Lightsaber Tournament Draws Fighters From Across The Galaxy

The Force Awakens has inspired a new generation of Star Wars fandom and now an Italian company is coming to America to train a new generation of Jedi knights in lightsaber combat.

LudoSport, an international network teaching the art of lightsaber combat, will land in San Francisco at the end of January to begin an American tour teaching Jedi techniques to apprentices, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The company has developed seven different styles of lightsaber combat and a rule set that allows fighters to compete as a Jedi or Sith warrior.

During combat, fighters square off against each other singly or in groups using lightsabers that glow and make sound; they earn points by striking their opponent with their blades.

Like the medieval role players who created the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) before them, LudoSport has designed a series of rules for weapons, attire and culture. These guidelines are consistent with Star Wars literary sources, according to the company's website.
"A light saber or more commonly a saber. This instrument is a weapon with a weightless blade, with a 360° edge that cuts everything except itself."
Jedi and Sith fighters use specially designed sporting lightsabers made of flexible polycarbonate. The sabers are designed to be used either single or double handed and come with built-in speakers, metal balancing weights and a microUSB port for recharging.
When the lightsabers are turned off they're considered to be not in use; only when activated do they become weapons.

LudoSport has succeeded where other Jedi combat companies have failed because of their in depth and fully codified rule set combining fencing with the imaginative aspect of lightsaber combat.

Jedi apprentices learn from LudoSport Masters who have been certified in one of seven combat styles: Shii-Cho, Makashi, Soresu, Ataru, Djem-So, Niman, and Vaapad. Apprentices learn each style before moving on to the next.

Fighters, either Jedi or Sith, can throw down the gauntlet and challenge any other player in the world with the MyLudoSport platform and then meet in real life to duel.

The fighters themselves define the rules of their combat within the LudoSport guidelines and report the result of the duel to online judges who award points; even the defeated gain experience points as they try to level up.

The uniforms are also specially designed and designated to convey rank, titles received and position within the sport.

Every Jedi or Sith fighter in LudoSport wears specified clothing from beginners or apprentices who wear simple combat pants and tee to the Younglings, Padawan, and the Jedi and Sith Knights. Instructors, style masters and academy masters have their own dress code to differentiate themselves.

Would-be instructors can gain their license by attending an International Boot Camp and can then go on to open Academies of their own.

The company first opened its Lightsaber Combat Academies in Italy in 2006 and has since expanded to England, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, France and Spain, according to ETurboNews.

Whether you want to become a Jedi or Sith master or just want to have a good time, come out to the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of January to witness LudoSport lightsaber duels and accompanying flash mobs.

[Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images]