What is Lightsaber Dueling?

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Janell Wang, Staff Writer

In a galaxy far, far away… Lightsaber dueling has become a real thing that many people may not be aware about. Fans of the Star Wars franchise know about lightsabers, the deadly weapon of the Jedi that is capable of cutting down nearly anything. For those not familiar with Star Wars—in which case you’re living under a rock—the Jedi were members of the Jedi Order and sworn protectors of peace. Their lightsabers were an iconic symbol of the Jedi or as Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Anakin Skywalker, “This weapon is your life.”

Lore aside, lightsaber dueling was recognized as a competitive sport in France back in 2019. The French Federal Federation’s acknowledgement puts the lightsaber on the same level as the sabre, foil, and the epee. While the LED-illuminated polycarbonate blade cannot cut through steel doors, the lightsaber provides an interesting take on fencing. Unlike the traditional blades, lightsabers are rigid and have no handguards, meaning that it would need to be adapted to using different kinds of techniques.

There have also been successful attempts at replicating a lightsaber. The YouTube channel, Hacksmith Industries was able to create a fully retractable, plasma-beamed lightsaber that burns around 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, making it capable of cutting through steel just like in the Star Wars movies. Of course, this lightsaber is incredibly dangerous and not at all suitable for dueling, lest someone gets set on fire. 

Lightsaber duelists fight in a three minute bout and work like any fencing match. The reasoning behind the French Fencing Federation’s support for this new sport is an attempt at combating against the sedentary lifestyles of the youth of the 21st century.

“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,” said Serge Aubailly, the Federation Secretary General.

As lightsaber dueling is a relatively niche sport that is so far only recognized in France, it most likely won’t be in the next Olympics of 2024. That being said, it’s not entirely impossible for it to never appear in the Olympics. Perhaps one day, people will get to see lightsaber duelists fighting it out on the big stage.

 

Photo Courtesy of PINTEREST.COM