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Saber Forms

The IrishDragon of posting =P
Joined: 5:21 AM - Dec 21, 2004

8:00 AM - Jan 24, 2006 #1

Form I: Shii-Cho

Form I: Shii-Cho was the first form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

As the weapons technology of the lightsaber was developed, the need for a form of combat arose. Thus Form I, also called Way of the Sarlacc, was born. Ancient sword-fighting traditions held key principles of blade combat that were implemented by early Jedi Masters in the rather basic technical tactics of Form I.

Form I, like its succeeding forms, includes the following basic techniques and concepts:

* attack, a set of attacks aimed at different body zones
* parry, a set of blocks to thwart any attack in the specified body zones
* body target zones (1, head, 2, left arm, 3, right arm, 4, back, 5, left leg, 6, right leg)
* training drills called velocities

Younglings, the Jedi initiate rank, first learn Form I before they begin a Padawan apprenticeship with a Jedi Master. They most often utilize it to deflect plasma bolts from training remotes.

Master Yoda was one of the greatest lightsaber wielders who ever lived. Although he had mastered all seven forms, and often used Ataru to compensate for his advanced age and lack of height, his unmatched skill was best expressed in his ability to use the simplest form to defeat the most complex. Master Yoda’s astonishing moves in his epic duel against Count Dooku on Geonosis and later against Darth Sidious may be revealed on close examination to be a masterful demonstration of the standard components of Form I. Yoda’s moves flow from one to another in the smooth transitions characteristic of this Form. Three kinds of rotation, or su ma, figure prominently in Yoda’s style. They are jung su ma (spinning), ton su ma (somersaults), and en su ma (cartwheels). These three moves represent the three possible axes of rotation in three-dimensional space. Together with Force-enhanced jumps, the rotational su ma moves compose most of Yoda’s lightsaber fighting technique.

Kit Fisto was a masterful practitioner of Form I, he could not defeat Darth Sidious with it. The Shii-Cho form is good versus many enemies, and blaster-wielding enemies, but weak versus a single enemy, a lightsaber-wielding enemy and Force powers. Its simplicity is its strength, making it a very good style to use if all else fails.

Form II: Makashi

Form II: Makashi was the second form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

After Form I's proliferation as a saber combat technique, Form II, or Way of the Ysalamiri, came about as a means of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat. It was described as being very elegant, powerful, and requiring extreme precision, allowing the user to attack and defend with minimal effort, while his opponent tired himself out. The form relied on parries, thrusts, and small, precise cuts—as opposed to the blocking and slashing of the other forms. It required very fluid movements of both the blade and the body.

Fients would also be commonly used to confuse or set-up their opponents for a trap, a tactic that Count Dooku commonly used in his duels during the Clone Wars. Precise footwork and movements are required for maintaining proper distance from the opponent during defense and/or when moving in for an attack. The blade manipulation required for this form was very refined and required intense focus. Timing, accuracy, and skill, rather than strength are relied on to defeat your opponent and with a skilled practitioner, the results were extremely potent

When ranged weapons such as blasters came into play or more than one opponent was present, however, the advantages of this form became obsolete. During the time of the Clone Wars and many centuries proceeding it, the Jedi Order seldom practiced this technique. There was, if at all, so little lightsaber-to-lightsaber and melee combat involved in a Jedi's life that many in the Order didn't bother to teach and/or learn it as it was thought impractical. During this era, Niman and Ataru were the more popular fighting forms being taught and learned. Makashi, however, was very common during the older years, before the advent of blasters, when melee weapons were abundant.

Dooku was a master of Form II to the highest degree, fighting with the precision built into the ancient technique. The handle of his lightsaber is curved allowing for better manipulation of the blade during parries and thrusts, this was apparently common during the older years of the Republic when many of the Jedi used the Makashi form. When he wielded this form, it devastated the Jedi; the system of Jedi training during the Clone Wars did not prepare many of them for the finesse and precise movements of a form bred for lightsaber dueling.

Former Separatist general Sev'rance Tann was a practitioner of Form II. It was one of the forms taught to General Grievous as well as the other 6 by Count Dooku.

Makashi users were elegant, precise, calm, confident, even arrogant (as befit Dooku's personality). Form II users were supremely confident in their chances for victory, and often looked relaxed when they were fighting, or even appeared to be dancing.

Form III: Soresu

Form III: Soresu was the third form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

Form III, the Way of the Mynock, was originally developed to counteract the advancing blaster technology throughout the galaxy. Those to whom the Jedi were mainly opposed usually wielded blasters, and the Jedi needed to find a method of defense that could repel normally overwhelming volleys of blaster fire.

