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“As founder of the Society of American Fight Directors it is my privilege and honor to speak on behalf of Maestro Dale Girard whom I have known and worked with for nearly 40 years. During our many years together, he has always presented himself as the consummate professional with a huge skill set. […] His reputation in the fight/stunt industry precedes him, and his knowledge of the industry is foremost in his book Actors on Guard which should be a must read for anyone wanting to enter the industry.”

(David L. Boushey – Fight Master and founder of the Society of American Fight Directors)


Writing on the topics of stage combat, acting, dramatic movement and historical swordplay, Dale Anthony Girard has written over 40 publications, including books, articles and reviews. Best known for his highly praised stage combat manual Actors On Guard (Routledge Press: 2nd edition 2021, 1st edition 1996), Dale is also the principle contributing author for Fighting Words (Edited by David Blixt, for Sordelet Ink, 2015).  Fighting Words is based on Dale’s self-published lexicon, The Fight Arranger’s Companion (1st edition 1988, 5th edition 2000). 

Along with Dale’s manuscripts on stage combat and historical swordplay, he also served as the book review columnist for the Society of American Fight Directors’ professional journal The Fight Master. Over the course 10 years (1989-1998), Dale wrote over 35 separate reviews on current and past publications that addressed the art of stage combat and historical swordplay. Furthermore, Dale spent 4 years writing the membership Profiles column for the SAFD’s bimonthly newsletter The Cutting Edge. Over those 4 years he wrote a number of biographical summaries about different members of the SAFD. Outside the SAFD, he has also penned articles for the likes of the University of Alabama Press (“Listening to the Language of Violence.” Theatre and Violence: Theatre Symposium, Volume VII – 1999), the Tulsa Opera Education Department (Giving Opera A Fighting Chance – 1995) and other publishing venues. 

Available Publications

Actors on Guard (2nd Ed.)

Actors On Guard (2nd Ed.): Training, Rehearsal and Performance Techniques with the Rapier and Dagger for the Stage and Screen. New York: Routledge Press / Theatre Arts Books, 2nd Edition – 2021.


The most comprehensive book covering the current practices in learning, rehearsing and performing safe and dynamic swordfights with the single rapier and the rapier and dagger for both stage and screen.

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Actors on Guard (1st Ed.)

Actors On Guard (1st Ed.): A Practical Guide for the use of the Elizabethan Rapier & Dagger for Stage and Screen. New York: Routledge Press / Theatre Arts Books, 1st Edition – 1996.


Previously the most comprehensive and detailed book on the art of theatrical swordplay until its revision in 2021. It provides the reader with the historical, theoretical and practical basis for learning, practicing and presenting theatrical sword fights with the Elizabethan rapier and dagger. Still quite applicable today, the first edition continues to provide actors, directors, teachers, stage managers and technicians the skills and knowledge essential to presenting safe and effective fights, both for stage and screen.

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Fighting Words:
A Combat Glossary

Fighting Words: A Combat Glossary. Edited by David Blixt, New Jersey: Sordelet Ink, 2015.

An expansive lexicon of historical fencing/sword play terms culled from Dale Anthony Girard’s popular manuscript The Fight Arranger’s Companion. Mr. Girard’s work is supported by essays on broadswords, rapiers, smallswords, and storytelling. Including essays by David Blixt, Jared Kirby, and Mike Leoni. The work is compiled and edited by prolific novelist David Blixt.

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