LEMOORE — Master Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’”
A group of friends from Lemoore have decided that they’ll do — and what they’re doing is getting in shape while celebrating their love of “Star Wars.”
“I’m like most people — exercise is boring and I hate it,” Melody Mar said. “So anything to inspire me to get moving and do something is great and doing it with a lightsaber is even better.”
Mar is the lead organizer of the Lemoore chapter of the Lightsaber Team, an organization where fandom meets fitness.
Mar joined the San Jose-based club about six months ago and found that she was the only Central Valley member of the organization that has members in Riverside, San Jose and Sacramento. She started the Lemoore chapter alongside a few friends recently and is hoping that other like-minded Jedi will join the cause.
The Lemoore club meets weekly to stretch and work out with light sabers at a local park.
“I’m a big geek,” she said, pointing to her “Star Trek” jacket. “There’s just something about lightsabers, though, they pull you in. You could fence with a sword or you could fence with lightsaber. Something draws you in. It’s the glow, the sophistication and the whimsy of it.”
Weilding the “Star Wars”-inspired laser swords while working out and sparring can help with cardio, balance and reflexes, according to a 2017 story in Vogue, wherein “The Force Awakens” star Daisy Ridley espoused the benefits of the Jedi workout.
The organization was started in 2011 by John-Michael Arias, a then-resident of Riverside who has since relocated to San Jose.
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“I was getting on in years and I wanted to combine my work out time, my nerd time and my socialization time,” Arias told the Sentinel.
The founder, now in his early 50s, said the free-to-join group is more about being inclusive and supportive than about pumping as much iron as possible and jogging an entire Kessel Run.
Members of the San Jose have traveled to Lemoore to train Mar in the ways of The Force. Some members even build and create their own lightsabers, Arias said.
“It worked. It was a good fit,” Mar said.
Mar, a former regional champion baton twirler, had a fundamental grasp on how to move with a yard-long lightsaber and is now getting the hang of “moving like a fighter rather than like a dancer,” she said.
During training, the group focuses on movement and getting the benefits of a workout without accidentally injuring themselves or anyone else. While lightsabers in real life may not be able to cut off Ponda Baba’s arm — as Obi-Wan’s did in the cantina on Mos Eisely — but they’re still hefty, pointy and accidents can happen.
The group is hoping to grow and be more consistent, both in terms of workouts themselves and in planning the times for them, in the coming months.
Members of the Lemoore chapter will be in attendance at the Weekend Blender pop culture event at the Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis next month to spread the word about the organization. A separate Fresno chapter of the club is in the early stages of development, as well, Arias said.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/LightsaberTeam.