Competitors battle during a national lightsaber tournament near Paris, France.  (AP)

Competitors battle during a national lightsaber tournament near Paris, France. (AP)

With a new sport, it is easier than ever now to act out Star Wars fantasies. (AP)

With a new sport, it is easier than ever now to act out Star Wars fantasies. (AP)

The French fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport. (AP)

The French fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport. (AP)

"We wanted it to be safe . . . umpired and, most of all, . . . to produce something visual that looks like the movies,” says the tournament organizer. (AP)

Men dressed as Stormtroopers joke with people in a car outside a lightsaber tournament in France. (AP)

Men dressed as Stormtroopers joke with people in a car outside a lightsaber tournament in France. (AP)

Lightsaber Fencing

Posted: April 29, 2019

Lightsabers flash. The swords emit throaty, electric sounds. Two people in France fight for three minutes inside a circle marked in tape on the floor. One strikes the other in the head. Five points! The other strikes back. He hits his opponent’s legs. Three points! Meanwhile, fans watching the contest wear Star Wars costumes to celebrate the event—and this news: Star Wars-style lightsaber dueling is now an official sport in France! Of course, the lightsabers used in the fighting can’t really slice a Sith lord in half like they can in an imaginary galaxy far, far away. But they do look real.

Fencing is an old sport. Many people take it seriously. Traditionally, fencers use blades called foils, epees, and sabres. Why would the French Fencing Federation allow bright lightsabers too?

They want to help keep people from sitting around so much! Serge Aubailly is the federation secretary general. He says it’s becoming difficult to convince kids to play sports. He says kids sit on the couch. They play videogames, exercising only their thumbs. But now kids and grownups are interested in lightsaber fencing. Many grownups have loved Star Wars since they were kids. They buy fancy lightsaber gear and head to tournaments too.

Have you ever felt interested in fencing? In the past, kids were drawn to the sport because they admired characters like Zorro, Robin Hood, and The Three Musketeers. Now more kids and grownups might start fencing because of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader. (At one lightsaber fencing event outside Paris, France, someone dressed as Darth Vader was seen buying a ham sandwich and a bag of potato chips at the cafeteria during a break . . . quite a sight!)

Only a few hundred people in France are committed to lightsaber dueling. So while the sport is official, you won’t see it in the Olympics anytime soon!