Template:In universe Lightsaber combat describes the fictional fighting styles employed by Jedi and Sith characters in the Star Wars multi-media franchise. The details of the lightsaber styles are never mentioned directly in the released Star Wars films, but they are explored in novelizations as well as Expanded Universe sources such as magazines, comic books, the Star Wars Role-playing Game and "Visual Dictionaries." According to Nick Gillard, the various styles were devised for the prequels and intended to further characterize their practitioners. The duels were even choreographed to be miniature "stories."
The stage combat used in the films are a combination of Kendo, Iaido, and various western sword styles including traditional fencing. Many of the names resemble the Japanese language to reflect this.
The seven forms of lightsaber combatEdit
According to Star Wars: Attack of the Clones The Visual Dictionary, each Jedi chooses the style of lightsaber combat that best suits him or her. For example, the shorter Master Yoda uses the Ataru form to compensate for his lack of reach and height, as well as to take advantage of his nearly limitless amount of Force power; Mace Windu uses Vaapad to tap into his anger and employ it constructively (without giving himself over to the dark side); Count Dooku's practice of the Makashi form fits his intention to engage frequently in lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat as well as his emphasis on class, elegance, and precision. The Jedi Exile from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was an expert in many of these forms but never relied on just one. Lightsaber styles are generally taught to the students by the Jedi Battlemasters, though not always.
Many Jedi and Sith are known to use more than one Lightsaber form.
Form I: Shii-ChoEdit
According to an article in Star Wars Insider magazine, Younglings, the Jedi initiate rank, first learn Form I before they begin a Padawan apprenticeship with a Jedi Knight. Younglings are taught Shii-Cho first because of its simplicity and versatility. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the Younglings can be seen being taught by Yoda to deflect light blaster bolts. They are in the beginning stages of Form I.
Sometimes called the ideal form, Form I uses horizontal side-swipes and parries made with the blade of the lightsaber held upright to push the point of an enemy's blade away during a side-to-side attack. If the attack is a downward slash aimed at the head, Form I simply reverses the motion, with a horizontally-held lightsaber being moved up and down to deflect a blow. All the basic ideals of attack, parry, target zones, and practice drills were created with the Form I style. This style of lightsaber combat is not useful against multiple strikes because it only works as a basic guide for lightsaber combat.
There were only a few known masters of Form I in the Star Wars universe: the best known being Kit Fisto and Cin Drallig. Obi-Wan Kenobi used elements of Shii-Cho even though he was "The Master of Soresu". According to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, the Shii-Cho form is good versus many enemies wielding conventional blaster weaponry. Its simplicity is its strength, making it a very good style to use if all else fails.
Form II: MakashiEdit
After Form I's proliferation as a saber combat technique, Form II came about as a means of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat. It is described as being very elegant, powerful, and requiring extreme precision, allowing the user to attack and defend with minimal effort, while his opponent tires himself out.
The form relies on parries, thrusts, and small, precise cuts—as opposed to the blocking and slashing of the other forms. The blade manipulation required is very refined and requires much focus, but the results are extremely potent. As ranged weapons such as blasters come into play, the advantages of this form of lightsaber combat become less useful, but it is still potent against multiple opponents.
Form II emphasized fluid motion and anticipation of a weapon being swung at its target, allowing the Jedi to attack and defend with minimal effort. Although many Jedi historians considered Form II to be the ultimate refinement in lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, it was dropped in favor of Form III combat when blaster weapons became prevalent in the galaxy.
In the time near the Clone Wars, the Jedi Order seldom practiced this technique. There was little lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat involved in a Jedi's life, so Jedi Masters found such forms as Makashi impractical.
Mace Windu, Yoda and Depa Billaba had some mastery over every form of lightsaber combat, including Makashi. But Darth Tyranus mastered Makashi to the highest degree, fighting with the precision built into the ancient technique. His mastery over Form II made him particularly devastating to the Jedi he encountered. The system of Jedi training at the time of confrontation between Darth Tyranus and other Jedi does not prepare the Jedi for the precise movements of a form bred for lightsaber dueling.
Former Separatist general Sev'rance Tann was also a practitioner of Form II. It is also possible that General Grievous was a practitioner of this form since he was trained by Count Dooku. Mace Windu told Obi-Wan Kenobi to expect Grievous to be a practitioner of all lightsaber combat forms in the novelization of Revenge of the Sith due to his adaptive combat capabilities.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Count Dooku mentioned that Master Tholme had kept up his dueling skills better than most of the Order who trained to deflect blaster bolts, which suggests Tholme as another possible candidate of Makashi.
