VIDEO: Science fiction helps save medieval art

Duelling with LED sabres could save an ancient art from dying out.

Friday, 16th February 2018, 8:53 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:23 am
John Keeley, centre, at the launch of Silver Sabres in Worthing. Picture: Derek Martin DM1822070a

With a nod to the Star Wars phenomenon, Silver Sabres launched its LED sabre combat academy in London three years ago.

Now, the martial arts based training is coming to Shoreham and Worthing, as well as Crawley, Burgess Hill, Brighton and Chichester, with classes run by father-of-two John Keeley.

Dressed in a Jedi-style cape, he was joined by Stormtroopers from the Iconic Legion, a charity costume group, for the launch in Worthing town centre yesterday.

John Keeley, centre, at the launch of Silver Sabres in Worthing. Picture: Derek Martin DM1822070a

John said: “Silver Sabres is martial arts based – tai chi and medieval English swordwork done with LED sabres.

“We are keeping something alive that has been dying out. Most people want to do the new things and martial arts like tai chi and aikido are dying out, so we are giving it a new spin.

“It is nothing new really, it is the traditional arts using modern scientific culture.”

The combat sport combines traditional martial arts with theatre, teaching discipline and mindfulness through physical exercise, sparring and games.

Starting in March, John will be running Silver Sabre classes at Lancing College Prep, the Shoreham Centre, Brighton University and St Paul’s in Worthing.

John, who lives in Ferring, said: “The beauty of Silver Sabres is you can do with it whatever you want. You can do the class and benefit from the mindfulness, if you want to, you can go to competitions, and you can join the display team.

“All ages can do it. We have a children’s class and a mixed class. I am very keen to get families training together. Because it is sabre based, it is not done on size or weight, it is about skill and ability.

“You can have a lot more fun with it and we don’t have a uniform. There are five levels to go through and when you get to the top level, you are really creating your own style.”

The Silver Sabres Combat Academy was founded to reintroduce a classical gladiatorial approach to combat sports.

John said he plans to be involved with Worthing Wormhole Comic Con, as well as doing displays and competitions.

Long term, he would like to open his own full-time sabres centre in the Worthing area.

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