Lightsaber combat was the preferred method of fighting used by the Jedi and Sith, which was initially based on ancient sword-fighting techniques. Throughout the millennia since its creation it developed into seven "classic" forms and numerous other styles. It was difficult to master for a number of reasons, one of them being that all of the weight a lightsaber had was in its hilt. It had been said that only a Force-sensitive individual could completely master lightsaber combat. Only 2 clones, X1 and X2, were able to engage in lightsaber combat. All seven traditional lightsaber forms included the same basic techniques as ancient sword-fighting styles, such as defensive postures, overhand strikes, parries, and counters.
The lightsaber was a very versatile weapon, owing to its unique lightness and omnidirectional cutting ability. It could be wielded one-handed or with both hands. Early in the weapon's history, when the Sith were numerous, the art of lightsaber dueling flourished. In later periods though, only rarely would Jedi face an adversary with a weapon capable of repelling a lightsaber. Mace Windu and Darth Sidious engaged in lightsaber combatAlthough the blade was weightless, two-handed slashes were the most common movement. This was because inertia was still needed to cut through solid objects. Solid objects were repelled by the blade arc until they were changed to gas or plasma. Therefore, inertia was required to counteract the initial repelling force. The stronger the swing, the faster and easier the blade would cut. If little force was applied to the swing, the repelling force of the blade arc would leave shallow cuts. When two lightsaber blades came in contact with each other, the two repelling forces made the blade appear to be solid. If the lightsaber is dropped, the blade will retract automatically, so the user will not be injured.
Also, the field that caused the energy to arc back into the blade caused some gyroscopic effects. While technically weightless, the blade still had some resistance to changes in motion. The slight gyroscopic effects were easily controlled by a trained force user, but could become problematic for lay person.
The Jedi were trained to use the Force as a conduit between the wielder and the weapon. Through this bond in the Force, the blade became an extension of their being; it moved with instinct as though it were a part of the body. The Jedi's attunement to the Force accounted for the almost superhuman agility and reflex illustrated in the use of the lightsaber.
Saberlocks are often used during combat to gain tactical advantage. Many Saberlocks include the Person activating it also finishing it.In a saberlock the lightsaber is often near the Jedi/Sith's face and both fighters try to overpower the other. Often an elbow in the stomach finishes one quickly
Each Jedi chose the style of lightsaber combat that best suited him or her. For example, Grand Master Yoda used the Ataru form to compensate for his lack of reach and height; Mace Windu used Vaapad to turn his inner darkness into a weapon of the light; Count Dooku's practice of the Makashi form fit first of all his intention to frequently engage in lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, and second his emphasis on class and elegance as well as precision. Jedi learned elements of each form, though few ever mastered all of them.
- Form I: Shii-Cho "Way of the Sarlacc" or "Determination Form"
- Form I is the most basic of the seven forms and is learned by every Jedi Youngling. Shii-Cho includes the fundamental elements of all the lightsaber forms including the basic attack, parry, body target zones, and practice drills called velocities.
- Form II: Makashi "Way of the Ysalamir" or "Contention Form"
- Form II represents the ultimate refinement of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat. Masters of Makashi develop unique offenses and defenses and train studiously against having their sabers taken or damaged.
- Form III: Soresu "Way of the Mynock" or "Resilience Form"
- Form III was first developed in response to the advancement of blaster technology in the galaxy. Soresu's emphasis on tight, efficient movements that expose very minimal target areas, make it the most defensive and passive of the seven forms.
- Form IV: Ataru "Way of the Hawk-Bat" or "Aggression Form"
- Form IV is the most acrobatic of all the forms and requires a Jedi to first master the Force Run, Jump, and Spin abilities. By incorporating all the Force powers that allow a Jedi to exceed standard norms of physical abilities, Jedi may resemble nothing less than a blur when using this style.
