One of the things that most caught by attention at MCM Birmingham Comic Con this year was this:
Training with Lightsabres
Being a bit of a Star Wars geek – and by bit I mean a lot – I was instantly nerding out at the opportunity to be a Jedi, even if only in pretend. I wanted to find out more so I headed over to their website www.silver-sabres.com to get some more information. I watched the video and it looked great. Not quite what I expected, full on lightsabre bashing but it seemed to be a more practised experience. After all, it is an elegant weapon from a more civilised age.
Desperately Seeking Sabres
The first thing I did when we inside the event was to seek the Silver Sabres display out to see if I could arrange a session for the Coaching for Geeks (CfG) team. In the excitement and buzz of it all Jono (fellow CfG member) and I walked right past them, looped around the arena, then checked the floor plan to work out where they were meant to be. We then proceeded to get lost again whilst trying to get our bearings but eventually we did find the Silver Sabre display. I spoke with Faisal and Nick, the two running Silver Sabres and explained what Coaching for Geeks is and asked if we could get a special session. They kindly agreed and we set a time.
I let the rest of the CfG team know and we went about our respective convention business. Ten minutes before our allocated slot the CfG team gathered at the display to chat with the instructors and observe another group finishing up. At this point I was like an excited school child, ready to go play and filled with something even better than midi-chlorians – eager anticipation. Faisal gathered us up and gave us a briefing. He tells us that this is a combat sport combining traditional Tai Chi with medieval European swordsmanship. They teach discipline and mindfulness, as well as the foundation techniques.
LEDs and Balance
We each received a LED sabre, which is made from a hollow polycarbonate tube, attached to an aluminium hilt, and illuminated by a powerful internal LED. The first thing I noticed was that it is not light like all the lightsabre toys you find in the shops. It had some real weight to it, yet not too heavy and well balanced.
Faisal started out by teaching us the proper stance and how to hold the weapon correctly.being a leftie I was instructed to hold it the same way as taught (with the right hand further up the hilt than the left), as it is a two handed weapon. We then practiced controlled breathing whilst moving the lightsabres.
We were soon learning a basic parry, which is how to defend against an opponent’s attack, and how to weald, that is how to manoeuvre that hilt in your hands so that you can manoeuvre the blade to another position. We learnt how to parry from an overhead cut (the term given to an attack) and from the sides; eventually moving on to learn the overhead cut ourselves.
During the training exercise the instructors were correcting our stance and techniques where appropriate as well as maintaining discipline and mindfulness by the application of the controlled breathing throughout the manoeuvres. For me it just clicked. I wasn’t the excited kid any more. It was a very intimate and personal experience; a load of inner turmoil and stress came to the surface in a controlled, channelled way and I was transformed into a trance-like state. Robin (founder and head coach of Coaching for Geeks) described it as if I had ‘zenned out’. This isn’t just playing with lightsabres, this is a real martial art with an incredible capacity for personal development and healing.
Faisal and the other instructors taught us well. What they’re doing is not only awesome, but I think it can really change lives. If it’s not for the awesomeness or the personal development, try it out for the fitness, because one thing’s for sure, we’ll all be a lot thinner!
Check them out! I am eager to continue training in classes, which are currently available in London, Milton Keynes, Northampton and various locations in Sussex. To begin my training, too old, I am not.
May the force be with you, always.
A note from Robin
Hello, it’s me, Robin! I had a different experience with the Silver Sabres as I have an injury so wasn’t as able to fully participate. However I did receive some special attention from Faisal and we spoke about kinesthesiology, the way I hold my shoulders, and started unpicking 39 years of poor posture.
Working through some of the movements helped me to move more mindfully, bringing my shoulders lower instead of using them in place of my frozen shoulder joint. I saw my physiotherapist this week and he was very happy with my progress!
Breathing, balance, and mindful movements – the Silver Sabres have elegantly gamified a way of being into LED sabre combat and I shall be visiting them in North London soon.
Coaching for Geeks MCM Birmingham Comic Con Press Team
Check out the entries in the CfG Convention Survival Guide.
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