The Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy in Sydney is something every little Star Wars fan dreams of – a real-life Jedi training ground!
Okay, so you won’t get to use the real deal or truly harness the power of the Force, but this awesomely imaginative academy lets students ages 10 through adults live out their dreams through classes in a completely inclusive environment.
This isn’t a martial arts school, and you aren’t learning how to truly go into battle. So what do the students at the Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy learn?
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Instructors teach a stage combat system that provides students with the basics necessary to re-enact their favourite Star wars lightsaber scenes.
Not only does the academy strive to bring imagination and creativity to the forefront, but they work with disability groups and have an Autism specific class.
Owner Luke Boynton is a NSW Accredited High School Teacher. His professional background includes Behavioural, Learning Support and Welfare.
The academy’s classes are combat-specific, but in a non-contact way. This isn’t ‘fighting’ in the sense that students are trying to truly harm one another. Instead, students learn safe choreography – using lightsabers. Classes are appropriate for older children, teens and adults of all physical and ability levels. The Jedis at this academy make community service a priority. Thus far the Sons have raised money for Gosford Children’s Ward. They continue to raise funds for other children’s charities as well.
“Our credo at the temple is that everyone is equal,” says Boynton of his program.
Classes go well beyond simple child’s play or striking one another with light-up toys. Boyton tells 702 ABC Sydney, “We teach lightsaber combat and that’s great, but there’s lots of life lessons that we work into the classes while they’re distracted and having fun.”
Not only do the students have the chance to play out the Star Wars scenarios that are going on in their heads, but they can also build confidence and develop their own creativity. They aren’t smashing ‘sabers’ or getting aggressive. Instead, they learn the proper way to handle the lightsaber and how to take responsibility for the mock weapons.
A major difference between the academy’s classes and any other learning experience (aside from the completely unique, mind-blowingly creative nature of the classes themselves) is the inclusivity.
The school features programs for all types of abilities. The spectrum class provides autistic children and adults with the chance to feel included and become part of something much bigger than the individual. Students can feel like they belong, developing social skills along with their Jedi training.
Don’t live near the Sydney suburb of Tuggerah? That doesn’t mean you can’t train with the Sons. The academy offers full day training sessions, independent of the weekly classes. The six-hour sessions start with three hours of basic training (learning the nine basic strikes, blocks and spinning). The rest of the day includes a pizza lunch and learning stage choreography. Upcoming full day training sessions will be held at The Jedi Temple on February 20 and 21, from 9-4 (each day is a separate session).
Even though regular classes are for children ages 10 and up (as well as adults, of course), the academy also offers birthday parties for kids of all ages. Parties include the use of a desiccated events space, two costumed staff members, lightsaber lessons, two themed party games, a choreographed demonstration and a special gift for the birthday boy or girl.
The Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy is lightyears beyond other acting or stage combat classes. With a focus on helping people of all ages overcome challenges and a dedication to creating abilities (instead of being held back by disabilities) the Sons’ work is truly inspiring.
Whether you want to live out a childhood dream, help your child build confidence or get your Padawan to open up, this academy is certainly a ‘force’ for change.