We all love a good lightsaber. I managed to pin Faisal down for a chat about Silver Sabres, who they are and what they are doing. It truly is epic stuff. Mixing traditional martial arts with Sci-Fi…
Tell us a little about yourself
Lol, a little? Are you sure? Have you seen my vids, I can talk for a while 🙂
Give us some background of your traditional martial arts journey?
It’s a long story, started flirting with a few martial arts clubs as a boy, bit of judo, bit of karate, bit of Kung fu, until I settled into fencing around 16yrs old.
Continued until university where I switched exclusively to sabre, and i had great fun until they banned the flèche and the cross-step and a whole bunch of other things. It ruined the sport for me and made the fights feel unnatural and claustrophobic, so I left. They wanted to make rounds last longer to make the sport more interesting to watch and more appealing to sponsors, but all they ended up doing was killing the joy of flying!
Over the next few years, the damage I had sustained to my knees from ‘flying’ became quite evident, and i started to struggle.
Funny how the things we love can hurt us lol.
I had never been coached on good technique as a fencer. Only on strategy, combos, reflexes, etc. No kinesiology or kinematics. The doctors offered me surgery to deal with the pain, which I refused.
I chose to study Tai Chi (Wu Shi Tai Ji Quan) instead…
Here I am 25 years later, still studying, still refusing the surgery, and my knees are doing just fine 🙂 stronger than they have ever been!
But that’s no longer why I train.
It’s a significant factor, for sure, and if I stop training the pain is back within a couple of weeks, but i have discovered so much more on this journey.
Not just physical health, not just mental health and peace, not just the fact that I’m now faster, stronger, cleverer than I’ve ever been before.
It turned me into a healer.
I studied anatomy and physiology as part of the journey, and ended up as a professional body worker, specialising in physical literacy.
And I owe it all to the internal practice of taijiquan and the wisdom of my teacher Michael Acton, who has been patient enough to put up with my awkwardness as a student.
He taught me the value of a good lineage, showed me stuff that took many lifetimes to discover and refine, and made sure that I kept checking my map and compass.
I started training so I could heal myself, and I continued so that I could pass it on and stop it from disappearing forever.
How did Silver Sabres come about?
I teach Tai Ji as a universal system for movement, and as such I have had many physical professionals in my classes.
In particular, I had this one gifted choreographer and fight director training with me, by the name of Lyndall Grant (currently writing and teaching the fight scenes for Harry Potter as the theatrical production tours Australia! Big Up Lyndaaaaaaaaall!!!)
She turned up one day and asked if I would be interested in helping to teach a Jedi workshop at a drama school, to which I laughed and said “YES PLEASE YES YES!”
And then she giggled and pulled out a pair of lightsabers!
The rest is history.
I had no idea that these things existed, and after playing around for a short while, I knew I had something special.
This could be what I was looking for!
I got permission from Michael to explore the possibility of teaching a weapon set first, in order to help the kids to engage in the content.
He agreed, and within a few weeks my childrens classes had turned a page!
We started studying the traditional Dao form instead of the unarmed. The kids were immediately able to focus 100x better, because they had a sabre as a fetish for their attention. Even meditation became easier, as they started to understand the need for concentration, and were less distractible.
It was a match made in heaven.
Traditional sword arts and the modern polycarbonate LED sabre.
Its great that you have married traditional MA with science fiction – but why?
Well, we had been exploring ways to get people engaged in traditional martial arts, to see past the strange rituals and outfits, and to understand what is actually hidden inside the practice, and it seemed to me that the best way was to disguise it!
Push the button, the sword glows, and no one cares what comes next!
At least, not until its too late and they discover that they’ve been studying Kung fu and Tai Ji, and that they love it!
The toy on its own isn’t enough.
A few sessions and the novelty will wear off.
By that time, either you’ve sold them on the actual content or you’ll lose them.
They will move on to the next shiny thing, unless you show them some hidden treasure deep in the art of the sword.
So, for us, the science fiction is basically a Trojan horse for ancient knowledge.
And that has always been true.
Star Trek, Star Wars, these are simply vehicles for transmitting messages from the past into the future 🙂
All we are doing is expanding the vocabulary to include physical literacy as well!
What do you want people to get from being a Silver Sabres member?
I just want folks to be happier.
If they were happier, they would help each other out more.
If they helped each other out more, more people would be happier.
It’s viral 🙂
But you have to remember that me and my brother, we run a 5 star therapeutic clinic, and we see patients day in day out, and I have noticed that happiness is so closely linked to health.
How can we be happy when we are in pain?
So I moved part time with the treatments, and went full time into teaching, to try and make sure that folks had enough of an education that they could preserve their health in the first place, rather than turn up on our doorstep once it had all gone wrong.
Prevention rather than a cure.
The Silver Sabres started as a way to help folks stay fit and healthy, and as a way of preserving these classical teachings and practices.
But when it comes down to it all we want is for people to have fun, be happy, get fit, form communities and develop as individuals.
People who never knew they could fight have found a home in the ring.
People who thought they were gods gift discovered they didn’t even know how to stand properly or breathe, let alone walk or fight.
It’s all about discovering balance.
Sure, its not easy, and some folks just wanna swing a sabre and not get involved in the deeper stuff, and for them there are lots of other options available.
But for us, that deeper journey, the martial path, is the whole point.
That is what we want people to experience.
A life lived, dedicated to excellence, in all aspects of their lives.
Whats next for Silver Sabres?
We wanna get our project into schools, youth clubs, gyms, etc.
We need to find 1000 instructors, and 100,000 fighters, and get the art popularised around the world 🙂
We’re just finishing our incubation now, with the majority of the syllabus having been tested for 5 years, with thousands of participants and all the data to study.
It’s time now to show the world what we have built.
The content up to level 3 is pretty much open source, after that its exclusive to regular students and trainee instructors.
But thats enough for new clubs to study our method and prepare a team for tourney.
The LSOT is our international rule set, and that is also open source, for anyone to use.
If you want it, we’ve made it available.
Your move 😉
How can people become a Jedi or train with you?
Simples, hit up our website, book in for a trial class, and get busy!
We have a lot of material available on youtube, so you can even start training from home.
The only thing you need is a big stupid grin to stick on your face!
It’s hard work, and if you’re not grinning like an idiot as you sweat, you ain’t gonna make it!