Lightsaber Duels Just Became An Official French Sport

Lightsaber battles have been the best part of Star Wars and any Star Wars game, so it's only natural that the art of rattling said sabres would be a fun competitive pursuit. And, as of this week, it's now an official one.

The ABC and Japan Times have reported that the French Fencing Federation, the governing body for sabre duels in France, has officially recognised the sport.

Fencing clubs in the country are now able to get equipment and instructors through the organisation, with federation secretary general Serge Aubailly saying the move was designed to help connect younger adults and children with more physical activity.

"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," Aubailly said. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural."

He added that "cape and sword movies" have historically resulted in increased signups for fencing, and Star Wars has a similar effect among younger generations. "Young people want to give it a try," he told the Press Association.

34 competitors attended a national lightsaber event in Paris earlier this month. Matches are all to 15 points or the highest scorer after 3 minutes, with fighters awarded 5 points for strikes to the head or body, 3 for strikes on the arms or legs, and 1 point for a hit to the hands. If both fighters reach 10 points, sudden death rules apply where the first to hit the body or head (but not the hands) wins.

And unlike fencing, where quick thrusts are often the order of the day, blows are only counted if the tip of the lightsaber is first pointed behind the attacker. It results in more cinematic-like combat that's in line with the lightsaber duels in the Star Wars movies.

[Japan Times, ABC]

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