Golden Gate Knights

A San Francisco Bay Area group that offers experienced instruction in saber choreography.

I first heard of Golden Gate Knights on February 15th thanks to an SFist article. My immediate reaction was “OMG YES SIGN ME UP NOW” then, after calming down a little, turned into “wouldn’t that be funny if…” and ended with me writing an email to sign up for the class. Alain, the Jedi Master and our teacher, wrote back and told me how sign up for the facebook group. Unfortunately the first event was when we were in Tahoe, so when I got the invite for this past Sunday on Tuesday of last week I was thrilled and responded immediately. Chris, being the sweetheart that he is, agreed to come with.

For those of you that don’t know, I love Star Wars. In 1997, when I was in 5th grade, my dad dragged me to the movie theater to see the 20th anniversary, digitally remastered, and re-released A New Hope. I remember trying everything to get out of it… Fortunately for me, my dad didn’t take no for an answer. The rest, as they say, is history.

On the way over to the class I was super pumped. When we turned onto Heron St we were slightly lost, but thankfully we spotted someone walking with a lightsaber and we followed him over to the class. Once in the studio, we met Alain, who is super nice, and picked out our lightsabers.

I went through many different sabers during the class, but this is the one I started and ended with.

Class started with stretches and a warm-up – the real deal. We did even did some running! ;)

Warming up.

Then we moved onto flourishes. Mine are anything but perfect, however Rick requested that I take a video of my ‘moves’ so here it is:

After we felt comfortable handling the lightsaber solo, we learned a basic choreographed fight consisting of six attacks and their defending counterparts. After getting the basics down, we started a bracketed fight. The first person to score 5 points won and moved onto the next battle against another winner. Chris and I were pretty evenly matched. In the end, the best student in the class fought against the teacher.

Student on the right and Alain, the teacher, on the left.

Then, my favorite part of the class, we learned the beginning of the lightsaber duel between Luke and Vadar at the end of Empire Strikes Back. Due to Chris’s height (and probably because he was wearing black) he was deemed Vadar in our battle, which meant I got to play Luke. Hooray! Learning this choreographed fight taught me so much about the characters. For instance – Vadar stands tall and (in the beginning) only defends using 1 hand. Luke has his knees bent, looking much shorter than Vadar, and fights recklessly. As Alain proclaimed, “it’s all about theatrics!”

Chris, pre-dark side.

We ended the class with a short and reviving meditation. At the end we all exclaimed, “may the force be with you!” I loved every moment of it. Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood and taking the class instantly brought me back to that time in my life. I can safely say the Golden Gate Knights XLI Training is the best ‘gym class’ I’ve ever taken and it really is a work out (especially on your arms). It’s held every Sunday 12-3 at Studio Garcia in SOMA. All of the teachers and classmates are super nice and knowledgeable. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan girl, like myself, I highly recommend this class! If you’d like to see more photos from Chris and my Golden Gate Knights XLI Training, check out my flickr.