Wednesday, February 20, 2019

French Fencing Federation Officially Recognizes Lightsaber Dueling As A Competitive Sport

By: Dominic Jones

Being a literal Jedi may still technically be impossible, but France may have found the next best thing.  The French Fencing Federation made headlines this week by announcing that it was officially recognizing "Lightsaber Dueling" as a competitive sport. The Federation has begun sanctioning Lightsaber Dueling events where, instead of traditional fencing swords, competitors use LED-lit blades.  Naturally, the audience in filled with fans in costume as their favourite Star Wars characters.

The decision is motivated by the desire to get more young people involved in fencing.  Serge Aubailly, the secretary general of the federation, explained that the move continues the tradition of Hollywood films influencing the world of fencing.  He told The Associated Press, "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."

The rules of Lightsaber Dueling are very similar to those of fencing, with points awarded for striking your opponent with your sword (or saber, in this case).  Although one change has been made to make sure the competitions better evoke the imagery of the classic lightsaber duels from the films.  According to the AP's John Leicester, "Blows only count if the fighters first point the tip of their saber behind them. That rule prevents the viper-like, tip-first quick forward strikes seen in fencing."

The AP released a video of a Lightsaber Dueling competition held recently in France.  Check it out below,

Now, how long before we can get "Lightsaber Dueling" in the Olympics?

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