Star Wars, The Martial Arts Connection

Bob Hubbard

MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Aug 4, 2001
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Land of the Free
Its an interesting read....
Count Dooku clearly does things his own way, but his ideology is not the only thing that sets him apart. His lightsaber handle design is unique among the Jedi weapons fans have seen to date in the saga.

The distinctive curved lightsaber first appeared in early sketches of the new Sith enemy, and this direction was later expanded with the help of Art Department Assistant Roel Robles, who brought in some of his own cultural roots to the design table.

"I started bringing in my arsenal of various Filipino swords, spears, and knives to give the Art Department a different feel than what we had before. At one point, we had a room full of artists playing with these deadly balisong (butterfly) knives before a meeting," he recalls. Robles' collection included a wide variety of blade types, but his favored weapon was the barong, which featured a curved handle to prevent weapon slippage during combat. "It looks cool, sharp and deadly," he says.

At one Art Department meeting, Design Director Doug Chiang had Robles lay out his weapons for George Lucas to inspect. "George picked out the barong, which I was really happy about not only because it was my favorite blade, but also since it was a Filipino blade, it had cultural and historical bonds. I am proud to say I was able to put a small part of my Filipino heritage into the film," says Robles.

As further inspiration to his fellow Art Department members, Robles arranged a demonstration of escrima, a Filipino martial arts employing multiple bladed weapons. He and a friend, Jonathan Soriben ("one of the best Filipino martial arts masters that I know," he says) reserved the basketball court at the Skywalker Ranch fitness center and went at it with sticks rather than knives. "So as not to scare anyone," Robles clarifies.

"When Dermot Power came up from London to work with the team, Iain McCaig encouraged me to set up a demonstration. Iain and Dermot were designing the Sith at the time, and were very impressed. They began to do more work on the Sith with escrima in mind," says Robles.

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very cool!! i can't wait for it to come to dvd..... november 11th i believe the date is :)