DULUTH — Are you a big fan of "Star Wars" and other science fiction? Looking for a way to get exercise and learn to choreograph an epic fight scene? Interested in space martial arts and want to find others with the same passion?
Martial arts instructor Scott Frankovich has a new class just for you: Sci-fi Battle Arena.
Frankovich recently moved his haidong gumdo (Korean swordsmanship) studio, Seven Dragons Martial Arts in Duluth, to a new location. With the move in June, he decided to create a new class for students who are interested in learning how to fight like their favorite space Jedi.
"It's about exercising and fun," Frankovich said. "We're not as concerned with stance as we are with gumdo ('the way of the sword'). We're more concerned with being creative and learning some basic forms."
Students, called cadets, will learn 12 forms to become a master and choose to either become a "Keeper" (good guy) or join the dark side known as the "Overlords."
"We're making up our own story line to go along with it," Frankovich said. "We're not in a galaxy far, far away here. We're on this Earth and we're trying to either save it or conquer the world. And the color of your saber doesn't determine whether you're good or bad here."
While the class is inspired by "Star Wars," Frankovich has been carefully avoiding anything copyrighted by Disney. That's why students will use "plasma blades" in the class training and train to become "masters."
Speaking of plasma blades, students are welcome to purchase and bring their own lightsaber-like products, but Frankovich says the blades must be able to handle light combat. Otherwise he has some gumdo practice gear that can be used.
"I don't want to see your $10 lightsaber toy shatter in practice. That wouldn't be fun for anyone," Frankovich said.
Students are also allowed to dress up in costumes for class, as long as they can move comfortably.
Although this is the first time he's taught this sci-fi class, Frankovich has been practicing gumdo for eight years. He's a Duluth native and U.S. Navy diver veteran who first started practicing the martial art with his son.
"He heard about it from my uncle and was so excited about it," Frankovich said. "Normally, you couldn't get him away from his basement and PS3, but this was something he wanted to do. So I talked about it more with my uncle and by the time we were done talking, I was on board."
Eventually, his son stopped practicing, but Frankovich continued to take classes.
"I love the camaraderie and it's such a unique activity. It's not something that everybody does," Frankovich said.
Frankovich and a few other instructors took over for the former instructor and formed Seven Dragons Martial Arts. Frankovich continues to teach haidong gumdo on other nights of the week.
The class is geared for students ages 10 and up, but Frankovich said he might allow a few younger students, provided they can act appropriately and handle the blades safely.
"And we're open for students up to 110 years old as well," Frankovich said.
To learn more, search for "Seven Dragons Martial Arts Duluth" on Facebook.