Admit it; at one point or another you dreamed of becoming a genuine Jedi Knight and craved to defend the galaxy against the horrors of the dark side.
You’ve envisioned yourself traveling to the planet dagobah and training under the last surviving Jedi, Master Yoda. What would it be like, being in Luke’s shoes? How hard would it be to control the force? Sadly these are just dreams and we must come to terms that the world of Star Wars only exists in movies, television, comics and books.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up hope of becoming a Jedi. Numerous Jedi organizations exist throughout the world which feature groups of dedicated people who are trained in the art of light saber combat. One of these groups is the PA Jedi (in Pennsylvania), and I was invited by the president of the organization, Frank Delaney, to attend a light saber training class after working with him on Free Comic Book Day.
No light saber? No problem! Wooden sabers are provided to Padawan learners but first thing is first; basic stretches to warm up ensure that no one pulls a muscle. A bag is offered to each Padawan where they draw a chip with a letter on it. That letter indicates what move you will learn and that includes attacks and blocks. Say you draw the letter “A”, this means you attack in the form of an “A”; left shoulder, right shoulder and then the head. First your instructor shows you how to attack then he attacks you and shows you how to block. Once you’ve got the hang of the move, you move on to other letters of the alphabet and focus on your foot work. Members were generous enough to allow myself and my companion Brian to use their combat sabers which are built specifically for fighting. Each instructor was patient and acted as your very own personal Yoda.
The PA Jedi is a non profit organization that provides stage combat performances for charity, conventions and other events. One member, by the name of Pickles, specializes in the “Anakin Spin” which he performed for us in the dark with his saber lit.
A fun fact to share is that once becoming a member, you can create your own character. You can choose your own wardrobe for designing your character; select a name and a background story. I spoke with another member, James, whom I have seen at local conventions. I always took notice to him because of his unique costume and he told me that the inspiration for his costume drew from Samurai and Roman soldiers. The result is truly an impressive costume and naturally, thoughts began racing through my head on what kind of costume I would put together for my character. After three hours of practicng and socializing, it was time to call it a night. The class ended with the lights shut off, and the lighting of the sabers. After the group gathering it was expressed that the organization would like to have Brian and I as members. It appears that the Force is calling. Will we answer? Stay tuned!
My thanks to the PA Jedi for their hospitality and generosity. To find out more about the group and to attend a class, check out their website: http://www.pajedi.com