Jedi nights: AZ Saber club lights up the evening with sci-fi combat

In a campus near nearby, an ASU club teaches the art of the Star Wars weapon

ASU students finally have a way to hone their lightsaber skills without visiting the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

AZ Saber, started at the beginning of this semester, gives ASU students the chance to try their hands at the art of lightsaber combat. They practice in the dark, filling the Secret Garden with members every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The lightsaber is the weapon of choice of the Jedi Knight, the protagonist group of the Star Wars movie franchise.

The club, started by computer science senior Randy Brookins and former NAU student Monica Mariscal, began after the duo left a different local lightsaber combat group.

“I had been part of a group in Scottsdale that had been going pretty strong and started to dwindle, and I decided it was time for something new,” Brookins said. “That group had a lot of older members and I really wanted a lot more people my age.”

Brookins said he knew that the activity would appeal to the student demographic.

“For some people, it’s just the aura of the shiny glowing sticks and the ability to hit their friends with them,” he said. “For other people, they’ve been lifelong Star Wars fans and were just drawn to something like this.”

Despite the obvious connection to the Star Wars film franchise, Brookins said that the club has a broader appeal.

“It’s probably closer to a sports and recreational club in all honesty,” he said. “We have a few members, as sad and funny as it is, that aren't even Star Wars fans. They just saw a crazy opportunity to get some exercise and have some fun, because there’s not a lot of things like this on campus.”

Despite the fact that some members of the club have varying backgrounds in swordplay, such as kendo or fencing, this too is optional according to Brookins.

“We’ve got quite a few people who’ve never done anything like this and just thought it might be fun and wanted to try something new,” he said.

Mariscal agreed, saying that AZ Saber will teach anyone close to anything they want to know about fighting with a lightsaber.

“We’re slowly getting into teaching people different weapons as well,” she said.

Mariscal is referring to the variations in lightsabers, which include staffs and pikes.

Both Brookins and Mariscal agreed that a lot of the time, having someone hold one of the lightsabers is all it takes to get someone to try the activity.

“We had some of our sabers there (at Passport to ASU), and people just picked it up and their face would just light up like they were little kids again,” Mariscal said.

This childhood fantasy of owning a lightsaber transcends Star Wars fandom, Marshal said.

“I think everyone, ever since they were little, would love to have a lightsaber,” she said. “Whether you like Star Wars or not, that weapon was cool.”

The lightsaber is definitely, if not obviously, a major selling point to the club. Lisa Schepper, a filmmaking practices freshman, said that it was just the sight of the lightsaber that convinced her to join.

“I saw all the lightsabers and was like 'Yo, I gotta do that,'” she said.

The club sees new members often. Their last meeting was Schepper’s third. It was also mathematics freshman Kyle Adamson’s first.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Adamson said. “I thought it’d be very nerdy, and it was, and I loved it.”

When asked if there would be a second meeting for him, he responded with an emphatic yes.


Reach the reporter at jdarge@asu.edu or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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