Elegance, precision and confidence are all characteristics of Makashi users. Arrogance and overconfidence are not uncommon. Form II users often have extreme faith in their chances for victory, and often look so relaxed while fighting that it appears that they are dancing. The biggest flaw in Makashi is that it will not hold off heavy attacks, such as from Shien or Djem-So or from multiple enemies/attacks; the reason for that being that Makashi is about speed and accuracy, not about strength.
Known users of the Makashi form are most notably Count Dooku and Cin Drallig in the two trilogies. Dooku utilized Makashi as his prime form, while Drallig mainly fought using the powerful Shien technique.
Form II in its completion is believed to have died out with Count Dooku and Cin Drallig's death, as there is no record of its instruction after the Clone Wars in Luke Skywalker's Jedi Order.
Form III: SoresuEdit
Form III, the most defensive of all of the forms, unlike Form II combat, was developed to counteract the advancing blaster technology throughout the galaxy. In the wake of the death of Qui-Gon Jinn at the hands of Darth Maul, many Jedi turned away from the Form IV style of open, acrobatic fighting and took up Form III in order to minimize the risk of injury or death. It is also seen as emphasizing the non-aggressive Jedi philosophy. Soresu utilizes motions occurring very close to the body to achieve near-total protection, efficiently expending as little energy as possible to execute these moves.It stressed quick reflexes and fast positional transition, in order to overcome the rapidity with which a blaster could be fired. This technique exposes as few target zones on the body as possible, making a well-trained practitioner nearly impenetrable. However, Soresu's same dedication to defense and minimal bodily exposure also decreases the lightsaber's threat range.
The philosophy of Soresu is described as "being within the eye of the storm." Practitioners remain centered in their mindset, never being moved by what is around them as they stay where the outer chaos cannot harm them. But as the storm moves, so does the practitioner move to keep within the eye. Thus Soresu commands powerful defensive techniques that seem to adapt to almost any circumstance, but at the cost of never reaching past the figurative eye of the storm—they lose attacking power. Many who study this style use it to wear down their opponent by defending a long onslaught with minimal counter-attacking, until their adversary's energy is spent; then an alternate style is often employed.
After Darth Maul's defeat on Naboo, Obi-Wan Kenobi decided to perfect his practice of Soresu since Qui-Gon Jinn, Kenobi's mentor and Form IV Ataru master, fell against Darth Maul. By the time of Revenge of The Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi is acknowledged as the master of Soresu by Mace Windu in the novelization.
Though initially developed to deflect blaster fire, Soresu, if perfectly mastered, could act as a defense to any type of attack, including that of a lightsaber. Obi-Wan's performance of Soresu in Episode III is the prime example of the form.
Practitioners of Soresu remain on the defensive until their opponents make a mistake; only then do they strike offensively. It focuses heavily on counterattack and defensive strikes—there are no preemptive strikes in the form. Soresu can best be described as a passive form and one to be used by Masters who are extremely patient. Soresu users generally do not wish to fight, or harm. Even during a fight they prefer to remain on the defensive, and they will strike only when absolutely necessary, or if their opponent drops his guard during battle.
Form IV: Ataru / AtaroEdit
The master practitioners of Form IV make extensive use of acrobatic maneuvers often thought physically impossible without the aid of the Force. It is much like the more obscure form known as Sokan, with which Ataru has cross-fertilized. The given name is spelled "Ataru" in the Knights of the Old Republic II video game, but is spelled "Ataro" in the Revenge of the Sith novelization, Labyrinth of Evil, and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. "Ataru" is its canon spelling.
This was one of the more recent lightsaber combat forms developed, developed by the Jedi Knights during the earlier centuries of the Old Republic, around the time of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. It emphasized acrobatic strength and power in wielding the blade, attributes which were frowned upon by many traditional Jedi Knights and Masters. It found a niche among the eager padawan learners of the time, who believed that the Jedi needed to become more involved in rooting out and eradicating crime and evil. Ataru relies on wide slashes, acrobatic proficiency and an open space for the Jedi to fight. One basis for the acrobatic nature of Ataru is that lightsabers can damage with brushing, light strokes, rather than hard chopping motions. Ataru practitioners are at a great disadvantage if fighting in a small area. This weakness became apparent in The Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon Jinn was killed by Darth Maul in a confined space. Yoda, however, practiced Form IV with such speed that, when coupled with his small size, left every point on an opponent's body open to attack while more than adequately defending himself.
