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D&D General real life D&D Exercise, Martial Arts, and Sports! (Star Wars as a real life example)


What would a D&D-inspired real-life exercise program look like? I mean for us in real life. And what would a D&D Martial Arts training look like?
Serious and humorous answers are both welcome. Yet I'm especially interested in hearing from gamers who have experience with regular exercise or martial arts.

I'm asking because I need to get in shape myself, and because I think it's inspiring to consider exercise programs which are based on fictional worlds. There is one fantasy universe which has already inspired real life exercise and martial arts: Star Wars! There is one Lucasfilm-recognized Lightsaber dueling group. And a ton of independent Lightsaber training dojos. It's become an organized sport. There is also an officially licensed Star Wars exercise program which gyms can purchase as a franchise. Plus various trainers have written unauthorized Star Wars-inspired exercise programs. (For proof, see the Appendix at the bottom of this post.)

Though D&D is not nearly as pervasive in popular culture as Star Wars, something similar could be done for D&D Exercise, Sports, and Martial Arts. Something like this:

Drizzt Academies: A Dungeons & Dragons Exercise, Martial Arts, and Sports Program. We would scour D&D Fiction (novels, comic books, and video games) for instances of training exercises or feats of endurance. And then these would be converted into (doable) real-life exercises.

And for Martial Arts, we would train with sparring weapons (wooden/padded) which are modeled on the famous iconic weapons of D&D heroes (Drizzt's two scimitars, Wulfgar's warhammer, Tasselhoff's hoopak), along with unarmed moves of famous monks and any other unarmed strike depicted in D&D Fiction. And we'd name the moves after those depictions and characters. The existing 5E Monk traditions/subclasses could serve as a good start.

Once D&D Exercises and D&D Martial Arts were worked out, then D&D Sports could be developed, with rules for competitions, bouts, and rankings. This would be real-life LARP D&D Sports...not tabletop competitions. D&D players would actually get in shape!

There'd be a bunch of details in regard to safety, but these can be worked out, just as the Lightsaber dojos have worked it out.

For inspiration, here's a quote from R.A. Salvatore on Martial Arts, Sports, and Exercise:

"I play hockey. I played hockey my whole life and I guess maybe that's why Drizzt has curved swords. No. I play hockey and I actually ... I grew up watching sports, I love sports. I will still put on Torvill and Dean doing an ice dance to the Bolero because the way the human body moves mesmerizes me. I'll watch yoga videos and things like that. Just the way the human body moves ... Tai Chi, yoga, martial arts, whatever, and I pay attention to that in sports. I grew up watching Ali, Fraser, the great boxing matches of the '70's, Foreman, and all of that. In high school, I was in the boxing club and I paid my way through college as a bouncer in all the local bars. You learn ... by the way, because I'm a storyteller, I was a really good bouncer because I was able to avoid the fights. The bouncers who got in all the fights did really well and then they didn't because they were all busted up and hurt. But you learn about balance being the most important part of any type of combat.

"It's basically just paying attention and then I did some martial arts in the early '80's before my knees said, "You're not doing this anymore," and it meant it."

So, where would one begin with a D&D-inspired exercise program? Any thoughts on what real life D&D Martial Arts could look like? Are there any sports depicted in D&D modules or Fiction?

Appendix: Star Wars Exercise Programs and Martial Arts Academies:

Just to show that fiction-inspired Exercise and Martial Arts programs are possible, here's a gigantic info dump about Star War-inspired programs (I'm writing a book about it):

Star Wars Workouts:

  • "Daisy Ridley's Star Wars Diet and Workout" by PK Baseline:

  • pkbaseline.com/daisy-ridley-star-wars-diet-workout

  • "Get Jedi Strength With This 'Star Wars'-Inspired Mace Workout" by E.J. Dickson with Men's Health magazine:

  • menshealth.com/fitness/a19545303/star-wars-the-last-jedi-mace-workout/

  • "How the Star Wars Cast Got into Fighting Shape for The Last Jedi" by Sarah Rense with Esquire magazine:

