In an effort to get the younger generation off the couch and exercising, the French fencing federation recently recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport.
Just like medieval tales like The Three Musketeers once inspired youths to take up classic fencing sports, so too can Star Wars save young people from the clutches of the evil currently plaguing public health – sedentary lifestyle. Or at least that’s how officials from the French fencing federation explain their decision to acknowledge lightsaber dueling as an official sport.
According to the now-official regulations of French lightsaber dueling, battles are carried out in a circle marked with tape on the floor, and last for 3 minutes. The goal of the duelists is to reach 15 points before their opponent and win the bout. If both players reach 10 points within the 3-minute time limit, the duel enters an exciting “sudden death” stage where the first combatant to land a body or head blow wins the match.
Strikes on the head or body count for 5 points each, hits on the arms and legs are 3 points, and touches on the hands are 1 point. If neither of the fighters reaches 15 points before the 3 minutes are up, the fighter with the higher score wins.
The scoring system is similar to that of traditional fencing sports, but the federation did implement some special rules to make the duels more exciting. For example, blows only count if the fighters first point the tip of their lightsabers behind them, which is designed to both prevent the quick front lunges typical of fencing, and also give the duels a realistic Star Wars feel, by encouraging swishier blows.