Inspired by the need to parry blaster-fire, the third form of lightsaber combat utilized motions that occurred very close to the body, in an attempt to achieve near-total protection and expend as little energy as possible while executing moves. This technique minimized the body's exposure, making a well-trained practitioner nearly invincible. Followers of Soresu comfortably remained on the defensive until their opponent left an opening that a Soresu practitioner usually could exploit in mulitiple ways. Soresu was best described as a passive form of combat, and one that was used by those who were extremely patient and reserved.

Due to the emphasis on defense training in form III involved preperation for prolonged battles so that the user may learn as much as possible about their opponent or opponents whilst engaged in possibly deadly combat. Also, by being more capable in lenghy battles a Soresu user was in a position to gain control of the situation and provide multiple options for the duelist; such as the choice to either kill, disarm, or even reason with their opponent. Many Soresu practitioners survived the Battle of Geonosis, thanks in part to its specialization in fending off blaster-fire. In fact all Jedi probably had to be trained in some minimal amount of Form III when they were younglings and/or padawans to prepare them when fending of blaster wielding opponents while well trained users could survive even when surrounded by multiple atackers. Soresu's greatest power lies in the endurance and control a practitioner eventually develops. Masters of the form leave no opening for their opponents to take advantage of, while waiting for the eventual lapses in their opponent's own defense.

Master Windu noted that, unlike any of the other combat styles, Soresu was not an answer to a particular type of weakness. Vaapad was an answer to Windu's inner darkness; Ataru was Yoda's answer to his limited reach and advanced age; and Djem So was Anakin's answer to his boiling emotions. Towards the end of the Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi was acknowledged as "the master of Soresu" by Master Windu. It was because of this fact that Obi-Wan was chosen by the council as the Jedi best suited to defeat General Grievous due to his Mastery of Form III. Soresu was considered the consummate Jedi combat form in that it embraced a passive way of life and a literal expression of the Jedi's tenement to defend rather then attack.

Even though a trully focused master of Soresu is nigh unbeatable due to a strong defense posture, there is more guarantees made in survival rather then victory. Initiates in form III were known to being more then capable when defending themselves from attack but might have lacked the experience to trap an opponent in their own offense. Since the defensive tactics of the form included guards and parries that were very close to the body even a master had to keep a strong focus on their actions as small lapses in an otherwise strong defence left little room to avoid injury. As the most prominent Soresu master of his time Obi-Wan Kenobi was known to be almost invinicble in fighting numerous combatants and defeating some of the most dangerous foes when seeming so close to defeat. Yet during his first direct confrontation with Count Dooku during the Battle of Geonosis his normally impenetrable defense was outmatched by Count Dooku's Makashi, possible due to his distracted state at the worry of his padawan Anakin. It was not favorable for a Jedi General to be in a lengthy fight while his troops were left alone on the battlefield, but this was usually unavoidable as it was when Master Kenobi had to leave his regiment of troops in his drawn out pursuit of General Grievous.

Soresu was a very favorable form of combat for Jedi until the Great Jedi Purge. The defence and control it allowed a practitioner ment for suitable outcomes infavor of the user when faced with hurried opponents who left themselves vulnerable to counterattack. It was best for warding off blaster fire and multiple opponents as even a trained user would be able to defend outside their visual range. Its defense required a very large amount of focus from the wielder however and even a mommentary fault in concentration could mean the user's defeat. Jedi with less focused minds would usually abandon this style of combat to capatalize on the benefits of other styles that required less dedication to prolonged fighting. Jedi who did master Soresu were known to be the most successful when dealing in situations when a quick victory was not favorable to total understanding and calculated action. Even while being attacked from all sides in heated battle a Soresu master was capable of thinking of the momments that led up to the perticuliar battle and could win a fight by simply realized there was not need for either combatant to fight at all.

From IV: Ataru

From IV: Ataru, was the fourth of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

Form IV, Way of the Hawk-Bat, was one of the more popular fighting forms in the Jedi Order for many centuries, during and preceeding the era of the Clone Wars.

Jedi Master Yoda, as well as Qui-Gon Jinn, were considered to have mastered this form of combat. Other notable practitioners of Ataru were Quinlan Vos and his former Padawan, Aayla Secura. Obi-Wan Kenobi was also a practitioner of Ataru, but proceeded to study Form III: Soresu following the death of his master, Qui-Gon Jinn, at Naboo. As a Padawan, Anakin Skywalker also studied Ataru as it fit his strong and aggressive personality, he would later use those same traits to become a fine Djem So practitioner.

