Let’s not kid ourselves. Who hasn’t pretended to wield a lightsabre in a mock duel against friends? You probably even hummed the sounds of the elegant weapon (for a more civilised time) for added realism. So check this out: there’s a group here that choreographs and stages real – well, as real as you can get – lightsabre battles.
FightSaber was founded four years ago by Azmi Danuri, a lifelong Star Wars fan. We met him and ten of his budding Force users – there were four ladies, evidence of the fact that the franchise appeals to everyone – for an introduction to the group, and we weren’t disappointed. They came in full regalia. Robes flowed and sabres glowed. They warmed up with a set of practice swings, then began rehearsing for an upcoming performance at a May the Fourth event. (That’s the international Star Wars Day, for all you Bantha poodoos.)
FightSaber now numbers about 50 dedicated Jedis and Sith in Singapore, with chapters in Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. The locally based warriors – the youngest is 12 and the oldest 35 – meet once a week to iron out sequences for their performances. At last year’s Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention, for example, they staged an entire narrative about a Sith attack on a Jedi temple. But remember: wars not make one great.
What makes FightSaber incredibly fun, though, is the bond between the members. We have to admit, when we first met the troupe, we thought, ‘Oh, they’re cosplayers.’ But when we actually held a lightsabre, tried out the three basic drills and felt the Force flow between the Jedi, we were sold. It didn’t matter that we were smack in the middle of town, essentially make-believe fighting with men and women in costume as others looked on. We had an Empire to fight.