Building Your Empire One Book at a Time
Cindy "Sinh" Taylor leads a double life: college student by day, Jedi by night...or at least from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM on Fridays during lightsaber combat class.
Can you describe a typical club meeting?
A typical class on Friday's are from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM. We always start with stretches and usually our "chip game" that Dale came up with. It is basically all the letters/numbers,which is part of a system that we use, on poker chips so you get one randomly and teach it to your partner. Then, we break off into smaller groups. Some work on fights, others work on the katas or forms and some work on character development.
How often do you keep in contact with other light saber choreography clubs?
We try to keep in touch with the various club through forums, e-mails and often hang out at different functions or classes. We are all people who have the same interests and passions and it is also a lot of fun to learn from these other groups in either choreographing, new forms, costuming, character development and they learn from us as well.
Your club is called PA Jedi, but it looks like you have a few Sith among your ranks as well. What's the club ratio of Jedi to Sith?
The Sith are currently outnumbered 3 to 1, even though there was a 4 to 1 ration Sith to Jedi at one point in time. We try not to judge them to harshly. In fact, one of things PA Jedi prides itself on is the freedom its members have to create their own character. From Jedi, Sith and Mandalorians to Scoundrels and Rogues, PA Jedi has it all. The "Jedi" in our name is to symbolize the spirit of giving to others, the charity and generosity that embodies itself within our members.
Do any members play multiple characters? For example, can someone play a Jedi character one day and a Sith the next?
YES! A few of our members play both Sith and Jedi characters. Some even play Jedi who've BECOME Sith! We even had a few Mandalorian characters with our group who have had either Sith or Jedi personas as well. What types of performances has your club done? We have done several conventions in the area, one of the most recent being Philadelphia Comic Con as well as several charity events, such as Camp Out for Hunger.
What sort of sabers do you use and how did you pick them?
Because of the diversity of our members, we have a diverse number of sabers. Different people use different sabers. Some of us buy completed sabers that we feel represent our character the best, where others buy parts and assemble them on their own. It's all about personal preference, in my case I have a curved saber that is easier for me to handle, since I have a fencing style. I also have a double bladed staff and a single straight short saber.
Does the club ever perform un-choreographed battles?
A few of our members have attempted to do such a fight. Although we frown [upon] it for professional and safety reasons, the system that we have in place makes it possible for us to do it. We have found that for performance purposes that you can have a viable fight in about 2 hours and for the really complicated fights it can take up to twenty to thirty hours. A lot of it has to do with how comfortable the two doing the performance are with each other.
Where do you look for inspiration for new sequences of moves?
Everywhere! I don't know how many movies I've watched and re-watched to learn something for a fight sequence. We also have a number of dancers and martial artist who like to share their talents
Your club has a goal of raising $2000 for Make-A-Wish foundation this year. How is that going?
We are trying really hard to meet this goal that we have set for ourselves. So far we have had a very good start to this year, and we have several other upcoming events still this year where we can help us raise more money. For example, we have the Camden River Sharks, Inochicon and ZoloWeen where we hope to do something to raise money. As a group, we do not try and look at the dollar signs as a burden to reach. It would defeat the spirit of what we are doing: trying to raise money to donate to charibale organizations. I am just glad that we can have an opportunity to help out those in need. For more information about our Charities and how to help you can go to PAJedi.com.
How often do sabers--or anything else for that matter--get broken during practice or battle?
We just broke one of our wooden "practice sabers" in class. I've also personally shorted out the electronics of a saber. It is not something that happens on a regular basis because of the quality and the type of the equipment that we use. For instance, the blades that we use are made of polycarbonate which is a strong plastic. Many of our members have used these blades for years without having any issues with them.
Can you describe one of your favorite performances to date?
Mine would be my first performance at TooManyGames this year. I decided on the fly to pull one of the members of Capital City Jedi outside and choreograph a fight. We spent something like 2 hours putting together a little pocket fight. It was both of our first fight and it was so much fun!
How did you become involved in PA Jedi and what's your role in the club?
I've been in PA JEDI for about a year. I met Pickles (one of the other members) at NYCC09 [New York City Comic Con]. He let me play with his sabers a little and I was hooked. I am currently the Apprentice Event Coordinator (under Phoenix Falkenrath Freed) but in truth I help anywhere I can. There is a running joke that I am the "group seamstress" because I help a lot with the costume aspects of character development and I also assist in the weekly classes teaching.
How did you become a Star Wars fan?
My older cousin showed me the original trilogy, and then I saw the prequel trilogy after joining the PA JEDI.
What's your favorite character and why?
Padme Amidala.Skywalker. She is a beautiful, strong woman, but is full of so much saddness for being so young.
What's next for you and what's next for the club?
Next for me: Finishing up my Associates of the Arts in Theater and getting into the University of Florida's Musical Theater program.
For the club: Our next event is doing a pre-game show with the Camden River Sharks on July 31st, After that is Inochicon in Philadelphia the weekend of August 27 - 29. Both of which can be found under our "Upcoming Events" section on the PA Jedi website.
A big thanks to Sinh Taylor of the PA Jedi for taking the time to share her story with SWBookZone.com. For more information about the PA Jedi, visit their website at PAJedi.com.
Back to Star Wars Interviews