A few months ago I heard about a group called The Saber Legion who started to use high end Light Sabers as an organized combat sport. So when a tournament was scheduled in the Twin Cities TCM had to check it out. 2 disclaimers up first: 1. We did not have time to cover the whole event (Jedi are nice, Grouplove is nicer 🙂 ) 2. I am the only one in my family who doesn’t “get” Star Wars so any inaccuracies / debatable terms reflect on me, not them.
Turns out this is not just a bunch of geeks whacking each other with plastic sticks. The light sabers are high end polycarbonate and most of the contestants have a martial arts background. Fights are 3 rounds to 10 points or 5 minutes. Hits can be scored to padded areas. A very interesting twist is that very different fighting styles can be matched against one another. German Longsword vs. Kendo. Stick Fighting? Classic Italian? It all has its place. There is a judge in the ring and 4 line judges. After a hit, the fight stops to confirm who got the point. Many times, I saw the fighters indicate the it on themselves acknowledging their opponent’s point.
The 3 matches I saw used the classic light saber and I was impressed by the skill level of the combatants. Fighters had traveled from Colorado and California to be in this tournament. While they do take their craft serious, there is also plenty of room for fun. The outfits are of course Star Wars themed, there is flourish and panache and there was an inflatable Tonton that one of the participants rode into battle. Of course there were plenty of other Star Wars related costumes and light sabers galore. Overall, a fun event and if you enjoy Star Wars and/or combat sports keep your eyes open for their next tournament. I have added a link to their live streamed video at the end of the article.
Josh Linden VS. Terry Birnbaum
Brymn Dilligaf VS. Mark Basel
Alain Bloch VS. Charley Cummings