A long time ago in a city far, far away, two friends began an epic adventure…
In 2015, Alfred Smith and Santiago Martinez started SaberCraft — a lightsaber combat choreography class in Miami.
Smith had mastered his skills at New York Jedi and Golden Gate Knights, the top lightsaber academies, and passed his moves on to Martinez. Now the pair teach other aspiring Jedi.
You could say they’ve unleashed the Force within.
Lightsaber Classes Becoming More Popular
In less than a year, the classes have increased from eight students to 35, with one class per week at the Miami Scottish Rite Temple. Occasionally they host workshops, which draw about 200 attendees.
Costumes aren’t required. However, you may want to BYOL (bring your own lightsaber). Students can buy their own for $55, or borrow one from the instructors.
Magic City Knights is an advanced program catering to those who want to go a step further toward mastering their lightsaber skills. It costs $50 a month.
Despite the cost — these businessmen make sure no student is left behind.
“We have several students that find it difficult to pay, so they help us with things like photography, volunteering at [conventions], posting for social media and baking cookies for class,” Martinez says.
After helping others, paying rent and insurance, Smith and Martinez make about $10,000 a year.
So for the time being, they’ll stick to their day jobs. Smith is marketing director for an airline and Martinez is an IT professional. Both hope, however, this side hustle turns into a full-time gig.
Using Yoda’s advice — “Do or do not, there is no try” — they plan to conquer their goal.
A Higher Purpose
But it’s not all about the money. Smith and Martinez realize their business has become a part of something greater than themselves.
“This isn’t just about swinging sticks,” Martinez explains. “This is about you — why you are here and what it is you want to improve in your life.”
Recently, they were asked to fulfill a 7-year-old boy’s wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. The boy, Brady, spent much of his life fighting tumors that attacked his body.
Smith and Martinez wrote a script, and with the help of “Star Wars”-themed not-for-profit groups like the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion, produced a live scene from “Star Wars” for Brady.
The senior students learned choreographed combat, and then, dressed as Jedi, they took Brady on a journey to face down Darth Vader and the Empire — all while hundreds of television cameras, the Make-A-Wish production team and hundreds of people watched.
“This is live. This is one-shot,” Martinez said. “Most importantly, for the boy and his family — we were to play a role and not break character even for an instance.”
And just as Brady found his inner hero during the show, students at SaberCraft learn to do the same.
“Even if for only two hours a week during our class, it gives them that time to truly look at themselves, reflect and feel like they are bringing something positive into this world,” says Martinez.
You can be certain this group will never go to the Dark Side.
Your Turn: Would you try a lightsaber combat class?
Christie Post, social media video producer at The Penny Hoarder, is always finding ways to make stories visual. You can see her live broadcasts on our Facebook page. Give her a shoutout @christiepost.