Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!
OFFENCE - Offence encompasses the Force skills with immediate, dynamic, applications for lightsaber combat. All require relatively little exertion, so they can be easily applied at any moment. Think of Offence as a dagger saved in reserve for a fatal thrust.
BODY - Body encompasses those abilities that draw from the living Force. They emanate from your own cells and affect the physical structures of others. For this reason, any cyborg limbs or enhancement will hinder your ability to conjure the effects of Body.
MIND - Mind encompasses those abilities that draw from the unifying Force. These operate on a different plane than the physical -- they exist in the realm of thought and memory. The disciplines of Mind require intense concentration and are mentally taxing. Physical strength will not help you here, only psychic clarity.
Lightsaber Combat Form I - Shii-Cho
As Shii-Cho was an extension of traditional sword-fighting styles, it retained the basics of attacks, parries, and body zones established by such ancient methods. Shii-Cho fostered an emotionally-heated mindset, which resulted in the considerable temptation to execute combat with lethal intent, requiring great restraint to exercise the form without going too far. Despite the pull to kill, the style was designed for the purpose of disarming without seriously injuring.
Shii-Cho swordplay was simplistic and raw. In the hands of a master, the bladework was described as "like watching water flow over the falls." However, less adept practitioners displayed much more basic and somewhat clumsy performance. In combat, Form I encouraged deliberate tactics, calling for continuous, step-by-step advancement while cutting off the opponent's angles.
Shii-Cho was specialized towards engaging multiple opponents, the wide, sweeping motions being ideally suited towards attacking numerous adversaries. However, Form I was not as useful against single opponents, as such enemies had complete mobility and could find a weakness in Shii-Cho's comparatively clumsy bladework.
Skill Level: No Training
Form II - Makashi
Of the seven forms, Makashi was the most akin to bladed weapon dueling, developed during an era where engagements with Darksiders and rogue Jedi became an almost routine activity. Form II's primary purpose was to serve as a counter to the first form, Shii-Cho, by relying on precision swordplay to counter Form I's sweeping movements, with a heavy focus on preventing disarmament, the primary goal of Form I. The early levels of Makashi were devised to provide a defense against an opponent's blade, allowing an initiate in the style to defend himself with minimal effort, but needing to be paired with a more offensive style to score a winning blow.
The higher levels of the form proved considerably more effective. Form II bladework encouraged precision and efficiency over power, using jabs, parries and light cuts rather than slashes, blocks and chops. The blade manipulation required for this form was very calculated, requiring intense focus and expert timing. It was described as elegant, powerful and precise, relying on feints to confuse and trap opponents. These refinements allowed a user of the form to attack and defend with minimal energy expenditure. Makashi also placed a great deal of emphasis on footwork in both attack and defense. The footwork of Form II practitioners commonly followed a single line, front and back, shifting the feet to keep in perfect balance as the practitioner advanced and retreated. Makashi was a style based on balance, on back-and-forth charges, thrusts, and sudden retreats. Makashi practitioners were also uncommonly adept at defending themselves from Force-based attacks. These elements combined to create a form that was extraordinarily effective for lightsaber combat against a single opponent.
Form II emphasized fluid movement and anticipation of a weapon being swung at its target, and so required very smooth motion of both the blade and the body, and practitioners often wielded the blade one-handed for a greater range of movement. With a skilled practitioner, the results were deadly. In fact, masters of the form often seemed so relaxed when employing it that they appeared to be dancing. Makashi duelists also trained themselves to avoid enslavement to form, as such devotion opened the practitioner to be defeated by unpredictable tactics.
However, for all its effectiveness, Form II was not without its weaknesses. As it was designed to combat enemy duelists rather than enemy gunmen, it provided poor blast-deflection training. While this was ultimately the reason for the style's decline and eventual obsolescence, it could be overcome through skill and practice. Also, Makashi was most potent when used against a single opponent, and was reduced in effectiveness when fighting groups of adversaries. However, skilled practitioners could still fare very well against multiple foes.
Skill Level: No Training
Form III - Soresu
The Soresu form was devised to counter the wide-spread emergence of blasters, a weapon that the previous Makashi form wasn't equipped to combat. The pragmatic Form III became the most defensive of the seven forms, and utilized tight moves, consisting of subtle dodges and efficient parries, intended to provide maximum defensive coverage, and minimize exposure to ranged fire. Over time, Form III came to transcend this basic and pragmatic origin, and became an expression of non-aggressive Jedi philosophy.
