Meet the Star Wars fans who practise LED lightsabre combat
PUBLISHED: 15:20 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:43 25 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
It might have started in a galaxy far, far away but now Star Wars-inspired lightsabre combat has taken hold in Norfolk.
Learning how to master the lightsabre and battling opponents, is now very much a weekly activity for aspiring Jedi in Thetford.
Described as a mix between martial arts and fencing, Battles Sabres UK, based in Snetterton, has been teaching the LED lightsabre combat at the Abbey Neighbourhood Community Centre.
David Stout, who runs Battles Sabres UK, has been trying to encourage members of the community to join the dark side and get involved.
He said: "We study seven forms of light sabre combat, mimicking the stories and films of George Lucas but we make them more applicable to human use. Obviously, we are not sci-fi, we can't use the force, we don't have these fantastic abilities but we make it practical for ourselves.
"It's a really fun sport its gets people active, people use us for rehabilitation, to get out and improve their mental health. It is a very friendly and safe environment and anyone can join."
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Despite being based on a fiction film, lightsabre combat is taken very seriously as a sport.
And Mr Stout has devised his very own grading system, starting from apprentice all the way through to battle master, when a student becomes the teacher of his own school.
Dane Clears joined the club three years ago, and he says the sport has worked better than physiotherapy after he suffered a car accident that damaged his knee.
The 29-year-old said: "For two years I couldn't move my knee at all and it was only three months of being here that I was getting a lot more use out of my leg.
"But also if you like Star Wars it's a chance to swing a lightsabre around and pretend you're a Jedi or Sith for a few minutes. It's a lot of fun, you work at your own pace and we all help each other."
The group has also been competing in tournaments which attract people from all over the world and members say they hope that one day it will be recognised as an official sport.
Classes in Thetford take place at the community centre from 6pm to 8pm every Tuesday. The first class is free for new students and if they decide to stay it is £10 per class.