This in-depth tutorial will provide Padawans with a comprehensive overview of the 7 classical forms of lightsaber combat in the Star Wars universe. It is designed to teach you the origins, purpose, and unique techniques of each form so you can understand and learn how to perform them.
Table of Contents
- Background on the Evolution of Lightsaber Dueling Forms
- 7 classic forms of lightsaber combat
- Form I: Shii-Cho(The Sarlacc Form)
- Form II: Makashi(The Duelist's Form)
- Form III: Soresu(The Defensive Form)
- Form IV: The Agility Form
- Form V: Shien/Djem So(The Power Forms)
- Form VI: Niman: The Adaptable Form
- Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad(The Vicious Form)
- The key differences in the lightsaber dueling between the Jedi and Sith
- The Ending: Mastering the 7 Forms of saber combat
Background on the Evolution of Lightsaber Dueling Forms
The lightsaber is one of the most iconic weapons in the Star Wars galaxy. But more than just an elegant weapon, for the Jedi and Sith it is a conduit for their connection to the Force. Over the millennia, these groups developed lightsaber combat into a complex, choreographed martial artform.
In the earliest days of the Jedi Order, lightsaber dueling was relatively rudimentary. But as force adepts grew more skilled and battles against Dark Jedi and the Sith arose, new forms evolved. Each generation of Jedi and Sith refined and perfected their martial techniques and tactics. New styles were created to play to the strengths of particular wielders.
Lightsaber combat became about more than just attack and defense. Technical mastery of your body's positioning and angles was crucial. The styles grew ever more acrobatic and kinetic, incorporating force-empowered mobility. Yet discipline and control were always emphasized to avoid reckless violence.
The path to lightsaber mastery became a lifelong devotion. Younglings started with basic forms and graduated to more sophisticated styles as their skills progressed. Both the Jedi and Sith orders extolled the virtues of perfect form, elegant bladework, creativity of technique and unity between fighter and weapon.
While the Jedi and Sith have very different philosophies, they share a reverence for the art of the lightsaber duel. Their elegant dances of death have enthralled fans for generations.
7 classic forms of lightsaber combat
The lightsaber is an iconic weapon of the Star Wars universe and a symbol of the Jedi and Sith orders. Much training and dedication goes into mastering the forms and techniques of lightsaber combat into a practical martial art. There are 7 classical forms that Force adepts devote themselves to learning. Each form was developed at different eras for different needs in weapon-based combat.
|Form||Main Characteristics||Representative Characters|
|Form I: Shii-Cho||Basic and versatile, focuses on wide, sweeping strikes and defense.||Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano|
|Form II: Makashi||Formal and elegant, emphasizes precise strikes and dueling techniques.||Count Dooku|
|Form III: Soresu||Defensive and efficient, centers on strong defense and counterattacks.||Obi-Wan Kenobi|
|Form IV: Ataru||Acrobatic and agile, utilizes acrobatics, kicks, and jumps in combat.||Yoda|
|Form V: Shien/Djem So||Powerful and aggressive, combines offense and defense in a balanced manner.||Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker|
|Form VI: Niman||Balanced and adaptable, incorporates elements from other forms.||Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi|
|Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad||Fierce and intense, channels inner darkness and uses unorthodox moves.||Mace Windu|
Form I: Shii-Cho(The Sarlacc Form)
Shii-Cho is one of the most ancient styles, focused on broad motions and attacking multiple target zones on the body. To utilize Shii-Cho:
- Adopt a wide neutral stance with feet shoulder-width apart
- Keep your blade hand extended and prepare broad diagonal slashes
- Pivot your torso for powerful sweeping strikes across your body
- Change levels between high and low target areas unpredictably
- Use spinning motions to build momentum and strike multiple opponents
Notable practitioners: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul.
Form II: Makashi(The Duelist's Form)
Makashi evolved from Shii-Cho as a precision form optimized for lightsaber duels. It relies on elegant footwork and economical bladework aimed at disarming your opponent. To wield Makashi:
- Lead with your front foot in a forward-leaning dueling stance
- Keep your blade upright and close to your body, prepared to strike
- Subtly adjust positioning with quick footwork and steps
- Target your enemy's weapon with controlled jabs, parries and ripostes
- Remain balanced, ready to fluidly counter any counter-strikes
Notable practitioners: Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress.