Soresu utilized tight motions, lightsaber moving every second in an attempt to achieve near-total protection, and expend as little energy in the process as possible. Form III stressed quick reflexes and fast positional transition, in order to overcome the rapidity with which a blaster could be fired. This technique minimized the body's exposure, making a well-trained practitioner practically invincible, which allowed Soresu to be effective against both single enemies and multiple opponents, as well as blasters and lightsabers. Form III involved preparation for prolonged battles where the user observed and learned as much as possible about their adversary's technique while engaged in combat. Also, being more optimized for lengthy battles, a Soresu user had the ability to gain control of a combat situation, creating multiple options for the Jedi employing the form. A Form III user could choose to kill, disarm, or even reason with their opponent.
The core tenets of Soresu encouraged duelists to place themselves "within the eye of the storm:" to maintain a calm center, undistracted and undisturbed by the conflict around them. In keeping with this idea, Soresu incorporated powerful defensive techniques that were flexible enough to adapt to almost any circumstance, at the cost of never reaching past the figurative "eye of the storm." In other words, Soresu focused almost entirely on self-defense, often at the expense of offensive capabilities. The tactics encouraged by the style involved the reliance on pure defense while essentially waiting out the opponent, holding back until his frustration or fatigue inevitably caused his defense to lapse, then employing an alternate, more aggressive attack to take advantage of this. Overall, the whole point of Soresu was to deflect blaster fire out of harm's way and safely prolong a lightsaber fight in hopes of wearing an opponent down.
Truly focused masters of Soresu were extremely formidable due to their strong defensive technique, as well as the well-rounded nature of the form itself, effective against both blasters and lightsabers. However, it should be noted that Form III facilitated survival rather than victory, as Soresu possessed no dedicated offensive sequences of its own. Form III initiates were more than capable of defending themselves from attack, but they needed a considerable amount of experience to learn how to effectively counter-attack and entrap opponents. Masters had to maintain an incredibly strong focus on the center of the combat circle, since the defensive tactics of the form included guards and parries that engaged very close to the body. Jedi with small lapses in their otherwise strong defense left little room to avoid injury. As a result of this defensive mindset, Soresu practitioners often had a great deal of difficulty in seizing the offensive initiative in combat situations. Also, the goal of many Soresu practitioners was to prolong the fight, the idea being to cause the enemy to become fatigued or frustrated as they attempted to keep up their offense. However, this tactic ran the risk of fatiguing the user if said user was to face an adversary who could maintain an aggressive but cautious offense.
Skill Level: No Training
Form IV - Ataru
Ataru was an aggressive combat form relying on a combination of strength, speed, and agility. Due to this, it was also called the Way of the Hawk-bat or the Aggression Form. Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with wide, fast, and powerful swings. Form IV practitioners 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 perform amazing feats of acrobatics, such as somersaults and backflips, not only for attack, but also to evade the slashes and strikes of their opponents. Jedi utilizing Ataru needed to incorporate all the Force powers that involved surpassing normal physical ranges of motion, speed, and agility in order to be successful. Running, jumping, and spinning were all emphasized in learning the elaborate kinetics of the form.
Those who used Form IV could move at high speeds and could rain strong blows, jumping and attacking through the air. Powerful and quick 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—the front, the sides, overhead, or behind. The Force not only allowed them to perform athletic feats not possible otherwise, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat.
Skill Level: No Training
Form Va - Shien
The Jedi of the Old Republic who developed and employed the classical Form V variant Shien dubbed it the Perseverance Form. Shien was described as being well-adapted to guard against blaster fire and enemy strikes without compromising one's ability to launch powerful counterattacks. The style worked best when countering attacks from multiple opponents, and was typically less effective against a single adversary. Shien existed at least as early as the Jedi Civil War, which began in 3959 BBY. With its focus on repelling blaster fire, Shien kept in mind that Jedi were often outnumbered by their opponents and needed to defend themselves while retaining offensive capability. Additionally, there was a Sith variant of the form called Sith Shien, though it is not specified how this form might have differed from it's Jedi counterpart.
The Shien opening stance was a high guard position, with the lightsaber hilt held in a two-handed grip above the user's head and the blade angled upward and behind the user. The dominant leg was held back, enabling powerful step-through strikes to be utilized. Shien users were also proficient in a maneuver referred to as the "Barrier of Blades," which defended the user from blasterfire and redirected some of the incoming blasts. "Shien Deflection" was another technique familiar to users of that Form V variant, allowing practitioners to simultaneously deflect weapons fire and leap toward an opponent. However, Shien was not without its shortcomings—it was particularly weak against a single opponent.
Some users used the reverse Shien grip, an unorthodox variation of Shien where the wielder would hold the lightsaber hilt in a backward position, exposing the front. This grip allowed the user to perform long, sweeping strikes to take down several enemies at a time, whipping the blade forward with the movement of throwing a punch. This variation was rarely seen and, indeed, almost a matter of controversy among lightsaber masters.
