Use The Force

Left: The class practising moves.

Left: The class practising moves.

With the release of ‘The Force Awakens’ last month, it would be fair to say that the nation has recently been gripped by Star Wars fever.

There are those who walk among us who would like nothing more than to brandish a lightsaber and learn the ways of “The Force”. And now, with the arrival of Ludosport Lightsaber Combat Academy to Ireland, that opportunity may finally present itself!

Founded in Italy, Ludosport is the world’s premier international lightsaber combat academy. It teaches the seven different styles of lightsaber combat as both a competitive sport and as a novel way to maintain fitness.

The founders of the sport were Star Wars enthusiasts and practitioners of various fencing styles, and by merging their two main loves together, a new sport was born! Since then an entire system has been developed including ranks, a Jedi and Sith path and international tournaments.

Members have the opportunity to compete across the globe with a network of Ludosport institutes based in seven different countries, with more on the rise.
The classes came to Ireland just over a year ago and have grown steadily ever since. And now the Academy has been set up in the Sean O’ Casey Community Centre, in neighbouring East Wall.

NewsFour spoke to Jim Tuohy, who is rector and head instructor of Ludosport Ireland. He is in charge of the running of the Academy, and the organisation and teaching of classes. Classes in the Sean O’ Casey centre run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Fridays in Bray Bowling Alley. Classes run for two hours, including a 15-minute warm up, 45 minutes of theory and syllabus followed by 45 minutes of exercise and sparring. Ludosport train throughout the year, excluding December.

Pictured Above: Jim Tuohy.

Pictured Above: Jim Tuohy.

“ People seem to really enjoy it”, Jim Tuohy says. “I don’t think they realise how big the sporting element is, and are often suprised to learn that Ludosport is something that they can compete in, and spend years learning. People really like the idea of climbing through the styles and earning new ranks. What really surprised me are the amount of people who do it that aren’t Star Wars fans, but are remaining for the sporting/fitness side of it.”

The classes attract a wide range of people, some who are completely immersed in the fantasy element, and those who probably have never even heard of Jabba The Hutt. However, Jim has some helpful advice for anyone in the Dublin 4 area who may wish to stick it to the Empire!

“Don’t be afraid to book a trial class, everyone is really welcoming, and the classes are easy going”, Jim continues. “You don’t have to be very fit to take it up, but you will find your fitness levels increasing if you keep it up. Also, come try it out even if you aren’t that interested in Star Wars. It is a sport unlike any other, and you are sure to find something to interest or challenge you!”

Indeed, may the Force be with us all.

By Craig Kinsella