In the winter of 2009, I attended my first ever Comic Convention in New York City. A minute in to looking at the schedule, one event caught my eye: New York Jedi, a stage combat troupe and fan group that put on shows and stories set in a Galaxy Far Far Away. For an hour, an audience watched several dozen people put on a variety of vignettes and one fully scripted stage show. For an hour, you could say that you saw Jedi and Sith battle it out right in front of your eyes.
By the end of the shows, I was hooked. I had some martial and theater experience, and they accepted all comers regardless of background. Two weeks, a blog post, and some discussion with other members later and I found myself at a class. I was taught the basics of stage combat and a sword form my first night, and again I was hooked even further.
Seven years later, and I’m part of the lightsaber combat community. It’s a culture of people who explore Star Wars through the use of the most dangerous laser pointer ever created in fiction. There are parts who explore it through creating fan fiction for the stage and in video. There are those who explore the lightsaber as a weapon and try to develop a functional martial art or sport using pieces designed specifically for contact. You also have those who see it as the Jedi would have seen it, as a meditative tool. I have the weird honor of knowing and being amongst these blessed lunatics and manic dorks.
In those seven years, I have performed on stage to literal thousands of people at conventions. I have performed on stage at off-off and off-Broadway stage shows, several of which I was lucky to write myself. I have taught classes with New York Jedi, specializing in Character Creation, Storytelling on Stage and the sword form I was taught my very first night.
My greatest accomplishment was in the summer of 2010, when I wrote a treatise on The Seven Forms of Lightsaber Combat. The Seven Forms are fictional martial arts styles developed to add characterization and depth to the writing of the prequel novels’ Expanded Universe (or EU, now known as ‘Legends’). I tried to distill the forms’ styles and philosophies in the hopes that I could understand them better for my own benefit. Later I would learn that it benefited more than myself.
Since then, my writings has been in the hands of many people. The paper became a part of some groups curriculum, and inspired people to form their own groups or join the community altogether. I have also become a Headmaster for Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy, a group that seeks to make the Forms and lightsaber combat in to a legitimate martial art. There’s something powerfully humbling in knowing that I inspired people with what is without doubt the geekiest thing I will ever write.
This blog is intended to be a celebration and discussion on the community before us: those who fell in love with Star Wars and the lightsaber and want to bring some of that magic from the screen to the really real world in a variety of ways. There are a lot of groups out there and a lot of different perspectives that exist. I’m going to share mine here in the hopes of hearing yours. I’m also going to post my updated notes on the Forms and on lightsaber combat itself. Six years has been a long time, it’s time to put out the new information and get some more conversation about the forms.
Finally, a note of transparency: This blog lays no claim on the rights of Star Wars or any other identities therein. This is a fan blog. Also, this blog does not reflect the opinions of Disney, LucasArts, New York Jedi or Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy. These are my own opinions.
Thank you, and enjoy the ride.
PS: This site is under construction. There will be style updates as time goes on.