Yoda was acknowledged as the greatest master of Ataru. He used it in almost all of his battles, and the style made him a virtually unstoppable whirlwind of destruction despite his small size and advanced age. Qui-Gon Jinn was also a master of this form. Kenobi was also very advanced in Ataru, but abandoned it in favor of Soresu because he felt that his master's death demonstrated a fatal flaw in Ataru's defensive capabilities. Nevertheless, Obi-Wan applied Ataru acrobatics to face Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith.
In dire situations, Form IV practitioners use the Force to aid in their acrobatics. Spinning, jumping very high and running very fast, masters of Form IV are sometimes only seen as a blur. In order to achieve the acrobatic prowess, amazing reflexes and physical punch of this form, a Jedi Master would focus on the Force, letting it flow deeply throughout his entire physical being, even allowing him to overcome the limitations of old age, or poor conditioning.
Due to its aggressive nature, it is an effective form to use against single enemies; however, it leaves the user open to attacks from multiple opponents; therefore, it is wise to use Ataru in a duel, but not in open warfare. Emotional control is key. Without knowing when and, more importantly, how, to let out one's emotions, one could easily be killed in battle with another.
The greatest strength of Ataru is also its greatest flaw. The acrobatics will make the practitioner vulnerable to having their legs chopped off (Count Dooku attempted to do this in the Episode III novelization when he thought Anakin and Obi-Wan were Shii-Cho/Ataru practitioners)
Form V: Shien / Djem SoEdit
The name of the Fifth Form of lightsaber combat varies in different sources. According to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Shien is the fifth form, while the Revenge of the Sith novelization stated clearly that Shien and Djem So are two different styles, and Anakin Skywalker mastered them both.
By comparison, Djem So demonstrated an even higher level of physical strength and aggressive moves than Shien. It is believed that Shien and Djem So both fall under the category of Form V, much like Juyo and Vaapad are both Form VII, with Shien better at dealing with blaster bolts and Djem So better at blade-to-blade combat. It can be described as a mix of medieval swordmanship and kendo.
Form V was developed by a group of Jedi Masters who felt that Form III was too passive, while Form IV was not powerful enough. It addressed the shortcomings of both forms, in which a Jedi Master may have proved to be undefeatable but could not overcome the enemy. Among the many unique aspects of Form V was the development of techniques in which the lightsaber was used to deliberately deflect a blaster bolt directly back at the firer.
Form V is a powerful style developed by Form III practitioners that preferred a more offensive angle. The defensive nature of Form III often leads to dangerously prolonged combat. This style came about from combining Forms IV and III. Jedi Master Plo Koon, and Anakin Skywalker, both as himself and as Darth Vader, are all practitioners of Form V. Luke Skywalker's use of Form V is probably as much instinctive as trained, as he was trained as a Jedi by both Obi-Wan Kenobi (Forms III and IV) and Yoda (Form IV). However, Luke's particular form of lightsaber combat may in the end be something entirely new, with traces of Forms III, IV and V mixed together with his own personal styles. It is believed by many that he actually used his Force power to copy Darth Vader's particular form of combat, blending elements of several forms, but classified as Djem So. It is doubtful that Masters Kenobi and Yoda had time to actually teach him the finer points of the various forms. As with many other aspects of Jedi knighthood, Luke had to improvise and create new fighting styles to replace those lost during the Great Purge.
Embodying the perfection of the idea of counterattack, Form V maintains its existence through having sufficient defensive skills, as derived from Form III, but channeling defense into offense. While Form III combatants effortlessly deflect laser bolts, Form V practitioners excel at redirecting the laser bolt toward the opponent. This simultaneously defends the user and efficiently injures the opponent.
Form V is also different from Form III in the fact that Form V practitioners believe that the best defense is a good offense. It has already been observed that Form III users simply deflect blaster bolts and parry lightsaber attacks until the opponent makes a fatal mistake. Form V practitioners use the near impenetrable techniques of Form III, then reverse the defensive style into an attack, using wide, sweeping blows in an attempt to overwhelm the opponent with pure force.
