NSFS certification tests are considered checkpoints in a student’s journey to becoming the best possible fight performer they can be. Performing a fight for adjudication adds pressure as technique and artistry needs to come together to make the fight come alive. The certification process also gives teachers the opportunity to see how a student reacts under pressure, thereby possibly revealing strengths and weaknesses that are later discussed in a feedback session with the performer to further their development.

Certifications are divided into three blocks: Block 1, Block 2 and Block 3. The block 1 tests focus on acquiring a solid foundation, and uses weapons that are relevant in creating a good base in dramatic combat: broadsword, single rapier and unarmed. Block 2 focuses on dual wielding and on improving the student’s coordination between the two sides of the body: quarterstaff, rapier and dagger, and sword and shield. Block 3 focuses on specificity, speed, adaptability and stylization. The weapons chosen for these purposes: smallsword, knife and theatrical martial arts (TMA).

Certifying in all three test levels, the intermediate student is given access to the advanced workshop, where teachers offer specialized classes to further develop the performers artistry. This workshop has no certification, and no set curriculum other than to work specifically with each student to widen their artistic range in dramatic combat. Classes and weapon disciplines change from workshop to workshop, allowing the performer the creative playground they need to improve.

NSFS handbook is at the moment under construction as we are working on updating the specifics of the system, and some of the information is out of date. Most of the information is still up to date and checking the older version of handbook gives a picture of the practicalities of test-taking etc.