Real lightsaber duels strive to represent the lightsaber combat portrayed in the movies in a safe and controlled manner. Unlike choreographed fights, real lightsaber combat DOES NOT follow a prearranged sequence of moves. If you’re planning on using a real lightsaber for a real lightsaber duel with a partner, there are 4 basic levels of lightsaber dueling intensity. Dueling intensity factors in the SPEED of the attack and FORCE of the touch.
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The following lightsaber dueling intensity guidelines are adapted from The Saber Legion’s Resources section. The Saber Legion is an international saber combat organization. Visit TheSaberLegion.org for the most detailed and accurate info on the organization’s rules and requirements.
WARNING: Lightsaber dueling, as with ANY contact sport, can be dangerous. Proceed at your own risk. Taking sensible and responsible safety precautions can help minimize injuries and keep lightsaber dueling fun. Always wear proper safety equipment and use a duel worthy lightsaber and lightsaber blade.
LEVEL 1: Partner Exercises
Speed: 10-20% of full speed
Force: 10-20% of full force
Safety Gear: shatterproof eye protection (e.g. safety glasses/safety goggles), gloves with knuckle protection
Description: Partner exercises help fighters practice and hone their technique. The slower speed and decreased force reflects the cooperative and non-competitive nature of partner exercises.
LEVEL 2: Medium Sparring
Speed: 30-40% of full speed
Force: 30-40% of full force
Safety Gear: full face mask/helmet (e.g. fencing mask or HEMA), hockey and/or lacrosse gear including: chest protection, gloves, groin protection
Description: Medium Pparring is a more spontaneous fighting level that allows fighters apply their skills in a slightly less predictable context than during Partner Exercises. The Medium Sparring level is still somewhat relaxed and fun in its fighting intensity.
Level 3: Heavy Sparring
Speed: 50-60% of full speed
Force: 50-60% of full force
Safety Gear: full face mask/helmet (e.g. fencing mask or HEMA), hockey and/or lacrosse gear including: front and back torso protection, front and back torso protection, shoulder protection, elbow/forearm protection, knee/shin protection, gloves, groin protection, gorget/neck and throat protector
Description: The Saber Legion describes the Heavy Sparring level as “attempting to outwit and overcome an opponent”. Heavy Sparring is a much more serious and competitive level of fighting than Medium Sparring and Partner Exercises.
Level 4: Tournament Sparring
Speed: 70-80% of full speed
Force: 50-60% of full force
Safety Gear:full face mask/helmet with back of the head protection (e.g. fencing mask or HEMA), plate style METAL gorget/neck and throat protector, hockey and/or lacrosse gear including: front and back torso protection, front and back torso protection, shoulder protection, elbow/forearm protection, knee/shin protection, gloves, groin protection
Description: Tournament Sparring is the highest level of intensity practiced in The Saber Legion. Head and chest strikes are allowed during Tournament Sparring. Although the neck is not a valid target area, fighters must use back of the head protection and a METAL neck and throat protector. The speed of attack is higher than Heavy Sparring. The force of the touch, however, is the same as Heavy Sparring in order to help ensure the safety of both fighters and minimize the occurrence of broken equipment.
Level 5: Full Combat
Speed: 100% of full speed
Force: 100% of full force
Description: A full combat level of speed, force, and overall intensity is NOT RECOMMENDED and NOT ENDORSED. Full speed and full force fighting would be uncontrolled and extremely dangerous to all participants.
Visit The Saber Legion’s (TSL) website for more information:
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Image depicts an assortment of custom sabers. Note that not all of the sabers shown are necessarily duel worthy.