Form V also uses elements of Form II. However, where Form II concentrated on precise and elegant parries, Form V permits the user to actually fully block and repel attacks since it calls for the use of more powerful, Force-enhanced strength. This is evident in Revenge of the Sith when Dooku takes a swing at Anakin and Anakin not only blocks it, but pushes Dooku back with overwhelming strength. Also, in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, we see how Form V can be used to physically bully an opponent. In a rage, Vader continuously locked sabers with Luke only to throw him back and press his assault. The same happened in the second duel as Luke forced Vader back with his onslaught of physical strength. In addition, it is mentioned in the novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader that during their duel on Murkhana, Vader cut off Bol Chatak's arm and then slew her after "simply beat[ing] her into submission." This also indicates usage of Form V.
A dedication to the power and strength necessary to defeat an enemy characterizes the philosophy of Form V, which some Jedi describe by the maxim "peace through superior firepower." To some Jedi Knights, Form V represents a worthy discipline prepared for any threat; to others, Form V seems to foster an inappropriate focus on dominating others. The aggressive philosophy of Form V is the source of many a Jedi's disapproval.
With the offensive but refined movements of Form II and the highly defensive postures of Form III, Form V has been proven to be a highly effective style. Both Form V and VII call for its user to use emotion to enhance their strength. Form V users can best be described as bold, powerful, fearless and confident. They are unafraid to let their emotions rule them and contribute to the fight, though they are wary of falling to the dark side. A master Form V stylist will be able to pull back from the abyss of the dark side, as Luke Skywalker did when he defeated Vader, though that does not always happen.
According to Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith The Visual Dictionary, Aayla Secura knows about Djem So as well. It is possible that Cin Drallig was also a practitioner of this form, as in the "Revenge of the Sith" video game he uses attacks and stances similar to Anakin's. This similarity in styles could be because at various points during their duel it is hinted that Drallig had a hand in Anakin's lightsaber training, or it could be because Cin Drallig was a user of form II, and form V employs several techniques of form II. Shaak Ti, according to the Clone Wars animated series, was a practitioner of Form V, as she uses this stance while fighting against General Grievous.
Form VI: NimanEdit
Niman was the standard style at and around the time period of the Clone Wars and the Great Jedi Purge. This combat discipline is often called the "Diplomat's Form". One can see this in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, when all of the Jedi using Form VI are killed in the Battle of Geonosis, including Coleman Trebor, whose technique could not defend against Jango Fett's masterfully placed blaster shots.
The basic philosophy of Niman is "the leaf swept in the winds of the Force". One who uses this form attains a mindset of one who is not perturbed by his or her surroundings, but rides the currents of the surrounding chaos, being harmonious and balanced within. It is a style of balance. The style has a surprisingly low chance of deflecting blaster bolts, lower than any form.
Form VI attempts to balance all elements of lightsaber combat, combining the Forms that came before into a less intensely demanding combat style. The result is that the users' skill in each individual areas of lightsaber combat is only moderate, making Form VI well-suited for diplomats and consulars, as they can spend their time training in the areas of politics, negotiation and Force mastery instead of combat training. It can be affectionately referred to and known as a sort of "Jack of All Trades" form, with mastery of no one aspect of combat, but competency in all.
Niman's greatest weakness is its lack of specific strengths to capitalize on and a very long and steep learning curve to mastering it to the point of great martial effectiveness, in contrast to a single-paradigm Form (e.g., Soresu, which effectively is derived from its near-impenetrable defense) with a higher mastership-to-study time efficiency relative to Niman. However, there is one saving grace to this form: Niman is the stepping stone to the dual lightsaber form, known as Jar'Kai; no one who has successfully mastered Jar'Kai has done so without first mastering Niman.
Form VII: Juyo / VaapadEdit
In the Jedi world, the form known as Juyo (numbered VII) was an oddity for millennia. Abandoned for many generations of Jedi, Jedi Master Mace Windu later created his Vaapad fighting style to replace Juyo as the 7th Jedi form. Vaapad is named for a multi-tentacled beast which can strike its foes many times simultaneously. Anybody who views an initiate of this style will witness many lightsaber strikes that appear simultaneous. The most challenging and demanding of all forms, Form VII requires intense focus, high levels of skill, and mastery of other forms.
