What keeps people coming back week after week?
See what they have to say about the academy below.
On a late Sunday evening, if you’ve travelled past the MRT station at Ang Mo Kio, or had a run around at Bishan Park, you may have chanced upon this mysterious group. From a distance – dark shadows moving swiftly with colourful, lighted sticks clashing, twirling and swinging from side to side – leaving bright lighted trails that immediately force you to take a second look and stare in compelling amazement.
Who are these people?
What are they doing?
Could we join them?
Having the good fortune of realizing that our son was actually a part of this group, we went down one Sunday evening to have a look, and it was exciting to see a well-organized group going through its paces with disciplined techniques but also clearly with a great sense of enjoyment as well.
And the lightsabers – you never get tired of looking at them swishing about with that all too familiar hum from the Star Wars movies.
We were hooked from that very first encounter.
Attending a training session with them is really like stepping into a whole new world of organized lightsaber dueling that is intense, energetic and a lot of fun.
There are no fanciful costumes, no intimidating cliques, no egotistical characters – just a friendly group of diverse individuals who share a common love for colorful lighted sabers and dueling techniques that are real and useful if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to defend yourself.
You learn the striking techniques.
You learn the complex footwork.
You partner up and practice with each other.
And then at the end of the session, you do an exhilarating short duel where you put into practice what you’ve just learnt.
Best of all?
They’re a welcoming bunch.
No harsh, disparaging words.
You learn at your own pace.
They help you along with continuous encouragement.
This is The Force Academy.
This is a community that really lives up to its mantra – Respect; Harmony ; Purpose.
Any Star Wars fan would give the Sunday sessions a go, but what made me stay on for regular sessions was the strong camaraderie and the warm greetings between the participants as they learned and fought to become better.
The instructors are a qualified, humble bunch, and seniors assisting on the side do so with the sincerest enthusiasm. This was, and still is, the place where my fantasies of wielding a light saber comes to life; this is a family that Respects, thrives on Harmony, and progresses with Purpose.
I have no regrets joining, and hope to continue even as they slowly become a household name.
When I first heard of the saber group, I was ecstatic that such an interesting group existed right here in this Island and signed up immediately. WHAT GOOD IS HAVING SABER IF YOU CAN'T WIELD IT RIGHT.
It was a small class then but I could see the potential from it based on MJ and Reza's passion and dedication towards it. True enough, it blossomed into such a big and exciting group with very well planned lessons that I've learnt so much from.
As I mentioned earlier, as ecstatic as I was, I was daunted by the fact I was going to go for it alone. I knew nobody there and as much as I begged my friends to come, none came with me. I was also crippled by fear of contact sports due to my then recently torn ACLs and head concussion. Confidence shattered and feeling alone, I forced myself out of my comfort zone.
MJ and Reza really encouraged us on with so much patience, that my initial fear lapsed. They came up with such detailed lesson plans with good progression being highly possible over time. Whether it was the right strikes or proper footwork, they built us into budding warriors!
The people I've met there became some of my closest friends. We came from so many backgrounds yet we really connected on all topics geek not withstanding Star Wars of course. Even training with each other outside of classes and even going for karaoke together! The fear and anxiety I had seems silly to me now when I reflect on the past. Laughable even. xD
Even when I was away for months for studies, when I returned, It was like I never left. Everyone was so warm and welcoming with many volunteering to help me catch up on what I missed out. With so many mentors around, I regained my footing again.
It's funny how life turns out so unexpectedly.
How a motley group of strangers could become my family.
*Do something new or out of your comfort zone.
*Don't be anxious signing up alone.
*Don't keep putting it off.
**Do. Or do not. There is no try!
I got to know about The Saber Authority when my nephew in the US shared the video of a dueling session. I decided to check it out by visiting the training session twice. Even watching the training sessions got me excited as I am a Star Wars fan and decided to sign up. It's been 5 months since I made that decision to start and it still excites me each time I go for lesson. I am always looking forward to each Sunday evening for the class
As someone who can't find the motivation to drag himself out to exercise at any point of the week, TFA has given me a reason to train myself, and to keep up a fitness routine.
It's a fun, exciting and motivating experience, the trainers are knowledgeable, patient and will help you improve your technique. The force academy is truly a fun and rewarding experience, that I have no regrets joining.
I'm a big fan of lightsabers (let's be frank, who isn't?) and I first stumbled upon TSA when trying to get my hands on one. Long story short, the founders managed to gather a small number of people to attend their first ever combat class, and with me being a non-combatant type of person I've actually managed to learn quite a lot about melee combat in the most awesome and fun way possible!
Happy to see how big the group has grown over the year(s)!
Respect, Harmony, Purpose!
Nur Hidayat Taib
I joined TFA on a whim, It popped up on my Facebook and I was free on Sunday so I decided why the heck not.
I expected a casual fun activity that I might come back for every so often but by the end of the session I was lying on the ground panting for breath.
I was surprised to learn that this wasn't just a fun activity but true combat, with rules, systems and forms. I later would find out that this system is known as Kali. The instructors were fantastic pushing me enough and correcting my stance despite the decent class size.
As I started coming more regularly I began to interact more with the other regulars and nowadays my usual Sunday evenings involve a friendly chat about how everyone's doing, followed by a thoroughly enjoying session where we train, sharpen our skills and settle any "grievances" after which we retire to a kopitiam while we discuss who would win in a brawl between batman and superman.
When I joined I was going through a pretty rough patch in my life, I had little motivation to do anything and I was sleeping my days from the depression. TFA gave me a focus and a new goal to work toward, the system is through and deep, the combat exhilarating and remarkably tactical and the people are warm and kind, happy to give you advice, spar with you, debate how best dethrone our current champion or just have a chat about any and all things geek.