Darth Sidious also used a variant of this form, combining stabs and thrusts into his attacks.

Ataru was an aggressive combat form relying on a combination of power, speed, and grace.

Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with fast and powerful swings. Form IV practitoners constantly called upon the Force to aid in their movements and attacks. By allowing the Force to flow throughout their body, they could overcome their physical limitations (including old age, as was the case with Master Yoda), and allowed them to perform amazing feats of acrobatics, such as somersaults and backflips, not only for attack, but also to evade their opponents attacks/strikes.

Those who used Form IV could move at amazing speeds and could rain strong blows jumping and attacking through the air. Powerful and lightning fast spinning attacks could be utilized from all angles, either from ground or air.

A master in Ataru combat could appear like a blur to their opponents, attacking from all directions—from the front, the sides, overhead, or behind.

The Force not only allowed them to perform amazing athletic feats, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat. Howevever, due to its aggressive nature, a user could become reckless and sometimes leave him/herself open to counterattacks.

This form was also probably not as effective for prolonged combat, as the nature of Ataru could greatly tax the body. Fatigue may have been the chief reason that Qui-Gon Jinn was defeated by Darth Maul, though his old age may have also played an important role in his fatigue. This event had a profound effect on Kenobi—after his master's death, he decided to perfect his practice of Form III: Soresu, the most defensive of all forms.

Nevertheless, Ataru proved to be an effective combat form when used properly. A Jedi skilled in Ataru fought with amazing grace and eye-bluring speed, using Force-assisted acrobatics and maneuvers to attack his opponents with powerful swings and offensive flourishes, never staying in one place long enough for their opponent to mount a proper counterattack.

Form V: Shien/Djem

Form V: Shien/Djem So was the fifth form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

Form V or the Way of the Krayt Dragon was a powerful style developed by Form III practitioners that preferred a more offensive style, since the defensive nature of Form III often led to dangerously prolonged combat. Djem So came about from combining Forms II and III. Anakin Skywalker, both as himself and as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Jedi Master Plo Koon were all practitioners of Form V.

Shien and Djem So are stated as two different styles, but due to their similarities they both fall under the category of Form V. Shien was better at dealing with blaster bolts while Djem So was better at lightsaber dueling, as it needed a higher level of physical strength and aggressive moves. It is known that Anakin Skywalker mastered both styles.

Form V came into existence by taking the defensive skills derived from Form III and channeling some of the defense into offense. A common example used to illustrate the difference is that that while Form III combatants effortlessly deflected blaster bolts, Form V practitioners excelled at redirecting the blaster fire back toward the opponent. This action simultaneously defended the user and efficiently injured the enemy. Form V also utilized Form II's parries, allowing the user to parry and counter attempted attacks. Because Form V made Form II more intimidating and fierce and turned Form III's purely defensive moves into an offensive defense many Jedi disapproved of the aggressive philosophy.

Whereas Form II concentrated on precise and elegant parries, Djem So permitted the user to actually block and repel attacks, since it called for the use of more brute, Force-enhanced strength. Practitioners of Djem So would often press an assault, using wide, sweeping blows in an attempt to overwhelm the opponent with brute strength. This was evident when Count Dooku fought against Anakin Skywalker. When Dooku swung at Anakin, Anakin not only blocked the attack but pushed Dooku backwards with his overwhelming strength. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker also demonstrated how Djem So could be used to physically bully an opponent. During their first battle, Vader used his rage to continuously lock sabers with Luke, only to throw him back and press his assault. In the second duel, Luke turned the tables and forced Vader back with his onslaught of physical strength and sweeping attacks.

Vader created his own variant of Form V, where he would use only one hand to strike and defend, and hold the other casually by his side. This was the case during his duel with his son on Bespin.

With the offensive and refined movements of Form II and the highly defensive postures of Form III, Djem So was proven to be a highly effective style. Of all the Forms, it was probably the only one capable of matching Mace Windu's Vaapad. Vaapad and Djem So were very similar forms of combat; they were in fact virtually identical save for one crucial element: whereas Vaapad called for its user to maintain strict control of their emotions during the fight, Djem So had no such restriction. Both Djem So and Vaapad called for its user to use emotion to enhance their strength. Vaapad's control permitted its user greater power, however, because they had the presence of mind to use that strength, whereas a Djem So user would sometimes lose themselves in their emotion. Djem So users could best be described as bold, powerful, fearless and confident. They were unafraid to let their emotions rule them and contribute to the fight, though they were wary of falling to the dark side. Though a master Djem So stylist would be able to pull back from the abyss of the dark side, as Luke Skywalker did when he defeated Vader, someone less trained would not always be able to resist.

