Awaken Your Inner Force With Star Wars Workout: Lightsaber-Themed Fitness Classes Pop Up Across US [Video]
The Force will surely be with you after taking one of these fitness classes.
As the seventh episode of the epic "Star Wars" saga came out on Dec. 17, lightsaber-themed workout sessions have also mushroomed across the United States.
From Boston to Honolulu, lovers of the space franchise can use their lightsabers to practice their sparring skills or even just wield it while doing yoga or some martial arts.
Awaken Your Inner Force
At the Boston Sports Club, anyone can exercise while carrying a toy lightsaber. Cassie Brown choreographed a 45-minute circuit training class for participants of the "Awaken Your Inner Force" program.
In this class, participants get to swing their lightsabers around and face one another as though they are in battle.
Brown's workout adds together some martial arts, yoga and core strength training moves. The challenging workout forces the participants to work on their balance.
"It definitely gets your heart rate up higher," said Brown. "You're burning more calories because you're using more muscle groups."
The "Awaken Your Inner Force" program will be offered up until Jan. 7, 2016.
Hawaii Jedi Saber Academy
Meanwhile, in Honolulu, Keith Mylett founded the Hawaii Jedi Saber Academy because of his love for all things Jedi. This workout program is offered in a gym called Precision Parkour.
According to Mylett, working out with a lightsaber improves one's cardiovascular and body-weight conditioning. Students may be sweating at the end of class, but they will also be smiling, he said, as the workout increases their heart rate.
The lightsaber workout is similar to any form of martial arts training that involves swords, staffs or sticks. It mainly targets the muscles in a person's upper body.
Weighing at 3 to 5 lbs. or 1.4 to 2.3 kg, the toy lightsabers used in the workout have some benefits for a person's core and legs, especially when clutched at "a strong, mindful stance."
"When held at arms' length for nearly an hour straight, there is definitely some burn in the arms, back and shoulders," said Myett.
Mylett said the Jedi workouts in the program were designed after fight scenes in movies. He applied these movements to basic sparring sessions and easy-to-learn "blade on blade" choreography.
The class begins by warming up the wrists and arms. The students learn some basic lightsaber movements, giving emphasis on proper aim, speed, form and power. The instructors teach the students the fighting choreography using a number system. This will make remembering much easier before partnering up to practice.
At the end of the class, the students and the instructors all meditate on the Force.
Padawans, or Jedi trainees, use a 36-inch lightsaber blade and a two-handed grip in practicing their choreographed-fighting skills.
"This is to emphasize safety and control - two hands can more easily stop a blade," said Mylett.
The beginner technique is known as "Shii Cho." Ideal for padawans, Mylett said the technique can also be used in taking out a throng of battle droids.
Meanwhile, upper-ranked Jedi warriors learn the Makashi style. With this technique, they use lighter-weight lightsabers that permit to one-handed attacks. Mylett said the Makashi style is perfect for battling a Sith Lord.
For the Jedi master, the technique is called the Soresu style. This is a more defensive form, Mylett said. The Jedi master creates arcs to defend himself, and this will enable him to deflect blaster fires.
Mylett suggested that those who do not have a toy lightsaber can still perform sparring techniques at home using a 1-inch PVC pipe cut to between 3 or 4 feet as a make-shift lightsaber. However, using anything that weighs more could potentially be harmful.
Aside from the fitness classes in Boston and Honolulu, light-saber themed workout classes are also offered at the New York Jedi fitness studio. In several California cities, a group known as Lightsaber team meets up for a Star Wars-themed workout, as well.
Watch the video below to see what the Hawaii Jedi Saber Academy looks like.