I expected fun, I was wrong. It was so much more
Jahaan V Balan
I joined TFA because I have always wanted to be a Sith! Hahaha! The dueling aspect of it was very interesting too, one of the members of TFA actually got me to join!
If you believe sword fights can last more than 5 minutes and several background changes, this school is not for you.
If you think that any credible martial art technique would name itself after a flying animal, this school is not for you.
If you'd like to learn a martial art that does not rely on armor but instead on sword and foot work to keep you alive and healthy, this is the school for you.
If you'd like to meet a bunch of people who are friendly, sarcastic, playful and can have a serious conversation about Captain America vs Batman over a plate of char kuay teow. Then this is definitely the school for you.
(2015 Tournament Champion)
I joined because the combat system is solid and battle-proven. There is no bullshit here. It's simple enough for beginner to try and yet vast and complicated to master.
Andy Nurgroho Soetikno
Having joined TFA for a mere 3 months, my group of friends have spent much time conversing on what we've learnt, experienced, and the progress we desire to make. Never have I joined an activity that encourages me to get better at it each day!
From the foot work, accuracy in slashes, to the duel applications, it is a well facilitated course guided closely by its more-than-capable coaches.
If you're looking simply for a course to swing light sticks around, you won't find it here.
No, The Force Academy has transcended that:
It is a place where the people and the art they learn is respected.
Its an environment that breeds harmony, even in vicious duels.
Its a gathering of friends who seek purpose in spurring one another to greater heights.
See you all next session.
When I was first told by my sister about TSA/TFA, i could not believe there was something like that here, signed up and went for my first class, half expecting that things wouldn't be as good as I imagined, but boy was I wrong!
Enjoyed my first class and made me want to go back for more! Reza and Ming Jie are great trainers, patient and generous in their knowledge. I got to know many great friends with liked minded interests, this is one place I will stay for sure.
I first tried out The Force Academy as a fun, once off, weekend activity. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that this would turn into such an important part of my life.
Through The Force Academy, I have made friends who are as close as ohana, and had the privilege and honour of being mentored by instructors who are passionate and knowledgeable.
As a martial artist, the Force Academy also opened a window for me into a whole new world of weapon combat and South-east Asian martial arts.
In short, The Force Academy has something for everyone, from the Instagrammers who seeking the perfect photo/video to the serious martial artists looking to expand their skillsets. Come try us out, you won't be disappointed.
Wong Zheng Kai
I saw a promo video last year in Sept and found out a friend of mine has been in it for a few months already. It peeked my interest so he brought me there for a lesson. Doubtful at first, it got more addicting as you go more often.
Now being there for almost a year, my wife and I met some great people and great instructors and now I can't see us not having them part of our lives.
Besides, where can you find a sport that brings the best of contact sport and wielding a lit sword together in one space? TSA is definitely a Respectful group that Harmonize as one who fulfill their Purpose.
Curiosity – a primal behaviour. The inquisitive urge to gain knowledge or information.
Curiosity drove me to sign up for a month’s lesson with The Saber Authority in February 2014. And why not? I was a fan of science fiction, and was curious at what coaches Reza and Ming Jie could offer. I was one of the first few that took part in the inaugural class, held at a studio at Orchard Central. I was not disappointed and I left wanting to learn more.
From that curiosity, a deeper interest in the intricacies of bladed combat took root. Lesson after lesson, drill upon drills executed, aiming to better myself continuously – I even made time to attend an intensive 36 week course in Close Quarter Combatives conducted by Coach Reza himself outside of our usual classes on Sunday.
But I was not alone on this journey. There were others too.
They had same intrinsic curiosity all fired up I had, with the same shared passion burning and yearning to learn. Slowly, but surely, we emerged and gathered, growing in numbers – transforming from geek fans into duel-hardened and determined saber combatants. Starting with a simple wave and a shy hello, eventually broadening into firm friendships, camaraderie. Bonds were forged thru sweat, time – with the occasional spillage of a little blood or a bruise or two.
I'm Wayne, and I was just a normal, simple geek fan back then in 2014. These are the first chapters of my learning journey, into the world of combat sabering.
I’ve got lots more to go…
Respect, Harmony, Purpose.
Came across several videos shared by my friends and I thought "How hard can this system get?". Boy, I was wrong.
Knowing how to swing a lightsaber is one thing. Knowing how to EFFECTIVELY use it is another. Definitely "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age".
Footwork, bladework and precision all rolled into one and is also applicable for own personal self defense. Definitely plus chop guarantee that you'll be sweating from the good workout you're getting.
Also an additional MAJOR plus point: you get to meet a really crazily fun bunch of people that you'll definitely love to call family.
I joined because for many many years I have always wanted a illuminated saber. I did research, saved and even made pvc replicas. But in the end I didnt want to just own a display piece. I wanted to learn to use it, in a practical sense. When MdSufian showed me his Saberforge piece I has interested . When he told me that there is a class at AMK that teaches a system for practical applications, I was hooked. (Then he told me that they had brownies. I was sold).
I finally committed to getting myself a suitable saber, signed up and 9 months in I've made some awesome friends, get a nice workout every Sunday, learned an interesting system and got my wife to join me for classes. Happy camper ever since.
I joined because of Evan Wong saw a lightsaber fighting video at 3am in the morning and told me to join. In all honesty I enjoy the classes very much and look forward to it each Sunday. Not only is it enjoyable but it is also a great work out.