A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… FRANCIS LAW from HYPE tries to master the ancient Jedi art of lightsaber combat.
This was it. I couldn’t believe it. I’d waited my entire life for this one chance and now it was right in front of me.
Today was the day I could begin my training as a Jedi.
Brimming with anticipation, I arrived at Ang Mo Kio eager to embark on my journey as a Padawan, a Jedi apprentice, training to protect the galaxy from evil. As I approached the training site under the train tracks, whirling lights greeted me. Flashes of green, blue, purple and even red? I didn’t know they trained Sith here too. They are, after all, the polar opposite of the Jedi.
Saber instructor Ming Jie handed me a training saber. Excitement coursed through my veins as I wrapped my fingers around the cold metal hilt. When the blade lit up with a swish, buzzing and crackling as I swung it around, I knew that this is what pure joy feels like. That, in my hands, was the weapon of a Jedi – light, agile and very cool.
However, there was no time for admiring my newly acquired weapon; it was straight to vigorous training.
Beginning with the Basics
My fellow Padawans and I formed a circle as Jedi Master Reza Emmanuel took centre stage. With over 18 years of experience in martial arts, Master Reza is trained in disciplines such as aikido, kickboxing and tai chi and draws inspiration for the lightsaber combat style and choreography from
Reza, along with Ming Jie, founded The Force Academy under The Saber Authority. Priding themselves in being the most realistic lightsaber duelling programme in Singapore, The Force Academy provides opportunities for students keen to learn the art of lightsaber duelling. Since its launch in 2014, their numbers have grown rapidly. Now, they have an average of 20 students per lesson.
Calling on an experienced Padawan to join him in the middle of the circle, Master Reza proceeded to demonstrate basic lightsaber combat techniques. I couldn’t wait to show off my lightsaber prowess to the rest of the Padawans.
At the first swing of my saber, however, all confidence I had in my skills crumbled. Crossing blades with my equally bewildered partner, we stumbled around clumsily, lost and graceless like two droids wandering the desert planet of Tatooine.
Taking a break from the tiresome training (and unimaginable embarrassment), I looked around and was relieved to discover I wasn’t the only first-timer. Newcomers Janine and Debbie had heard about the academy through a friend and decided to give it a try. Despite it being their first lesson, they were still doing a much better job than I was. Determined to match up to them, I got back to training.
Putting newfound skills to action
Soon, it was time for sparring. Soaked in sweat and worn down from the training, adrenaline coursed through my body as I turned to face my opponent. Tired as I was, I was positive I would win.
Boy, was I wrong.
As soon as Master Reza signalled the start of the round, I started flailing about, mindlessly slashing my lightsaber through the air in hopes that a stray strike would land on my foe. However, my opponent easily slashed at my wrist, ending the sparring session. Thankfully it wasn’t a real lightsaber, or my hand would’ve been sliced right off!
With this, Master Reza called us together again. Crossing sabers, we shouted The Saber Academy’s Creed: Respect, Harmony, Purpose.
At the end of the hour-long training session, my body was giving way, I was drenched in perspiration and handless after a sparring session. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a Jedi after all.
Oh well, I guess I could always join the Empire; I heard the dark side of the Force has cookies.
Is the Force Strong With You?
Training sessions are on Sundays from 6.30pm to 7.30pm at The Deck, opposite Ang Mo Kio MRT station.
Single training session (Sabers Provided): From $25
Monthly Membership (Sabers Provided): $80
Monthly Membership (Bring your own saber): $60
Sabers starting from $390 can be bought online from the Saber Authority website thesaberauthority.com
Would you rather protect the galaxy as a Jedi, or rule with fear as a Sith? Let us know in the comments down below!