LOWVILLE The countdown for Star Wars: Episode VII stood at one year, eight months and two days as of Wednesday. This gives the next generation of Star Wars fans just enough time to learn all about Jedi culture.
Thats one of the reasons aspiring actor Coleman Taylor hosted the two-hour Jedi Training Academy on Wednesday at Maple Ridge Center.
Its the biggest thing right now, said Mr. Taylor, who recently auditioned for the J.J. Abrams-directed film. I personally think with Star Wars, how I grew up with it, and I always wanted to be a Sith or Storm Trooper, and I knew the new generation would want the same thing, so Id bring this to them.
The 24-year-old is the stunt director for Trilogy Cultural Arts Centre, a Kansas City-based performing group run by his parents, Bridget and Damon Taylor. Mrs. Taylor is a Carthage Central School graduate.
The event originally was planned to accommodate 30 children, but ultimately 56 were allowed before organizers had to start turning children away.
Many of the children who attended the session came wearing Star Wars-themed shirts.
Mr. Taylor started the program by leading children through defense and attack positions. Children then were allowed to select a foam lightsaber in either blue, light green, dark green or red for the evil Sith. The children decorated their lightsaber handles with duct tape and then ran through the positions.
The day ended with what Trey Armstrong, 9, Champion, and Logan Covey, 8, of Carthage had been waiting for: a big action sequence.
It was really fun because we got to test out the skills that we learned, Logan said. I didnt even get touched!
When asked why he chose to participate, he said, gesturing to Trey, So I can battle. I want to battle my friend. Trey said his favorite parts of the films were the lightsabers and the action in it.
The first big battle pitted the light and dark green Jedi knights against each other, the light green team earning the victory.
Good versus evil faced off when the blue and red lightsaber holders challenged each other in the final session. The match ultimately came down to two boys with red lightsabers versus four blue-lightsabered girls led by Rachel Christiansen, 11, of Brownville.
Im just hoping to have fun with my brothers and my sisters, and I want to put on a show for my dad because he really loves (the movies) and I want to impress him, she said.
Eventually she was taken down and the Siths won.
Honestly, it went really well far better than I expected, Mr. Taylor said. I expected some blood none of that ... theyre picking it up really quickly.
While training to be a stuntman, Mr. Taylor told the children, he fell out of a four-story building, was run over by a car and got lit on fire.
I got blown up, then lit myself on fire and then ran around screaming, Mr. Taylor told the group. Its very, very dangerous. Thats why you have to do it correctly when you do it. Thats why we have professionals.
Mr. Taylor conducts similar academies in Kansas City. He and his family are hoping that if hes able to visit the area in the summer, they could organize another camp.
If so, it would make Logan happy. Of Mr. Taylors teaching skills, he said, He was pretty good. He actually taught us attack and defense. He didnt just say, Go on, fight!
For more information about Trilogy Cultural Arts Centre, visit www.trilogyculturalarts.org.