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Mexicans embrace the Force with lightsaber training inspired by Star Wars

It’s not quite a galaxy far, far away, but about 20 people gather at dusk in a park in southern Mexico to practice fencing with glowing lightsabers – a sport inspired by the Star Wars franchise.

Lightsaber duelling has grown in popularity in recent years, and France’s fencing federation now recognises it as an official sport, holding national championships.

In Mexico, the Jedi Knight Academy teaches fencing “with lightsabers in the style of the Jedi teachings”, referring to the fictional guardians of peace and justice in the popular film franchise created by legendary filmmaker George Lucas.

The academy offers a “playful sport with lightsabers, in a safe and fun way”, Mauricio Rodriguez, an 18-year-old student, told Agence France-Presse.

Both male and female participants, some dressed in masks and long capes, were lured by their love of science fiction and the chance of a bit of exercise.

Members of the Jedi Knight Academy duel with lightsabers in Mexico City. Photo: AFP

Fencing “with a lightsaber makes me feel like I’m a Jedi, but as a sport it’s interesting”, said 24-year-old engineering student Victor Aceves.

“Swords are striking in themselves, but doing it with a lightsaber gives it a more fantastic touch,” Aceves added.

Students must follow steps in their training: from the apprentice “padawan” to “knight”, “grand knight”, and “master”.

“I came here because I had to exercise in some way. It’s the only thing that caught my attention,” said 33-year-old Marisol Rodriguez.

The Academy has spread to several states in Mexico and will on July 21 hold “a national tournament of lightsaber duels”, open “to all enthusiasts, from padawans to Jedi masters”.

One of the Academy’s founders, Ulises Vazquez, told local media that he wants to transform the practice into a real sporting discipline with the approval of the National Sports Commission (Conade).

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