When combing through the news cycle one generally pays attention to the big news of the day and mainly to their top interests. Nonetheless, I couldn’t believe that I had let this piece of news slip by – LIGHTSABER DUELLING WAS OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED AS A SPORT!
In February the French Fencing Federation (Fédération Française d’Escrime) recognised lightsaber duelling as an official sport, having the same credentials as football, basketball, rugby, etc.
The official reasoning was based on getting younger people more engaged into sports. Put a few rules in place, designate a formal court style, have some official uniforms, the right equipment and there you have it – a whole new sport.
Showing off the official gear. It has many similarities to fencing but the colours and lightsabers will remain as George Lucas intended.
Combatants fight inside a circle marked in tape on the floor. Strikes to the head or body are worth 5 points; to the arms or legs, 3 points; on hands, 1 point. The first to 15 points wins or, if they don’t get there quickly, the high scorer after 3 minutes. If both fighters reach 10 points, the bout enters “sudden death,” where the first to land a head- or body-blow wins, a rule to encourage enterprising fighters.
Blows only count if the fighters first point the tip of their saber behind them. That rule prevents the viper-like, tip-first quick forward strikes seen in fencing. Instead, the rule encourages swishier blows that are easier for audiences to see and enjoy, and which are more evocative of the duels in Star Wars.
However, counting its paid-up practitioners in France in the hundreds, not thousands, lightsaber duelling has no hope of a place in the Paris Olympics in 2024.