  • esquire.com/lifestyle/health/a14477757/star-wars-workouts/

  • "Jedi Tribute Workout" by DAREBEE:

  • darebee.com/workouts/jedi-workout.html

  • "The Kylo Ren Workout" by Ebenezer Samuel with Men's Health magazine:

  • menshealth.com/fitness/a19545254/star-wars-the-last-jedi-kylo-ren-workout/

  • "Lightsaber Fitness" with Mandy, in the Orlando System, Florida Sector:

  • studiokorlando.com/tag/lightsaber-fitness/

  • "Rogue One Star Felicity Jones Shares Her Everyday Workout Routine and Diet Plan" by Wendy Potter with Foods for Better Health:

  • foodsforbetterhealth.com/rogue-one-star-felicity-jones-shares-her-everyday-workout-routine-and-diet-plan-17840

  • "Sabers Up" by Cora Frazier with The New Yorker magazine:

  • newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/11/sabers-up

  • "The Star Wars cast workout and diet – straight from the on-set personal trainers" by Vanessa Chalmers with Healthista:

  • healthista.com/star-wars-cast-workout-diet-celebrity-secrets-and-personal-trainers/

  • "The 'Star Wars' Workout" by Michael Rodio with Men's Journal:

  • mensjournal.com/health-fitness/star-wars-workout/

  • "The Star Wars Workout: How to Exercise Like a Jedi" by Sarah Fazeli with FitDay:

  • fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/body-building/the-star-wars-workout-how-to-exercise-like-a-jedi.html

The real-life Church of Jediism practices Yamashima Karate. There's an intro holo-vid:

  • "Jediist Yamashima Martial Arts" by Chris Jones, Karate Expert with the Church of Jediism:

  1. becometheforce.com/product/jediist-yamashima-martial-arts/

Holo-articles about Star Wars martial arts:

  • "Donnie Yen Designed A New Martial Arts Style for Star Wars":

  1. comicbook.com/starwars/2016/12/14/donnie-yen-designed-a-new-martial-arts-style-for-star-wars/

  • "Felicity Jones Studied Martial Arts Style Wushu for 'Rogue One'" by Gwynne Watkins with Yahoo Entertainment:

  1. yahoo.com/entertainment/why-star-wars-star-felicity-jones-studied-the-martial-arts-style-wushu-for-rogue-one-185007446.html

  • "Martial Arts" article by Ray Park, the actor who plays Darth Maul:

  1. raypark.com/martial-arts/

  • "The Martial Arts of Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (in two parts) by Robert Young with Black Belt magazine:

  1. blackbeltmag.com/entertainment/martial-art-movies/martial-arts-of-star-wars-the-force-awakens-part-one/

  • "Profile of Ray Park" by Glen Stanway at Kungfu Kingdom:

  1. kungfukingdom.com/profile-of-ray-park/

  • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Martial Arts Revised & Expanded is an aficionado-authored, detailed description of numerous martial arts styles:

  1. starwarstimeline.net/WestEndGames/D6%20Martial%20Arts%20Revised.pdf

  • "Why Rogue One Star Donnie Yen Performed All of His Amazing Fight Scenes ‘Blind’" by Mike Miller with People magazine:

  1. people.com/movies/why-rogue-one-star-donnie-yen-performed-all-of-his-amazing-fight-scenes-blind/

  • "Why Star Wars is Actually a Martial Arts Flick", by Pedro Olavarria with Fightland blog:

  1. fightland.vice.com/blog/why-star-wars-is-actually-a-martial-arts-flick

The Martial Art of Teräs Käsi:

Here's a two-part holo-vid from a martial artist, who explores what Teräs Käsi could look like in real-life:

  • "Showcase: Teräs Käsi:" by Chad Huskins. Part One: "We take a look at the history and practicality of Teras Kasi, the martial art created to kill Jedi." Part Two: "we take a look at Teräs Käsi's arm controls, Cortosis armor, and the ground fighting concepts that would probably be in the Teräs Käsi system."

