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In the world of The Fifth Sacred Thing, the residents of San Francisco agree to resist the Steward Army with non-violent tactics. Even among those who do agree to engage in active resistance there is a consensus that the machinery of warfare and domination may be sabotaged or destroyed, but not at the expense of taking lives. It is a shaky consensus, especially among those most committed to liberating the city with direct action, such as Cress, the Water Guild, and even Bird.
When Starhawk and I originally spoke about the project I asked her about the aspect of facing the violent invaders, and how to create a form of engagement with the weapons and violence of the invading Stewards and their drive to exploit the resources, claim the water, and destroy the peace that San Franciscans had created through 20 years of living in harmony with nature and honoring their diversity of culture.
How do we defend against violence without becoming violent in our actions?
I began working with Ethan Minor and a group of stunt actors and martial artists to develop an earth based practice of non-lethal combat and self-defense. We have named this practice Pacha Jitsu – which is translated as the “art or technique of Mother Earth”.
Working together we created a form of self defense which is more of a dance, uniting elements of Aikido, Parkour, and Capoeira with dance forms like tango and contact improvisation. The student of Pacha Jitsu redirects the force used by the opponent to incapacitate and bind the attacker, rather than to wound or hurt them.
We are committed to developing and showing in the film a new way of thinking about non-violent resistance, and generating a model for how to respond when faced with an oppressive power that uses violence to stop the action of the people to effect change.
Please take a moment to enjoy these videos of the stunt team working on the development of Pacha Jitsu:
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