HOOKSETT — Not everybody lives in a galaxy far, far away. But for those who live in New Hampshire, one fencing instructor is helping local youngsters learn the ways of the sword fighting in a unique way.
Tim Roemer spent six years mastering the disciplines of epee and foil and today he is putting those skills to use with a new “Saber Ninja” class at Granite State Gymnastics in Hooksett that started up this summer.
The class teaches kids the art of “saber combat,” a martial art based on, but not affiliated with, light-saber combat from the Star Wars universe.
Earlier this year, Roemer learned more about the style of swordplay from the New Hampshire chapter of the Saber Legion, an organization that operates saber combat competitions across the country.
Roemer says that saber combat combines a wide variety of sword fighting styles such as fencing, kendo, and broadsword fighting.
“it’s neat because you get that matchup of someone fighting against you in a style you’ve never faced before. I bring my fencing background and now there aren’t a lot of linear lines anymore,” he said. “It’s been a lot of learning for me, but I also have a lot of techniques that they aren’t looking for.”
In the class, Roemer imparts what he has learned recently and in the past to students like Ian Edelstein and his sister Ayla of Hampstead.
The Edelstein siblings fight with toy lightsabers all the time at home, but this class provided instruction and protective gear to make their play safer and fit into the family’s schedule. It also didn’t hurt that Ian really got into Star Wars after the Force Awakens.
While their mother Mary considered putting the pair into a traditional fencing class, the children’s love of Star Wars and the compatible scheduling may Roemer’s class a more appealing option.
“I think it involves a lot more imagination than normal fencing and I think kids can relate to it,” she said. “They’ve seen people do it, and now they’re doing it in real life. So for them, it feels like they’re living part of the movie.”
They’re not alone. Roemer had mock lightsaber fights when he was a kid as well, although he would do it with broomsticks.
“It’s fun, it’s neat to live out these fantasies for the kids and it’s neat for me too,” he said.
Currently the class meets every Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., although additional classes may be coming soon depending on the popularity of the class.