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It's now easier than ever in France to act out "Star Wars" fantasies, because its fencing federation has borrowed from a galaxy far, far away and officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the iconic weapon from George Lucas' saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics.The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of why the French Fencing Federation threw its support behind the sport and is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors.Police officer Philippe Bondi, 49, practiced fencing for 20 years before switching to lightsaber. When a club started offering classes in Metz, the town in eastern France where he is stationed for the gendarmerie, Bondi says he was immediately drawn by the prospect of living out the love he's had for the Star Wars universe since he saw the first film at age 7, on its release in 1977 .He fights in the same wire-mesh face mask he used for fencing. If both fighters reach 10 points, the bout enters "sudden death," where the first to land a head- or body-blow wins, a rule to encourage enterprising fighters.
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