The Jedi of the Star Wars universe spent years training as Padawans before earning their title. They must uphold Jedi values, understand the Force, and most notably, learn the ways of the lightsaber. In that world, it’s the only way to earn Jedi-ship.
Finding a Jedi master may be an elusive endeavor, but it isn’t necessary to learn the martial arts techniques of lightsaber warfare. Instead, the emergence of a step-by-step instructional guide has come to teach all who wish to learn.
Stunt Lightsaber Combat for Beginners: The Unofficial Guide to Dueling like a Jediwas released in December, shortly after the premiere of The Force Awakens. Since then, both the Kindle and paperback versions have been named best sellers in the Amazon Books martial arts section.
Just as Jedi masters are hard to find, it’s more difficult to find one who would write a book. If not Luke Skywalker (what exactly didhe do all alone on that island?)one might expect the author to be the epitome of aStar Warsfan. OK, fine: We’d expect a giant nerd to write a book about fictional sword-fighting.
While Carey Martell is an avidStar Warsfan, he’s also a successful business man and U.S. Army veteran with significant martial arts experience. Among his training: taekwondo, Brazilian jiujitsu, aikido, eskrima (a Filipino stick-style art), and a number of other disciplines.
Based in Austin, Texas, Martell serves as CEO and founder of Martell Broadcasting Systems, an Internet television and digital media company. He also sidelined as a host for the RPG Fanatic Video Game Review Showon YouTube in the past and publishes as a fiction and non-fiction writer through Martell Books. “Martell Books is just a way for me to write about what I’m interested in and what I think people would like to read about,” Martell said.
The typical subjects Martell covers in his books revolve around social media and startups, but Lightsaber Combatis a drastic departure. “I usually write about ‘How do you build an audience on Facebook?’ or ‘How do you turn your music channel into a business?’… is very different because it’s a martial arts book,” he added.
According to Martell, the market offered nothing of the sort when it came to instructional lightsaber manuals. YouTube channels offer assorted clips, or technique patterns, but didn’t focus on the combat applicationand there was a bigger isse.
“I noticed there was a number of YouTube channels where people were constructing forms, but I noticed some form ones were different than anothers,” he explained.
In writing the Lightsaber Combatbook, Martell had a handful of goals in mind: provide people with a fun way to work out, establish a straightforward guide that can be used as a standard for possible tournaments, and expose people to different martial art formsespecially historic European martial arts, or HEMA.
“Think of as a gateway drug to European swordsmanship,” Martell joked.
Analyzing the fight scenes from the original trilogy, Martell noticed a strong parallel between HEMA techniques and the choreography. “I thought a lot of those techniques were very similar to what I had seen in the Star Wars films,” he said. “In Return of the Jediand The Empire Strikes Back, the choreographer between Luke and Darth Vader was named Bob Anderson. He adapted some Western-style technique from German and Italian masters and combined them with Kendo.”
While Martell has garnered a lot of support, he’s been on the receiving end of many Reddit criticism. “That’s fine,” Martell said. “It’s not for everybody.” Some who actively participate in swordsmanship and HEMA, express its superiority over lightsaber combat as a martial art.
“Some people would prefer that if you’re going to learn swordsmanship you should learn the real sword,” he said.”I’m more open-minded. I think it’s fun to use a lightsaber.”
Screengrab viaLudoSport International | Light Saber Combat Academy/YouTube