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Lightsaber Duelling Recognised as an Official Sport in France

Jadzia Samuel Wednesday 20 February 2019

The Force is strong today. Every 'Star Wars' fan who has dreamed of becoming a Jedi now has the chance to become a champion in the art of lightsaber duels thanks to the French National Fencing Federation, which has now recognised lightsaber duelling as an official sport. The announcement comes as a part of an awareness campaign to combat obesity and encourage young people to take part in more physical activity.

Star Wars

"With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs. It's becoming difficult to [persuade them to] do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one's thumbs," Serge Aubaily, the General Secretary of the organisation, explained to APNews. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural."

The Rules

Like any serious sport, lightsaber duelling comes with its own rules and regulations. Each duel lasts three minutes and the participants must wear identical protective gear to that worn in conventional fencing matches. The two other basic rules are explained in this short video posted to Twitter: "Rule 1: Before each blow, the lightsaber's tip must be brought backward. Rule 2: Fighters have the option of waving the whole lightsaber, from tip to hilt, behind them or to their side and by doing so they become momentarily immune from attack. Both these rules are designed to encourage swishier movements and attacks. They make lightsaber duelling prettier and more like the fights in 'Star Wars'."

Blows to the head or body are worth five points, while extremities, arms and legs are worth three points and hands are only worth one. The competitor who first reaches fifteen points wins the match. If neither contestant reaches fifteen, then the one who earns most point in three minutes is the winner. In the case of a draw, the winner is decided in a "sudden death" point, where the competitors must be first to land a head or body hit.

Unfortunately the sport is only officially recognised in France, thus perhaps giving Britons reason enough to reconsider Brexit. However, despite the creators' attempts, it will not be making an appearance at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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