Running, Intergalactically

So we’re back to the three guys we know nothing about fighting each other in a scene we have no interest in. Their flawless choreography lacks all humanity and emotion. But then something happens. Qui-Gon dies, and Obi-Wan is pissed. Hey! Hey maybe this will finally get good. Maybe I’ll get emotionally involved. You see, Obi Wan is pumped. He really wants to kick this guy’s ass. And then, Bam — ! Oh. That’s right. Back to highly choreographed fighting. It’s like all this was planned out ahead of time.

Hey, remember when Luke Skywalker got really pissed and snapped when Vader was taunting him? Remember how worked up and emotional he got? He just started wailing on Vader. There was no grace or complex choreography. He was just pounding him into submission, filled with rage. When you’re worked up with emotion, you begin to loose your composure and control. You exposed your humanity a little…

I gotta really stress this point that lightsaber duels have less to do with the fight itself, but more so with the internalization of the characters. So if you ever said that the duel and the end of A New Hope was the worst one because it had bad fight choreography — there was, like, an old guy and a guy in a mask who couldn’t see what he was doing, so they were just kinda, like, awkwardly hitting with swords — well then I’m afraid you’ve missed the point entirely.

So it says in Part 6 of the The Phantom Menace Review found on YouTube (see below). Keep this in mind as I compare life to Star Wars.

At one time, putting on running shoes gave me dread. For an individual who spent his days more mentally active than physical, I feared the strain and exhaustion of physical activity that was all-too tangible. Mental strain and exertion, however, was an exercise I was comfortable with. Even though I was always aware of how frail I was, I soon came to understand that it prevented me from going further with my mind’s interests. Playing music effectively and with endurance was one of them. Dating was another.

So I ran. Years of playing tennis and running The Mile in gym class came in handy.

“Doesn’t that just make you burn calories and lose weight? Do you need to lose weight?”


I heard tales of runners who felt better, more alive, more energized, blah blah blah. I pondered them like a distant religion and desired to discover what it meant. The desire was often too strong, and I pushed too hard or ran too fast. Why wasn’t this faith in physical exertion bearing any fruit but the fruit of frustration?

“At your own pace take it,” I thought to myself — like Yoda, for whatever reason. “Proving yourself to anyone you are not.” I decided that any effort I make, no matter how small, was good. Luke wailing on Darth Vader? Case and point.

In many ways, the rule of the Dark Side has been like the dead of a Minnesota winter. It comes after the climax of our Hallmark holidays, when people enjoy snow as much as puppies. But soon, snowfall is like a bad joke, and those who want to run free in the warm air that they complained about during the summer are sequestered to the daydream of spring. When the melt comes — as quickly and violently as the first snowfall — running takes on a new personality among Minnesotans. The Dark Side is nearly defeated, and the only way to make sure it goes away for good is to persist with raw emotion. Runners are like Spring’s weapon: unleashed in the hundreds when the temperature hits 40º to fight back the snow like Jedi Knights against the Clone Army. And I heeded the call.

Oh, it hurt. The air was cold in my chest, and the snow was slopping into my shoes. But I was anxious and packed with emotion, like Luke when he finally has the opportunity and the skills to attack Vader in Episode VI.

It is a bizarre thing when discomfort and exhaustion are so satisfying.

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