People & Places with Pierce: Aiken Lightsaber Club

Clifford “Trey” Jones, III, co-founder of the Aiken Lightsaber Club, explains: “It started off as 2 Star Wars fanboys but now it’s more about reaching kids.”

Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tony Negron, former senior naval science instructor of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Aiken High School, and co-founder of the Aiken Lightsaber Club, adds: “The Aiken Lightsaber Club as I see it is a place for young people who don’t have a chance to participate in other kinds of sports or other kinds of activities to come here, get some exercise, socialize.”

Thom Carr, a 16-year-old member of the club, says: “We practice different fencing techniques.”

Alex Quirk, 15-year-old member of the club, adds: “I guess it’s just another outside activity for a bunch of nerds.”

For this club, it’s not all about the force.

“The lightsaber club doesn’t really derive from Star Wars,” explained Quirk. “We get the lightsabers. That’s about the extent.”

“They’re not doing Star Wars moves,” added Jones. “It’s controlled action. It’s controlled emotion. It’s teaching them control of finer motor skills than they would learn on their own.”

“We are going to teach him basic fencing,” said Negron.

“What you learn is a few different forms: an offense form, a defense form, and then you learn to go back and forth between the forms,” added Jones.

“Basically a choreographed series of moves that allows them to learn how to use a lightsaber,” said Negron.

“I mean if you want to come around, come out and swing a lightsaber, then we want to have you,” said Jones.

As the group officially launched, members explained their goals for the future.

“If we can compete, I think that’s our main goal is to start competing after we get a big base,” said Quirk.

“It’ll actually be putting what we’re learning to use, and it’ll allow us to go interact with other people, see other styles,” added Carr.

Peter Flores, a 16-year-old member of the club, says: “We intend to help out the community as well.”

“I think if you give of yourself and your time, not only do you benefit somebody else but you also benefit yourself,” said Negron.

“It builds confidence,” explained Jones. “If they have something to relate to, you should see some of these kids. They become completely different people.”

These lightsabers are on a real world mission to shape the future.

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