Learn Outer-Space Sword Fighting From Earth in Duluth

Seven Dragons Martial Arts teaches South Korean Sword Fighting with lightsaber-esque equipment.

DULUTH, Minn.- Wanna-be Jedis can now travel to a galaxy far far away right in Duluth, at the Sci-Fi Battle Arena class at Seven Dragons Martial Arts.

“I never thought something like this would be in Duluth so that’s why I was so excited about it,” said first-time student CJ Luke.

Fitness-friendly costumes are encouraged at the class, which started Wednesday at the martial arts studio on Michigan Street.

It’s basically Star Wars, but because of copyright, the class comes up with their own intergalactic jargon.

“It’s our version of Star Wars but we can’t use that officially. So we’re preparing tonight with our ‘plasma blades’,” Scott Frankovich, co-owner of the studio said.

Frankovich, a trained martial artist, previously rented the gym at the Lake Superior Christian Academy for regular martial arts classes.

For the last four years he wanted to make his sci-fi battle class happen, but a big enough permanent location was a hard planet to find.

Then in June, he secured his permanent spot across the street from the Duluth Transit Center.

Finally, from there he could impart his skills to other “padawans” — or as they’re called in his class, “cadets” — while nerding out himself.

“All of us here are, I’m a Star Wars guy. I was 11 when it came out so I was one of the original.” he said.  “I’m not as old as Yoda, but I’m one of those guys.”

The only supply you need are foam or durable plastic “plasma blades.” You can buy one at the studio or bring your own if it doesn’t break easily.

Frankovich teaches Haidong Gumdo, a South Korean sword fighting technique which utilizes hard wooden, and occasionally sharp metal swords.

But this, he says, is a much looser and fun version.

“Unlike our traditional martial art which we do here, this isn’t about getting that stance and ‘oh that cut was wrong’,” said Frankovich, “it’s like, help you feel comfortable.”

“Here’s the moves I want you to make, okay, we’re gonna work with it. And we’re really here to help guide them through,” he said.

The cadets practice with more experienced students, called “overlords” or “masters” depending if they want to be on the dark side or light side, respectively.

There’s no intense jedi-training here. The masters and overlords take as much time as the cadets need to help them learn.

And as part of the first group of cadets, it seems to be working for CJ. “When I make mistakes I feel comfortable making them here.”

“So I feel comfortable making them because as he says it’s a place where everyone makes the same mistakes once,” he said.

According to Frankovich, Cadets can be as young as ten or as old as 110. And starting the class in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic worked, he said.

Kids can come after school, and social distancing with a three-foot sword is natural.

Above all, it can be quite an indoor workout for any age, as outdoor-time is running thin with Northland winter right around the corner.

“I don’t even know I’m exercising,” said Frankovich. “And maybe, just maybe for a lot of parents, they’ll be like thank you, you’re out of the house.”

The instructor not only hopes to teach something fun, but spur creativity in his fellow nerds. “The idea is to get the cadets, we’ll say a year from now, they test. You’re now a master. Congratulations.”

“Then now, design and build your own battle scenes. And don’t copy the ones in the movies, we can use them as guidelines,” he said.

Sci-Fi Battle Arena classes are every Wednesday and Saturday nights from 6-7 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.

Your introductory class is always free — so you can see if you’re cut out for intergalactic combat, or want to stay on this Earth.

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