Saberfighting is a Star Wars-based branch of fencing. It originated in Moscow in 2000, after the release of "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" movie. After a while Saberfighting became famous and has spread across Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Some saberfighting groups already have a long 10-year history of existance. There is also a large amount of young groups and single followers. For example, there are 3 known operating groups with regular training schedule in Moscow. Each group has a slightly different approach to saberfighting, which distinguishes the groups and makes each one stand out. The groups always differ in purposes and uses of saberfighting, as well as in the problems they encounter, which makes them evolve in different directions. It is currently possible to distinguish two major forms of saberfighting. The first one unites all Sith and Jedi for whom saberfighting appears as a martial art. It's common to practice the Force in such groups (Yavin IV, for example). During the training process the trainees are divided into sparring pairs. The members of such groups do not attempt to create a style of fencing similar to one in the movie.

Jedi Academy Yavin IV
Jedi Temple of Light

The second form of saberfighting is called artistic, and it has spread much wider across the world of fencing than the first one. The main idea of the artistic form of saberfighting is to create a beautiful and long-lasting fight scene in style of Star Wars movies in order to show it to the audience in form of stage or video performance. There are also two sub-directions in the artistic form. The first one implies a predetermined, staged fight which was prepared and rehearsed before the performance, while the second one involves pair improvisation - so called "freefight", when two or more trained partners show an improvized duel. There is no fight preparation whatsoever, and both fighters do their best at improvizing to impress the audience. As for today, Artistic Fencing was officially registered as a sport, and Saberfighters from groups based on artistic form of saberfighting are constantly holding various performances with large success.

FightFilm “The Cold”

"SaberFighting Art" in StarCon 2011
FreeFight in Omsk convention 2011

Weapons of Saberfighting
Most weapons saberfighters use in training process are homemade. The typical training weapon of a saberfighter is simply called "the saber" and is made of two parts: the blade tube (consisting of core, which material varies between metal ski pole, textolite rod and carbon rod wrapped into some foamy material like heat insulator and then coloured sticky tape) and the handle, which varies from a primitive tube to specially designed and decorated model built on various machine-tools. The self-made sabers are used mostly for training and purposes of video-making. As for the live performances, most groups use "glowing" lightsabers, mostly Ultrasabers and self-made luminous lightsabers consisting of either a single diode or a chain of light-emitting diodes placed into a polycarbonate tube. Saberfighters usually don't use Force FX or Master Replicas as they aren't very comfortable for fighting.

Saberfighting is created by fans and for fans. This is why it is free. Certain clubs are actually raising some funds, but only in order to pay the rent for a training hall. Usually the trainings are held outside in the parks during the whole year, unless the climate doesn't allow to do so. Saberfighting is well-known and welcomed by civil public in a number of cities. Saberfighters often participate in different city festivals and artistic fencing festivals, along with the official Artistic Fencing Championship of Russia, which is held annually. In cities of Siberia (Tomsk, Novosibirsk) saberfighting is included into additional education programs in some schools.

Education Program
Education Program

Each year different saberfighting conventions are held in cities of Russia. Followers of saberfighting from different places communicate and exchange their experiences, take part in various tournaments of various saberfighting directions.

Moscow FightCon 2004
Novosibirsk LightCon 2011
Omsk Con 2011

The age of saberfighting followers may vary from 9 to 66, yet there are no real restrictions. Some groups don't accept children younger than 7 years, some do. The general age of saberfighters is usually from 16 to 30 years old.

The technique of different saberfighting groups varies depending on their purposes, available knowledge and skill level of their masters, but in all major groups practicing techniques takes considerable time and requires various exercises. Groups of artistic form usually have a separate course for one hand lightsaber spinning, for example. However, among common saberfighting groups there isn't one that uses the 7 forms of lightsaber combat; usually there is a single technique for the whole group. Having a general basis is a common practice between different groups.

Translated by A. Kenig, Doom3r

edit 30.11.13