Becoming one with the force can now be a reality thanks to Erik Bauckman who started a lightsaber combat group in Halifax called The Eastern Watchmen.
The group formed two years ago and participated in the past two Hal-Cons, Atlantic Canada’s largest science fiction convention. Since then, it has grown from two people to 45 members.
“It was me and Ben [Cox] at one point,” said Bauckman, “and we were standing in the middle of the training space in the [Dartmouth] Sportsplex, me basically bleeding money on the floor going ‘Gee, I hope someone else shows up.’”
He said the group’s tournament at Hal-Con this year generated a lot of interest from the crowd. He hopes with more members the club will be able to offer more.
“I really want to have a club where people are doing forms, and doing choreography and creating forms. If we do a full tournament in the club, I would like to have a tournament where we have duelling, single saber and exotics.”
‘It’s for everyone’
Lightsabers are weapons used by characters in the Star Wars movie franchise. Evil characters connected with the Dark Side of The Force use red lightsabers, and good characters connected with the Light Side use lightsabers of a variety of colours, but usually blue or green.
In their weekly practices, some members of The Eastern Watchmen duel against one another, and some practice more fundamentals of lightsaber duelling on their own.
“I really think this should be, sort of a way for people of all stripes to come together and do things lightsaber,” said Bauckman. “We have people of all different ages, sizes, genders, it’s not just an old boys’ club. It’s for everyone. And I want everyone to know that it’s for everyone.”
Bauckman said that the club allows him to get exercise without having to go to a gym, and that the combat aspect is his favourite thing to do.
“There is something really all-focusing about it. It’s meditative in a way because you can’t really think about anything else. You’re just focused on that one thing you’re doing right now. To me, that’s the awesome expression of the whole Jedi struggle between good and evil.”
Founder faces teammate in final
The Eastern Watchmen’s co-representative, Charles Bressette, was the champion of their three-day tournament at this year’s Hal-Con, taking down Erik Bauckman for the win. He hopes to keep his title at the next Hal-Con tournament.
“The last fight was with Erik, and that was just employing every kind of trick I had. Relying on some of my boxing background and my abilities to dodge attacks and attack from unconventional angles,” said Bressette.
“Right now, I’m getting back to fundamentals completely, and finding some new tricks nobody is going to expect at Hal-Con next year.”
Bressette said that any of the fighters in the club have potential to take him down, and he looks forward to seeing their tricks at the tournament next year.
May the force be with you
Both Bressette and Bauckman said that anyone who is interested in joining The Eastern Watchmen can join their Lightsaber Halifax group on Facebook.
Lightsaber battles can be seen on the big screen as Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theatres Dec. 15. Some members of the Eastern Watchmen hope to attend the premiere with lightsabers in hand.