- Form V was also created in response to the advancement and frequency of blaster use in the galaxy. Unlike the strictly defensive style Soresu, Shien exploits the ability of a lightsaber to block blaster bolts and deflect them back at an opponent in a counter-attack maneuver. In a duel, the Djem So variation of this form, which focused on strength, would be used.
- Form VI: Niman "Way of the Rancor" or "Moderation Form"
- Form VI seeks to balance the emphases of forms I through V. Niman allows a Jedi to fight with harmony and justice without having to resort to powerful, aggressive movements or overt emotion.
- Form VII: Juyo / Vaapad "Way of the Vornskr" or "Ferocity Form"
- Juyo instead employs bold, direct movements, more open and kinetic than form V, but not so elaborate as the acrobatic form Ataru. Juyo requires greater energy and intensity out of the practitioner because his focus is wielded more broadly and draw upon from a deeper well of emotion; while the outward bearing of a Form VII practitioner is one of calm, the inner pressure verges on explosive. It was also considered to be the most dangerous in regard to falling to the Dark Side, because it required a certain amount of enjoyment in the fight from the person experiencing it.
The seven forms were not merely swordplay moves, they represented seven different kinds of philosophy. In addition, a lightsaber was not necessary to execute the seven forms: each form could be applied in unarmed combat. Jedi Masters Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto had demonstrated such talent during the Battle of Haruun Kal and the Bio-Droid Threat respectively.
These forms were not considered a part of the seven main or "classic" forms. Some were systematized methods of lightsaber combat, while others were merely techniques or principles of combat applied to lightsaber combat. They were mostly based on other forms, with the exception of Form "Zero", which emphasized avoiding conflict whenever possible.
A fighting method that focused tactical superiority; on using the terrain to one's advantage.
A fighting style that focused on dual-blade combat.
Little is known of this style, though it is known that Grievous and his MagnaGuards received training in it from Dooku. Anakin Skywalker using Jar'Kai*Form "Zero" A Jedi doctrine of avoiding conflict unless absolutely necessary.
A Sith technique of psychological warfare, utilizing taunts and telekinetic assaults to distract and demoralize opponents.
Wielding a lightsaber with the Force and attacking from a range.
A type of aerial dueling, essentially flying lightsaber combat.
Fighting from a mounted position, either on a beast of burden or a vehicle, usually of an open cockpit design.
A fighting style designed specifically for the use of Double-bladed lightsabers.
A fighting style designed specifically for the use of Lightwhips.
A combat style that was designed to take advantage of a lightsaber's ability to be quickly activated and deactivated.
General Grievous wielding four lightsabers.Several techniques fell outside the traditional and practiced forms of the Jedi. General Grievous could employ more varied movements. His attacks were intended to misdirect and confuse traditionally trained sword fighters. Grievous was exceptionally capable of this due to the flexibility of his joints, robotic reflexes, and his many limbs. Only the most experienced and talented Jedi could withstand his attacks. For example, Grievous could hold one lightsaber in each of his four hands, spinning two of them very rapidly in front of him as a shield. Grievous used this against Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau, though his capabilities may have been inhibited after injuries sustained on Coruscant from Mace Windu.
Another unique lightsaber style was that of Adi Gallia who held her saber with a one-handed reverse grip resulting in wide, long swings. This was a personal variation of Shien, much as Vaapad was Mace Windu's personal variation of Juyo. Anakin Skywalker's first Padawan Ahsoka Tano and later his secret apprentice Galen Marek also seemed to prefer this style.
Dark Jedi Boc's combat style was an unorthodox mixture of the dual saber based Niman & Jar'Kai and highly aggressive jumping attacks directed straight at his opponent. He used this against Kyle Katarn in a duel on Ruusan, but—with some help from his friend Jan Ors and the Force—Katarn was able to defeat Boc.
 The three styles of the New Jedi OrderEdit
Two Force-sensitives engaged in lightsaber combat.In addition to the above-mentioned forms, there were three pace-based styles, probably applicable to all of the conventional and less conventional forms, though each style was more compatible with some forms than with others.
