Jack Gassmann, Historical Combat Specialist

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An article by the Historical Combat Specialist, Jack Gassmann.

Bringing the newest research into historical combat scenes for the camera and stage; I am a performer, actor, writer, stuntman and historian, who develops, creates and performs accurate depictions of combat scenes for film and theatre; what I do is much harder to explain than to show, that’s why I love hexology!

I gallop around in Roman armour parrying spears thrown at me in live shows; I teach authentic Elizabethan swordsmanship to actors; I organise Viking skirmish scenes and Victorian street fights; I publish articles in academic journals and make presentations at international conferences on medieval warfare and tactics; and when I’m at networking events hexology let’s my work speak for itself.

My Story:

I grew up on my parents farm in Kansas riding mustangs, and learning surviving Plains Indian horse archery from the Bald Eagle family in the Dakotas. When my family moved to Switzerland I competed and won historical fencing competitions, and then continued to compete whilst teaching across Europe at the age of 18. I have studied numerous different historical weapons systems and won awards for technical performance, apart from the many Golds and Silvers the most recent award I have won is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in Columbus.

Understanding how martial arts has developed over the centuries has helped me appreciate how the quality of character and story can be raised when the tactics used in combat scenes are historically accurate. In the dual between Tybalt and Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there are references to the different schools of fencing, Tybalt’s stance on stage follows the Spanish Style where as Romeo follows the Italian. The depiction of a medieval Knight comes alive when a longsword is used in an authentic way.

To help share the knowledge and skills I have learned, I decided to end my career in competitive fencing and go into film. I want to see the brilliance and technical subtlety of the German longsword; the brutal efficiency of Italian swordsmanship and it’s dagger work; the myriad of different schools of Rapier and the gentlemanly violence of Victorian self defence put on par with that of their Asian cousins; all brought to life in the world of film. I want to create authentic actions scenes that make sense for the characters, and add richness and depth to the setting and story.. Wow!!!

The audience will experience something they may have never seen before!

 

Hexology helps me share my story with people around me without even opening my mouth and for that, it is brilliant.

When people meet me for the first time, hexology helps them find out all about me; decide whether they want to talk to me and also give them enough information to dive into productive discussion. Hexology is like having my own personal PR guru working for me 24/7. I can wear #hex on the London Underground or whilst having coffee in Soho, where ever I am I know that people are able to see my work. It’s a feeling of peace!!

Believe me, the idea of being judged on my work first and foremost is a liberating thought.  If I meet someone with #hex then I can find out enough about them to make the right approach, and using hexology I know that I am carrying all of my showreel material around me so that I can make a positive first impression. I’m always looking for collaborator’s and if I see another person’s work through hexology then I can figure out if they are a good match, it tells me they’re serious and they want to put their work out there.

So how would I describe Hexology?

For me, hexology is my own personal PR assistant that works 24/7, cutting through the bullshit and getting to the heart of everything.

  • It saves me time, no need for lengthy pitches!
  • It keeps the focus where it should be, my work!
  • No need to rely on my sales ability; I may have a bad day but hexology can’t!
  • Peace of mind, hexology helps me target the right people.
  • People can find out if they want to talk to me, no bullshit.
  • I can walk into a room full of producers and directors and find the ones that I want to work with and those who might want to work with me without having to make a cold pitch.

For all of these reasons I love hexology, and now I think you know why!

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