Duel Worthy Lightsabers: Heavy Dueling vs. Light Contact
When Star Wars fans and lightsaber enthusiasts shop around for a new lightsaber, they’ll often ask themselves, “Is this lightsaber duel worthy?”. Let’s be real, many people who purchase a lightsaber are going to want to duel in SOME capacity.
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Although Star Wars characters use lightsabers in many ways, ranging from cutting through a door, to deflecting blaster bolts, to slicing through a dead Tauntaun, lightsaber dueling remains the coolest, most awe-inspiring fan favorite use of the glowing weapon. It’s important that prospective lightsaber buyers understand the distinction between light contact versus heavy dueling or full-on sparring.
Light Contact Dueling
Many lightsaber buyers intend to use a lightsaber for at least light contact. Light contact means you’re playing around with your friends. Although each of you has a lightsaber, you’re not trying to whack your friend too hard–you’ve just making a small amount of contact, maybe enough to activate the sound and motion responses of the lightsaber (if it’s a sound saber).
Heavy dueling, by contrast, can get pretty intense. If you look at the rules and standards for a lightsaber combat organization like The Saber Legion (TSL), all participants are required to wear extra protective gear during lightsaber bouts. Requiring extra protective gear should be a bit of an indicator of how intense lightsaber combat can get. When you think of the word ‘sparring’, usually MMA, karate, taekwondo or other martial arts may come to mind. You may imagine someone getting punched or kicked. The same approach applies to lightsaber sparring. Lightsaber sparring is more of an intense endeavor. People wear different protective gear like a fencing helmet and hockey pads during lightsaber sparring.
Are Force FX Lightsabers Duel Worthy?
Viewers of the SaberSourcing YouTube channel will often comment, “Force FX lightsabers are duel worthy. I duel with them all the time!” The greater lightsaber community does not consider Force FX lightsabers duel worthy. The Force FX lightsabers MIGHT be able to handle some light contact (at your own risk), but more rigorous dueling could damage the lightsaber or risk injuring yourself or others. Hasbro states the box of Star Wars: The Black Series Force FX lightsabers that the lightsaber is an “Adult Collectible”. In other words, the lightsaber is not a toy and the company does not directly condone or encourage dueling with Force FX lightsabers.
Duel Worthy Lightsabers
If you’re looking for lightsabers that are duel worthy (i.e. can withstand heavy dueling), you may want to acquire a custom lightsaber. Many custom saber companies and sabersmiths make duel worthy lightsabers.
It’s important to use a heavy grade or thick walled blade during lightsaber dueling. Heavy grade blades use a much thicker and more durable blade stock than midgrade or thin walled blades (used for light to medium contact). Midgrade blades can break more easily during intense dueling. Most lightsaber enthusiasts also use 1 inch diameter blades, rather than 7/8 inch diameter blades. Lightsaber enthusiasts rarely, if ever, use 3/4 inch diameter blades–the small diameter is too fragile.
Some popular budget sound sabers (around $100 and under) are not sturdy enough for rigorous dueling. Some of the lower end Ultrasabers lightsabers with heavy grade blades, however, are commonly used for dueling. Some of the budget YDD sound sabers are not sturdy enough for heavy dueling since they use a midgrade blade (instead of a heavy grade blade) that’s a smaller 7/8 inch diameter blade (instead of a 1 inch diameter blade). The hilt itself is also thinner, more cheaply made and designed more for light contact.
Read the lightsaber’s description to see is the company says that the lightsaber is designed for dueling. however, don’t blindly trust the company. Some companies will say that a product is only designed for light to medium dueling. In that case, more than likely, the lightsaber is not sturdy enough for heavy dueling.
Always make sure you do your research in advance to find out if a specific lightsaber is duel worthy. Force FX lightsabers and some inexpensive custom lightsabers are not considered duel worthy, but don’t take my word for it. Ask other lightsaber enthusiasts in Facebook groups like The Vault: A Custom Saber Community or in forums for The Custom Saber Shop or FX-Sabers.
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Do you lightsaber duel or participate in any form of lightsaber combat? If so, do you prefer light to medium contact or full-on, lightsaber sparring?