These three styles were taught to the students at Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum around the time of the crises of Desann's Reborn and the Disciples of Ragnos. One member of the New Jedi Order who mastered all three styles was Kyle Katarn. Katarn lectured students Jaden Korr and Rosh Penin on them already at their first training session.
The three styles, along with most lightsaber combat skill 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.
- "You are learning to focus on precision rather than brute strength, to anticipate my moves and your own reactions using the Force."
- ―Tionne Solusar[src]
Following the Great Jedi Purge, many of the old lightsaber forms used by the Old Jedi Order were lost and Luke had received little in the way of formal training. However, with the foundation of the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 and the first intake of students, the path to rediscovering these began. Kam Solusar taught the first students the basic principals of fencing, possibly elements of Shii-Cho, upon which all lightsaber combat is based. More specifically, he taught them the Three Rings of Defense.
Along with Kam's own knowledge, there may have been additional teachings from the Jensaarai, their founders being Jedi Knights and Padawans they would likely still have knowledge on the original lightsaber forms used by the Jedi of old. Add to this the knowledge gained by Kyle Katarn, who had been instructed in fencing while he studied at the academy on Carida and was later taught lightsaber combat by the spirits of Qu Rahn and Tal, and by 14 ABY the order had developed its own styles of combat, complete with their own Katas and maneuvers. Divided into Medium style, Fast style and Strong style, the forms of combat which were finally developed and refined seem to be an amalgamation of the old and the new, further bridging the Old Jedi Order with the new. By 14 ABY, the Academy also introduced some training sabers, although students such as Rosh Penin derided their use. The original Lightsaber Forms were rediscovered in the great Holocron taught by Cin Drallig in 25 ABY
The New Jedi Order also restored the title of Jedi Battlemaster, which was bestowed on Kyle Katarn 13 ABY.
- "Every feint, every dodge, every block is a trap to the unwary."
- ―Lightsaber combat tenet[src]
All seven forms of lightsaber combat utilized 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. They could help focus a Jedi’s attacks and defenses on a few clearer categories, rather than diffusing awareness across an infinite number of possibilities in a duel.
The basic body zones of lightsaber combatA cho mai was the act of cutting off an opponent's weapon-using hand. This move showed that the Jedi using it had the honor to cause the opponent minimal physical damage; it also showed the skill and mastery of the Jedi performing the move to the opponent. Darth Vader demonstrated this on Luke in Cloud City.
A cho sun was the act of cutting off an opponent's weapon arm. This was demonstrated by Obi-Wan Kenobi cutting off the arm Ponda Baba held his blaster in during a scuffle in the Mos Eisley Cantina. It was also demonstrated by Count Dooku cutting off the lower half of Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber arm.
A sai cha was the instance when a Jedi beheaded his or her opponent. Sai Cha comes from ancient words meaning "separate" and "head" This was often reserved for the most dangerous of enemies—the ones a Jedi could not afford to keep alive. It could also be used on a being that was lethal but not sentient, such as an assassin droid. The form was used by Mace Windu to kill Jango Fett, as well by Anakin above Coruscant on Count Dooku, at the persuasion of Chancellor Palpatine.
A sai tok, frowned upon by the Jedi because of its Sith-like nature, was the act of cutting an opponent in half, usually separating his or her legs from the torso at the waist. This was demonstrated by Obi-Wan at the ending phase of his duel with Darth Maul.
A shiak was the act of stabbing an opponent. Jedi usually stabbed in the leg or arm, but a Sith variation of this is to stab through the chest, therefore assuring almost certain death to the unlucky victim. This was demonstrated by Darth Maul when he killed Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Sidious when he killed Agen Kolar.
A shiim was a more minute wound to an opponent by the edge of a lightsaber's blade. Depending on circumstance, this could be seen as either a desperation attack or to immobilize an opponent through pain. Jedi used this to stop opponents whom they wanted alive. Count Dooku demonstrated this on Geonosis against Obi-Wan; Dooku made minor cuts on Kenobi's arm and leg in order to immobilize him so that Anakin would be forced to duel Dooku one-on-one.
