The Force is Strong at Star Wars Celebration

Springtime in Orlando, Florida brings several things each year. Tourists flock to Disney and Universal Studios. The flowers bloom. Star Wars fans from all over the planet flock to Star Wars Celebration.

Star Wars Celebration

The event boasts celebrities and media guests, fan groups like the 501st, and more. Fan-led panels and tables fill the schedule. The exhibitors will be selling Star Wars themed items, apparel and games. There is speed dating, droid building, and even a tattoo area.

Guests

Media guests will be in appearance from Star Wars properties old and new. Familiar faces like Ian McDiarmid (Emporer Palpatine) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) will attend. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar) are scheduled. Newcomers from Rogue One will also be on hand. Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) are among the new crew. Off-screen guests are also among the highlights. Star Wars:The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will speak to the crowd. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy will be on hand to talk about the direction of the franchise. The full guest list is available here.

Cosplay

Individual and group cosplay is always welcome at Star Wars Celebration. Contest entries must register in advance due to the massive number of submissions. The #SWCO team reviews the submissions and informs those who have made the cut. Fans can also build props and sets for display. Outside of the contests, there are plenty attendees in costume.

Gaming & Other Activities

Fans on the floor will have access to Electronic Arts’ range of Star Wars titles. Included are Star Wars pinball, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and more. An off-site Star Wars: The Old Republic cantina event will cover upcoming programming. Over 30 artists will have works on display as part of the art show. Artists include Cryssy Cheung, Josh Smith, Jason Palmer and others.

Nerd Night Speed Dating will take place at the event. This event has produced plenty of couples and marriages over the years. This year, the speed dating will have six hetero sessions and one for LGBT. Details for speed dating can be found here.

Pin trading sessions get a new twist in 2017. Character pins spanning all 40 years of the franchise will be available for sale and trade. This year introduces unique artwork by Derek Laufman. The R2 builders club will be on hand to teach droid building. This year will debut the droid smash derby as well. Marc Draven and Shane Turgeon are among the world class tattoo artists on hand. Fans who want to get some fresh ink can schedule some time in the chair. Details can be found here.

Star Wars: Galactic Nights

This year features a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On April 14th, Disney Hollywood Studios is going to open several themed exhibitions. Star Wars: Galactic Nights is a family-friendly event at Disney’s amusement park. Existing rides like Star Tours will be joined by new themed events. Costumes for adults and kids are highly encouraged. Tickets are available on the official site.

For more information, schedule and tickets, check out the Official Site.

LudoSport: The Network of Sporting Lightsaber Combat

This just in: Star Wars is back, and it has reached and inspired more fans than ever. Some of these fans have taken the art of Lightsaber fighting and created an entire international network. It’s called LudoSport International.

LudoSport History:

The debate over the practicality of light saber battles has existed since the franchise debuted in the 70’s. In the last decade or so, thanks largely to the connectivity of social media, the concept of making light saber combat leagues became more of a reality. In 2005, Saber Wars was founded, with a loose group of choreographers and combatants filling its rosters. Many of the members came from New York Jedi, a group that has grown far larger since then, performing stage combat at conventions, corporate events, and even the debut of the first Star Wars stamp at the Empire Post Office¬†in 2007.

The Network:

LudoSport International originated in Milan and now has academies all over Europe including posts in Sweden, Russia, England, Ireland, France, Spain, Boston and San Francisco. Each academy teaches a range of skills, covering all seven forms of light saber battling as detailed in Star Wars canon. The academy programs include duels, demo teams, and seminars for both students and instructors. Students are individually ranked, and all pupils in the network can challenge one another worldwide to a duel.

National tournaments are held annually, with awards going to categories like Best Style, Best Technique, Best Sequence, Best Fight, Best Jedi, Best Sith, Best Padawan and Best Youngling. The winners of the national tournaments go on to the international championship, with competition restricted to the top ranked students only.

The Styles:

Students progress through the seven styles of saber fighting in order. The progression is intended to add in attacking and defending skills without ever compromising with the pupil has already learned. The first style is Shii-Cho (a defensive-minded style) that takes students approximately a year and a half to master. Next is Makashi, a style focused on speed and quick strikes. Third is Soresu, a skill focused on fluidity and counter strikes. Fourth is Ataru, an acrobatic style that is used to keep one’s enemy off-balance. Fifth is Djem-So, wherein the student develops top levels of speed and unpredictability. Sixth is Niman, which incorporates all of the previous styes in a manner that minimizes effort to maximize counter strikes. The final style is Vaapad, a focus on self-control to maximize harmony and domination.

The Rules:

There are ten rules to competing in LudoSport events.

  1. The Light Saber – 3 types are allowed (short, long, and double)
  2. Combat Apparel – combatants must wear apparel that matches their individual rank
  3. The Combat – typical events are 1:1, however other types of combat can be included depending on the event and coordinators
  4. The Combat Arena – the size and shape must follow official guidelines
  5. The Target – the entire body is a target, with mortal or non-mortal zones
  6. Points – typically awarded for first touch (as in fencing or sparring)
  7. Validity of Strikes – judges determine the validity of strikes during a duel
  8. Combat Time – typical events do not have a time limit and are decided by points
  9. Loyalty – each fighter must ensure that his or her opponent is not injured
  10. Competition Judges – no scores or ranking is official unless the event is judged by a certified judge as part of the event

Do you have what it takes to try real life training? Are you ready to begin the path to Jedi Knight or Sith Lord? LudoSport International awaits!