Features

BESTFIT Issue 16 – Star Wars Workout

Starwars-workout-cover

Starwars-workout-cover

 

light-sabreDefinition: Sabre

A Sabre is fundamentally a real cavalry sword and blade, primarily associated  with fencing.

Definition: Light Sabre

A Light Sabre, on the other hand, is a Star Wars fantasy sword that has no blade, only a swishing force of light that can be deadly – sound effects essential.

very often a light sabre duelist ends up loosing his light sabre and hanging off a wall or bridge. the workout will focus on hands and fingers, improving one’s grip of anything, whilst also strengthening those arms and avoiding death defying drops beneath one’s feet.

Martial Arts

While you will probably be more familiar with the diverse world of fencing, where discipline, skill and self-control are key, the martial arts of Kendo, Laido and Jodo are arguably more suitable when it comes to the important matter of perfecting your light sabre techniques.

Kendo, Aido and Jodo don’t focus on a dominant sword arm or side or the body like fencing, and focus instead on the whole body, breathing and using both arms. Kendo utilises a ‘Shinai’ (bamboo sword), Laido an ‘Laito’ (samurai sword), and Jodo a ‘Jo’ (wooden staff shorter than a ‘Bo’), and all of these disciplines use blocking (parry), strikes and distance from one’s opponent, while hips and footwork remain balanced with predominantly straight alignment.

Mind Over Matter

Akin to Star Wars’ Jedi rhetoric, Kendo, Laido or Jodo consider the use of a deadly sword a key survival resource. Moreover, mastering lightness of the body and the mind are valued for being more effective than aggression, and absolutely necessary for making an effective point of expression and achieving a target, any target!

Light Sabres are traditionally wielded with both hands. Even the ‘light staff’ employed by the ‘Sith’ predominantly uses two hands as a starting foundation rather than one. Without guidance of a blade point, wielders of light sabres and light staffs are constantly exposing their wrists and are completely exposed to an attack on preparation that modern western sabre fencing would devour in seconds.

Room for Improvement

Light Sabres are traditionally wielded with both hands. Even the ‘light staff’ employed by the ‘Sith’ predominantly uses two hands as a starting foundation rather than one. Without guidance of a blade point, wielders of light sabres and light staffs are constantly exposing their wrists and are completely exposed to an attack on preparation that modern western sabre fencing would devour in seconds.

The following workout will address developing strong wrists that will enable you to control movement and not make such large circular parries. Light Sabre duels are very thin on lunges; choreographically the duelists walk and pace in circular motion around each other, maintaining an unnaturally close proximity to one another. This workout will also address this sensitivity to distance and more varied footwork. It is important while attacking to be able to generate a large amount of power to quickly lunge forward towards your opponent with a perfectly timed counter attack.

From objective observation, very often a light sabre duelist ends up loosing his Light Sabre and hanging off a wall or bridge. The workout will focus on hands and fingers, improving one’s grip of anything, whilst also strengthening those arms and avoiding death-defying drops beneath one’s feet.

Relax Just Do It

Yoda and the force are not alone in believing that strength comes from relaxing and a lack of stress. Yoga pays special attention to breathing and breath control; perfect for honing Light Sabre effectiveness (and not just creating a pretty awesome Darth Vader impersonation).

1.Darth Vader Warm-Up

VaderGood for lungs and respiratory system, this helps your lungs reach their maximum expansion capacity. It’s also very good for asthma, shortness of breath and nervousness. When done properly, your breathing will be activated from the back of the throat.

Stand with your legs together and your hands clasped under your chin. Take a long breath and as you do so, keeping your hands clasped, moved your arms to the side of your body and upwards. Keep your stomach tight to compress your abdominal wall and keep your chess lifted. When you exhale, bring your arms back down to the front of your body. Darth Vader impressions are plentiful and effortless. This exercise also helps the tone and flexibility of the arms and biceps whilst also working on the fingers for a good and complete light sabre grip.

jedi2.Light Sabre Arms – Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

This provides quick energy and vitality, and heats up the body. It also trims the stomach and strengthens obliques – the often forgotten supporting cast to an awesome six-pack.

Eventually, when shoulders are trained to stay down instead of hunch, and both hands can comfortably clasp together tightly throughout this exercise; it can help extend the natural reach of your arms, so reaching you opponent with the Light Sabre becomes effortless and quick.

Always breath in and utilise the core – simultaneously protecting the lower back, when bending to the side.

Jedi-burpees3.Jedi Burpees – Burpee Into Knee Tucks

his works your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs… because occasionally the Jedi needs to evade an enemy’s attack with high jumps and rolling across the floor whilst still wielding a Light Sabre. This exercise is perfect to increase not only a jedi’s fitness levels, but also their vertical jump and agility.

4. Around the Galaxy Abs with Legs

This is a vertical hold with arms on bars with a rotation of the legs that utilizes arms, chest, abs, legs, waist and wrists.

5. Around the world with a Kettlebell or weight

This is where your arms rotate weight around the body by passing the kettlebell from hand to hand. It is important for a Jedi to have flexibility in all parts of his body to maximise movement and power, and this works arms, chest, abs, obliques, waist and wrists. Around the world variations not only improve mobility and flexibility in the shoulders, but also strengthens the rotator cuffs of the wrists… perfect when executing a Light Sabre parry. Remember to breath in and hold in stomach during rotations to work the core and gently strengthen the lower back.

6. Lateral Lunges

It is important while attacking to be able to generate a large amount of power to quickly lunge towards your opponent with a perfectly timed counter attack. Lateral Lunges tackle this task, ideally with great pose and control.

Profile-laycy-elys

Laycy Elys is a British and Caribbean Fencing/Nito Kendo polymath. She found fencing in its many different forms after a ballet teacher recommended the sport whilst she recovered from a ballet pointe injury; many moons ago. She is a GB-ranked fencer of two weapons based in London, Arnhem and Berlin and her strength and conditioning workouts are overlooked by fitness trainer Kyle Prime of Kyle Prime Fitness Ltd.

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