In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which takes place about 4,000 years before the Battle of Naboo, the Jedi Exile could learn Form VII Juyo from Master Kavar if the Exile was a Guardian, Weapon Master, or Marauder. This shows that a Form VII was created millennia before Mace Windu created Vaapad. In Knights of the Old Republic II, Juyo is portrayed as a powerful but precarious form that sacrifices defense against both weapons and the Force in return for greater dexterity and strength of attack. Every blow from a master of Form VII Juyo threatened to be a life-ending critical strike. Alternatively, Mace Windu's Form VII appears to protect the user from these attacks while still being a highly effective offensive form. This is illustrated clearly during the duel between Mace Windu and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.
Form VII Vaapad is without question the rarest form, with only two Jedi ever truly mastering Vaapad: Mace Windu and his Padawan, Depa Billaba. Sora Bulq (who instructed Quinlan Vos in a few of the form's basics, although Vos never fully mastered Vaapad) was acknowledged by Mace Windu as knowing "almost as much as him". As stated in Star Wars Insider, Darth Maul was also trained in the Juyo Form.
However, Vaapad borders on the edge of using the dark side, as it channels one's anger and darkness into the attack. Only Windu's mastery and concentration of the light side prevents him from succumbing, which is why Vaapad is rarely practiced and very dangerous. The only two other known practitioners of Vaapad, Sora Bulq and Depa Billaba, both fell to the dark side of the Force, unable to maintain control over their emotions.
Vaapad goes beyond being a fighting style as it becomes a state of mind and a power. The state of mind requires that a user of Vaapad be allowed to enjoy the fight and be given over to the thrill of battle and the thrill of victory.
The power of Vaapad is simple: it is a channel for one's inner darkness; and it is a reflecting device. With strict control, a person's own emotions and inner darkness can be changed into a weapon of the light. Vaapad is able to take the hatred, anger and rage of the opponent and reflect it back at him. In his fight with Palpatine, Mace Windu used Palpatine's own speed and hatred against him, reflecting it back against the Sith Lord and using it as his own power. Vaapad is at once a form of lightsaber combat, a state of mind, and an actual tangible power. To use it required great mastery, discipline and, above all else, purity of heart and spirit. Vaapad users are intense, focused, and introverted; there are even signs of pent-up hostility in them.
Intrepid, somewhat direct movements are used in combination with very advanced techniques involving Force-powered jumps and motions. Form VII does not appear as elegant as Form IV, but the technical details of it use very open movements resulting in a very unpredictable battle style. The staccato swings and flow of the form make it seem as if the attacks are not linked—but in reality, it is merely confusing the opponent. The sword techniques of this art are very practical and efficient, using "battlefield" philosophy: kill, move on.
Form VII demands the emotional and physical intensity of Form V, but it much more effectively controls it. If mastered, Form VII results in extraordinary power.
Only through the learning of several other forms could a Jedi begin to understand Form VII, being the most demanding combat style. It involved so much physical combat ability that its training brings a Jedi very close to the Dark Side of the Force. To master Form VII, a Jedi had to employ bold movements and be more kinetic than in any other form. Form VII employed the use of overwhelming power directed through unconnected, precise movements that would keep an opponent continually off-guard.
In the novel Shatterpoint, Mace Windu indicated that part of Depa Billaba's Vaapad blade work has even surpassed Mace Windu himself and the Vaapad he created and used.
Vaapad is believed to have been lost with the death of Mace Windu, as no records exist of its instruction after the end of the Clone Wars and the start of The New Jedi Order. The entirety of the form itself is believed to have died with Palpatine.
Other forms of lightsaber combatEdit
Developed by the ancient Jedi Knights during the Great Sith War with the ancient Sith Empire, the original form of Sokan consisted of tactics for extraordinary feats of evasion and mobility, intended to place the enemy in a poor location or to enhance one's own position. In later millennia, shortly before the Clone Wars, it was combined with the kinetic motions of Form IV combat. Sokan involves swift strokes of the lightsaber aimed towards the opponent's vital areas in addition to quick tumbles and movements
The dual saber style of Jar'Kai permits a Jedi to fight with two lightsabers, one in each hand, as seen in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones when Anakin Skywalker dueled Makashi-user Count Dooku. One of the blades in the wielder's hands is used for attacking while the other one is used for defending, such as parrying, or for more offensive power. Often, the Jedi wields a short lightsaber (also referred to as a "short saber", or a "shoto") in a similar fashion as the Japanese daisho or fencing with a parrying dagger, as a main-gauche instead of a normal lightsaber to gain more balance. In the book Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Master Maruk says those who practice dual sword wield have a tendency to rely too deeply on their swords.
