Jedi Academy in Mexico City: Where Star Wars Fans Master Lightsaber Dueling

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In a park on the south side of Mexico City, the night sky ignites with the multicolored glow of lightsabers. A man, wielding a white luminescent blade, calls out, “Check the defense!” Onlookers watch curiously, and even a dog-walker stops to inquire about the duel—a regular occurrence four nights a week.

Welcome to the Jedi Knight Academy, founded in 2019—a dream come true for Star Wars enthusiasts in Mexico City. Led by instructor Ulises Vázquez (also known as the Jedi master), this lightsaber combat and choreography school transforms students into skilled athletes and formidable lightsaber fighters.

During daily three-hour sessions, fans of George Lucas’s saga learn the art of lightsaber combat, channeling their inner Luke Skywalker. Drawing from Jedi and Sith teachings—originally rooted in ancient sword-fighting techniques—these duels and choreographies blend fun and spectacle with the complexity of martial arts disciplines like kendo, aikido, and tai chi.

Classes begin with meditation and warm-up exercises. Instructors guide students through various drills, emphasizing perfection through repetition. Some students eventually spar using protective gear resembling galactic fencing uniforms. Their sabers, crafted from ballistic-grade polycarbonate, emit a rainbow of colors from within.

The academy’s origins trace back 15 years when Vázquez and his best friend, Gabriel Mendoza, toyed with the idea of creating a lightsaber combat school. Inspired by Anakin Skywalker (later known as Darth Vader), they envisioned a place where others could learn this unique art form. In 2019, as lightsaber dueling gained global popularity and earned recognition from the French Fencing Federation as an official competitive sport, the Jedi Knight Academy opened its doors in Mexico.

Beyond combat skills, the academy aims to promote regular exercise among young people. Maroli Martínez, a 19-year-old university student, attests to the tight-knit and supportive community within the academy. She has been honing her lightsaber combat abilities for three years.

Not far away, another group practices an intricate choreography, their colorful blades dancing to precise instructions. This faction proudly flies a rainbow flag—a symbol of inclusivity. Vázquez and Mendoza actively engage with local LGBTQ+ organizations, ensuring that their academy remains a safe and welcoming space.

“It’s immensely satisfying to see the success of our training program,” says Vázquez.

Source: AP News