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Fight Master Richard Ryan

Photo by Nancy Kane


SUNY Rockland Community College

The Performing Arts Department


Rockland Shakespeare Company

Are Proud to Present a very Special Summer Event

SUNY Rockland’s Performing Arts Department is extremely proud to present a very special returning guest instructor to SUNY Rockland this August as we welcome the world renowned Hollywood Fight arranger and SAFD Fight Master, Richard Ryan to the campus. Mr. Ryan will be conducting a two-week intensive combat qualification course and mentoring a select group of students in film and stage combat as they strive for certification by the Society of American Fight Directors.

This is a unique opportunity to work with one of the highest ranked professionals in the field of stage and cinematic fight direction, as well as to qualify for certification by the SAFD in Fighting for film and Broadsword. Students will receive a DVD of their work.

Mr. Ryan has choreographed hundreds of fights throughout his extensive career in Film, Theatre, Opera, TV, and most recently, Sherlock Holmes 2 with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Other work includes the Warner Brothers epics, TROY starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom and The Dark Knight with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger as well as many other films. He was also the 'Master-at-Arms' at London’s famous Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has taught stage combat extensively throughout the UK including training stage combat teachers and fight directors.

He has worked for many major theatrical companies such as Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company as well as various West End shows and National Tours on projects encompassing a traditional diet of Shakespearean and Jacobean plays to new contemporary works to a live show in Thailand where he staged a battle with eighty actors and four Elephants.

Richard has also taught numerous workshops both nationally and internationally including The British National Workshops, COS 2000 Spain and The International Stage Combat Workshop, New York Regional Workshop. For further information on Fight Master ~ Richard Ryan, please visit his websites: and

Application must be received by Wednesday, August 1st, 2012.

Course Cost: $750 ($350 Non-refundable deposit due with application)

Course runs August 6th to August 18th, 2012. All applicants must be 18 years or older.

Course acceptance and waitlist will be strictly limited. Apply early.

For Further information regarding this exciting course, please contact the Performing Arts Department of SUNY Rockland Community College at 845-574-4471. SAFD members in good standing received a 10% discount!

Applications are available online at and through the Performing Arts Department of SUNY Rockland Community College, 145 College Road, Suffern, NY 10901.

Fight Master Richard Ryan is returning to SUNY Rockland!

After a three-year hiatus, Mr. Ryan will be returning to conduct a special two-week intensive workshop in broadsword and Fighting for Film, culminating in Skills Proficiency Tests (SPT) and a Filmed version of each fight - edited and put to music!
There will also be Skills Proficiency Renewals (SPRin Sword & Shield and Knife!

If you wish to participate in this unique workshop with world-renown Fight Master -Richard Ryan, 

A Great Success!

please enjoy this wonderful news clip by Ben Rubin of the Journal News!

Hollywood director instructs at RCC


RAMAPO - With measured cadence, Richard Ryan went through each step with two students.

"Retreat. Lunge. Wait. Turn around."

He stood back and let the fighters try again.

"That's it, that's it," he exclaimed. "Not quite so far on that one."

For two weeks over the summer, Ryan, an 18-year stage and screen veteran, has worked as a guest instructor at Rockland Community College, where he trained a dedicated crew of 12 students and alumni in the fencing sword and quarterstaff.

Since 2003, the British-born fight director has been in high demand in Hollywood, teaching stars like Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro how to pull off a realistic-looking punch. One of his most recent projects was "The Dark Knight," where he helped choreograph scenes between Batman and the Joker.

Ryan also is one of only 14 people in the country currently awarded the title of fight master by the Society of American Fight Directors.

During class yesterday in a large room at RCC's Fieldhouse, Christopher Plummer defiantly pointed his rapier at Patrick Birmingham as they played a scene from "The Count of Monte Cristo," during one of the practice exercises Ryan gave them.

"I couldn't live in a world where you have everything, and I have nothing!" Plummer, an adjunct performing arts professor, bellowed.

They battled until Birmingham swiped Plummer's sword and slashed him in the leg. Plummer fell to the ground in miserable pain.

"What happened to your mercy?" he pleaded.

Birmingham, an RCC graduate, slowly walked toward him and offered Plummer his sword back. But just as he went for it, Birmingham plunged his sword into him.

Birmingham bent down to his level and rasped, "I'm a count, not a saint," as he twisted the sword out while staring into Plummer's dying eyes.

On his last gasp, Plummer broke character and got up.

Ryan came over to them, meticulously going over their stances, the way they hold their weapons, their interactions, intermittently stepping in to pantomime the action with one of the performers. Then Plummer and Birmingham started the scene from the beginning, practicing it over and over again.

Around them, several other pairs were busy going through their fight scenes, as well, the sounds of angry lines and clanking swords filling the room.

The group worked virtually nonstop for eight hours a day, even over weekends, to gain certification in various stage weapons.

Plummer and Patty Maloney-Titland, the performing arts department coordinator, met Ryan at a workshop in London four years ago and were able to bring him to the college for two years straight while he had time off between projects.

"It's a thrill. It's always enlightening, sometimes intimidating," Plummer, a stage fighting teacher himself, said about taking the class. "It's exhilarating, because he's such a high-caliber professional."

First looking for a career in acting, Ryan found an interest in stage fighting when he was in college, learning under acclaimed fight coordinator William Hobbs.

"There were a lot of really good actors, and I wasn't good enough to pursue that," he said yesterday.

Instead, he found more and more work teaching others stage fighting and coordinating fight sequences for British theater shows. He eventually became the master at arms for London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the world's top drama schools.

His break into movies came in 2003, when he was chosen to choreograph scenes in the war epic "Troy," and he has since worked on "Stardust," "The Golden Compass" and "The Last Legion."

"I've had a great time. I really enjoy what I do," he said. "I get to play with swords for a living."

Sweaty from practicing lines and steps for hours, Christina Schaudel, 23, of Pearl River took a quick breather to grab a drink.

"Even when you're across the room doing something, he can just pinpoint what you're doing, which for technique is so important," she said of Ryan.

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