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Dubuque's Lightsaber Academy: making real life Jedi's

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

He's certainly no Padawan.  No, Master Ron Schmitt is about as close as you can come to a real life Jedi.

He runs the Dubuque Karate Club with his parents, but has also started a new class over the past few months: The Lightsaber Academy.

It's the fulfillment of a life-long dream--one that started after his first viewing of Star Wars decades ago.

"When I first came out of that movie at six years old, you know, some kids want to grow up to be a policeman, some people want to be a fireman, and all I knew is I wanted to be a Jedi," Schmitt said.

Schmitt, of course, was crushed to find that wasn't a realistic career track.  But he soon started his journey with martial arts, which includes experience running a weapon's academy.

Schmitt was determined to merge his two passions into one very real class.

"As a kid, I would've given anything to join a Jedi training academy or lightsaber academy, but there wasn't really anything around. So I thought, you know, I'm going to look into starting my own," he said.

Planning for the course began more than a year ago, with a team dedicated to coming up with a comprehensive curriculum, one that goes far beyond cool moves with combat-ready lightsaber.

"I wanted to be able to teach a class that has some substance to it too. We didn't want to just play Star Wars, we wanted the student to leave here feeling like they're getting something out of it," Schmitt said.

Schmitt wasn't alone in the preparations for the course.  A number of people were involved, including Abby Harle and Cassie Jackson.  Both of them hadn't even seen the movies before the work began.  They've since rectified that, and enjoyed every moment of preparing for and participating in, this class.

"It's a lot of fun, and it's different from anything else that I've done or anything that's really being offered at all," said Jackson.

The class runs every Monday night from 7:15-8:15 p.m. at the Dubuque Karate Club.  Find out more by contacting the club on www.dubuquekarateclub.com.

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