  1. https://youtu.be/4utI59NlZ9Y
  2. https://youtu.be/9Be776oJa1s

Lightsaber Training Books:

  • Master the Combat Saber by N.R. Burk "Discover the sport of combat saber dueling! Lay claim to the must-have guide for all newcomers, expert duelists, club leaders, dojo instructors, and fencing enthusiasts!"

  • Stunt Lightsaber Combat by Carey Martell, in two volumes: for Beginners and for Intermediates. "Are You Ready to Master the Lightsaber? Here is your chance to study an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

Lightsaber Training Academies:

  • American Force Academy, in the Buffalo System, New York Sector:

  1. buffalolightsabertraining.com

  • Children's Jedi Lightsaber Academy, in the Burbank System, California Sector:

  1. swordplayla.com/jedilightsaber.shtml

  • Columbus Saber Academy, in the Columbus System, Ohio Sector:

  1. facebook.com/ColumbusSaberAcademy/

  • Combat Sabers Academy, in the Britain Oversector:

  1. combatsabersacademy.co.uk

  • Dubuque Lightsaber Academy, in the Dubuque System, Iowa Sector:
    1. facebook.com/Dubuque-Lightsaber-Academy-1922909701266720/

  • Hawaii Saber Academy in the Honolulu System, Hawaii Sector:

  1. hawaiisaberacademy.com

  • Indy Lightsaber Academy, in the Indianopolis System, Indiana Sector:


  • Light Saber Fitness for Children and Youth, in the New York System, NY Sector:

  1. swordclassnyc.com/class/light-saber-fitness-for-kids-and-youth-ages-5-12/

  • Lightsaber Team, in the San Mateo System, California Sector, USA Oversector:

  1. lightsaberteam.com

  • Ludosport International, in the Milan System, Lombardy Sector, Italy Oversector:

  1. ludosport.net

  • New York Jedi, in the New York System, New York Sector:
    1. newyorkjedi.com
  • Phoenix Saber Academy, in the Avondale System, Arizona Sector:

  1. azkungfu.com/phoenix-saber-academy/

  • Royal Arts Lightsaber Classes, in the Columbus System, Ohio Sector:

  1. royalarts.org/light-saber-classes/

  • The Saber Authority, in the Singapore Sector:

  1. thesaberauthority.com

  • Saber Combat Academy, Ltd., in the Torbay System, South West Sector, Britain Oversector:

  1. sabercombatacademy.wordpress.com

  • Saber Force Academy

  1. thesaberforceacademy.com

  • The Saber Legion: International Saber Combat Organization

  1. saberlegion.org

  • Saberist Academy

  1. saberistacademy.com

  • Silver Sabres LED Sabre Contact Academy, in the London System, London Sector, Britain Oversector:

  1. silver-sabres.com

  • Sons of Obiwan Saber Academy, in the Tuggerah System, New South Wales Sector, Australia Oversector:

  1. sonsofobiwan.com

  • Star Wars Martial Arts Summer Camp, in the Clayton System, North Carolina Sector:

  1. parkersmartialarts.com/martial-arts-summer-camps

  • Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy, in the Ann Arbor System, Michigan Sector:

  1. sites.google.com/site/terraprimelightsaberacademy/

  • "Train Like a Jedi" Program, in the Manchester System, Connecticut Sector:

  1. mafastudiomgr.com/WD220AWP/WD220Awp.exe/CONNECT/MAFA_SM_Studio_Website_Manager?SID=AMAPD

  • And for the thumb muscles…

  1. Lightsaber Thumb Wrestling (2013) by Chronicle Books.
  2. Lightsaber Thumb Wrestling Force Wars (2016) by Pablo Hidalgo.
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Guide of Modos
Just get a speed bag and hang several eye-stalks from it. Give your sparring partner a shirt that says "orc." What would be best, though, is to wear some LARP armor that has actual weight to it, and go jogging, stair climbing, or wading (not swimming). If you can get Evangeline Lilly at your new gym franchise, I'll join.

