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In Manchester, ‘Star Wars’ fans trading in martial arts to train like a Jedi

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MANCHESTER -- "Star Wars" fans have had plenty to cheer about in the last few months, and now, in Manchester, they have a chance to experience just how powerful the Force is. That's because at the Academy of Martial Arts, Grandmaster Joel Waldron has combined his two loves -- Star Wars and self-defense.

train like a jedi 1"We call it 'Train like a Jedi,'" Waldron, a seventh-degree black belt in taekwondo, said.

Armed with wooden swords, or store-bought play lightsabers, the 20 students who have signed on meet once a week for class.

"The Jedi are the martial artists of the 'Star Wars' galaxy, so this is really no different from what we do all the time, it's just more fun because we play with lightsabers," Waldron explained.

Students also hop on mini trampolines, balance on beams, and free fight as part of the Jedi training.

Jose Rodriguez, an 18-year-old black belt, said, "Getting to be a Jedi and using lightsabers, they are so much fun."

Mateo Garcia, an 8-year-old brown belt, added, "It's awesome. I really like the self-defense and the gymnastics."

Waldron, who noted that his favorite character is a master in his own right--Yoda--said of his class, "The Force is strong here."

To find out more about the "Train like a Jedi" class, click here or call 860-646-7993.

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