Yes, a real-life Star Wars Jedi Academy actually exists in New York. Leading the Jedi Academy is Flynn Michael, the group’s founder – who calls himself a Jedi grandmaster. According to Flynn: “I was beat up a lot as a kid, and the lightsaber brings out that strong hero inside of you, so you can stand up for yourself.” Continue reading for a video and more information.

Flynn told the NY Times that he uses his extensive background in martial arts, dance, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism to teach, and his students come out with all the skills of a “galaxy guardian”. They reportedly come in as geeks and leave as Jedi warriors – his students range in age from mostly 20-somethings to a 65-year-old woman.