Jar'Kai was first used by Xendor and the Legions of Lettow for the obvious reason that two blades would be more aggressive (the same rationale later adopted by Sith like Darth Maul for using Exar Kun's invention, the dual-bladed lightsaber). The related Form VI Niman took its name from the triumvirate of Kashi gods of Xendor's old human planet Kashi. Many Jedi train to use the Niman style in the hopes of gaining a basic knowledge of the dual-bladed attack, but very few Jedi ever totally master Jar'Kai. Niman is the stepping stone to dual saber mastery, and no one has ever fully learned Jar'kai without first mastering Form VI.
Apparently, Jar'Kai is not the only combat form to allow a dual-bladed attack. Mace Windu, while on the mission to extract Depa Billaba from Haruun Kal, repeatedly wielded both his and Depa's lightsabers while using his signature form Vaapad.
Form Zero is the basis for instruction of lightsaber combat originally defined by Jedi Master Yoda. The art of Form Zero lies in a lightsaber that has not been ignited. A Jedi cannot protect and serve the galaxy in the Jedi way if he/she does not know when to draw his/her sword and when to resort to different means of solving a problem. Form Zero, unlike most other forms, does not teach a Jedi how to use a lightsaber, but when to use one. The knowledge, understanding, and wisdom behind the idea of right and wrong encompasses the idea that a Jedi who feels the necessity to use Form Zero, the absence of violence, is truly gifted in the ways of the Force. It is often used when a Jedi like Kyle Katarn or Jaden Korr achieves his aims by finesse, rather than force (such instances of use of Form Zero are identified as being in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy). Luke Skywalker himself demonstrates Form Zero when he allows himself (and his entire team) to be captured by the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, seeing that responding in violence would bring more harm than good, and instead choosing to passively wait for the situation to play itself out, and in doing so, gaining an essential ally in achieving their victory in the Battle of Endor.
Dun möch is the Sith style of combat that aims to defeat an opponent by wearing down his/her spirit by whatever means possible, rather than solely relying on saber skills. Dun möch commonly involves spoken taunts, jeers, comments, and jests that expose the opponent's hidden, inner weaknesses and/or doubts. Other variations of dun möch involve usage of the Force to throw large, weighty objects at the Sith's opponent during combat, which both distracts the opponent from the battle and could potentially cause damage, such as when Darth Vader fought Luke Skywalker in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. It also involves physical attacks such as kicks and punches. Darth Maul used physical attacks extensively in The Phantom Menace. Both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were frequently caught off-guard by kicking attacks during the final lightsaber duel in Episode I. While such attacks obviously risk the user to having their limbs removed, their psychological impact is great. In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon appears to suffer a moment of rage soon after when Darth Maul kicks him in the face, viciously punching Maul in return.
The Jedi or Sith employ an attack in rare instances to use the cutting power of their lightsabers for an object at an unreachable location called the saber throw, or a throwing of his or her lightsaber. The lightsaber is thrown; usually the blade tip spins in a circular motion about the hilt; and the saber hits its target, usually to cut it. Skilled practitioners will use the Force to manipulate the trajectory of the lightsaber and then redirect it back to their hand; this technique was demonstrated in Return of the Jedi by Darth Vader when he fought Luke Skywalker; when Skywalker jumped onto a catwalk, Vader threw his lightsaber to bring the catwalk crashing to the ground, and demonstrated again in Revenge of the Sith when Yoda, fighting his way into the Jedi Temple, killed an attacking clone trooper.
This technique has become a staple in multiple video and computer games featuring lightsabers such as Jedi Knight, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars Galaxies as well as Masters of Teras Kasi
New Jedi Order formsEdit
In addition to the above-mentioned forms developed and used by the Jedi of the Old Republic, there are three pace-based styles which were developed by the "battle masters" (such as Kyle Katarn or Kam Solusar) of the New Jedi Order which sprang up under Luke Skywalker after the Great Jedi Purge. These three styles were taught to the students at Master Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum around the time of the crises of Desann's Reborn and the Disciples of Ragnos. Two members of the New Jedi Order who mastered all three styles were Kyle Katarn and his student Jaden Korr. Katarn, who might well have conceived the three styles, lectured Korr and fellow student Rosh Penin on them already at their first training session.
The three styles, along with most lightsaber combat skills taught in the New Jedi Order, were based on the principle of the Three Rings of Defense which were introduced very early on in the history of the Order by one of the first students, Kam Solusar.
