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Yesterday, I booked it north after work to head up to Hollywood boulevard for my first ever lightsaber class.
No, seriously! Thanks to The Force Awakens, lightsaber combat and fitness are on the rise — meaning that, finally, classes are easier to find in most major cities. With two more months left until I had the insurance required for the West LA Kendo dojo, I was antsy to polish up on sword combat (something I hadn’t actually done in over a decade) and completely geek out at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect, but going in blind made for one of the most exciting and fun combat classes I’ve ever taken.
Instructor Flynn Michael founded the original New York Jedi, and has been training in various martial arts since before I could walk. Our first class focused on the 8 Core Principles, which most combat arts are founded upon. Flynn was hilarious, knowledgable, and most importantly, easy to work with. I made instant friends with the other students, thanks to the fact that we were so distinctly amongst “our people” — saber swinging kids who used to jump off of our parents’ couches attempting to catch the air that the wild-flipping, top-of-their-game Jedi of the prequels could, or faced off against our friends in epic duels as Luke and Vader.
Factor in a comprehensive first class that made me reconsider the very way I stand on a regular basis, and it was almost too much fun. My upper body feels sore “in the good way,” and I actually feel calm today. This in itself is a feat, since anyone close to me can tell you how anxious and tense I can get at almost every hour of the day. I feel a lot more focused, but more than anything, I really want to get back to class. I guess that’s a bit weird to anyone who might look at this from an outside perspective, but the sheer amount of joy this class brought me topples the achy joints in my body tenfold. Going in without worrying about judgement — and writing about it now with as little care for my peers’ opinions on my hobbies as I can muster — is like a breath of fresh air. (For the record, my peers think it’s either neat or hilarious, which are both pretty decent outcomes for me.)
Over the course of the class, we were taught basic forms, stances and swings, but the highlight had to be the very end, when we paired up and staged two combat skits. Some were more combat-heavy, a few others were more dramatic, but we had tons of fun regardless.
Anyway, I wrote this blog post mainly to spread the word. Our batch this time was pretty small, but I’m hoping to get Flynn and his folks back to L.A. for more classes in the future. If you’re into it, check out the Lightsabers L.A. page and ask for it!