Today is May 4th and you know what that means……Happy Star Wars Day! In honor of today, let’s talk about the 7 different forms of lightsaber combat and May the 4th be with you.
Form I: Shii-Cho
Form I is the most basic lightsaber fighting form, taught to Jedi padawans in the beginning stages of lightsaber use. It’s considered simplistic due to the broad sweeping motions used to slowly and methodically take down an opponent while cutting off all their angles during battle. Shii-Cho is best utilized when taking on multiple opponents not only because of its broad motions with the lightsaber but also because of the deliberately consistent advancement. While this fighting form may not hold up for long, especially in single combat, it is a great starting point to learn. No padawan is allowed to learn any other combat Forms without first learning Form I. Through this Form they learn basic saber movements and blast deflection techniques, as seen practiced by Luke Skywalker, in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Form II: Makashi
The lightsaber Form most specifically geared for saber-to-saber combat. Makashi was developed as a counter to Form one; relying on tactical precision and body movements. Form II requires fluidity of body and blade because of its heavy reliance on accuracy and timing with each blade stroke. Unlike Shii-Cho, Makashi does not incorporate broad sweeping blade movements but instead focuses more on precision and protecting one’s weapon. Form II users resemble modern day fencers and are so graceful in their dueling that they often look as if they are dancing. Count Dooku is the best example of how pristine Makashi can look when performed by a master.
Form III: Soresu
Soresu was intended to be utilized specifically for blaster deflection because the tight and subtle movements incorporated within the Form’s blade movements. However it turned out to be the best defensive Form of all combat Forms whether used for blaster deflection or lightsaber combat. The beauty of Soresu is it requires very little expenditure of energy and focuses heavily on position transition, swift, tight movements kept close to the body, and quick reflexes which will help to protect most, if not all of the body. A master of Soresu could battle as long as required and through patience in combat the wielder may learn more about their opponent and find weakspots in their fighting forms.
Form IV: Ataru
Ataru is a purely offensive fighting form relying heavily on speed, power and strength to gain victory. Users of Ataru are more aggressive in their attacks and utilize the Force more often to rain down fast and powerful blows on their opponents. Acrobatics are also infused within motions so Form IV users are able to attack from both the ground and air. One famous Ataru fighter is Master Yoda.
Form V: Djem So/Shien
This form is a variation on Form II and Form Form III. Masters of Soresu wanted to creat a Form that not only focused strictly on defense but used offensive strikes as well. Combining the more aggressive strikes of Makashi with the defensive maneuvers of Soresu, Form V was born. The Shien version was created to Guard against enemy attacks while still being able to counter powerfully. Djem So was formed for lightsaber combat, while still incorporating the defensive stylistics of Soresu, Djem So presses the attack with a barrage of powerfully balanced blows. The best example of this fighting form at its apex is Anakin Skywalker’s duel with Obi Wan Kenobi in Revenge Of The Sith.
Form VI: Niman
The dual blade form is a combination of Forms I, III, VI, and V and encompasses elements of all the lightsaber forms to a lesser degree. Practitioners of Niman needed to be creative to use this form successfully due to its broad combative nature, improvisation and intuition are a must.
Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad
Juyo is hands down the fiercest lightsaber form there is. This Form is offensive and physically demanding, requiring users to call on the force more and focus deeply. The fighting style is highly unpredictable and filled with fury, meant to throw combatants off balance. Vaapad is like the defensive version of Form VII, requiring a heavy usage of the force. It calls on the darkness in the opponent and uses it to strike back, turning their own fury against them. The Form is dangerous for Jedi because it brings practitioners close to the darkside. Mace Windu is the only Jedi to master the Form.