Several techniques fall outside the traditional and practiced forms of the Jedi. Characters, such as General Grievous in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, can employ more varied movements. His attacks are intended to misdirect and confuse traditionally trained sword fighters. Grievous is exceptionally capable at this due to the flexibility of his joints, robotic reflexes, and his many limbs. For example, Grievous can hold one lightsaber in each of his four hands (and in one of his claw-like feet as seen in the Clone Wars miniseries), spinning two of them very rapidly in front or around him, acting as a shield. There are also more exotic forms, like telekinetic lightsaber combat or Trispzest, a form of aerial lightsaber combat.
Basics of lightsaber combatEdit
Unlike most martial arts involving a weapon, lightsaber combat is an art that is utilized before the weapon is ever drawn and ignited. This is due to the philosophy that a Jedi must draw his weapon only as a final recourse. A Jedi must decide on what situations require the application of deadly force, since the lightsaber is one of the deadliest weapons ever constructed.
All Jedi are expected to be practitioners of lightsaber combat. Jedi Younglings who have Force potential train in Shii-Cho as it is simple and easy to learn. When they advance and get an idea of lightsaber combat, they are taken on by a Jedi Knight as a Padawan. They usually train under the Jedi Knight's form, or of a style that suits them, which is why Padawans are usually similar to their masters. Having completed the Jedi expectancy, and in lightsaber combat, the knight becomes a Jedi Master, and the Padawan takes the trials to be a Jedi Knight.
Lightsaber training begins very young, generally before a Padawan has been taken by a Knight or Master as an apprentice. The master swordsmen at the Jedi Temple teach classes of Padawans the basics of lightsabers, such as basic moves and safety.
Training continues after a Padawan has been taken by a Knight. All Jedi Knights are required to be practitioners of lightsaber combat and they pass on this knowledge and experience to their apprentices. When the Master feels his apprentice is ready, he teaches his apprentice how to construct his first lightsaber as well as oversees the construction process, however, the Jedi Council does have a say in when a Padawan may build a lightsaber (this is briefly mentioned in the Jedi Apprentice series by Jude Watson). Once the apprentice has finished constructing his lightsaber, the Master teaches the Padawan about velocities, a staple of Jedi lightsaber training.
Jedi run endless drills called velocities to practice lightning reflexes and tight control. Velocities are similar in form to fencing, almost always performed with a partner, albeit much faster and trying to create an opening, rather than attack it. During velocities, Jedi learn how to give control over to the Force, as well as use it to extend their perceptions to other degrees of the encounter not allowed by their sensorium.
Great lightsaber duels - those of Ulic Qel-Droma, Exar Kun, etc. - have been studied throughout the ages by Jedi masters. The kai-kan is a re-enactment of a famous, usually ancient, very dangerous, lightsaber or even sword battle, which only very well trained Jedi attempt to perform. It was practiced in the old days of the Sith War.
Marks of contactEdit
The forms of lightsaber combat utilize these ancient terms used by the Jedi for describing the objectives, maneuvers to use, and the various outcomes that could arise out of a fight involving lightsabers as weapons.
The term cho mai is used to describe the action of cutting off an opponent's weapon hand. This move shows that the Jedi using it has the honor to cause the opponent minimal physical damage; it also shows the skill and mastery of the Jedi performing the move to the opponent. This is exemplified in such cases as when Anakin Skywalker cut off both Count Dooku's hands (before decapitating him) in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith; Anakin also cut off Mace Windu's hand to prevent him from killing Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith; Darth Vader cut off Luke Skywalker's hand in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back; and Luke returned the favor in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
A cho mak is the act of cutting off an opponent's limb, such as a humanoid's leg. This can be seen when Obi-Wan Kenobi slashes Vader's remaining biological arm and both of his legs during their epic duel in Revenge of the Sith. It can also be seen when Obi-Wan slashes the legs off of the Acklay in the Execution Arena on Geonosis during Attack of the Clones, and when Count Dooku slices off Anakin's arm during their duel in the hangar bay.
The term cho sun is used to describe the move used to cut off an opponent's weapon arm, such as when Count Dooku defeated Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones or when Obi-Wan cuts off Ponda Baba's arm in the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Most combatants prefer the more efficient and precise cho mai, but cho sun is sometimes used when the opponent is too strong or fast to allow such a precise cut.
