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Lightsaber lessons for Jedi apprentices

ODHRAN DUNNE FOR “THE WORLD”

By Nicolas Santolaria

Posted today at 12:57 am

Since the release of the first Star Wars in 1977 (George Lucas), an object became emblematic of this cult space opera, to the point of summing it up by itself: the lightsaber. Anyone who sees his whirring blade on the screen immediately feels the desire to possess this sword of light, which mythology says is forged from a Kyber crystal. “It's elegant, handy. The noble weapon of a civilized era “, summarizes the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi in episode IV of the saga (A new hope).

Jessy, a student at the Saint-Lô (Manche) fencing club, during a lightsaber training on February 12.
Jessy, a student at the Saint-Lô (Manche) fencing club, during a lightsaber training on February 12. ODHRAN DUNNE FOR “THE WORLD”

As it is not always easy to transpose the world of fiction into reality, the aspiring Jedi had to be content for a long time, as a proto-saber, with a simple stick or a PVC tube, choreographing an imaginary fight between the two clotheslines in the family garden. To make “bzzz” with the mouth and to summon this mysterious energy which is “Force” added a semblance of electro-esoteric credibility to this very approximate staging. Today things have changed.

“Even if there are some who truly believe in the Force to the point of considering it as a new religion, the lightsaber is above all a real sport, with its codification, its tournaments. »Adrien Koch, co-founder of the Sport Saber League

After developing in the United States, the lightsaber became a full-fledged combat discipline in France from 2015, spurred on by the Sport Saber League in Paris. “Even if there are some who truly believe in“ Strength ”to the point of considering it as a new religion, the lightsaber is above all a real sport, with its codification, its international tournaments and its champions, including the best are even starting to make money. France is one of the countries where the discipline is developing the fastest. At first, it was very difficult to get people to accept that they were fighting with light sticks; today there is less and less mockery “, says Adrien Koch, 32, its co-founder.

To hope to increase the portfolio of its 57,000 licensees, the French Fencing Federation (FFE), the first federal structure in the world to offer official recognition to the practice, joined the lightsaber in April 2018. There are now 1 200 practitioners, spread over a hundred clubs. On this Wednesday evening in February, after four hours by train, I disembark in a distant galaxy: Saint-Lô, prefecture of the department of Manche. Not quite the planet Tatooine, but not the door next door either.

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