Is there any particular reason that outside of magic, the exercise regimes and martial arts of D&D would be different from historical ones?
I mean you'll never be able to do Monk-style martial arts, which are more to do with channelling magic, but the sort of martial arts that Fighters and similar martial characters engage in is going to be pretty similar to HEMA and similar.


Is there any particular reason that outside of magic, the exercise regimes and martial arts of D&D would be different from historical ones?

Well yeah they're gonna be similar to (some combination of) real-world exercises and martial arts. Same goes for the existing real-world Star Wars exercise programs. They're basically "re-badged" re-combined versions of existing exercises. And the dojo which is teaching some Teras Kasi martial arts online has suggested which real-life martial traditions are the closest model for specific Teras Kasi moves, and have extrapolated from there.

But it'd all be steeped in the D&D mythos. It's inspiring. And it'd also be based on extensive research into existing depictions of exercises and martial arts from D&D modules, fiction, and video games.

For example, I just read the Homeland book from the Drizzt series. And there are detailed depictions of Drow sparring routines. They use wooden weapons for sparring, e.g. two curved wooden sticks in place of scimitars. And in the four Drizzt books I've read, there are a whole bunch of moves described. A HEMA instructor or martial artist could turn these into a specific martial art form: Drizzt Two-Scimitar Martial Art. (Of course, very very few real-life persons would have the agility and skill of Drizzt, but the moves could still be converted into "doable" forms. In the same way that the various Lightsaber fighting styles from Star Wars fiction have been turned into real-life forms. Doesn't mean that a beginner is very good at them, but ya gotta start somewhere.

It would be fun to have shared sparring via a national and international network of Drizzt Martial Artists. With various degrees / belts, using titles from Drizzt's own biography. The Lightsaber academies are doing that, using Jedi and Sith lore.

But not just Drizzt - the same could be done for literally any storied hero (or villain) from any D&D Fiction. Rhegedmen "Hit the Mead Barrel with the Handaxe" Training. Tasselhoff Hoopak Training. Entreri Dagger Training, etc.

And once established, these could grow into full-blown D&D Sports. It'd be a cultural event. And good fitness.

I mean you'll never be able to do Monk-style martial arts, which are more to do with channelling magic

Hey, who are you saying "never"? ;-) I mean yeah, not gonna do Quivering Palm or Fire Fists or whatever, but someone knowledgeable in all the styles of Kungfu etc could select moves which match the theme of each Tradition of Monk. (Kungfu in particular, uses very picturesque names for its moves and styles.) Though fantastic, each of the Monk Traditions is inspired by real world martial arts or fictional depictions (Bruce Lee, Dragonball, etc.) which themselves are based on real world sources.

but the sort of martial arts that Fighters and similar martial characters engage in is going to be pretty similar to HEMA and similar.

Exactly. The D&D western-style weapon arts would be basically a D&D-themed HEMA. But based on D&D lore, as seen in the rulebooks and D&D Fiction. It could be done.
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Small God of the Dozens
If you found a place to do some actual historical sword fighting (not the SCA mind) and did some parkour you'd be well on your way. For historical swordplay check out HEMAA. It's a little more hands on and practical than a lot of the weapons training you'll get in most martial arts (save maybe Kendo). Mix in some practical self defense and you're rolling.


Hypoxic cardiovascular training at altitude with a 50 pound pack (like wildlands firefighters)? Mixed with high-intensity interval training incorporating HEMA?


Beat saber with the sabers re-skinned to look like swords. :)

(I'd love to have some real sword training, but time/money/location get in the way...)


How about for monks: Training Methods of 72 Arts of Shaolin (Tanjin, 1934) it basically reads like a D&D manual, select your feat, train for 3-10 years, roll for success, profit.

My favorite line is: " Only train your left hand with this technique so that you don't accidentally injure or kill someone"


First Post
The best way to get really ripped is to get enslaved (preferably as a child) and forced to turn a giant wheel. Do that and it seems to work all the muscle groups. Worked for Conan.

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