The term sai cha is used to describe the rare instance when a Jedi beheads his or her opponent. This is often reserved for the most dangerous of enemies—ones whom a Jedi cannot afford to let live. This is an example of what Anakin Skywalker did to Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith (although Dooku was sufficiently incapacitated), what Mace Windu did to Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones, what Mace Windu again tried to do to Chancellor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, and what happened to most of the standard battle droids that had the misfortune to face a Jedi. Darth Vader uses this move frequently in the novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader; it describes that he did this to many of the Padawans and Jedi Masters including Cin Drallig during the siege at the Jedi Temple, as well as to some of the remaining exiled Jedi he was hunting and found on Kashyyyk in the novel.
A sai tok, frowned upon by the Jedi because of its Sith-like nature, is the act of cutting an opponent in half, usually separating his or her legs from their torso at the waist. It was performed by Obi-Wan Kenobi against Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This move is used only in the most extreme of circumstances. Anakin Skywalker performs a bilateral form of Sai tok on a Geonosian during the droid factory battle in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It is also attempted by Darth Vader during his duel against Obi-Wan Kenobi in "A New Hope," though Kenobi's body disappears just before contact. Sai Tok is widely considered by traditional Jedi teachings to be an act of barbarism or butchery when employed against a sentient being, and is typically only utilized by a Jedi against a non-organic opponent, or against an extremely dangerous opponent in a situation where the Jedi's life is in imminent danger. Dark Jedi, however, typically have no qualms about performing sai tok in any situation.
The term shiak is used to describe the action of stabbing an opponent. This technique is often used by Sith, such as when Darth Maul stabbed Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace, and Palpatine's stabbing of Agen Kolar in Revenge of the Sith. Yoda can also be seen using a variation of this technique in Revenge of the Sith, when he throws his lightsaber at a Clone Trooper, impaling him, then clambers up the still-standing body to retrieve his weapon. Jedi also used this when they were fighting droids. Mara Jade surprises the clone jedi Joruus C'Baoth with this finishing move.
A shiim is a more minute, considered inferior, wound to an opponent by the edge of a lightsaber's blade. It is also considered a sign of desperation or struggle against a potent enemy, such as when Luke grazed Darth Vader's shoulder during their duel at Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back. It is also seen in Attack of the Clones in the instance where Count Dooku grazes Obi-Wan's right arm and leg (although it is implied that Dooku deliberately injured Obi-Wan in this fashion in order to inflict pain while simultaneously neutralizing him as a threat, as opposed to an attack out of desperation).
A sun djem is an attack used by Jedi that disarms the weapon of an opponent, the objective usually being not to physically harm the opponent, such as when Master Mace Windu kicked Darth Sidious' lightsaber away during their duel in Revenge of the Sith and when Count Dooku disarmed one of Anakin Skywalker's lightsabers in Attack of the Clones (although the lightsaber was destroyed in the process). Obi-Wan applied this attack to one half of Darth Maul's double-lightsaber in The Phantom Menace. Luke also used this attack to disarm Boba Fett by slicing his blaster in half in Return of the Jedi. Destroying the opponent's weapon, especially against a Jedi, can be considered reasonable, since Jedi can use the Force to regain a weapon that has been merely kicked away.
Lightsaber combat in the Star Wars moviesEdit
In writing the prequel trilogy, George Lucas said that he wanted the lightsaber combat in the prequels to be of a more "energized" form than of that in the original trilogy. In the original movies, the only people who fought with lightsabers were Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker who learned from Obi-Wan. However, this form of fighting was smooth and graceful, and that was exactly what George Lucas wanted to carry forward.
The movies' stunt coordinator, Nick Gillard, said that: "they chose a short-range weapon, and so they would have to be very good at it... They would have to study every great sword fighting style: kendo, iaido even including stuff like "tennis and even some tree-chopping, everything you could swing at."
Another mention of lightsaber combat in general is in A New Hope, when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker "This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight, not as clumsy or as random as a blaster... a more elegant weapon, for a more civilized age [before the Great Jedi Purge]."
- Nick Gillard is known to have stated that lightsaber combat is essentially "The next stage in modern fencing"
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones The Visual Dictionary, "Lightsaber Combat" (page 62-63)
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith The Visual Dictionary
- The Seven Forms of Lightsaber Combat – Star Wars Insider, Issues 62 and 68
- Fighting with Lightsabers, by John Clements, criticizing the realism of the choreography
- Lightsaber Combat Styles
- "Fightsaber"bg:Бой със светлинен меч
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