Duel It Out With Lightsabers in Orange County
Written By: Nicole Hakim
Photographed By: Nathan Whelan Lightspeed Saber League
Since the ‘70s, Star Wars has made a momentous impact on the world. As the franchise grows, with new movies and even its own place in Disneyland, fans continue to honor the saga in exciting and unique ways. After Episode VII was released, the lightsaber community blossomed, and the small training group from Irvine known as Jedi Knight Club became the Lightspeed Saber League, “the fastest light-based weapon combat in the galaxy.” With bases in Los Angeles, Irvine and Orange, the league combines fans’ love for Star Wars with elements of tango and stick fighting. However, lightsaber fencing isn’t just a bunch of Star Wars fans playing around; it is an athletic and intense spectator sport.
“I created the sport of Lightspeed-sabery (or Lightspeed-saber fencing) and the League to fix the major problems in modern fencing, and so that the world would finally have a form of lightsabery that was fun to watch, fun to play, safe, athletic, and true to the idea of the lightsaber as presented on-screen, with zero choreography,” said Founder and Head Coach, Cang Snow.
As of 2017, the Lightspeed Saber League has about 40 regular members throughout its three bases and sometimes hosts members from other organizations that come and go. The environment is extremely welcoming, so those looking to join the league have no need to feel scared or apprehensive. Everyone is fairly new, and no one is an expert, so every member learns, teaches and grows with everyone else. In addition to a friendly environment, new members must expect to sweat a lot as the sport is exciting and intense, and it will definitely leave them trying to catch their breath as they eagerly await their next match.
When it comes to matches, the length varies. If two members are merely sparring, the duel can last as long as they want, but if they are facing off in a match, it usually lasts around five to 10 minutes. Two members donning the necessary equipment, a fencing mask, a durable lightsaber, padded gloves and comfortable clothes, start off in a fencing box and gesture to each other. These gestures are friendly and can be a fist bump, a salute, a blade tap or a high five—all of which are encouraged between rounds to keep the match friendly and fun. “There’s nothing like watching a beautiful exchange of blades, a narrow-escape, a perfect feint, etc.,” said Snow.
The league follows a point system that is enforced by a referee, and any contact to the saber hilt or any part of the body counts as a point to whoever lands it. There are no prizes in the general matches, but both members are left with a sense of pride at the end of the match for having competed so well. As a fun and exciting way to spend your evenings, the Lightspeed Saber League offers Star Wars fans a way to come together and share a memorable experience. If you’re still hesitant about joining just remember what Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Rebel Alliance: Orange is the central point of the league, but Irvine is the largest base operated.
Come to the Dark Side: Prospective members can join the group through Facebook, and once they have all the necessary equipment, they can find a base through the website to get started.
Experience Star Wars in Real Life With the Lightspeed Saber League