Movies have always had a powerful impact on the thoughts and desires of young people. And I’m not talking about the appeal of Noah Centineo in his latest sighing Rom-com. I’m talking about how movies of the action sort can stir us up.
Military recruiting stations, for instance, once relied on new war films to inspire young men to sign up and grab a gun. And for many years swashbuckling flicks spurred adventurous types. Moviehouse versions of Zorro or The Three Musketeers have surely kept fresh crops of kids and adults flowing into the slashing, parry and feint sport of fencing.
Well, it turns out that France’s Fencing Federation has recently taken a new tack on that old idea. In fact, you could say they’ve flown off into a whole new galaxy–one that’s far, far away.
They’re now fencing with lightsabers in Paris. And they say it doesn’t require the skills of a Yoda or Obi-Wan to get in on the fun, either. You just have to enjoy swinging a plastic glowing sword in a slightly darkened room.
As the video points out, lightsaber matches are made up of two contestants who face off in a circle marked out on the floor. They have a three-minute bout and score points based on where they land strikes. Strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point. The highest score, or the first to get to 15 points, wins.
The video makers also suggests that a big part of the new Star Wars themed recruiting thrust is to get young people off their big, flabby Jabba the Hutt, er, couch, and out into the ring to have a bit of non-video game fun.
“With young people today, it’s a real public health issue. They don’t do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs,” said the fencing federation’s secretary general, Serge Aubailly, in an Associated Press article. “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.”
They say we probably won’t be seeing lightsaber matches in the Olympics anytime soon, but fans are excited about the possibilities. And you never know where the, uh, force of this sports popularity will take us. (Sorry, had to get one more in there.)
Oh, and just in case you’d like to see a match with a Star Wars underscore, sound effects and all the bells and whistles, check out this more choreographed demonstration. Makes you want to put on your tunic and try, it does.