The Star Wars Skywalker Saga is finally over. Just like the original trilogy, however, that means a new generation of Star Wars fans have been made. Like most fans, these new ones are also going to want to find ways to get deeper into the hobby. Being a Jedi is a dream that many of these fans hold. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to make that dream a reality.
For anyone who wants to learn to fight with a lightsaber, there is no better time than now.
Real Lightsaber Dueling
Today, the availability of stunt lightsabers is greater then ever. Or to be more specific, the availability of high-quality stunt lightsabers is greater then ever. Sure, it has always been easy to go down to the nearby mall and find dozens of lightsabers in different colors. None of these toys, however, would last a minute in actual full-contact lightsaber fighting.
More recently, things have changed for Jedi enthusiasts. The availability of high-quality stunt lightsabers have increased almost as fast as the number of Lightsaber clubs. This surge in quantity is a good thing. Not just for experts that are already masters, but also for would-be fans still on the fence. This increase of availability has also been reflected in the price. Now, nearly anybody can afford their very own lightsaber and make their dreams of being a Jedi come true.
Over the last few years, there has been a rise in the number of companies producing authentic and battle-ready lightsabers. These vast numbers of expert lightsaber makers have made it easier than ever to find the perfect lightsaber.
Leaning To Fight With A Stunt Lightsaber
One of the best ways to learn how to fight with a stunt lightsaber in the real world is to purchase and read the book, Stunt Lightsaber Combat for Beginners: The Unofficial Guide to Dueling Like a Jedi.
This book is one of the only books available that provides detailed step by step instructions on how to fight with a lightsaber and perform dueling drills with a partner. With a copy of this book you can learn together with your training partner, and even have a curriculum for starting your own lightsaber dueling club.
Finding The Perfect Lightsaber
Before you can learn how to fight with a lightsaber, it’s important that you make sure the lightsaber you use is adequate and strong enough for real battles. That means making sure that the lightsaber you buy is built strong and with full-contact sparring in mind.
Depending on the company, the actual build of the lightsaber can vary quite a bit. Most will still have a few common qualities among them. For instance, most quality sabers will have LED lights that won’t get damaged easily. Unlike your average cheap saber, these ones will stay bright no matter how many sparring you decide to do.
Likewise, the material and thickness will also be fairly similar among high quality lightsabers. Most companies will usually offer various levels of thickness and weight depending on how much sparring and battle a saber is expected to experience. Needless to say, that means the tougher the battle, the tougher and heavier the material will need to be.
Although it is an important aspect that shouldn’t be ignored, battle-readiness isn’t the only thing you should be looking at. For many people, the visual aesthetics are just as important, if not more, than anything else. It doesn’t matter how realistic a lightsaber is if it doesn’t look good when you’re posing with it. Where’s the fun in being a Jedi if you can’t look as awesome as your favorite movie characters?
Other considerations include grip types and styles. Pointed tips may seem similar to rounded tips, but picking the wrong style can completely ruin the look you’re going for.
We recommend for beginners that you start with a nice quality stunt lightsaber that is designed for full contact lightsaber fighting. The kind of cheaply made lightsaber toy you’d buy at a local retail store toy aisle isn’t going to stand up to fighting very well.
Preparing For Battle
Once you have the perfect lightsaber that is suitable for battle, you’re ready to learn to fight. Although lightsaber fighting may look easy, don’t be fooled. It’s not something you can pickup overnight. Luckily, with a little determination and a little guidance by the “force”, you’ll be a Jedi master in no time.
Before you’re ready to head into battle, however, you still need to learn how to properly hold a lightsaber. You’ll also want to learn a couple of cool stances too.
Holding The Lightsaber
Usually, the lightsaber is held with both hands. The left hand, positioned near the bottom, does most of the work. The right hand, being positioned near the top, guides the blade instead. As lightsaber dueling is based on Kendo, there is no left handed grip. Luckily, this isn’t much of a problem. A left-handed person will actually have a slight strength advantage with only a minor loss in control.
When it comes to gripping the saber, make sure to use a firm, but still relaxed, grip. The left hand grips the base of the handle with the smallest finger having the tightest grip. The strength of the grip decreases as you work your way up to the index finger and thumb. As for the right hand, it grips the saber just below the guard with a similar tightness as the right hand.
Finally, your hands should be around 2 finger widths apart. Many lightsabers have the power switch located in such a way to make positioning your hands easier.
