Love Star Wars? Spend hours imagining yourself in the midst of a heart-pounding lightsaber battle? Fencers in France will soon be able to turn their dreams into reality, as the French Fencing Federation has officially accepted the registration of lightsaber dueling. That’s right, folks. It’s officially a sport.

Combatting the ‘Dark Side’

According to the French Fencing Federation’s general secretary, Serge Aubailly, the  organization wants to bridge the gap between video gamers and real-life sports. They recognize sedentary lifestyles are becoming a problem, especially among school-age children. The move was made in an effort to spark interest in those who are drawn to some of the more visually appealing aspects of games and movies while still speaking to their competitive natures.

Wait. Lightsabers?

Yes, lightsabers. The weapon used for lightsaber dueling was designed to look similar to the weapons used in the Star Wars sagas. Made of polycarbonate, these weapons don’t appear out of nowhere, but they do have LED lights. They’re also outfitted with mechanisms that give them the same sort of tell-tale sound you’d hear during a fight in the movies. Participants will be required to wear standard safety equipment during training and tournament sessions.

How Does It Work?

Lightsaber duel rounds will last three minutes each and the first person to reach 15 minutes, or have the highest score when the timer runs out, will be declared the winner. Points are awarded as follows:

  • Hands – 1 point
  • Legs – 3 points
  • Body/torso – 5 points
  • Head – 5 points

Duels will go into “sudden death” mode if both fencers reach 10 points. If this happens, the first person to earn a blow to the torso or head will win the match.Duels will take place inside a circle as opposed to fencing’s traditional strip. They will also have umpires, just like regular matches.

Soaring Into the Future

Officials hope that appealing to a younger audience will generate new interest in the sport of fencing as a whole. This isn’t the first time the sport has turned to pop-culture in order to encourage youth to give it a try. We’ve seen references to The Three Musketeers, Zorro and even Robin Hood. Young enthusiasts may start thanks to their interest in a storyline and find themselves hooked, gravitating towards the formal sport.

While we doubt we’ll ever see lightsaber duels as an Olympic sport, we’re happy to see organizations doing what they can to spread awareness. Hopefully this sort of effort will spread across the globe!