Lightsaber dueling recognized as official sport in France

By Jon Porter

The weapon first appeared in 1977’s Star Wars.
Image: Disney

The French Fencing Federation has recognized lightsaber dueling as an official sport, reports the Associated Press. The federation has made the move in an attempt to make the sport more appealing to a younger generation, and it has designed its rules to make sporting matches every bit as visually appealing as their big-screen counterparts.

Obviously, that means participants are required to use an illuminated weapon, although they’ll have to settle for a “blade” made of polycarbonate rather than the magnetically-contained plasma of the films. While that means the weapons won’t be slicing anyone in half anytime soon, participants will still need to wear masks and armour to protect themselves during matches.

The new sport of lightsaber dueling has additional rules designed to improve its aesthetic appeal. For example, the point of the lightsaber needs to reach behind each fighter before they attempt a hit. The intention is to make fights consist of large sweeping motions rather than the quick stabs of the blade you see in other forms of fencing.

Otherwise, the sport’s rules are more typical of fencing. Points are awarded depending on where the blade makes contact (hitting the head or body gets you five points, arms or legs gets you three, and hands gets you just one), and the first person to 15 points wins. If the match isn’t over after three minutes, then the person with the highest score automatically wins.

We might not be seeing lightsaber dueling turned into an official Olympic sporting event anytime soon, but as an attempt to get newcomers into fencing, you could do a lot worse. Now, who do we need to speak to about getting blasters recognised by the International Shooting Sport Federation?