Skill Level: No Training
Form Vb - Djem So
Djem So was the creation of a group of Form III masters who felt that Soresu was too passive a form. It addressed the shortcomings of Form III, in which a Jedi Master could maintain a prolonged defense but was likewise unable to overcome a skilled opponent. Utilizing a combination of blocks and parries, a Djem So user maintained a proper foundation of defense against both ranged and melee attacks. While a Soresu user stayed on the defensive and only counterattacked when necessary or when an opening appeared in the opponent's defense, a Djem So practitioner was not as passive. Immediately after defending against an opponent's strike, a Djem So stylist followed with an attack of their own, bringing the force of the opponent's own blow against them and seeking to dominate the duel. Djem So placed a heavy focus on brute strength and pure power, with wide, powerful strikes and parries followed immediately by a counterattack.
Unlike Soresu or Ataru, Djem So required the user not only to counterattack, but also to press the assault, combining Force-enhanced strength with powerful blade combinations to overpower and overwhelm an opponent's defenses. Djem So's sheer power, when combined with physical and Force-imbued strength, was capable of defeating a user of Makashi, a lightsaber form focused on dueling, finesse, and elegance, when employed by a skilled practitioner.
The Djem So attack stance consisted of holding the lightsaber above the head, angled back and down at an approximately forty-five degree angle. The characteristic Djem So attack was dubbed the "Falling Avalanche," an overhand power blow that crashed down upon an opponent with exceptional force. DjemSo users also employed a tactic known as the "Fluid Riposte," which involved a smooth transition from parrying an attack to a counterstrike. Whereas a failing of Shien was its weakness against a single opponent, Djem So was known for having a lack of mobility.
Skill Level: No Training
Form VIa - Niman
A hybrid fighting style, Niman incorporated elements from the previous forms, mainly Forms I through V, excluding Form II, but balanced out between their various specializations, in keeping with the Jedi quest to achieve harmony and justice without resorting to the rule of power. Form VI covered many of the various moves of lightsaber combat, but due to its emphasis on overall moderation, its focus on bladework was somewhat relaxed. Thusly, the form was easily mastered by those who preferred to devote a high percentage of their time to study and peacekeeping, which made it the preferred form of Jedi Consulars. While the generalization made it ill-suited for lightsaber dueling or fighting on the open battlefield, it was perfectly adequate for facing down criminals and thugs. Due to its "jack-of-all-trades" nature, the success of this form was largely dependent on the practitioner's intuition, improvisation, and creativity in combat rather than the rote responses derived from other forms.
To compensate for this relaxed focus on bladework, Niman training regimens encouraged adherents of the style to incorporate Force powers into combat. Proper management of these tools allowed a Form VI master to control and eliminate an entire group of enemies, though many lower level initiates experienced difficulty attempting this. As Form VI lightsaber combat was derived from the dual-bladed Niman style practiced by the Royale Macheteros of the Kashi Mer, it provided a foundation for the challenging practice. However, while hailed as a practical, all-around fighting form, it was heavily criticized by many for being insufficiently demanding. It should be noted that while Niman provided no decisive edge in battle, it achieved its worth by not leaving its wielder as exposed as some of the more aggressive forms. Due to the relaxed bladework of the form, it was said that most Niman practitioners would find it almost impossible to defeat a Makashi practitioner.
Skill Level: No Training
Form VIb - Jar'kai
Dual-blade fighters, whether classical Niman duelists or individuals applying the Jar'Kai tactic, were able to maintain a strong offense, as the speed of attack that two blades allowed would overwhelm most opponents. A typical maneuver was to continually attack with one blade while relying on the other for defensive coverage, ensuring that the duelist could keep up his guard even as he attacked. However, it was common that both blades be used for offensive purposes, keeping up a continuous wave-front assault.
Another advantage of Jar'Kai was that the two blades made it easier to hold off multiple opponents, as one simply had more blades to parry with. Asajj Ventress, a dual-blade practitioner, demonstrated this during her mission on Ruul, where she held her own against up to three Jedi simultaneously. Dual blades could also be used as a defensive or compensatory measure when engaging another opponent who utilized multiple blades in combat, as shown when Kit Fisto stole and took up one of the blades of the cyborg Grievous, whose mechanical anatomy allowed him to wield up to four lightsabers at once.
Known Jar'Kai techniques and maneuvers include the "Rising Whirlwind", which consisted of a duelist swinging his blades about his body, creating a "whirlwind" of deadly attacks, and the "Twin Strike", in which both blades were swung in an arc towards the opponent in a deadly power attack.
Though a complete fighting system in and of itself, Jar'Kai was easily adapted to other styles. After beginning her tutelage under Darth Tyranus, Asajj Ventress quickly applied Makashi techniques to her practice of Jar'Kai. As Makashi was Tyranus's favored form, Jedi Master Luminara Unduli was able to recognize his training techniques in Asajj's fighting abilities, stating as much. Mace Windu also infused Jar'Kai tactics into his own Vaapad style while on a mission on Haruun Kal, his former apprentice, Depa Billaba, doing likewise.