A sun djem was an attack used by Jedi that deprived the opponent of his/her weapon, the objective usually being not to physically harm the opponent. Sun djem was a very diverse sub-form; moves ranged from spinning a lightsaber to dislodging an opponent's weapon to kicking or punching the opponent. This was demonstrated by Yoda disarming Asajj Ventress on Rugosa
Obi-Wan Kenobi, having severed his former Padawan with a Mou Kei attack, ending their dramatic duel.A mou kei was an attack used by the Sith and some Jedi that dismembered an opponent through a circular motion of the lightsaber, aimed at the major limbs. The objective was to finish a dangerous opponent. This was the attack used by Obi-Wan Kenobi to end his duel with Darth Vader on Mustafar.
A jung in lightsaber combat was a 180-degree turn.
A jung ma was a maneuver used by Jedi to perform a 360-degree spin in which power was gained for an imminent attack on the opponent. Darth Vader and Obi-Wan can be seen using jung ma during their battle on Mustafar. Obi-Wan performed the maneuver again years later moments before he disappeared and became one with the Force during a battle with Darth Vader on the Death Star.
Not a maneuver per se, the kai-kan was a re-enactment of a famous, usually ancient, very dangerous, lightsaber or even sword battle, which only very well trained Jedi attempted to perform.
Dooku applying the sai maneuver during his bout with Obi-Wan Kenobi.A sai was a jump used by Jedi to evade an attack directed at the legs. The Force was the main backbone of the strength, height, and speed at which the jump was executed. The Jedi could then strike downwards, using the fall as a fulcrum for more power. Known uses of it include by Luke Skywalker against Darth Vader during the Battle of Endor, by Anakin Skywalker against Count Dooku at the Battle of Geonosis, Obi-Wan against Darth Vader in their lightsaber fight on Mustafar on the connecting end of the collection arm and by Mace Windu against Darth Sidious. However, this maneuver was used many times by Jedi Knights all over the galaxy.
A shun was a 360-degree turn performed with just a one-handed grip, thus gaining speed for an attack. Darth Vader uses this technique when he spins during the second part of his ill-fated fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar.
The Flowing Water cut was a lightsaber combat technique designed for going blade-to-blade with one's opponent, based on the principle of using the space created when the opponent withdrew their lightsaber offensively to one's own advantage. As the opponent pulled their lightsaber back from a bind, the user would follow it with their blade, in effect causing the opponent to pull the user's blade into themselves.
A Jedi applies the falling leaf technique in combat.The Falling Leaf cut was an ancient lightsaber combat technique that involved spinning on one's feet to "slash from the sky". It might be related to the jung ma and shun techniques. The basic maneuver involved the user spinning and making a fast slash at an opponent standing behind them and then return to face the way they were before the maneuver.
Alter Damage was not a combat maneuver, but rather a rare Force power by which the Jedi could inflict minimal damage with an otherwise lethal cut or stab. This was used to pacify enemies without killing them or injuring them lethally.
Saber barrier was a defensive telekinetic lightsaber combat technique. Designed for dual saber combat, it created a barrier of lightsaber blades by having the lightsabers spin around the saber-wielding Jedi. Kreia used this power against the Jedi Exile in the Trayus Academy on Malachor V, and the Dark Jedi Alora may have used it years later against Jaden Korr. Mace Windu also mastered this technique.
Saber throw was an offensive usage of the lightsaber, combining Force Push and Force Pull allowing the Jedi to throw their lightsaber at targets in a boomerang-like fashion. It was a common Force power, as it was a good long range alternative to the typical short range lightsaber attacks. Darth Vader used the saber throw against Luke Skywalker in their fight on the second Death Star. Since lightsabers switch off when they leave their owner's hand, the thrown lightsaber needed to be telekinetically kept on, however, some lightsabers had a special "blade lock" feature.
