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Granite State Saber Academy

Where: 55 Lake St., Nashua, Suite 4-4,  and NHTI, 31 College Drive, Concord
When: Mondays from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at NHTI in Concord, and Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. in Nashua
Cost: $20 per class per person
Visit: facebook.com/GraniteStateSaberAcademy




Saber fitness
An out-of-this-world workout

11/02/17
By Ethan Hogan



 Training to be a galaxy-protecting knight is hard work. You need to be physically and mentally tough, committed to your task and, most importantly, you need to know how to wield a really cool-looking lightsaber. 

JD Lauriat of Goffstown started the Granite State Saber Academy in Nashua the academy last year to whip people into shape through theatrical combat, including the kind of combat that might be familiar to fans of the Star Wars movies.
“It’s nerd fitness,” said Lauriat.
There are two classes held each week, one in downtown Nashua and one in Concord at NHTI. Anyone at any skill level can drop into a $20 class and will be provided with a weapon and expert training. Lauriat teaches his students the basics of theatrical fighting so that by the end of an hour-long class they can act out one whole fight scene with a partner.
“In that one class, you will go home and say, ‘I got to learn, practice and run a fight in the first class,’” said Lauriat.
The fights are choreographed and meant to emulate dramatic on-screen duels with over-the-top movements and visual style. Lauriat said most of the fight scenes in movies are unrealistic and impractical but are fun to perform and watch.
“I can teach you how to swing the sword, but can you act it? Can you make it look real? … Make it bigger, make it better, sell it,” said Lauriat.
Lauriat has been doing martial arts since he was 11. Through training in the Uechi-ryu style, Lauriat got a taste for fighting with weapons. He continued training on his own and with friends, and years later Lauriat joined King Richard’s Faire, a Renaissance fair held in Carver, Mass.
“I learned from some really great stage combat directors there and that’s where I got my actual training from. … We used mostly steel swords,” Lauriat said. 
GSSA isn’t only focused on Star Wars-style battles; it’s a combination of any stage combat that students are interested in, including medieval, martial arts, fantasy and Renaissance.  
“Right now Star Wars is big, so we use lightsabers a lot,” said Lauriat.
A short warm-up workout is performed at the beginning of class and Lauriat moves into easy-to-learn attacks and defensive maneuvers. Participants are then broken up into pairs where they can start to develop their own fight. 
Lauriat said the rhythm of the combat keeps a pace that is good for cardio and the chances of actually getting hit are slim, unless it is planned.
“If you accidently take a lightsaber to the face … it’s not going to feel great, but it’s not the end of the world,” said Lauriat. 





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