The French Fencing Federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport.
Is this perhaps the nerdiest thing to ever be recognized by an official sports federation? Quite possibly. And yet, you can’t really fault their motivation.
As per the Associated Press, the French Fencing Federation now recognizes lightsaber dueling as an official sport. That means that both children and adults alike can act out their Star Wars fantasies with plastic LED-lit “lightsabers” and actually have it count towards something like a trophy or their Jedi mastery rank.
Is that a thing? We’re not sure.
But before we lead you to think this is just a bunch of grown men playing with toy swords, a few clarifications. First, the lightsabers aren’t really toys: they’re rigid polycarbonate replicas that are designed to be both durable and bendy at the same time. Sadly, they do not imitate the movies and cut through solid metal walls like butter. Some expensive units do make the same noises as heard in the movies thanks to sensors that can determine when and what kind of impact has been made and emit the appropriate “pzzeewww!” sound.
Second, there are real rules for these fights. In order to ensure the duel looks as close to the movies as possible, both Jedi and Sith must bring the lightsaber back behind themselves before every strike, otherwise, it doesn’t count. They can also twirl the lightsaber around their bodies to bestow themselves with a sort of temporary immunity from being scored on.
Duels all happen in a marked circle and last to either 15 points or three minutes, whichever happens first. Strikes to the head and body are worth 5 points, arms and legs 3 points, and hands 1 point. If both competitors reach 10 points, then it becomes sudden death where the first to strike the heady or body wins.
Lightsaber dueling: Some basic rules. pic.twitter.com/GNEKH5jPJg— John Leicester (@johnleicester) February 18, 2019
And of course, fights take place in a darkened hall where the neat LEDs can make it seem all the more like spectators are watching a real lightsaber duel and not just a bunch of dudes with replicas.
So far the sport has just a few hundred official members in France, although that number continues to climb. And while it has no hope of becoming an Olympic sport (at least for now), the French Federation does hope that it will get kids off the couch and participating in some exercise where they whap other kids with plastic sticks.
Er, sorry -we mean lightsabers.