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Star Wars fans feel the force at lightsaber class

The Associated Press, Thursday, February 21, 2013, 10:23am (PST)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A group of San Francisco Star Wars fans who want to travel to a galaxy not that far away have created a combat choreography class for Jedis-in-training with their weapon of choice: the lightsaber.

At a recent class, Alain Bloch, the self-proclaimed Jedi Master at Golden Gate Knights, demonstrated a slicing technique. He has a background in martial arts and stage combat.

"Always be mindful of the presence!" he said, donning a Luke Skywalker outfit and a green lightsaber.

With Star Wars movie music coursing through the dance studio, his disciples clutch their neon-glowing lightsabers.

These self-proclaimed "Star Wars geeks" slice and parry as they follow Bloch's lead, and get a little exercise, too.

People in a recent class in the city's South of Market district, including a couple on a date, said they embraced their quirkiness and had even converted some of the skeptical into the "Jedi order."

"At first they giggle because they think it's a little silly. Then they're like, actually that's kind of cool," said Julio Reyes, a student. "Then they start asking more questions."

Not all Jedis-in-training are rooting for the good guys. Some came to embrace "the dark side of the force."

"I just love Vader, period," said the Darth Vader-clad student Gary Ripper. "Just his voice, the way he moved, the power of him. I just liked the powerfulness of him."

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