If you’re a fan of Star Wars at all, we bet you’ve thought something along the lines of, “Man, I really wish I could learn to use a lightsaber like that.”
Well, good news—you can!
Ever since the rise of dueling-grade lightsaber production companies like Force FX, more and more resources have sprung up to teach the art of lightsaber dueling.
So, here for you today, we’ve gathered a list of the best guides, books, and media to learn to master this elegant weapon from a more civilized age.
Table of Contents
- But first, what type of dueling do you want to learn?
- Alright, so what are the ways to learn lightsaber dueling?
- Okay, so how do I learn a specific form, like Soresu?
- And how do I put my skills to the test?
But first, what type of dueling do you want to learn?
“What do you mean? There can’t be that many ways to swing a lightsaber, can there?”
While utilizing the same tool, lightsaber dueling is split into three main disciplines, and which one you choose, depends on how you intend to duel with your lightsaber.
Combat dueling, arguably the first to come about, is the study of using a lightsaber in actual dueling scenarios, with few flourishes or spins to be seen.
This discipline draws heavily from traditional swordplays, such as Japanese Kendo and European fencing, and less so from the choreography of the films and series.
So, if you want to fence and look cool doing it, combat dueling may be for you.
The second is stunt dueling, or choreographic dueling, which is focused on using the lightsaber for tricks, staged combat, and other aesthetic or artistic purposes, rather than dueling.
Stunt dueling mainly takes from the choreography and traditions of Star Wars lore; however, there are many personal touches one can add to their style and techniques to add some variety, and your own unique spin on things (literally, if you’re spinning lightsabers).
The third is best described as mixed dueling, which is mostly used for LARPing and other roleplay-style scenarios.
This discipline is neither fully choreographed, as both participants are legitimately fighting, but it isn’t straight FEMA-style swordplay either, as there are elements of acting and lightsaber tradition in the duels.
Depending on which discipline you choose, the sources you pick can widely vary, but for this list, we’ll cover some tips and resources for finding your way into the lightsaber martial arts.
Alright, so what are the ways to learn lightsaber dueling?
Luckily for us, the lightsaber dueling community is rich with opportunities to learn the basics, tutorials, guide books, and even real-life schools and dojos!
This list will cover the most popular and accessible entries into the forms, though they’re not limited to the ones we’ve shown here.
With that, let’s dig in!
Method One: Lightsaber Dueling Schools
It seems pretty obvious that if you want to learn something, the first place to go would be a school for it, but lightsaber dojos can be hard to find sometimes.
As a result, if you’re looking to get into combat lightsaber dueling, it might be helpful to check out a regular fencing or FEMA school first, which are more common across the country than lightsaber dueling academies.
However, for stunt and mixed dueling, there are a wide variety of options!
The most famous schools are the Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy and the New York Jedi (who also accept the more dark-side inclined, despite their name).
Terra Prime focuses heavily on web-tutorials and curriculum for either group or solo learning, so they’re an ideal option for those who may be away from larger cities, where most academies are set up.
Terra Prime is even recognized as an ambassador of the French Federation of Fencing, recognizing the LED saber as the fourth official fencing weapon!
Suffice to say, you’re not going to find any school more esteemed than that.
The New York Jedi, evidenced by its name, operates out of New York City, but, if you’re in the area and looking for a laid-back, LARP-friendly dojo, then this might be the group for you!
Method Two: YouTube Tutorials
YouTube is a treasure trove of lightsaber content for any practitioner, and even if it’s not your main method, it can supplement your learnings elsewhere.
You can find videos from esteemed lightsaber schools, such as the ones listed in Method One, along with individual teachers who may have their own insights that you can’t find elsewhere.
One of the most common kinds of tutorials you can find here are demonstrations of lightsaber tricks, most notably what’s called the “Obi Ani Spin,” based on its use by Obi-Wan and Anakin in the prequel trilogy.
While there are countless tutorials you could follow, we’d recommend this one by The Sword’s Way, which we think is pretty impressive for a beginning lesson.
YouTube also offers many videos on lightsaber lore and tidbits, which helps if you’re a LARPer or need to know the nitty-gritty of how lightsabers work.
Method Three: Books and E-Books
Remember how teachers used to nag on you about how if you want to learn something, you have to visit the library?
Well, there’s some truth to that.
But now, instead of the library, the lightsaber landscape has opened up to the vast opportunities of e-books and long-form online articles (and instead of your naggy teacher, you have us—quite the improvement).
There are also options in the physical realm for lightsaber dueling books.
One of the most notable examples are two books published by LucasFIlm themselves, The Jedi Path and the Book of Sith.
Both have decent beginner sections on lightsaber techniques and forms and provide a gold mine of lore on the Jedi and Sith.
If you’re interested in a good introduction to combat dueling, a good start would be Carey Martell’s Stunt Lightsaber Combat For Beginners. However, the name is inaccurate to what it covers.
Here you’ll find easy-to-grasp illustrations and explanations to help you learn the basics of dueling, covering everything from footwork to basic strikes and even guard stances!
Not to mention, many lightsaber dojos and schools have their own websites, where they post articles and tutorials for prospective learners.
So, if you look into schools that fit your interests, you might find something of use online!
Okay, so how do I learn a specific form, like Soresu?
Learning a specific form is a bit tougher than rudimentary strikes and footwork (which usually fall in line with Shii-Cho, if that’s what you’re interested in).
Searching online for specific information on your chosen form will almost always come up with a tutorial: for example, looking up “learn Soresu,” we found this video by Saber Arts Academy.
These can usually stretch across different mediums, so you may find a dojo that specializes in your form, or some videos, or an article, or all of the above!
The first two will probably be your best bet, as most dojos and video-producers have courses tailored to specific forms and exercises best suited for your style.
So, if you’re itching to learn Makashi or Djem-So, YouTube and your closest lightsaber school are the ways to go!
And how do I put my skills to the test?
The best way to supplement your lightsaber dueling education is the same way you learn any sport: practice!
If you’re at a dojo, this is easy enough since your teachers and fellow students will be eager to duel with you—things might get harder if you’re taking the online route.
The first easy step will be to see if any friends are interested in learning with you so that the two of you can practice with each other and mutually grow stronger.
If you don’t have friends (we’re sorry for your loss), another solid method is to research lightsaber meetups in your area.
While not very common, lightsaber meetups allow duelists to test their skills with each other in a public arena, usually with a bit of LARPing and theatrics to go along with it.
These are most common in larger cities, so make sure to include your nearest population hub in your searches for meetups.
If, for whatever reason, there still aren’t any events in your area, you always have a simple solution: start your own!
With websites like Meetup sprouting up, allowing anyone with an account to create a new group or event, gathering a small party of interested duelists should be easy, if you advertise it well.
And, if push comes to shove, you can always try starting duels with random strangers on the street (legally, this is not advised, we are not responsible for any lost limbs you may incur).
So, with all these resources, you’re on your way to becoming a full-fledged lightsaber master duelist—no need to thank us.
DId these resources teach you something new? Have any other suggestions for your fellow dueling enthusiasts? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and consider sharing if this article was helpful!
But for now, may the Force be with you—always.