Fans of ‘Star Wars,’ fencing, and a little physical activity in Europe should be thrilled to learn that the French Fencing Federation has recently recognized lightsaber dueling as an official sport, meaning fans and enthusiasts can gather from all around to compete in tournaments. And not just any old tournaments! According to AP News, while the tournament they visited may have been relatively small in audience members (the sport is still new), it was big on flash, with participants and fans alike showing up in costumes and characters from a galaxy far, far away, making for a fantasy filled day amidst the sporting event.

And why the sudden interest in bringing lightsaber dueling to the fencing arena? According to Serge Aubailly, the France Fencing Federation secretary general, ideas like this are necessary for public health as well as for fun:

“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…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.”

While discussing the logistics of how it all works, tournament organizer Michael Ortiz explained:

“We wanted it to be safe, we wanted it to be umpired and, most of all, we wanted it to produce something visual that looks like the movies, because that is what people expect.”

It seems the main difference between lightsaber dueling and regular fencing comes in the fact that blows only count if combatants first point the tips of their glowing sabers behind them, which prevents the fast, quick thrusts usually seen in fencing and encouraging more sweeping motions which highlight the glowing lightsaber blades. According to AP News, the rest of the tournament rules are as follows:

“Combatants fight inside a circle marked in tape on the floor. Strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point. The first to 15 points wins or, if they don’t get there quickly, the high scorer after 3 minutes. If both fighters reach 10 points, the bout enters “sudden death,” where the first to land a head- or body-blow wins, a rule to encourage enterprising fighters.”

Or, if you are a more visual person here is a Twitter post with a video of the rules:

While it may be some time before Lightsaber Dueling becomes part of the Olympics, the idea to transform sports, combat, and games from pop-culture into official sporting events is an intriguing one, especially if it helps encourage the current generation to be more active and leave the comfort of their homes and their computers.

While some might call it “weird,” I personally would be just fine if we saw a future full of things like popular lightsaber dueling tournaments and Quidditch leagues, especially if it brought people together in real life to connect and be active together.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Can you think of any other sports or activities from pop culture that would be fun to see in real life? Would you join a lightsaber dueling tournament if they held one near you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: APNews