Columbus Saber Academy offers the opportunity to fight and train, intergalactic style – by using lightsabers.
The academy, 6400 Huntley Road in Columbus, just east of Worthington, specializes in traditional stage-combat and fight-choreography training with lightsaber-style blades, using techniques from both Western and Eastern traditional martial arts.
The school also has a Historic European Martial Arts class, or HEMA for short, that includes such weapons as longswords.
Tom Amoroso, 49, a Westerville resident and owner of Columbus Saber Academy, said he started the business about four years ago.
He said he introduced lightsabers by teaching fight choreography and working with children.
After realizing other martial-arts techniques could be applied to lightsabers, he started teaching the combat courses and building his own combat-ready blades.
A lightsaber is a fictional sword with a blade formed by a bright beam of light. Lightsabers were introduced by the “Star Wars” franchise, in which they are wielded primarily by Jedi and Sith, men and women who follow light- or dark-side philosophies of an all-powerful Force.
“Star Wars” enthusiasts and fans have produced everything from collectible replicas to mock-combat models of the iconic out-of-this-world weapons.
Amoroso said lightsabers are more approachable for people because they have a certain silliness.
“It is a little tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “We can’t take ourselves too seriously because we are hitting each other with glow sticks.”
Columbus Saber Academy is a part of the Saber Legion, an international organization for saber combat with more than 8,000 members. In addition to offering classes, members compete in tournaments within the Saber Legion, using rules similar to fencing.
Amoroso said, generally speaking, participants compete in rounds of up to 10 points or five minutes, with winners being named for taking the best two out of three.
He said Columbus Saber Academy has about 40 students ranging in age from 7 years old to late 40s. Seven instructors, including Amoroso, teach classes.
Eric King, a 36-year-old Dublin resident and instructor, said teaching classes is rewarding.
“I really enjoy sharing, but I also enjoy adding to the community,” he said.
King said working with lightsabers is different compared to the HEMA classes.
“There’s just that happy and giddy feeling about working with lightsabers,” he said.
He said the academy’s classes are beneficial because they attract different demographics and involve a variety of people.
For the future, Amoroso said, he hopes to expand the lightsaber-combat community.
He said Columbus Saber Academy is preparing to launch an instructional series on its YouTube channel – its handle also is Columbus Saber Academy – to teach lightsaber basics.
Lightsaber-combat-training classes are scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for youth classes and 7 to 8:30 p.m. for adult classes. Open bouting, or matches, are scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.
Classes are $65 a month for unlimited sessions. The first class is free and no gear is required to join, Amoroso said. Private sessions, birthday parties, group sessions and off-site training are available by request.
HEMA classes are from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. HEMA open bouting is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.
Workshops on lightsaber basics are offered every six weeks, Amoroso said.
For more information, go to columbussaberacademy.com or facebook.com/columbussaberacademy.