Lightsaber Combat

I have posted a few more lessons from the Second Life Jedi curriculum, including one on lightsaber combat as practiced in the virtual world around 2006. As with most of our lessons, I do not know who the authors of the lesson were, and I welcome any information readers may have.

At the time, taking lightsaber combat practice seriously (in the “real world”) was the questionable practice of someone who was “just a roleplayer” … like those of us who wrote fanfiction and developed the Second Life Jedi organizations.

In current practice, however, lightsaber training has gone mainstream, with a variety of in-person trainers and YouTube videos to show you how to get started. While I often flinch at the idea, I have to admit that it is no stranger than practicing karate kata or playing pickleball. Anything that gets people way from large and small electronic screens to work up a sweat is a certifiable good thing.

July: Philosophy & Living with Intention

Welcome to July!!

This month, the study theme is Philosophy. The practice focus is Living with Intention.

For me, these two are the core of taking the inspiration of Star Wars to living a “good life” in the sense of living in a principle-centered manner. In other words, to living as a Jedi Knight, when all of the myth and fictional gloss is removed.

Philosophy

There is no end to the reading you can do on the intersection of philosophy and Star Wars, but I commend to you two starting points: our growing collection of articles on philosophical topics and a collection of essays by modern philosophers relating to Star Wars: Decker, K. S. (2010). Star wars and philosophy: more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Some of the essays are available as PDFs, and I will link them for you as the month rolls by.

Living with Intention

I was pleasantly surprised to find articles and musings in the archives of the temple as I was investigating this idea. And I will gradually add them to our accessible collection.

In the meantime, I have made a small adjustment to my daily life that reminded me of how unfocused daily life can be …. and how to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones.

Biking to Work

With gasoline prices rising and the continued rising of temperatures due to climate change, I recently decided to bicycle to work whenever I can.

Now, understand that this is not a long distance … merely 1.5 miles. I should walk or bike this route every day, but as with most Americans, I have become complacent and rely on my car too much. On the other hand, two friends have been clipped or hit by careless drivers while biking recently … we do not know how to share the road in most areas of the United States, and our roadways are not designed – or maintained – to make bicycle commuting safe or easy. But having realized that this was one small change I could make, I decided to go for it.

The first thing that I noticed is that …. I notice many details that were previously hidden. Areas that I considered fairly flat, I now realize have rolling hills. Sections of roadway in the poorer sections of town are significantly more broken, dirty, and treeless than higher cost neighborhoods (where I live, mea culpa). I pay much more attention too to the direction and strength of the wind, because it can actually push me into traffic if I am not (ahem) paying attention.

I am also much more careful at intersections and while passing parked or stopped cars. Whereas a low-speed collision while I’m driving and listening to music would be annoying and mildly disruptive, the same collision between a bicycle and a car could be catastrophic. A new sense of risk sharpens the focus considerably!!!

Finally, ending on a high note here, I notice my body and appreciate it in new ways. I did become reacquainted with muscle groups that running and CrossFit somehow ignored. But after the muscle aches subsided, I noticed the wonderful, heightened sensations of the breeze, bird song, and smells of summer. I was amazed at how powerful and free … childlike really …. I felt when not surrounded in my metal (ok, mostly plastic ….) cocoon. I feel like I have woken up to a new world that is the old world without a coating of dust and grime.

So, if you cannot bike to work, and most of us cannot, I suggest to you to find something from your daily routine that you can shake up and change. See what you can do to change, and possibly enhance, your focus.

Jedi Exercise Programs

After starting meditation, the next item on the Blue Group syllabus was to review and update a student’s exercise program. And then to follow the plan. To exercise body as well as mind for the coming year …. and ideally for the rest of the student’s life.

Yoda famously stated that “… luminous beings are we … not this crude matter … ” and many prospective Jedi took that to mean that they didn’t need to work out, ignoring the fact that Yoda also had Luke doing advanced CrossFit routines in a hostile jungle!! In point of fact, we are complex beings with an embodied nature as well as a spiritual one, and the health of each component of ourselves affects the health of the rest. Hence, I required students to adopt some sort of exercise routine, no matter how minimal.

This Jedi Exercise Programs lesson was based on the fitness advice that we had in 2000. Some things have changed since then. Most advice, however, has not changed significantly. We now know that nearly any activity is helpful – it does not need to be identifiable as exercise nor undertaken in 20-minute sessions. Health experts are still trying to identify how little additional activity is enough to make a significant health impact, but I hope that you will aim slightly higher in your aspirations to become a well-rounded Jedi.

Luke doing a handstand with Yoda.