H.S.H. Prince Frei granted an audience to Johan Skyberg – LudoSport Gothenburg

H.S.H. Prince Frei granted an audience to Johan Skyberg – LudoSport Gothenburg

LudoSport lightsaber fencing is a sport where participants duel with lightsabers consisting of a metal hilt and a glowing plastic blade. The sport originated in Milan, Italy, in 2006 and has spread to many countries in Europe and America, including Sweden.

– LudoSport Sweden

Prince Frei granted an audience to Johan Skyberg, a representative of LudoSport Gothenburg. Johan spoke about the sport’s origins as an interdisciplinary fencing art: practitioners from various fencing traditions aimed to create a platform where the common denominator was the choice of weapon – the electronic lightsaber – rather than a shared style or tradition. In this way, for example, a practitioner of Japanese Kendo can compete against someone who has primarily trained in classical European fencing.

A common misconception is that LudoSport is associated with the Star Wars franchise, but this is not true, explains Johan. LudoSport is an entirely independent phenomenon, more akin to various forms of martial arts and fencing. There is no Jedi philosophy in the background, and it is neither Cosplay (portraying costumes and characters from popular culture) nor choreographed battles. The fencers practice controlled dueling, where points are awarded for legitimate hits, such as to the shoulder or knee. LudoSport Sweden has recently joined the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation, which is a significant step forward for the sport.

The sport’s uniform draws inspiration from different martial arts attire. Besides the pants, which are common for all, novices wear a special T-shirt. From the first official grade (Iniziato), they use an over-tunic and an under-tunic, whose colors indicate the practitioner’s grade: Iniziato always uses a gray-beige, while higher grades such as Accademico and Cavaliere have more color choices based on preference, such as green, red, yellow, or blue. For the day, Johan has chosen a green under-tunic. A belt is also part of the uniform. Mandatory protective gear includes gloves and, for those who need it, a groin guard.

Advancement in grades depends on acquired competence in various “forms” with different levels of difficulty and focus. The first form mainly focuses on getting acquainted with the weapon safely; later forms involve more explosive and acrobatic moves.

Three different weapon styles are used in the sport: the single lightsaber, dual short swords, and the “staff” (a double lightsaber). Those who want to start training in LudoSport can often borrow lightsabers.

“In LudoSport, we like to say that we do not duel AGAINST each other, we duel WITH each other

Johan explains that LudoSport is a gentleman’s sport; the competitors report themselves if they have been hit. The focus of the sport is on community and the joy of practicing fencing. LudoSport internationally shares a common set of values summarized by the acronym SeCuRi:

  • Servizio (service): Supporting your training partners and helping each other to develop.
  • Cura (care): Showing care for both yourself and others by practicing techniques in a safe and controlled manner to avoid risk or injury.
  • Rispetto (respect): Respecting each other by not underestimating anyone based on their level of experience or personal conditions. It also means being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses and relating them to your training partners.

LudoSport is organized internationally into Academies—usually one per country, but in a nation with many practitioners, different cities can have their own. Subordinate to the academy are the schools—local training centers with certified instructors. The local schools often have various associations or teams called “clans.” To date, LudoSport can be practiced in various places in Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Helsingborg, Örebro, and Ystad.

As part of the audience, Johan introduced the Prince to LudoSport through a brief instruction (see the video above).

Learn more: LudoSport

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