WATCH: Yes, you can duel with lightsabers like a true Jedi
MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to fictional weapons, lightsabers, as carried by characters in the Star Wars universe, are arguably the coolest.
Lightsabers make an amazing electric sound with every swish and strike. They also look even cooler than they sound – and when a particularly talented Jedi wields a fluorescent energy sword in combat, the scene is nothing short of spectacular.
The most dedicated Star Wars fans have taken it upon themselves to learn the art of lightsaber fighting, which is greatly inspired by the ancient Japanese martial art of kendo.
Kendo is all about “hyperefficiency and economy,” according to kendo practitioner and lightsaber combat enthusiast Lestat de Vampa, who taught 3 Rappler volunteers how to duel with lightsabers. Lestat started the class by teaching basic kendo movements – including how to stand and how to strike – using a kendo shinai (bamboo sword), which is similar in weight and length to a lightsaber.
Lestat then taught shii-cho, one of 7 basic Form I saber techniques. Shii-cho focuses on basic strike patterns, including swings, strikes, and slashes.
According to Lestat, the kendo-inspired saber techniques were used more in the original Star Wars trilogy. The prequel trilogy, meanwhile, had moves that were inspired by Chinese martial arts, like wushu. In the newest trilogy, the moves have more of a ragtag quality to reinforce the story, which starts many years after the Jedi have disappeared, leaving students to learn saber techniques on their own.
As it turns out, learning how to use and duel with a lightsaber is not at all easy. It is, after all, described by Jedi master Obi-wan Kenobi as “an elegant weapon…for a more civilized age.” You can’t just swish the sword about and let it fall where it may. Movements need to be controlled, which requires strength, especially since lightsabers – at least the polycarbonate ones used for dueling – can be fairly heavy.
Watch the video above and try the different saber techniques yourself. And may the Force be with you! – Rappler.com