Those who have long dreamed of wielding an elegant weapon for a more civilized age like a Jedi Master may finally have their chance: An honest-to-goodness lightsaber academy has opened in San Francisco.
OK, maybe not technically “honest-to-goodness,” as you won’t be slicing off hands or disemboweling Tauntauns with your weapon of choice, but you’ll certainly be able to … once you track down the necessary Kyber crystals to manufacture one.
LudoSport, which opened its first lighstaber academy in Italy a decade ago, is now bringing its franchise to the Bay Area, where students can learn seven forms of combat: Shii-cho, Makashi, Soresu, Ataru, Djem-so, Niman and Vaapad.
“So what is sporting Light Saber Combat really useful for?” founding master Gianluca Longo ”Sabnak” writes. “It has the same use as any sport where a healthy competitive spirit and fair play are still present. It is a sport that anyone can try without any distinction of health, gender or aptitude, where there is still a sense of a group that is ready to openly welcome anyone with the same passion.”
This isn’t merely a bunch of “Star Wars” fanatics running around with glowing sticks, however. There are rules that detail everything from the types of lightsabers used to the forms of combat to the types of apparel. Aas with some martial arts, colors correspond to a student’s skill level, with Apprentices wearing white tees and black pants, Younglings all black, and Padawans earning a belt. And, yes, there are Jedi/Sith ensembles.
The lighstabers themselves are impressive (most impressive); students start out with blue blades, and then may choose their path, and associated color, as they progress at the academy.
Don’t think it’s all practice, though. There are international ratings, one-on-one duels, and even national tournaments. Presumably they don’t end with Jedi Order 66.
But is lightsaber combat a martial art? Longo describes it as a fighting sport, explaining, “We have only been a consolidated reality for 10 years. We are still at the infant stage if we compare ourselves to any traditional martial art. Therefore NO, we aren’t a martial art and I don’t see why we should try to find a precise definition of what we represent.”
(via Houston Chronicle)
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