Form III: Soresu(The Defensive Form)
Soresu developed strong defensive capabilities against blaster bolts. Tight, efficient motions provide impenetrable protection from all angles. To utilize Soresu:
- Adopt a squared frontal stance with feet under shoulders
- Angle blade down and across body in a defensive position
- Shift subtly to deflect incoming fire from any direction
- Only attack when necessary with efficient thrusts at openings
- Disperse energy using momentum-absorbing motions and blade contact
Notable practitioners: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Kanan Jarrus.
Form IV: The Agility Form
Ataru is an aggressive acrobatic form exploiting force-enhanced mobility for unpredictability. To apply Ataru:
- Use force jumps, spins, rolls to maneuver around opponent
- Attack unexpectedly from multiple angles using mobility
- Switch quickly between offensive and defensive stances
- Press offensive with force-boosted speed and change of direction
- Generate power for strikes via spinning and twisting motions
Notable practitioners: Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn.
Form V: Shien/Djem So(The Power Forms)
Shien and Djem So evolved from Soresu, employing motions to redirect attacks back at the enemy and enable powerful counter-strikes. To utilize Shien/Djem So:
- Adopt a strong neutral stance, ready to shift on your feet
- Angle blade down across body to intercept enemy attacks
- Follow momentum of strikes to redirect them away from yourself
- Immediately counter-attack openings after redirections
- Use overhead power strikes to overwhelm opponent's defenses
Notable practitioners: Anakin Skywalker (later Darth Vader), Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano.
Form VI: Niman: The Adaptable Form
Niman attempts to balance sequences and techniques from multiple forms situationally. To apply Niman:
- Reactively shift between offensive and defensive stances;
- Combine sequences from different forms;
- Adjust positioning and angles fluidly via footwork
- Modulate attacking and blocking as needed
- Adapt tactics, do not overcommit to any one approach
Notable practitioners: Mace Windu, Plo Koon.
Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad(The Vicious Form)
Juyo/Vaapad draws heavily on inner rage and passion to unleash extreme aggression through chaotic and unpredictable sequences. To unleash Juyo/Vaapad:
- Channel your dark emotions to augment the power of strikes
- Attack with ferocious and erratic patterns
- Use unpredictable angles to overwhelm opponents
- Press the offensive relentlessly and without hesitation
- Do not defend, only counterattack with vicious precision
Notable practitioners: Mace Windu, Sora Bulq.
The path to lightsaber mastery is long, but dedication to the classical forms and adaptability in combat will serve any Force adept well. With training and practice, the elegance and power of lightsaber dueling can be attained.
The key differences in the lightsaber dueling between the Jedi and Sith
The Jedi philosophy is more meditative and controlled, while the Sith philosophy taps into raw emotion and aggression. Their contrasting combat doctrines reflect their different approaches to the Force.
- Jedi view lightsaber combat as a means of defense and protection, only attacking when necessary. The Sith use it offensively and aggressively to dominate opponents.
- Jedi fight to disarm or neutralize opponents without killing. Sith aim to kill or destroy enemies mercilessly.
- Jedi believe combat should be used as a last resort, with restraint. Sith relish battle and give in to their passions while dueling.
- Jedi focus on fluidity, control, and mastery over chaos. Sith channel chaos, anger, and hatred to overwhelm opponents.
- Jedi value finesse and precision in form. Sith prioritize ruthlessness, power, and sheer force.
- Jedi fight in harmony with the Force. Sith bend the Force to their will violently.
- Jedi seek to find balance between offensive and defensive tactics. Sith charge and attack relentlessly.
- Jedi favor reasoned tactics and discipline over emotion. The Sith weaponize their passion and rage.
- Jedi see lightsaber skills as a means to protect others selflessly. The Sith view it as a tool for domination.
The Ending: Mastering the 7 Forms of saber combat
Learning the intricacies of all 7 classical forms of lightsaber combat takes extensive dedication and practice. But immersing yourself in this elegant martial artform can provide great insight into yourself and your connection to the Force.
Obi-Wan Kenobi once called lightsabers "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age." The beauty within these lethal blades is the journey toward self-mastery that wielding them represents. Lightsaber combat is not just about winning duels against opponents. It is about seeking balance within yourself and finding harmony with the force that binds the universe together. That is the ultimate goal in mastering all 7 forms.