Learning the ways of the Jedi isn’t for the fainthearted – and neither is teaching them, it seems.
A private company that teaches lightsaber-wielding classes in the US is being sued by Disney’s LucasFilms for infringing on trademarks.
New York and Florida based Lightsaber Academy offers certifications in academic study, stage combat and sport duelling for lightsaber enthusiasts, but according to a lawsuit filed last week, it’s cashing on the Star Wars brand without permission.
The use of the words “Jedi” and “lightsaber” for commercial gain are issues of contention, as is the academy’s logo which Lucasfilm is claiming is similar to their trademarked Jedi Order symbol.
“Defendants regularly use the Lucasfilm Trademarks without authorisation in connection with their businesses,” the suit filed to the US Federal Court reads.
“Among other infringing activities, Defendants use a logo that is nearly identical, and confusingly similar, to Lucasfilm’s trademark Jedi Order logo.”
Michael Brown, who prefers to go by the name Flynn Michael, is the founder of the academy and teaches how an urban Jedi can use the Force as part of their busy, inner city lives.
He tells the New York Times, his discipline can help students navigate high-pressure workplaces and crowded public transport systems, and incorporates his own knowledge of martial arts, sword fighting, dance and Tibetan Buddhism.
“It’s more than just dancing around with a glow stick. Your mind has to be one with your body when you’re swinging these things,” he says.
“I was beat up a lot as a kid, and the lightsaber brings out that strong hero inside of you, so you can stand up for yourself.”
Meanwhile, the academy’s website states that it intends to “inform, translate, and educate the participant with real-world, practical expressions of the theories found in movies, books, and countless stories in the Universe pertaining to the Art of Lightsaber Combat”.
It goes on to say that students will “find true understanding of the hilt, the properties and rules of the weapon, proper body mechanics, and basic methods to engage in saber to saber combat, or choreography.”