'Star Wars': Lightsaber Dueling Becomes an Official Sport in France

Star Wars never knew how far it might go when it debuted, and it’s fair to say no one expected [...]

Star Wars never knew how far it might go when it debuted, and it's fair to say no one expected the sci-fi series to become a behemoth. George Lucas' brainchild stands as one of history's most iconic franchises to date, and it is reaching new heights in France.

After all, lightsaber dueling is an official sport abroad, and it is way more intense than you may think.

As reported by Associated Press, France has made lightsaber dueling an officially recognized competitive sport. The country's fencing federation is to thanks for the push, so lightsabers are classified alongside the sabre, epee, and foil as far as France is concerned.

These new tools certified by France use LED rigs to light up and are made of a tough polycarbonate plastic. Some higher quality lightsabers will even rumble when turned on, and they are made to be as aerodynamic as possible for the sport.

According to reports, France chose to approve lightsaber dueling given its intense physicality. The French Fencing Federation says it is equipping clubs all over the country with lightsabers and instructors who are one with the Force. The group says it hopes this hip take on fencing will attract people of all ages and help combat their sedentary habits.

"With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs," Serge Aubailly, the federation's secretary general, said. "It's becoming difficult to (persuade them to) do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one's thumbs. That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural."

"Cape and sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth. Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try," Aubailly continued.

If you want a low down on the rules of lightsaber dueling, the French Fencing Federation has guidelines available as it does differ from fencing. A duel begins when both combatants enter a marked circle and salute. A strike to the head or body accrues 5 points while limbs are worth 3 and hands 1. The first combatant to 15 points wins or to the person who has the most points after three minutes. Should both fighters reach 10 points before time runs out, the duel enters a 'sudden death' mode where the first person to strike their opponent's head or body wins. Strikes only count if the saber's point is pointed behind them before landing, making swings more theatrical and wide like actual lightsaber duels. So, if the step-and-launch method of fencing never fancied you, then this new combat system might do the trick.

So, would you like to center yourself for an actual lightsaber duel? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!