Lightsaber Academy

The French Rules for Lightsaber Sparring!!!

It is finally here! The English Translation of the rules for Lightsaber Sparring in France! You may download them in PDF form below. You may also view them as images on our Facebook Page.

The First booklet is the rules for competitors. The second is for judges and arbitration. Please feel free to take a look.

Ever since the French rule set hit the news we have received a lot of questions about how this system is based off TPLA and/or how much we stand by it. 

First off, let me explain a bit about how it is based off of our system. This rule set is the work of Cedric Giroux, our French Knight instructor. We did not have a direct hand in its creation. We did advise Cedric in matters of safety and training and progression for coaching. These things were needed to appease the Government requirements for sport. It is our system of progressive learning and safety that got Cedric to join our ranks. He recently wrote an explanation:

“When I started to train on the practice of the lightsaber in October 2015, it is immediately the richness of this system and the expertise of the members of this group that I liked: expert in kung fu, fencing, kendo, or European historical martial arts. All of these people, and principally the founders of TPLA, Chad William and Matthew Stewart-Fulton, with their martial experiences, succeeded in creating a codified and consistent lightsaber practice.”

Our attitude toward the creation of a new martial art is really what should be underscored. We up hold some high standards for ourselves. Our advice is the advice we give our selves. We practice what we preach. Or, more accurately, we preach what we practice. 

We want to uphold our traditional backgrounds so we all practice our own arts. Discipline is important to us. We try to respect the traditions and teachers of past generations and help advance current practice. We understand that we do not exist isolated from others. Arts share so many commonalities, even when they are separated by thousands of miles and hundreds of years. For many us, our first love is traditional martial arts.  

We want to promote friendly competition and sport among the community. Competition makes us grow. Sport puts demands on our fitness and technique that help us reach for higher goals. It gives us tangible goals. These goals can be met, improved upon, and recorded. Sport and competition brings out another side in a person. If you have never competed, you are missing out on a large part of the practice of martial arts. 

We want to help and serve the community. We do this by providing training materials, class, workshops, and other things. We are going to be expanding our offerings as we past this 7 year land mark. Look for on line learning opportunities, new material, publications, and more. Our goal has always been to raise the level of technique and expertise among practitioners.

Finally, we are dedicated to scholarship. We want to know the realities of the past, their contexts, concerns. W want to know the realities of injury, body mechanics, and physical activity. We want to explore deeply, the possibilities within the arts, not just the probabilities. “Cultivate 10,000 even if you use only one.” As the saying goes. We are tireless in our research of these things. The are our obsession. But we hope we can bring more things from our backgrounds into the public eye. 

These four principles are our main purpose. Tradition, Sport, Community, Scholarship. 

Now, as to our relationship with the rule set. At TPLA we use a good number of different rule sets and games our training. Some focus on skills development, some focus on strategic play, and other that are basically free fights with limited restrictions. But so far, most of our experimentation has been with rule sets that are good for learning and playing together.

The French rule set is a a bit different. This is a rule set that is really set up as a spectator sport.  It specifically designates a style and rhythm of play that is wanted. They incorporate various systems of martial sport (French Cane Fighting as a primary example), and try to also retain a “Star Wars” feel to the matches. The goal has been to design a sport that can be easily followed by spectators and will give them the type of techniques that they are often expecting, but rarely see. 

Using the Rule Set Your Self

Now, lots of people would like to try it out. We will be doing demonstrations and tutorial videos soon, but if you are reading these rules and want to give it go, here are some tips:

  1. Follow all rules for protective gear. The booklet above contains specifications for gear and safety. Read these sections well and understand them. These are the most important rules to follow while experimenting. The gear requirements set down by the FFE are directly related to the match play. 
  2. “The Engagement Arming” concept.  This seems to be one that give a bit of trouble to saberites in the US. This rule dictates that in order to take priority and attack the opponent, you must begin with a large motion that brings your weapon and weapon hand behind your vertical midline away from the opponent. This means the entire weapon AND the hand wielding it must be brought back past the spine. For some who are used to simply striking from guard, this may seem foreign, but once you do this before the opponent, you have the priority to attack, they cannot. So, while you may be “open” in a traditional sense, the opponent cannot capitalize on that opening legally. This will give you the freedom to begin your salvos (chains of attacks) with a big, showy, crowd pleasing move. 
  3. It is going to be easier with someone acting as referee. If two combatants laugh their Engagement Armed strike close enough to each other, it is difficult for them to figure out who had priority during the exchange. This is where a third person watching will come in handy when you are trying out the rule set yourself. With out an outside observer and ref, the match will not play as it is intended. Keep this in mind as you try it out and watch some video of French matches to see how they go.
  4. Be patient and go slow. It will take some time to get used to any new set of rules. It is the same for us here. But rushing through things will not give you a good picture of what is entailed. Really think about what the rules will allow. Don’t try to game them or beat them. And don’t give up on it immediately. If you don’t have any success with or don’t seem to like what is happening, step back, maybe get another set of eyes and some one else’s interpretation. 

Again, we will be releasing plenty of information on these rules soon. If you join us on Facebook, you can find lots of people who might be able to clarify some things. Be patient, more help is coming soon! 

This rule set is a great addition to our library of games. It fulfills our principles in a very novel and unique way and we cannot wait to see where this can go. Cedrics Work should be admired. It was his diligence that has made this a reality.

So get out there and enjoy! Have some fun with this rule set. It is a bit different than other ones we have tried, bug it seems like it can be quite a bit of fun. And remember, this is just one way. I am sure there will be more on the horizon! 

Patience, Practice Perseverance, 

Happy Sabering! 

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