It's no secret that the "Star Wars" craze has been re-awakened and, thanks to the Emerald Coast Theatre Company, a few local kids are one step closer to becoming Jedis.
The theater held a lightsaber combat training class on Saturday to help train young kids in stage combat with a "Star Wars" theme.
"I want to be in 'Star Wars' and work with Lucasfilm," Sarah Newfield-Groober, 15, said. "I wanted to take this class so I'll know the basics for stage fighting if I ever get to that point."
Using foam lightsabers, the students learned basic sword-fighting moves such as how to parry, cut and jab.
The instructor of the class, Kris Kuss, is a certified stage-combat instructor with Dueling Arts International and said he loves teaching the kids combat skills while incorporating communication and teamwork building.
"They're still learning how to communicate, and some are more in their shell and I find that, as soon as we start playing games, they come out of their shell and they start beginning to be able to interact," Kuss said.
Using terms from the popular science-fiction franchise such as "Use the Force" and "Stay away from the Dark Side," Kuss said he's teaching them the exact same things they would be learning if they were learning swords.
"Safety is always the No. 1 priority," Kuss said. "I want to make sure they know how to do the actions but do them in a safe environment and then do them effectively and make them look really good."
One of the exercises involved balloons tied to strings at the end of bamboo poles. The students had to hit both of the balloons in one, fluid motion with their lightsabers.
A lot of the participants are no strangers to ECTC. Newfield-Groober is staring in the upcoming production of "Spamalot" and said she participated in some of the ECTC's other summer camps.
Evelyn Flynn, 8, just starred as Prince John in "Robin Hood." When she heard about the lightsaber combat class, she just had to do it.
"My dad is a really big 'Star Wars' fan and so is my whole family, except for my mom, but I think that's just a mom thing," Flynn said.
She said her favorite move that she learned in the class were the flourishes they did with the lightsabers to spin them around and "make them look cool."
After the students learned the basic moves, Kuss taught them a choreographed fight scene that they showed their parents at the end of the class. And while fun was the theme of the day, Kuss said he hopes the kids connect with one another and come back for different workshops or productions.
"If at the end of the day, these kids can walk away feeling a sense of connection and empathy for one another, then I think I've done my job," Kuss said.