Form VI: Niman

Form VI: Niman was the sixth form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

The Way of the Rancor, Form VI was the standard style at and around the time period of the Clone Wars and the Great Jedi Purge. This combat discipline was often called the "Diplomat's Form." Unfortunately, many of the Jedi at the Battle of Geonosis were killed because of their reliance on this form, including the Form VI practitioner Coleman Trebor, whose technique could not defend against Jango Fett's masterfully placed blaster shots.

Form VI attempted to balance all elements of lightsaber combat, combining the Forms that came before into a less intensely demanding combat style. The result was that the users' skill in each individual area of lightsaber combat was only moderate - they did not excel in any one area. This broad generalization made Form VI well suited for diplomats, as they could spend their time training in the areas of politics and negotiation instead of combat training.

The form was named after Niman, the triumvirate of Kashi gods. It was developed by the Minions of Xendor after the Great Schism, having been adopted from the Jar'kai form of combat.

Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad

Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad was the final form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat.

Dubbed the Way of the Vornskr, Juyo was considered an incomplete form for millennia. Undeveloped and rarely used by Jedi and Sith, Juyo was not seen as one of the main forms until it was further developed by Jedi Master Mace Windu, who completed it with his Vaapad fighting style, thereby finally completing Form VII. (In 22 BBY, Palpatine noted that he had only ever heard of six forms; Mace's reply indicated that this had been the case—until he finessed Juyo into Vaapad). The most challenging and demanding of all forms, Form VII required intense focus, a high degree of skill, and mastery of other forms. Only a few Jedi ever mastered Vaapad fully: Mace Windu, Depa Billaba and Sora Bulq, who instructed Quinlan Vos in a few of its basics. Sora Bulq helped Windu develop Vaapad, but Bulq proved too weak to master the flow of the light and dark sides of the Force generated by the use of the technique, and fell to the dark side. Mace Windu noted that Vaapad mastered Bulq, not the other way around. Depa Billaba, Windu's Padawan, similarly fell to the dark side when combining Vaapad with the rigors of war. General Grievous used his technical prowess to copy Vaapad to a degree when he fought Mace Windu on Boz Pity, though due to his lack of Force sensitivity, he could not truly master it and was almost destroyed by the Jedi Master.

Intrepid, somewhat direct movements were used in combination with advanced techniques involving Force-powered jumps and motions. Form VII did not appear as fancy as Form IV, as there were not moves like twirling and flipping, but the technical requirements were much higher. Vaapad used seemingly free-wheeling and open movements, but with utter control on the part of the wielder. In Windu's duel with Palpatine, Windu constantly had his arms spread wide, torso open to stabbing motions by Palpatine, as though Windu was daring him to strike. While appearing reckless on the surface, Windu knew exactly what he was doing. The end result, if practiced correctly, was a very unpredictable lightsaber style. The staccato swings and flow of the form made it seem as if the attacks were not linked—but in reality, it was merely confusing the opponent.

Form VII demanded the emotional and physical intensity of Form V, but it much more effectively controlled it—if mastered. Form VII, when fully mastered, resulted in extraordinary power.

However, Vaapad bordered on the edge of falling to the dark side, as it channelled one's anger and darkness into the attack. Only Windu's mastery and concentration on the light side prevented him from succumbing to his own anger, which is why Vaapad was rarely practiced and very dangerous. As noted above, the only other known practitioners of Vaapad, Sora Bulq and Depa Billaba both fell to the dark side of the Force, as did Echuu-Shen Jon, who, as Mace's Padawan, was propably instructed in the style. Darth Sidious, the only known Sith master of the style, was so immersed in the dark side and so much in control of his anger that he could employ Vaapad without fear.

With that said, Vaapad was not just a fighting style. It was a state of mind and a power. The state of mind required that a user of Vaapad allow himself to enjoy the fight. He had to give himself over to the thrill of battle, the rush of winning (though Mace Windu and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine were not allowed this luxury in their duel because they were both masters of the style). Vaapad was a path that led through the penumbra of the dark side. The power of Vaapad was simple: it was a channel for one's inner darkness; and it was a reflecting device. With strict control, a Jedi's own emotions and inner darkness could be changed into a weapon of the light.