Skill Level: No Training
Form VIIa - Juyo
Juyo was described as the most vicious form of lightsaber combat, and was said to be filled with both fury and "malignant grace." The form was given the title of the most difficult and demanding form in all of saber combat. Skilled combatants with Juyo were said by Jedi Master Vrook Lamar to be able to "eviscerate a lone enemy." According to the Sith Lord Darth Traya, the form was both chaotic and erratic, with a heavy focus on offense. Juyo's use was controversial among the Jedi Order, as many felt that Juyo violated the "there is no emotion, there is peace" tenet of the Jedi Code due to its requirement to fight under the guidance of controlled passion. The Sith had no such inhibition, and Darth Sidious went so far as to label it a "Sith style".
Jedi Battlemaster Cin Drallig listed bold, direct motions as characteristics of Juyo, qualifying them as more open and kinetic than Form V, but with a less elaborate appearance than Ataru. Drallig contrasted the tactics of Juyo as not nearly as graceful or linked as those of Ataru, instead referring to them as "seemingly unconnected staccato sequences." He also listed one of the strengths of the form as its unpredictability. The form was said to necessitate greater energy than Form V, due to a broader wielding of a user's focus and a deeper emotional link. Despite the challenges inherent in the use of the form, it could serve as a pathway to considerable power.
Skill Level: No Training
Form VIIb - Vaapad
Vaapad was described as more than a fighting style; it was a state of mind that led through the penumbra of the dark side, requiring the user to enjoy the fight, and relish the satisfaction of winning. The practitioner of Vaapad would accept the fury of their opponent, transforming them into one half of a superconducting loop, with the other half being the power of darkness inherent in the opponent. The form was also mentioned with a cautionary warning by the Jedi that use of Vaapad led the user perilously close to the dark side due to its focus on physical combat. Vaapad required a constant and sizable stream of Force use from the user, with a barely contained explosion of Force power essential to all variations of Form VII as another prerequisite for its use. The form's attacks appeared to be unconnected, its motions seemingly unpolished to an untrained observer.
During the later years of the Republic, Jedi Master Mace Windu developed Vaapad with the aid of fellow master Sora Bulq, by drawing inspiration from the movements of a creature, known as both the Vaapad and the Juyo, native to the planet Sarapin. Vaapad users appeared to wield many lightsabers at once, moving too fast to see, just as the vaapad creature would attack with blindingly fast tentacles that were impossible to count until the vaapad was dead. A Vaapad user's attacks would flow into each other with liquid precision, creating the constant near-invisible weave of energy which was the ready-stance of Vaapad. It was also possible to apply Vaapad in unarmed combat, with the user's arms becoming too fast to see, as well as in the use of dual lightsabers. While observing the duel between Darth Sidious and Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker considered Windu's Vaapad bladework to be "an oblate sphere of purple fire" which contained dozens of blades attacking from every angle.
After his fall to the dark side prior to the Clone Wars, Count Dooku described the power of Vaapad as skirting the dark side of the Force, but stated during a duel with Sora Bulq that the form was bridled and weak without direct use of the dark side. Dooku later subverted Bulq to his cause. After Bulq fell to the dark side, he claimed that he had perfected the form, which Windu disputed while engaging Bulq in a lightsaber duel. While Bulq had previously practiced Vaapad with Windu, he was unable to defeat him in combat and their duel ended in a stalemate. Though Windu and Bulq were credited with the creation of the Vaapad variant, the seventh lightsaber form was known, albeit obscurely, by the name Vaapad as early as the end of the New Sith Wars by the Sith Blademaster Kas'im.
How do you admit to someone you're hurting when you can't even admit it to yourself?
The easiest way to start my story is to go back to the start. Not to my birth, that's slightly too far back. I meant let's go back to the age of ten, when I first knew that I was suffering and I felt too guilty to admit it to myself and to other people, when I refused to let people help me because I didn't want to be the weird, problem child.
Running across Courscant, trying to get away. The death of anyone would upset people, possibly be the cause of flowing tears. The death of a child could destroy a household, cause parents to suffer and siblings to wonder, lost and alone. The death of a twin could destroy the other, the bonds twins share closer than any other imaginable bond.
No-one knew how Jorus Alder died. It had happened very suddently on his tenth birthday. He had gone outside to explore while his parents negotiated deals for their trade company. He had been found only twelve minutes later, bleeding from roughly twelve wounds on the body. None of them matched any known blade, all of them too small to be slugthrower shots.
Jacen Alder ran.
He'd shared a very close bond to his twin. His reaction to the death of his sibling was drop a glass, watching it shatter. His second reaction had been to leave, run and be alone. He wanted to suffer alone, he didn't want to deal with people. He didn't know what to say to people, he didn't know the right thing to say to them to help them.