May The Force Be With You

lightsaber

Dans une galaxie pas si lointaine et il n’y a pas si longtemps, la première école de Jedi ouvrait ses portes au Royaume-Uni, attirant des fans de Star Wars mais également ceux voulant découvrir un nouveau sport d’épée et art martial un peu décalé, pour lequel respect et convivialité sont les maîtres mots.

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Dreams can come true…

In Cheltenham, a town located in South West UK, British Star Wars fans can train to become real Jedi at the Lightsaber Combat Academy. Born in Italy, Ludosport, a sport association, created a martial art training centre entirely inspired by Star Wars. It is a recreational sport association for the practice of lightsaber fencing… Yes, the Star Wars swords. 

Who can become a Jedi?

From age 8 and for about £300, everyone can train with fake flexible luminous blades which have been designed specifically for imitating the Jedi. The sport association teacher, Jordan Court, just wanted to make his dream come true. However, those willing to become real life Jedi need to have a certain mindset as they must regard the discipline as more than just a game. It is a physical activity that resembles fencing and martial arts, with strict rules and a complete system of attacks and defences. As they say, the lightsaber is an “elegant blade” and respect is mandatory in the association.

jedi

Movies (fantasy and Sci-Fi in particular) have often generated consumer communities. Those communities broaden the imprint of the movie beyond movie theatres and turn it into a cultural phenomenon. The classic example of Star Trek shows that a community can develop a sophisticated world of values and ideas from a story. In many cases, the community takes the entire universe and cultural values of the film or literary work as its sole reference. But with the Lightsaber Combat Academy, the community has taken a single object from the Star Wars universe, the said lightsaber, and formed around it a complete sport with a set of values, although they claim that there is no combat technique that could be regarded as perfectly suitable for lightsabers. This community has developed a culture whose obvious roots are found in the Star Wars saga, but at the same time it has defined the boundaries of that culture. Thus, it is not necessary to be a Star Wars fan to learn how to handle a lightsaber!

Don’t lose grip on reality!

The main risk of this association isn’t the lightsaber and the supposed “Padawan powers”, but that some of the most passionate fans may lose themselves in fiction. Nevertheless, “the passion and attention that are typical of a community, nourished by the daily practices of its values, are the best safeguard of the cultural identity of the community and the source of its evolution”.

So whether you’re a fan of Star Wars or simply a bit curious, and as long as you want to have a good time, you will always be welcome to become a Jedi at the Lightsaber Combat Academy! Thus we only have one more message for you: May the force be with you!

Anastassia GABOUNCHINA & Eleonore GIRARD

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