Using The Force To Guide Your Hand
Although there is no “force” in real martial arts, there is a slightly different but similar concept. To be more precise, in these kinds of martial arts, all your energy comes from your center of gravity. This is around 2 inches below the navel in the center of your body. Unless you’re moving, this point is also nearly completely still. Applying force causes this point to move down. In the case of lightsaber duels, all movies start by moving the point up and then down.
Many Japanese martial arts also make use of yells. This is especially apparent during aggressive strikes. As for the reason, this causes your diaphragm to contract. As the air is forced out of your body, your body is fortified with additional structural strength.
Watch Your Feet
The way of the Jedi involves more than just your upper body. Your legs and feet will also need to get involved. In battle, your leading foot will need to stay in front. This means your feet will usually never pass each other during a duel.
When it comes to getting into position for a strike, the foot closest to your opponent will get into position first. The other foot will then follow as fast as possible. If you take too long, you risk being off-balance for too long. During the actual movement, the feet should not leave the floor. Rather, they should slide across or skim the floor to avoid being off balanced. If you need to lift your foot for some reason, do so by lifting the heel and letting the toes skim the surface.
When it comes to fighting with a lightsaber, proper footwork is very important. Just as important, however, is having the right stance.
Take Your Stance
Having a strong and powerful stance goes a long way in many martial arts. The way of the Jedi is no different. Keeping a good stance will allow you to easily use all of your strength during both offensive and defensive maneuvers.
Like many martial arts, there are many different stances. These stances vary in their use and each has various strengths and weaknesses. The most basic of the stances, and the one most padawans begin their journey using, is the Jedi Ready stance. Also known as the basic neutral stance, this is a good, all-around stance that lacks any great weaknesses. However, this stance also lacks any great strengths.
In order to employ the Jedi Ready stance, begin by stepping back with the dominant foot and draw the lightsaber in a way that allows it to parry on the dominant side. Distribute your weight evenly between your feet and allow the dominant shoulder to roll slightly back. Finally the hilt of the lightsaber should be level with the waist while the tip of it should point at the head of the target.
By moving the dominant foot forward, you end up with a more aggressive Neutral Forward stance. The lightsaber is again held close to the waist while the blade is pointed at the target. Unlike Jedi Ready, weight is distributed with an emphasis on the dominate foot. This naturally leads to it being the foot that propels the attack.
On The Defensive
Another stance to be aware of is the Defensive Neutral. In this stance, the dominant foot is pulled back and points to the side at around a 45 degree angle. The dominant shoulder is rolled back and most of the weight is put on the back foot. The lightsaber is held high, next to the side of the head. This form lends itself as a strong defensive posture that is ready to defend against any attack.
A variation of this stance is the Defensive Back. This stance is perfect for defending against any attack. It’s nearly impossible to penetrate. Unfortunately, this defensive power causes it to lack any sort of offensive potential. Aggressive attacks are difficult and nearly impossible to launch from this stance. To use this stance, raise the hilt high and towards your face. The blade should be pointed towards the ground away from you.
In battle, you can’t just stay on the defensive. Sooner or later, you’ll need to go on the offensive and attack. When it comes to attacking, certain stances are much more suitable than others. Take for instance, the Aggressive Neutral stance.
This aggressive attacking stance is similar to the Jedi Ready stance. There are, however, a few fundamental differences. Notably, more weight is placed on the front foot. This allows for an easier time when attacking. Likewise, the lightsaber is held with the hilt close to the solar plexus with the blade pointing at the opponent’s head. Unlike other stances, the lightsaber is held a fair distance away from the body. Using such a stance allows you to perform swift and elegant motions while attacking.
Another aggressive stance is the Aggressive Back. Here, most of the weight is put on the back foot. With the front foot extended ahead of you, the lightsaber is held high and next to your head on the dominant side. This is a powerful stance that is perfect against a single opponent. Be aware, however, that this stance leaves you open to attacks from surrounding enemies.
All Padawans Must Learn The Basics
Now that you understand the basics, you are ready to learn to fight with a lightsaber. You have all the knowledge you need to learn cool moves and start dueling. But remember, this is only the beginning. Learning a couple of cool moves can only go so far. You’ll also need to take into account the way your opponent fights. You’ll need to train your body to quickly switch stances depending on the situation.
You should also ensure you have purchased good protective equipment so that you don’t suffer any serious bruises or accidentally poke out an eye during your lightsaber dueling.
But remember, young padawan. The force is with you. Use it wisely and you’ll be able to became a real Jedi master.