Star Wars fans embrace force at lightsaber classes
Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
Golden Gate Knights instructor Alain Block teaches a class in San Francisco on Feb. 10.
Student Aaron Cheng jumps over a light saber swung by fellow student Starshine Medeiros during the Golden Gate Knights class.
Gary Ripper, dressed as Darth Vader, practices his moves.
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.
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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