A Day On Titan

A full-blooded scream is heard from the car park. Followed by the sounds of clashing swords and Andreas shouting instructions in the main hall at Guildford Spectrum, it's only 9.30am and Titan is already in full flow. Two Warriors stand in the middle of the hall, viciously swinging their practice swords at each other. The rest of the group watches with baited breath. It’s easy to imagine this as a fighting pit, or a colosseum, with Gladiators fighting to the death.

That is until lead instructor Andreas shouts at the Warriors to slow down. They do as their told, taking the time to make sure they get the moves right first, making sure the basics are correct. All the elements learnt on Phase I and II start to really come together. The fight finishes and the aggression on display only a moment ago disappears. The combatants hug each other, and the rest of the group give them a thunderous round of applause. The sense of camaraderie is palpable, but these Warriors will need it later.

With the routines finished, it’s now time for Andreas to show his experience. He introduces the Warriors to some new weapons, including a South American Boleadoras, a piece of rope with three wooden balls attached that can be used to bring down horses and cattle, but Noel is the unlucky instructor today and is told to run across the hall, Andreas spins the Boleadoras, and whips it into Noel’s path, the balls and string wrap around his legs, Andreas pulls tight, and Noel plummets to the ground.

Unfortunately for Noel, they repeat this three times.

After lunch, it’s down to business, and the atmosphere changes. It starts with Andreas, the jokes stop, and a new seriousness takes over. It’s clear that here is where the hard work really starts. It’s time for the Titan Hero Scenarios. Taking the routines learnt on Phase II, and adding characters to them. Andreas briefs the group as if addressing a military squadron, or like a football manager running through team tactics, the Pep Guardiola of the stunt world.

He runs through the theory behind the routines. Each person will end up doing 25 routines. They are split into groups of 4, and with each one assigned a team leader. The groups are given a character to perform, with each member of the group having to play the hero, and three villains per routine. In total, they will have to master 25 routines each. Andreas gives them some advice before they get started. “Keep the routines stupid simple!”

The characters they are given are as follows: Pirate (sword routine), Gladiator (sword routine), Knight (sword and shield routine), Hoplite (spear and shield routine), and Thug (unarmed routine). The aim here is to put together everything they’ve learnt on Phase I and II, and perform within the character. If you’re a pirate you need the deadly grace of a pirate, if you’re a thug, you have to have the fierce aggression of a thug.

It’s not just about nailing the routines, it’s about being believable within the character.

The groups take their positions, quickly talk through a routine, and then start to hack away at each other. It’s mesmerising to watch. A hall full of fighters, shouting, attacking, blocking, swerving, and lunging. Once every group has had their routine filmed, they gather in to watch the playback. This is where the mood changes. Andreas has stopped joking. If the morning was jovial, this is deadly serious. He points out their mistakes and shows them when they aren’t managing the basics. It’s not mean, its constructive criticism. It’s honest, but if these Warriors don’t get it right now, they have no chance of passing the course. It’s time to find out who really is Titan ready.

The groups change characters and get back into their routines. Fitness starts to come into play here too. The routines come thick and fast and it’s hard to keep your energy up, especially when you’re on your 15th go. It’s exhausting stuff.  The group are all pushing themselves hard, and tiredness is setting in. They're sore, they're aching, they've got blisters, and they know they've still got another day to go. They persevere though, they keeping pushing through. The way a real Warrior would.

It’s not hyperbole when we say these courses take blood, sweat and tears.

The next day the group is assessed, and then it’s time to go home, all of them anxious to find out if they’ve met the standard required to pass Phase III: 

The results are in. The jump between Phase II and Phase III is the biggest between any of the courses. It’s an incredibly tough course to pass. Out of the twenty Warriors who completed the course, five have passed. Those five are ecstatic. The hard work paid off, and they can’t wait to get back into training and get ready for Phase IV. They accomplished an incredible achievement, one they should all be immensely proud of themselves for.

It does, however, leave fifteen students facing bad news. They haven’t met the standard this time. It’s important to emphasise that because our Warriors aren’t the kind of people to be disheartened by one set back. What’s clear, even from my short time here, is the friendship between the group. A lot of these Warriors started together on Phase I and have progressed through the Phases together, and it really shows.

They train together, they comfort each other, they praise each other, and they lift each other up when they fall down. They’re already back in training, and working on their routines. They’ve taken the feedback from the instructors onboard, and are keen to get it right next time. They are still hungry, and they can’t wait to be re-assessed. Jason Bonthuys was quick to post onto Instagram, saying:

“One thing's for sure - having to retake this test again will 100% make me a better a performer and increase my technical standard to a much higher level”

If that’s not a Warriors attitude, I don’t know what is.


You can check out our full list of course dates right HERE!

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