Lightsaber Combat: Guide To Getting Started

February 11, 2021

If you’re looking to get into an activity that connects an active lifestyle together with your love for the Star Wars universe – then look no further than saber combat. This new sport has been taking the world by storm over the last few years and there’s no better time to get started than now!

Regular readers of the MGear Gadgetero newsletter know that we’re passionate about promoting active and healthy lifestyles. While MGear focuses on developing innovative products for outdoor adventurers and gadget lovers – our sister company Maharlika Studios offers martial arts and combat classes in-person and online. In 2019, Maharlika Studios also expanded its programming to include local saber combat training and tournaments. That said, we are far from the first studio to offer classes studying the art of the lightsaber. Saber combat is now practiced globally and the community continues to grow all the time.

In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you should know in order to get started in lightsaber combat, including a bit of history, how to connect with a local saber combat chapter and what saber fighting equipment you’ll need. Ladies and gentlemen – fire up your sabers!

What is Lightsaber Combat? 

It’s part sport, part self-defense training, and just as importantly a chance to make new friends. Since the word “lightsaber” is owned by Star Wars, the community refers to the activity as “Saber Fighting” or “Saber Combat” instead. The sport involves two fighters called “saberists” who duel with LED sabers while wearing protective gear. Saber training and fighting events are hosted both indoors and outdoors and range from small local events with several participants to large-scale tournaments that attract Star Wars fans from faraway places.

We’re sure you’re wondering: When did lightsaber combat “leap” from the big screen into real life? While local groups practicing saber combat have existed for at least a decade, The Saber Legion founded in 2015 by Terry Birnbaum was one of the first organizations that thrust the community into global limelight. In a few short months, The Saber Legion went from a small group of friends dueling in their backyard to a national saber combat tournament. Taking its inspiration from traditional sword fighting sports like Fencing and Kendo, saber fighting has grown into a huge worldwide community.

While some question its legitimacy, saber fighting is gradually easing itself into mainstream sports. Take this article on ESPN, for example, that teaches basic saber fighting techniques. Even the Nerdist wrote about saber combat when the French Fencing Federation recognized it as a real sport. What started as a fantasy fighting style in film and TV has grown into a serious competitive sport.

Today saber combat is enjoyed at local meets in parks, organized saber tournaments, and even international events that attract thousands of spectators.

How to Start Lightsaber Training

If you’re looking for a fun way to stay active and make new friends, then saber fighting is definitely something to try. Newbies can start by training at home or by joining a local saber combat league where you’ll be provided hands-on instruction by a master saberist. There are lots of ways to sink your teeth into saber combat, so let’s take a look at all the options.

YouTube Lessons

One of the easiest ways to get a taste of saber fighting is to partake in the sport virtually by teaching yourself through online videos on YouTube. Look up “saber training tutorial” on YouTube and you’ll find lots of channels that offer great content. A couple of our favorites include the Mike Starwalker and The Rogue Saber Academy channels. The internet has allowed the saber fighting community to be more connected than ever.

Online Classes

If there are no studios near you offering in-person classes don’t stress, there are plenty of virtual courses available now as well. Sign up for an online class from an organization like The Saber Authority if you’re looking to learn from master instructors.

Combat Studios

Of course the best and most engaging way to get into saber fighting is to join a local club. There are plenty of martial arts and fencing studios that offer saber fighting lessons in most mid-to-larger cities. Locating the closest one to you is usually just a quick Google search away. If you live in the Toronto area, be sure to check out the lessons and tournaments offered by our sister company Maharlika Studios. To find saber combat charters in other countries / cities, use the charter locator on The Saber Legion website. This international saber combat organization has chapters all over North America, as well as the UK, Australia, and Mexico.

Starting Equipment

If you begin training at home, you’ll need just a single piece of equipment – the lightsaber itself, duh! However if you join a local saber fighting league, you’ll need a few additional items to get started. Building your own saber fighting outfit and persona is one of the really fun aspects of participating in this sport. While putting on all the safety gear will automatically make you look like a warrior, many participants choose to customize their outfits to look like characters that truly fit into the Star Wars universe. There are different levels of armor classifications, so you’ll want to decide if you prefer light armor, medium armor, or heavy armor. In general, these are the 5 most important items you’ll need:

Head protection

As in any sport, your head is the most important part of your body. For this, we suggest a 3W or 350N+ fencing / HEMA mask. Some casual duelists also use goggles to protect their eyes if a fencing mask is difficult to find.

Chest protection 

On your torso, you can use HEMA body armor, hockey shoulder pads, shoulder pads, or any other sort of plated sports body armor. There plenty of types of body armor out there for different sports, so be creative!

Hand protection

To keep your hands safe, wear full-finger padded gloves. Lacrosse gloves work especially well for this because they are padded, but also allow for dexterity and articulation.

Groin protection

As in most contact sports, you might need an Athlete’s cup or jockstrap.

Combat saber 

Last but certainly not least, you have to choose your weapon! Most combat sabers have a metal hilt and a heavy-grade polycarbonate blade with a rounded tip. You will need to make sure your saber meets the requirements for events since toys and props are not permitted in a competition.

There has never been a better time to start a new hobby and stay fit by learning a new martial art. Plus, it’s an opportunity to make new friends and create a rad costume inspired by your favorite Star Wars character. Be sure to sign up for a local club and begin your training so you too are ready to defend the galaxy when the time comes!

Once you’ve learned the ways of the blade, you’ll be able to attend awesome events put on by studios in your city. See you on the battlefield!