The spinning attack technique was a trispzest-based technique, mastered by Maw. It consisted in the trispzest-user spinning wildly in the air while lashing out to all sides with the lightsaber, and was highly effective against multiple opponents. Jedi Grandmaster Yoda used it against Darth Tyranus during their duel on Geonosis. Yoda once again used this technique to battle Darth Sidious in the Senate chamber on Coruscant, though the skills of the Emperor as a duelist were great enough to counter this magnificent move.
A'Sharad Hett bucking Obi-Wan Kenobi in the face with his lightsaber hilt.For a style and method of fighting as focused on grace and precision as lightsaber combat, duelists resorted to physical contact with astonishing regularity.
- A frequent tactic among duelists was to buck opponents in the face with their lightsaber hilts, using it as a set of knuckle-dusters and leaving the opponent momentarily stunned. Examples of this tactic include when Darth Maul smashed his hilt into Qui-Gon Jinn's face during the final portion of their bout, stunning the Jedi Master and opening him up for a fatal thrust to the gut.
- Kicks were often applied in combat, as they allowed a duelist to attack an opponent's open body zone while their blade was occupied, or to off-balance the enemy duelists and knock him off his feet. Examples of this move include during the Duel on Mustafar, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader were seen frequently kicking the other back to give themselves a moment to regain their composure, or during the Battle of Geonosis, where many Jedi combatants kicked down battle droids. In fact, it was not unheard of for duelists to augment their kicks with the Force, literally sending their opponents flying, such as when one of the Sith combatants during the Sacking of Coruscant kicked his Jedi counterpart.
- Punches saw frequent use in lightsaber duels, a common maneuver being to drive aside an opponents blade then catch him in the face with either a hook or a backhand. Examples of this include during the Duel in Theed when Qui-Gon Jinn backhanded Darth Maul, knocking the Sith Lord off one of the catwalks in the Theed Power Generator complex. Pre Vizsla attempted to punch Obi-Wan during their duel on Concordia.
- As the Force provided vastly enhanced physical strength, many more aggressive duelists would physically grab their opponents, usually by the neck to throttle, or by the wrist to disarm. Anakin Skywalker applied this tactic during his first duel with Asajj Ventress, albeit with the normal strength of his prosthetic arm rather than the Force, seizing her wrist and disarming her. Darth Vader applied both tactics simultaneously during his bout with Obi-Wan Kenobi, seizing Kenobi's wrist with his left hand and clamping down on the Jedi Master's throat with his right.
- As disarming was a common goal in lightsaber duels, it was not unheard of for both opponents to lose their weapons, causing the fight to degenerate into a brawl. Such unarmed combat was applied during the bout between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grievous, though Grievous' cyborg body provided him with a clear advantage; or during the Battle of Dantooine, when Mace Windu lost his lightsaber in the chaos of the Seismic tank's attack, and proceeded to physically tear the droid army apart with his bare hands, augmenting his strength and stamina through the Force.
- As the various forms of lightsaber combat were combat forms, they were not limited to use with the lightsaber, and unarmed combat training was standard among many Force-based organizations. Combatants who display exceptional skill at applying their chosen form while unarmed include Kit Fisto, who was described as a "martial arts hurricane"; or Mace Windu, whose unarmed application of his Vaapad form was of such an advanced level that his fists were described as being too fast to see.
Trial of skillEdit
Lightsaber combat was the base point for a Jedi in the traditional Trial of Skill. To pass as a Jedi Knight, a Padawan must show the following:
- They must know all the forms, all the maneuvers, marks of contact (and perform these) of basic lightsaber combat.
- They must show they can use the Force to aid their combat
- They must go through a series of obstacles, often devised by the master for a personal course designed to test the Jedi's weaknesses and skills using the Force, their skills and prowess, and their lightsaber.
- They must prove themselves worthy by proving in combat that they know at least one main form to a very advanced degree and tested to a Jedi standard in a variety of ways and show that they have the skill.
- Must be able to use the saber throw efficiently and effectively.