Lightsaber Training! May the Fourth Be With You

Happy May the Fourth! Let’s do some lightsaber training!

As I’m sure you’re aware, May 4th is an unofficial nerd holiday because Star Wars is awesome and it’s fun when days sound like phrases. In this case, May the fourth be with youMay the Force be with you. Got it? Good.

In celebration of my 3rd favorite holiday (after my birthday and Comic Con), I decided to share some knowledge about lightsaber forms, drills, and fun.

You might be thinking, but this is a Martial Arts blog…and well, you’re not wrong. But you are wrong if you think lightsaber training isn’t a form of Martial Arts. It definitely is. It takes practice, skill, has a weapon, set steps, and movements that correspond with offense or defense.

 

First things first: get a lightsaber!

If you want a legit combat saber, I recommend Ultrasabers. I ordered mine through their site, and it was a lot of fun to thoroughly customize it. My blade is violet, and of course I went with sound effects. They also have a lot of videos demonstrating the sabers in use, and great information about customizing them.megan

Not only can you pick the color, length, handle, and button – you can also edit the sound board as well! I ended up editing mine so it has a lower volume (so I can actually hear other people during training) and a more traditional sound.

If you don’t have the money for a flashy saber, then I recommend practicing with a stick or wooden sword. For length reference: my saber has a 12 inch handle and a 34 inch blade.

 

Next stop: get some knowledge!

While you wait for your lightsaber to be built and delivered, take the time to learn what you’ll be doing with it!

mark
Mark with a Jedi pose

There’s a lot of material out there for learning about lightsaber training practices. I recommend checking out the Star Wars Wiki, because it’s a great resource, and also where I pulled most of the following list:

  • Attack Zones
    • Lightsaber training focuses on 6 main attack zones
      • Head; right arm/side; left arm/side; back; right leg; left leg
  • Rings of Defense
    • Outer Ring
      • grand sweeping blows to attack at range
    • Middle Ring
      • pick up quicker blows and block them
    • Inner Ring
      • last line of defense – relies on parries instead of blocks
  • Marks of Contact
    • Examples: disarming, stabbing, amputation, wounds, dismemberment
  • Ready Stances
    • Standard lightsaber positions
      • Jedi Ready; Defensive Neutral; Offensive Neutral; Center of Being
  • Moves and Maneuvers
    • This involves: turns, cuts, lightsaber postitions, etc.
  • Forms
    • There are 7 main forms, each represents a different style of training

Now what? Practice!

You have a lot of knowledge after reviewing the details, and I’m sure you reviewed them thoroughly. Now you get to practice! If you want to start with the first form, here’s a great video of my brother (David) doing the first form:


We’ll be breaking it down into steps later on, to make it better suited as an instructional video.

The TPLA:Terra Prime Light Armory (Lightsaber Academy) also has a fantastic series of videos to learn from.

David
David showing off his skills

My brother has been working through this form, and teaching it to me, and we have found some techniques that don’t quite fit into our style of training. The beauty of these forms is that they’re meant to be adapted to your own personal style. We have years of sword training through Tang Soo Do, and so we’ve changed the stances and a few techniques to make the form feel more natural to us. Even between myself and my brothers, there are clear stylistic differences.

We have fully embraced the idea of mastering the form and making it our own. David tends to focus on the precision of the techniques, Mark likes to be more aggressive with his stances, and I like to focus more on the arc of the lightsaber swings. But we’re all still doing the same form.

Drills are important as well. Ours have been created by adapting drills from Modern Arnis and bo-staff. It’s a lot different to try and practice with a lightsaber, because a big point of it is to never touch the blade, so the Arnis idea of blocking and checking doesn’t apply here. Check out this drill that we came up with:

 

 

The way this works is one person attacks (step forward with each attack) while the other defends (step backward with each block).

Attacker:
Right to left hit to the head –  left to right hit to head – right to left hit to knee – left to right hit to knee – stab

Defender:
Block high right – block high left – block low right – block low left – one hand on handle parry, blade facing down, while spinning away from the attack – turn into attack to repeat sequence.

I’ll be posting more drills and videos as we develop them on our YouTube page

In the meantime, Have a Happy Star Wars Day!!!!

 

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