Lightspeed Saber League is based out of Orange, California. We began in August 2015 as a small training group called Knight Club, based in Irvine. Once Episode VII came out that December, the lightsaber scene exploded. The rest of the story (and this section) is yet to be written...
Lightspeed Saber League is not in any way associated with Disney or Lucasfilm. Fence at your own risk.
We're not the first to bring lightsabery to the masses. But we do bring the best combination of spectacle, authenticity, intensity, and athleticism into a sport that is both safe and objectively judged.
The most important thing to understand about Lightspeed-sabery is it is designed as a spectator sport first, and martial art second. Blade-based martial arts are highly technical, highly tactical, and certainly worthy of study. But they are not always exciting or very athletic. By crafting Lightspeed-sabery as a sport, we can deliver an athletic, intense, and beautiful translation of the lightsaber from the screen to the real world, while still being safe and objectively refereed. We do this in several ways:
- Featherweight blade: This blade is faster and safer than its heavy-grade cousin, reducing armor requirements, enhancing speed and mobility, and allowing for powerful and dramatic sweeping cuts, as opposed to the short chops typically seen in heavier dueling.
- No point-attacks: This forces competitors to use cuts and arcs, thus emphasizing the beauty and aesthetic of the lightsaber as presented on film.
- 100% target: The entire body plus hilt are valid targets. This makes evasion a critical skill, and speed an important factor. Exceptional footwork and agility, in addition to bladework, are paramount to success.
- High point matches: Official matches are always a minimum of ten points. Stamina matters.
martial and cinematic authenticity
Despite our commitment to lightsabery as a sport, in some ways, Lightspeed is still the most authentic form of lightsabery out there, both martially and cinematically.
Many organizations do not include the hands and hilt as valid target. This brings their form of lightsabery closer to traditional weapon arts but has the effect of neutering the lightsaber as a martial form in itself. Our perspective is that defending the hands and hilt from attack is a fundamental skill in lightsabery and cannot be ignored.
Meanwhile, banning point-attacks and using light-weight blades makes the Lightspeed format truer to the lightsaber as presented on film. The principle job of the lightsaber, afterall, is not to kill an opponent, but to thrill an audience. By focusing on large sweeping attacks, we can achieve a style of fencing that is intense and real, yet beautiful. It's the best of choreography and combat combined.
Mastery, uniqueness, and respect
We're often asked why we limit the format to classic, single lightsabers only, rather than include spears, staves, and crossguards. If lightsabery is to be a spectator sport, then we need to get people to watch and to join. This cannot happen if potential spectators and participants do not respect the sport. And that cannot happen if they do not respect the athletes. Therefore, our marketing strategy is one of mastery and uniqueness.
- The first and primary reason we don't allow crossguard-sabers and lightpikes is so we can hone our competitors' skills on a single discipline. We want our athletes to focus on the classic lightsaber so they can gain mastery in their discipline, and consequently, respect in the public eye. This won't happen if our attention is divided among different weapons, numbers of weapons, and mass warfare.
- The second reason is to promote lightsaber as a discipline that is entirely unique. Crossguard-sabers and lightpikes are simply too similar to longswords and spears. As long as we're aping already long-standing martial forms, lightsabery will always be seen as the unserious, kid-version of whatever came before it. True lightsabery must stand on its own.
There is no reason that LSL cannot eventually introduce new weaponry into the arsenal. But that will not happen until competitors have achieved a high level of skill in the classic lightsaber. This, we believe, is the best way to gaining respect and legitimacy.