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The force is strong at the Indy Lightsaber Academy

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Posted at 6:23 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 18:23:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Once a week, in the galaxy not-so far away, about a dozen Jedis-in-training gather at Garfield Park to knock each other around with lightsabers.

These padawans are part of the Indy Lightsaber Academy, a fitness club that teaches ancient sword fighting techniques adapted for the colorful laser blades from the Star Wars movies.

"We teach an alternate form of what is called historical European martial arts," said Michael Tucker, the Academy's Jedi master.

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Indy Lightsaber Academy

He said he's been practicing martial arts with medieval-style weapons for decades.

He met the co-founder of the academy about 10 years ago, and they figured it would be cool to teach lightsaber fighting styles.

"There's obviously some changes you can make when you're using a tube over a blade," Tucker said, "but yeah, that's essentially what we've done. I've taken a real-world martial art and kind of adapted it to fit a lightsaber."

Jennifer Campbell has been practicing fighting with lightsabers for about five years.

"I signed up, I tried it and I liked it," Campbell said. "So I went back and I kept going back and, like, by the time I started getting good, it was really fun."

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Indy Lightsaber Academy

Fighting with a lightsaber in each hand, Campbell whirls around the floor and aggressively pummels an opponent.

"So I was chasing people down and it was kind of entertaining," she said.

Tim Grazian and his 14-year-old son Matai have been training at the Academy for about a year. Practicing gives Matai a chance to beat up on his father.

"He killed me," Tim said minutes after Matai humbled him in a duel.

Father and son agree that fighting with lightsabers is a blast.

"I can tell I'm getting better," Matai said. "So I want to really become an expert."

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Indy Lightsaber Academy

Kelly Snyder has been a member since the Lightsaber Academy first started meeting in 2015.

"I do it because I love Star Wars and I love light sabers," Snyder said.

The mother of three said she brought her children to the first class and was jealous because she wanted to join in.

"I wanted to like practice lightsabers before this class even started and I've always been a big fan of the movies," Snyder said, showing off her tattoo of the droid BB-8.

Snyder said the class is actually a great workout.

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Indy Lightsaber Academy

"I wasn't very athletic before I started taking classes," she said. "After I started taking classes, I started running. I did the mini-marathon. I did the Spartan race with friends from class. So it's really opened up my athleticism."

Academy members say classes are a great way to make new friends — and hit them with lightsabers.

RELATED | Star Wars fans: You can now turn your windshield wipers into light sabers (wrtv.com)

The Indy Lightsaber Academy meets 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Garfield Park’s Burrello Family Center, 2345 Pagoda Dr., Indianapolis.

If you want to try it out, the first class costs $5 bucks. For more information, check out their Facebook page.

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Indy Lightsaber Academy

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on X/Twitter: @vicryc.