Awakening The Force at Wittenberg
Not so long ago, in a city not so far away from Wittenberg, a Jedi was awoken in Eden, Ohio. Out of a foundational appreciation for the “Star Wars” series and an interest in morphing his childhood fantasy into a reality, sophomore Drew Pool has teamed up with like-minded friends on campus to bring the Knights of Witt club to our student body.
Pool came up with the idea in the spring semester of his freshman year.
“When I was younger, my dad taught me the basics of fencing, and after getting a light saber for Christmas, I figured, why not try sparring with sabers,” Pool said.
An idea that started with only three people grew to 12 at the end of the 2016 spring semester, and has only continued to flourish since. Now, the club has more than 30 members, and after getting nearly 130 signatures at the 2016 fall involvement fair, the Knights of Witt will surely keep growing.
After evolving sparring into a new, fun and safe fighting style, the Knights of Witt began meeting two or three times a week at 8 p.m. to battle it out in the Hollow with light sabers, playing various game modes such as Team Death Match, King of the Hill, Kill the Chancellor and Cycling.
Each game mode has different objectives, requiring different skills individually as well as strategically. The club only has seven sabers, which are all personal sabers, belonging to people within the club. Since the club was formed so late in the semester last year, the members missed the annual funding meeting, so they hope to improve their club through Tiger Fund in the meantime.
Due to a limited amount of sabers and a high interest in participation, the most common game style played is Cycling. This game mode hosts as many players as there are sabers available that session, and is every man for himself. Once a player has been eliminated in battle, they hold their saber up or pass it to another combatant waiting to enter battle.
“It’s a very fast-paced game, and keeps everyone involved,” Pool stated.
All game styles follow the same safety guidelines and basic elimination rules. If you are touched on any part of an arm or leg, then you lose that limb; if you lose two limbs, then you are eliminated from battle. Players then turn off their saber so it is no longer glowing to communicate that they have been eliminated. Before every session, the safety guidelines are discussed to all players participating in that session, where everyone gathers around Pool to listen to the rules of play; the players refer to this as “story time.”
For the protection of young Jedis and so no equipment is damaged, there are no baseball swings, headshots or groin shots.
“This is supposed to be a fun and safe way to do this,” Pool said.
Penalties are set in place: if a player disobeys the rules, first they are ejected from a match, then the session, and then are asked to leave the club.
To an outsider, one wouldn’t think twice about running down into the Hollow and embracing this new club.
“Some people have this preconceived notion it’s a bunch of nerds running around and hitting each other with sabers,” Pool said.
But after participating in one session, I was already hooked. It’s a fun way to do something out of the norm, a safe way to fight and a good workout, too. This is one club you have to try before you judge.