A long time ago in a PE lesson far, far away, I was a total nerd. This meant sport was somewhat of a hellish ordeal for me.
As an adult, I have – tentatively – grown to like being active. Despite having all the coordination of a baby elephant, I love throwing myself around in gym classes, free from the wrath of bullies or the fear of being picked last.
Looking back, I can’t help but think I would have felt more at home in the dog-eat-dog world of my high school sports hall had there been more appreciation for the proud geek tradition of enjoying references to our favorite sci-fi films.
And so I was obviously thrilled to hear that – in France at least – the worlds of nerds and sporting types have merged seamlessly through an exciting ‘new’ competitive sport. Are we seeing a truce at last…?
In a bid to encourage young people to exercise regularly, the French Fencing Federation have given official recognition to the competitive sport of lightsaber duelling.
Lightsabers, a coveted Christmas list item for generations of sci-fi fans, now enjoy the same status as traditional blades such as the foil, the sabre and the epee.
And they look incredible, bringing dazzling plumes of color and satisfying ‘swooshing’ noises to the regal sport of fencing, no doubt confusing many a time travelling Tudor nobleman.
Fencing clubs are now being equipped with LED-lit lightsabers, with training being given to future lightsaber instructors. Could this be your true career calling from the universe?
As reported by The Guardian, the federation’s secretary general Serge Aubailly made the following comments:
With young people today, it’s a real public health issue. They don’t do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs.
That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural.
Aubailly proceeded to explain the powerful effect films such as Star Wars can have on those wanting to give fencing a try:
Cape-and-sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth.
Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try.
Earthbound Jedis fence within a taped off circle, with lightsaber strikes to either the head or body worth five points each.
The competitor also earns three points if they strike their opponent’s arms or legs, and one point if they strike their hands.
The first Jedi to reach 15 points becomes the champion. If this takes a while, then the fighter with the highest score after three minutes wins.
Should both fighters reach 10 points, they enter a tense ‘sudden death’ round, with the winner being the first to land a well placed swoosh to their opponent’s head or body.
#CyberpunkisNow French Fencing Federation offcially recognizes lightsabre dueling as a sport using LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate lightsaber replicas and is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. TY @Net_Metalrat! pic.twitter.com/AjuW4FEf1n
— ΜΔDΞRΔS (@hackermaderas) February 19, 2019
Lighsabers crossed this sport will head over to this side of the Channel!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.