Character Profile: The Pirate

Avast there matey's! Ye come seekin' adventure and salty old pirates, eh? Sure, you come to the proper place. Be warned though, Pirates can be tricky things. Ye may have heard legend of the Pirate of Phase III; the ghastly, salt-speckled beast which stalks the nightmares of many of ye Warrior Masterclass Students. Well, listen up me hearties, if you please,  we have some advice for ye, advice that may spare ye from the depths of Davy Jones' Locker!


If Warrior Masterclass Phase II brings you to the level of a background fighter, then Phase III is where you take centre stage, being asked to perform at the level of a principal or lead fighter. On Phase III you will perform as the principal fighter playing five different characters. The most notorious of these characters is the Pirate! Statistically speaking, it's the hardest character to pass. We asked our instructors what makes this character so hard, and what can you do to better prepare for playing the Pirate?

The pirate is the most technical of the five characters you have to perform on Phase III. It involves elegance, aggression, grace, power, and dynamics. If you take the pirate back to its historical origins and build the character upon that, all pirates from the late 1500s onward would have been trained in the use of the rapier sword. A long, thin, double-edged weapon. All of the techniques used in this weapon were brought to the cutlass, which was created for fighting in close quarters on the decks of the ship; in and around ropes, rigging, and uneven surfaces where the rapier wasn't as effective due to its length. 

Performing a lunge uses the full range of any one-handed weapon system, and for those who have never done this before they may find it difficult to perform correctly. It is imperative to use the wrists when using any single-handed sword, making sure that you keep your arm in front of your body at all times, and not allowing the weapon to stray from the body at any point. The weapon should be primarily wielded using the index finger and thumb, this allows a whipping action with the wrists when attacking.

To use this weapon system correctly you need a nice, wide balanced stance. When moving forward, large steps should be used, stepping off from the back foot, and when moving back you should step off from the front and your toes. You should primarily use the balls of your feet, which will allow you to move in and out of your opponent's range swiftly and dynamically.

Following these techniques will help. The pirate is more of a technical dance that the other characters. It's like trying to perform ballet when you've just mastered the tango.

A good aid to help you get used to this graceful and elegant movement is to attend fencing classes. Competing in fencing is the closest you will get to the reaction of a fight where you need to get close to your opponent and then away again very quickly. Warrior Masterclass will teach you the techniques of performing a fight on screen, but to truly master each weapon system you should be constantly training. 

Some techniques which will aid you with the character include leaving your parry as late as possible. A lot of people parry too early which impairs the distance and realism of the performance. Leaving the parry until as late as possible helps with your reaction and gives you time to prepare for the next move. 

It is also vital that you research your character extensively. Find inspiration in history; looking at real-life pirates such as Calico Jack, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read. A veteran pirate from the golden age of piracy, between 1690 and 1730, would have had a code of conduct. They would have had respect for ranks on-board the ship, although if they were a captain they would have had to be wary, and not show any weakness as they would risk mutiny. Pirates may have had a code, but they were mercenaries and were unpredictable. 

As with any character you will get out of it what you put into it. The more you train, the better you will become. If you are struggling with the training, then join us on a Warrior Club where our instructors will be able to help you put these techniques into action and give you more helpful advice and tips that will help you master the pirate!

Now my hearties, drink up and raise a glass of rum. A toast to piracy, and its many shiny rewards. As a career, what could be more rewarding?

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