PORTLAND - In a galaxy not so far away, Darth Vader is on the balance beam and a Jedi Knight is riding a zip line.
“This class is our most popular every summer, we always have 50 to 60 kids in what we call Jedi Gymnastics,” said Dani Jackson of Tigard’s Westside Gymnastics.
Based Star Wars, the class helps would be warriors focus on strength, flexibility and balance.
The costumed students armed with lightsabers also complete an obstacle course and travel across the tumble track while learning what behavior is becoming of a Jedi.
“Just to make it across the balance beam in a cape carrying a lightsaber builds confidence and body control,” explained Jackson.
“You have to listen or you won’t know what you need to do,” said Jedi in training Zoe.
The first thing they learn is lightsaber etiquette.
“Be careful not to hit too hard because you might hurt someone,“ warned a young Jedi by the name of Hope, who does one handed cartwheels so she doesn’t have to let go of her weapon.
The class which costs about $10 an hour is offered in single-day, three-hour sessions throughout the summer and there’s a weeklong camp in late August.
The gym is committed to keeping up with the demand as students turn their backs on the dark side and join Yoda in feeling the force.
“To many of these kids, gymnastics is a mystery and by combining it with Star Wars it just makes it more comfortable,” concluded Instructor Xiao Liang as he put on his Darth Vader mask and headed off to push young Jedis across the zip line.