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17th July 2016

Featured ID Team Member: Daniel Tyler-Smith

We come to another long term ID Team member today. Daniel Tyler-Smith has worked with us as an assistant, a performer and a student for much of our 10 years.
What is your job?
I am an actor-combatant (stage and screen combat performer) and sometimes assist teach in stage and screen combat classes.

How did you get into stage combat?
Around 10 years ago I started taking advantage of some great performing arts related courses at Stratford Circus in London. After doing several acting and singing classes I thought I'd try this stage combat malarkey that they had a course on. After one class, I was hooked and never looked back.

How long have you been training in stage combat?
Nearly 10 years.

What courses and/or workshops have you done with ID?
I have done numerous courses with ID. Some as a student, some as an assistant teacher and some as both. One of the first weapon systems that I certified in with the BASSC was knife with Ronin Traynor. Since then, I have done both BASSC classes with Ronin and BADC classes with Dan Styles in Broadsword, Sword & Shield, Smallsword, Quarterstaff, Knife, Rapier & Dagger and Unarmed Combat. I have also participated in their firearms workshops and have been to many dozens of Combat Labs.

What is your favourite weapon or unarmed style?
My favourite weapon has to be single handed broadsword with or without a shield. This might have something to do with the fact that this is the weapon that I use the most and are therefore most familiar with. But also, growing up amidst 80's pop culture, it was the sword featured in all my favourite cartoons and films.

It is not too big so still has speed and not too small so as to loose out on reach and therefore is a very practical weapon. It has incredible versatility too as it is a thrusting and cutting weapon and all parts of it can be used offensively.

What has been the favourite part of your training?
Good partnering. There are a number of other advanced fighters that I occasionally have the pleasure of fighting (a lot of whom I started my training with) that I can just click with and that together we can raise each other to a place where the fight just seems to "flow". These moments have been the high points of all my training.

In what ways has stage combat training helped you?
It has given me great pleasure to be able to do something that I love and get paid for it. Stage combat related jobs pay most of my bills. It has also introduced me to some of my closest friends.

Have you had any work through ID?
A huge amount, if not most of my combat related jobs come from ID. They have been very good to me over the last 10 years so here's to the next 10 years!

What has been your favourite fight related job?
I have worked on a number of high profile productions but it is the more independent, tighter knit productions that have been the more pleasurable as you often get to work with friends. Also, considering I have been an actor for 20 years and I am equally passionate about acting as I am fighting, it is the featured roles that have involved fighting that I have enjoyed the most. The one that had the most influence on my life & career was a series called Chronicles of Syntax. I had a lead role which also involved a great deal of combat.

What would be your ideal job?
A featured fighting role on Game of Thrones or perhaps in The Silmarillion or Thundercats if either ever gets made.

Do you have any funny/interesting stage combat stories?
One that a few colleagues like to remind me of whenever they can is the time that during a demonstration I somehow knapped myself in the face instead of the chest when doing a headbutt! I have also been stabbed and punched too many times to remember and had weapons broken over my head but nothing resulting in anything serious thankfully so most have been incidents to laugh at. There may be one or two stories other than this but nothing that I can post here without incriminating anyone, lol.

What is your favourite fight you've seen in a film or stage production and why?
The fight between Hector and Achilles in Troy. I could write a short essay on why, but other than the beautiful choreography, the great performances by both Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, the build up to the fight and the stakes as well as the tragedy of its outcome, I suppose the fight is just one that resonates with me. Like all creative endeavours, fights are also largely subjective but if you haven't seen Troy then I'd highly recommend watching it and seeing for yourself.

From your experience what advice would you give to someone wanting to be a fight performer?
Do the accredited courses. I started off with the BASSC and did every weapon back to back until I was distinction level in all of them and had reached advanced certification. This gave me the optimal foundation in Stage & Screen Combat. I have since got my advanced certification with the BADC as well and would highly recommend either body to train under.

You can see more about Dan's previous acting work on his spotlight page: www.spotlight.com/2373-8940-9836

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