Vaapad was also a superconducting loop, with the user on one end and the opponent on the other. It was able to take the powers of the opponent and reflect it back at them. In his fight with Palpatine, Mace Windu used the Chancellor's own speed and hatred against him, reflecting it back against the Sith Lord and using it as his own power. Also, when Palpatine unleashed his Force lightning on Mace, the Jedi was able to use his lightsaber, with the power of Vaapad, to reflect the lightning back at him (which actually worked against Mace, because it seemingly disfigured Palpatine's face, a weapon he used against the Jedi Order later). Palpatine also used Vaapad in this way to fight Vaapad, employing the reflected lightning and his own pain to fuel his continuing attacks. It is interesting to note that if Windu had not used Vaapad on Palpatine, then he probably would not have lasted much longer than Masters Saesee Tiin, Agen Kolar, and Kit Fisto. This also explains why Windu wanted to kill Palpatine rather than let him stand trial, immersed deeply in Vaapad's power as he was. Being a dark side user, Palpatine was probably accutely aware of this and used Vaapad's drawbacks to defeat Vaapad's creator (goading Mace into attempting to "assassinate" Palpatine, thereby becoming the catalyst for Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side).

Nevertheless, the power of Vaapad was quite incredible. It was 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 were intense, focused and introverted. There were even signs of pent-up hostility in them.

New information suggests that Mace Windu's creation of Vaapad was less a true "creation" of a form, and more a refinement of a form that, because of its difficulty, remained largely unused.

Around the time of the Jedi Civil War, Juyo was already the lightsaber form relied upon by the greatest of the Jedi, indicating that Juyo was indeed a complete and effective form for millennia before Mace Windu finessed it with Vaapad.

Furthermore, Darth Maul used his own deadly variant of Juyo coupled with his martial prowess to defeat several skilled Jedi, including Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

Form VIII: Sokan

Form VIII: Sokan was a form of lightsaber combat

Developed by the ancient Jedi Knights during the Great Sith War, Sokan combined tactics that allowed for evasion and mobility with the kinetic motions of Form IV combat. Sokan involved swift strokes of the lightsaber, which were aimed towards the opponent's vital areas in addition to quick tumbles and movements. Combatants made use of large amounts of terrain, trying to maneuver their opponents into vulnerable areas during the course of battles that involved Sokan techniques.

Obi-Wan employed elements of Sokan while dueling Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar. Towards the end of the duel Obi-Wan sought the high ground and used his favorable positioning to defeat Anakin, attacking his weak points.

For more Information on lightsaber combat, and a list of Sources see lightsaber combat.

Form IX: Shien

Form IX: Shien was a form of lightsaber combat.

Shien uniquely involves a Jedi holding the lightsaber horizontally. The Jedi pointed the end of the blade at the opponent; it was swung in a fast arc while the Jedi punched his or her saber-hand at his or her opposing combatant, in a stabbing motion.

Form X: Niman / Jar'Kai

Form X: Niman / Jar'Kai was a form of lightsaber combat

The dual saber Niman permitted a Jedi to fight with two lightsabers, one in each hand, as demonstrated by Anakin Skywalker when he first faced Count Dooku. One of the blades in the wielder's hands was used for attacking while the other one was used for defending, such as parrying, or for more offensive power.

The Jar'Kai was named the Niman by the Minions of Xendor during Great Schism, long before the creation of the lightsaber.

Many Jedi trained to use the Niman style in the hopes of gaining a basic knowledge of the dual-bladed attack, but very few Jedi ever totally mastered Niman. Serra Keto, Sora Bulq, A'Sharad Hett, Asajj Ventress, Komari Vosa, and Joclad Danva (who wielded two lightsabers during the Battle of Geonosis) were practitioners of Form X. Dark Jedi Boc also mastered dual lightsaber combat, incorporating it into his own rather unorthodox fighting style. Many of Tavion's New Reborn were trained in dual saber combat. It is also possible that Darth Revan and Jedi Master Kavar may have been masters of this form. Likewise, it is possible that Kyle Katarn's apprentice, Jaden Korr may have been skilled in this form. General Grievous may have based his bizarre combat style on form X. He used two lightsabers during the Battle of Hypori when he defeated a handful of Jedi. Later, in the early stages of the Battle of Utapau he wielded four lightsabers - one in each of his four hands - in a duel against Obi-Wan Kenobi, but even with four lightsabers he was no match for Obi-Wan Kenobi's mastery of Form III: Soresu.

Form X, or Niman, is sometimes known as Jar'Kai. This Niman is not to be confused with the Form VI: Niman.