February 27, 2009

Exercise the Jedi Way

Earlier this week I succumbed to the Dark Side of the force. I was tooling down the 101 when I was cut off by a Mercedes whose driver was more engrossed in her cellphone conversation than upon driving.

So I extended my arm and used the Force to take the entire car apart piece by piece. Ok, I didn't really do that, but I thought about it. I thought about it the same way I wished that I could use the Jedi Mind Trick to get out of a jam.

Somewhere in the archives is a post in which I describe my love for Star Wars and how my son has come to love it as well. Throughout the week we have mock light saber fights. It is kind of fun, we chase each other through the house pretending to be powerful Jedis.

But the big difference is that he is a little bit older than eight and I am just a hair short of 40. His little sister thinks it is hysterical to see her old man do somersaults and all sorts of other crazy gymnastic moves. When I started doing handstand pushups against the wall she really thought I was nuts.

Anyhoo, who knew that someone had taken the time to turn the Jedi way into exercise classes:

Thanks to a "Star Wars" enthusiast who goes by the moniker "Master Flynn," the Jedi workout is the new way to fight the battle of the bulge. And now gym-shy geeks everywhere can finally fulfill their dreams of getting droid-like rock-hard abs.

Flynn was on the set Wednesday sharing his moves — including the Rebound, Follow-through and the Lock — with the TODAY family, who were all cloaked and armed with lightsabers.

Flynn, 38, started New York Jedi in 2005 after staging a fight with lightsabers at a Halloween parade in New York's Greenwich Village.

"I had the idea to do a fight scene with my friends on the parade route. People were so impressed when they saw what we were doing, and they wanted to know where they could learn to move the way we did," said New York's resident Yoda.

After putting up a forum on his Web site, NewYorkJedi.com, Flynn says people from all over the world were asking questions and sharing information to better their own lightsaber skills.

The Force for fitnessIn early 2006, Flynn decided to teach a class on the art of lightsaber
battling, incorporating storytelling and choreography. The class started out with just a handful of students, but now has 30 to 40 people attending twice a week for two-hour sessions in New York. Word of mouth made the class so popular that Flynn also started LAJedi.com, and has partners teaching classes in Los Angeles.

"This was never meant to be a fitness thing," said Flynn. "The class was about appreciating swordsmanship and performance."

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