, and above all, safe.

The candidate must complete a course with a certified FDC Instructor (or higher) with a minimum duration of 60 hours.

The weapons at this level are Unarmed, Single Sword, and Quarterstaff.

Unarmed

Unarmed combat is the most often used fighting in any performance. This includes falls, slaps, hair pulls, chokes, among others. High emotion drives these ordinary people to violence, so it is a great starting-point for actors.

Sword

Generic swordplay may be taught using a variety of swords, most commonly epee blades. FDC insists on blunt metal swords. The style is ahistorical, but may be characterized as “swashbuckling” or “sabre-like”. It is, however, based on proper fencing concepts and forms a foundation for historical styles studied later.

Quarterstaff

Quarterstaff fights are less common in professional theatre, but the skills learned in staff class are highly transferrable and pave the way for further advancement. Training in quarterstaff from the beginning gives the actor the challenges of a long weapon, using two hands simultaneously, and judging different distances.

 

Basic Actor/Combatant certification is for 3 years, and membership fees are C$40 per year ($120 total). Note that there is a discount rate for post-secondary students ($25/year, $75 total).

The second level of certification begins a study of historical fighting styles in broad strokes. The Intermediate Actor-Combatant is skilled in the weapon systems at this level, and always safe.

The candidate must complete a course with a certified FDC Instructor (or higher) with a minimum duration of 80 hours.

The weapons at this level are: Martial Arts, Smallsword, Longsword (Broadsword), and Rapier & Dagger

 

Martial Arts

The instructor will teach from experience several martial arts styles and how to combine them and adapt them for performance. Usually, this will include at least one “hard style” including hand strikes, kicks and blocks, and one “soft style” which incorporates throws, joint locks and pressure points.

Smallsword

The latest evolution of the dueling sword was the smallsword, a light thin blade that was mostly a thrusting weapon. The ability to manipulate such a light and fast weapon with precision and safety is challenging.

Longsword

Called by many names through the ages, the zweihander, two-handed sword, bastard sword… it has a long, wide, flat blade and is used for cutting and thrusting.

Rapier & Dagger

The coordination of two hands with two different weapons is a special challenge. With a long rapier in the dominant hand and a dagger in the other, the actor learns the schools of defense that figure in some of the most exciting stage fights.

 

Intermediate Actor/Combatant certification is for 3 years, and membership fees are C$40 per year ($120 total).

The final level of certification for performers refines and perfects the actor’s skills and knowledge. Fight Directors Canada only awards Advanced Actor-Combatant to those candidates who appear flawless, fast and unfailingly safe.
The candidate must complete a course with a certified FDC Instructor (or higher) with a minimum duration of 100 hours.

The weapons at this level are: Armed Martial Arts, Advanced Smallsword, Sword and Shield, Rapier and Companion, and Found/Environmental Weapons

 

Advanced Martial Arts

There are hundreds of styles of martial arts, and at this level, the performer is expected to understand many complicated varieties. Most importantly, the use of traditional weapons in those arts becomes part of the choreography. This may include: katana (bokken), kali sticks, nunchaku, sai, chinese broadsword, cane, or any other the instructor chooses.

Advanced Smallsword

The speed of the smallsword is pushed to the performer’s limit at this level. Multiple feints, long sequences and ultra-precise targeting will be tested.

Sword & Shield

Visibility is a major challenge for this weapon combination. The actor will also master the different ways of using a shield for defense and attack.

Rapier & Companion

A rapier in the dominant hand is now accompanied by an unorthodox weapon in the other hand. The instructor will choose: Rapier & Cloak, Rapier & Hat, Rapier & Lantern, or Case of Rapiers (twin rapiers).

Found/Environmental Weapons

The object used as a weapon instead of its intended use can be a source of comedy, or a sign of frantic desperation. The actor must be aware of the behaviour and limitations of those objects, and their use to optimum effect in a scene.

 

Advanced Actor/Combatant certification is for 5 years, and membership fees are C$40 per year ($200 total).

After completing Advanced Actor/Combatant training, members who wish to become Fight Instructors must apply to become an apprentice to begin their training as a Fight Instructor. Prospective apprentices are supervised by at least one Fight Master and/or two Fight Directors throughout their apprenticeship, and are expected to complete at least 350 hours as an assistant, to act as a Journeyperson at the Nationals or equivalent workshop, and have certifications in First Aid/CPR and firearms safety, as well as have a strong understanding of FDC standards and techniques at all levels, our Policies and Procedures, and more. A complete list of requirements for apprentice application and course of study can be found in our Policies and Procedures, section 3.

A prospective Fight Instructor must be a member in good standing for 3 years prior to becoming an apprentice, and for 5 years before testing.

Fight Instructor certifiation is good for 5 years, and must be renewed in order to continue to be valid.

For inquires regarding the apprenticeship process, please contact our Director of Administration at membershipadmin(at)fdc.ca.

The Registry of Fight Directors is not a training program overseen by the Academy of Fight Directors Canada, but rather an association of stage combat professionals. It is not necessary to be a member of FDC prior to applying, nor do you need to have trained as an FDC Actor/Combatant or Instructor.

Individuals wishing to become FDC Fight Directors are expected to have an extensive list of professional stage combat direction credits, to be able to demonstrate knowledge, professionalism, adaptability, diplomacy, and creativity.

Complete details on the application process and requirements can be found in our Policies and Procedures, Section 4.

Fight Director certification is good for 5 years, and is renewed automatically upon payment of membership dues for the new certification period.

For inquires regarding the application process, please contact our Director of Administration at membershipadmin(at)fdc.ca.