Sci-Fi Fans Spar in Light-Saber Combat Clubs
SCOTT SIMON, host:
If you want to lose weight before the season of bikinis and Speedos, you can try using the Force. And we don't mean calling on Obi-Wan Kenobi to help you resist vending machine snacks, but light-saber combat where you can kick and flip your way through teams inspired by the light-saber battles in the Star Wars films. New York Jedi has been at the forefront of this growing exercise regimen. Flynn, he goes by one name, founded New York Jedi and other light-saber enthusiasts clubs around the country and joins us from our studios in New York. Flynn, Mr. Flynn, thanks very much for being with us.
Mr. FLYNN (Founder of New York Jedi Club): Hi Scott.
SIMON: How do these routines work? You know what a light-saber can do in the movies.
Mr. FLYNN: Correct. Well, of course it's all theoretical. There's certain properties that you would expect a light-saber to have, like they're made of light. When you turn them off, they disappear, so you know, we can remove the blades from the hilts. It's really light-saber stage combat. So we make up these stories and these characters, we get custom light-sabers that we then put together a scene where, you know, you'd theoretically understand how a light-saber is supposed to work. Like, you know, a magnetic field surrounding a light beam and we practice the motions in how they react and how this whole scene might go together.
SIMON: It sounds like scenes are an important part of the storyline.
Mr. FLYNN: Oh yes, of course. When you're doing a story for a live audience, you kind of have to convey to the audience why you're fighting. Set up a scene, you might say a couple of lines, like, you know, you killed my father or whatever it was.
SIMON: Oh, that's a big one, yeah.
Mr. FLYNN: Yes, of course, of course.
SIMON: Yeah. And then go to it, but it's all kind of choreographed?
Mr. FLYNN: Yes, yes, it's all choreographed.
SIMON: Forgive me for putting it this way, Flynn, but is it a bunch of Star Wars nerds coming out to these things?
Mr. FLYNN: Of course there are.
SIMON: Well, there are millions, so why not. More than there are Weekend Edition Saturday nerds, I'm sure.
Mr. FLYNN: Well everybody's got to geek out about something.
SIMON: Now, is it really exercise?
Mr. FLYNN: Oh absolutely. I've had people tell me that they've lost anywhere between 30 to 50 pounds. The club is actually much bigger than just that focus of live fights. The website has a forum where we encourage people to create a character and they can use whatever they want. We're not Star Wars kin. We don't have any adherence to that per se, so you can really pull from any sci-fi storyline, make up a whole brand new kind of species of characters or...
SIMON: Oh, you could be Winnie the Pooh if you wanted.
Mr. FLYNN: Absolutely.
Mr. FLYNN: Absolutely.
SIMON: Do you have a character?
Mr. FLYNN: Yes I do. If you're familiar with the 1980s movie Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger, my character is a predator. On his planet he's known as a runt. He's very small and he got beat up a lot, which is actually akin to my own history in high school and stuff like that.
SIMON: Flynn, he's the founder of the New York Jedi, newyorkjedi.com, and saberwars.com, and other light-saber fighting clubs speaking to us from New York. And if you're waiting for me to say the force be with you, keep waiting.
(Soundbite of light-saber)
SIMON: This is NPR News.