France has recognized Lightsaber dueling as an official competitive sport. It might be time for Star Wars fans to brush up their French skills to go compete with their LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate lightsaber replicas. The replicas are considered to be in the same class as the foil, epee, and sabre, which are the traditional blades used at the Olympics. Could we see George Lucas' creations turn into an actual Olympic sport in the near future?
Star Wars cosplaying can get pretty serious. There have even been Lightsaber duels on opening nights of recent releases, which can work up quite the sweat, which is why France made their decision to make Lightsaber dueling an official sport. Federation secretary general Serge Aubailly had this to say about the decision to make Lightsaber dueling an official recognized sport.
"With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs. It's becoming difficult to (persuade them to) do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one's thumbs. That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural."
The technical Lightsaber choreography for the original Star Wars trilogy was developed by Hollywood sword-master Bob Anderson. Anderson, who passed away in 2012, was an English Olympic fencer and a renowned film fight choreographer, who personally trained Mark Hamill on all three of the original trilogy movies, along with stunt performer Bob Anderson, who portrayed Darth Vader during the Lightsaber scenes. Seeing that the Lightsaber duel has a firm base in fencing, makes France's decision even cooler.
The Lightsaber dueling isn't just for the younger generation. 49-year old police officer Philippe Bondi practiced the art of fencing for 20 years. However, he later switched to the iconic Star Wars weapon. Bondi says that he was inspired by Metz, which is the town in eastern France that started offering up Lightsaber dueling classes. The French police officer was just 7-years old when he saw A New Hope in theaters and is more than happy to live out his childhood dreams by competing in official Lightsaber duels.
Lightsaber duel contestants fight inside a circle marked with tape on the floor. According to the official rules, "strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point." The first contestant to get up to 15 points wins or, whomever has the highest score after 3 minutes. Additionally, if both contestants are tied, a sudden-death match is set up. So far, the response has been pretty good, but far from making it to the mainstream, which means Star Wars Olympic dreams might take a little bit longer than initially thought. This news was first reported by AP Sports.