Hone Your Light Saber Skills Just in Time for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Always wanted to be a Jedi? Bring balance to the galaxy (or at least Salt Lake) with LudoSport Hawai‘i.
Photos: Courtesy of LudoSport Hawai‘i
If you’ve ever watched a Star Wars movie and wanted to try your hand at wielding a light saber as expertly as the Jedi knights and Sith lords on-screen, you’re in luck: LudoSport Hawai‘i is here to train you in the ways of The Force.
Started in Milan in 2006, LudoSport (“ludos” means games in Latin) is a friendly combat sport that’s a sort of cross between kendo, the Japanese martial art that uses bamboo swords, and the acrobatics and dance moves of Afro-Brazilian capoeira.
Students learn specific attacks and defenses while moving up through the ranks of nine fighting styles that are loosely modeled after the different forms of light saber techniques seen in the Star Wars universe. For example, Obi-Wan Kenobi traditionally practices Soresu, a defensive style that corresponds to LudoSport’s Form 3 technique, which emphasizes fluid movements. Meanwhile, Form 5 of LudoSport, which promotes quick and powerful strikes, corresponds to the Shien light saber style preferred by Darth Vader.
But don’t worry about getting cut in half or losing a hand like Luke Skywalker: LudoSport sabers are flexible polycarbonate tubes with rounded caps on the end, strong enough to withstand moderate contact. They also light up, hum and make a “swoosh” sound, just like in the movies.
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“As soon as you arrive and get signed in, we get a saber in your hand,” says Grace Chee, a Form 1 instructor. “In your first class, we’ll teach you enough to be able to spar. We always end every class this way so everyone can practice what they learned and try out techniques.” Workshops begin with warmups; from there students practice moves such as montante, a leg attack, and sinistro, an upper body attack. (Because the sport originated in Milan, most of the phrases are in Italian, which adds to the coolness.) Sparring sessions rely on practicing these moves but are unchoreographed, much like how a real light saber fight might actually go. “Our basic tenet in LudoSport is ‘Se.Cu.Ri.,’ servizio, cura and rispetto, which translates to service, care and respect,” Chee says. “We provide a service by encouraging people and guiding them, we care for one another as well as our equipment, and we respect and learn from each other.”
LudoSport Hawai‘i is one of seven U.S. chapters of the international sport. In 2016, Brazilian jiujitsu and arnis martial arts practitioner Buff Haars attended the first American class in San Francisco, then started the Hawai‘i academy. Today, the Hawai‘i chapter includes more than a dozen members who meet every Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Salt Lake District Park. The first class is free, then it’s $100 a month for four sessions a month.
“Most of us are training to become more experienced and move up the ranks, but it’s also great exercise,” says Chee. “As Buff says most classes, ‘if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing it right.’”
LudoSport Hawai‘i, Salt Lake District Park, 1159 Ala Liliko‘i Place, usa.ludosport.net