Scavenger UK Latest Podcast Episode!

Friday, 17 February 2017

First Strike Light-Saber Combat Simulation - An Interview with one of the Creators

I'm interviewing Wayne Bell, Creator and Teacher of First Strike Lightsaber Combat Simulations! The Fusion of LARP, Training and Martial Arts! 

This maybe a little odd as its all in black and white rather than over audio, but bear with me, a great interview follows for you Star Wars and lovers of lightsabers! 

So Wayne, firstly thanks for answering these questions for me:
"No probelmo mate"

Secondly then, can you just give us a quick run down of when you were first introduced to Star Wars? 
"My first experience of  Star Wars was when my Dad took me to watch A New Hope at the cinema and like most people it really captivated my imagination - blew me away really, and still does. It inspired me to make my own comics and draw characters constantly as well as play with my huge collection of toys I had. "

So what exactly IS First Strike Lightsaber Combat Simulations? 

"Well, we are a triple pronged business. Firstly we have the 'Battle Ready' classes. This is a series of light-saber combat training classes where we teach techniques such as strikes, blocks and parries, evasion and the flamboyant spinning often referred to as flourishing. The idea behind the classes is not only to train, but to learn control so when students take part in the live action roleplay element they can do it with good technique and control, have good combat using a recognised system where injury is minimised."

So is it similar to LARP? 
"Yes, very much so. I was inspired when I went along to the Star Wars Secret Cinema  - me and my pals went in costume and got drawn into the roleplay element and were drawn into the whole immersive and interactive experience. This brings me nicely onto the Galactic War element of the business. This will be the arena if you like where players will pick a faction - Guardians or the Fallen and have team roleplay missions to achieve; which will naturally lead into elements of combat. You have a choice of character classes to choose such as Jedi, Sith Acolyte and some others - you just can't rock up as a canon main character though, you have to design your own otherwise we will have twenty-five Darth Vaders' wandering around! We already operate an events business and will initially be using one of our sites to set the scene based on our planet of Takadannaar - a woodland planet rich in resources but currently neutral and a hive of activity for all manner of intergalactic scum. A bit like Mos Eisley in the woods!"

Personally I love the idea of LARP, and I too went to the Secret Cinema, what an amazing experience! So, how extensive is the training? 
"The training is as hard as the student wants to make it. We expect effort to be put into the classes, though, as you will only get out of it what you put in to it; but it's designed to be progressive, starting with a warm up then moving onto basics such as foot work and body movement, strikes, blocks/parries and then usually something a bit more advanced before finishing off with various elements of individual or team combat using the techniques you have been taught. Most of all, its great fun, good fitness and most students are also avid fans of  Star Wars, so we hope to develop into a series of clubs and a community in our own right."

That makes sense and sounds awesome! Is there any kind of grading for the classes? 
"Yes, we have a grading progression designed with grading books for students, all signed off by the Martial Arts Development Commission so periodically we run interim gradings and after a series of semi gradings you then do your test for your next 'form' which will get you your next belt should you pass. Our first club grading is next week for our first student so fingers crossed a little bit of pressure doesn't get to him!"

Ahh! Wow that's fantastic! Well good luck to him!! How would you say First Strike is different from the other lightsaber training clubs? 
"I am also a Ludosport student myself and although only been training a few months I have experienced some early successes getting through to the finals in every tournament and even winning one and getting an award in another - Best Youngling of 2016! Ludosport is about tournament combat - which I love and highly recommend but our emphasis is more about getting battle ready so you can join in our LARP/Cosplay events as well as learning a solid martial arts based on my own extensive experience. We are also looking for other martial arts instructors to come on board and bring other styles to the table so we can develop the other forms too. We don't wear armour so practicing solid technique and control is crucial as unlike the Saber Legion who are more akin to Kendo, we would be more so like a futuristic form of Iaido with light-sabers crossed with medieval sword work. My experience is mainly in Japanese martial arts of which I hold a couple of black belts and a brown belt. No way my pants are falling down!"

Wow, no messing with you then, and if you have a stick in your hand, start running right? Hehe.. Ok, so what kind of kit does someone need to join the class? 
"We say turn up in training kit e.g. tracksuit and clean trainers and a t-shirt - once you have been coming a few weeks and have joined you get your first belt and a club t-shirt to get you going but my expectation is that all students dress the same and we have a uniform standard to adhere to which is affordable. All you need other than that are some gloves as we have 40 light-sabers, so until you are ready to get your own, we have you covered!"
Where do you train, and how can you be contacted if we're interested in joining?! 
"We train in Gravesend in Kent and there's a few ways to contact us.. 
Our website is or you can visit and like the Facebook page The best email to get us on is"

Brilliant! I have just a few more questions I'd like to start asking everyone on my interviews. Here we go..

Favourite trilogy/film? 
"Fave film - Rogue One, fave trilogy - The originals, has to be!"

Favorite character?
"Fave Character has to be Darth Maul - Seriously awesome looking and amazing skills as a martial artist too, closely followed by Vader...I am firmly leaning towards the dark side of the Force here!"

You're a Jedi, what colour is your lightsaber, forget canon, ANY COLOUR 🙂
"Don't ever call me a Jedi...I am Sith through and through and the only colour worth having is bright red with a blazing orange flash on clash :)" 

Whoops! Ok, Red it is! Thanks so much for speaking with me Wayne, I can't wait to see more from the organization and hopefully at some point I'll get myself over to you for at least a taster session! 

Well, you heard it here! This new Club/ Organization are looking for like-minded Pupils AND Instructors! It sounds like a fantastic system and a lot of fun! Do go over to the Facebook page where you'll find photos and videos of snippets of the training classes!

So again if you like Star Wars, Roleplay, Lightsabers or all three go and take a look!