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"Master Kenobi, you disappoint me. Yoda holds you in such high esteem… surely you can do better!"
Count Dooku to Obi-Wan Kenobi[1]

Dun Möch was a form of combat that used distraction and doubt, usually through taunting, in conjunction with lightsaber combat.

The Sith aimed to completely dominate an opponent's spirit through whatever means possible by employing their own lightsaber combat doctrine. Dun Möch commonly involved spoken taunts, jeers, and jests that exposed the opponent's hidden, inner weaknesses or doubts, which had the end result of eroding the opponent's will. Mental attacks would also be utilized during combat in order to strip one's concentration with the Force, making an opponent less precise and effective. Such a thing could be quite deadly, especially against Jedi, since concentration was of vital importance when using the Force. As such, Dun Möch embodied using the Force as a form of psychological warfare.


"Make him doubt himself, his beliefs, or his intentions. Such things disrupt connections to the Force—and death soon follows."
HK-47 to Meetra Surik, on how to defeat Darth Sion[2]

Darth Vader using Dun Möch on Cloud City against his son.

Correctly executing Dun Möch required great patience, a rare trait of the Sith during the time of the Brotherhood of Darkness. This need for patience was exhibited by Darth Bane during his duel with the Zabrak Sirak during a combat training session at the Sith academy on Korriban. He exhibited patience by drawing out the battle and demoralized his opponent by withholding the final blow and capitalizing on his mistakes. Instead he allowed the tantalizing closeness of Sirak's defeat fuel his vengeance before unleashing it with a strong enough blow to disarm him and end the duel. Lightsaber combat instructor and Blademaster Kas'im commended Bane's use of Dun Möch and declared it a valuable lesson to all of the other students at the conclusion of the fight.[3]

The most successful practitioners of Dun Möch were the ones that took the practice to the level of plotting. Desann used Dun Möch by faking the death of Jan Ors and taunting Kyle Katarn about his powerlessness, tricking the enraged Katarn to reveal the location of the Valley of the Jedi.[4] Darth Traya lied to Colonel Tobin (who was working for Darth Nihilus at the time) about a supposed Jedi Academy on Telos IV. Nihilus took the bait, which left him vulnerable to Meetra Surik, who killed him.[2] Darth Sidious, arguably the greatest practitioner, would plan events that would take years, if not decades, to come to fruition. The Clone Wars could be considered an extreme usage of Dun Möch by Sidious, in order to distract the Jedi Order to allow him to wipe them all out quickly with Order 66.[5] Aside from this, he also used a rather extreme version of Dun Möch during his duel with Yoda in the Senate, where he proceeded to hurl several repulsorpods at Yoda, constantly forcing Yoda to dodge until Yoda turned the tables on him by redirecting a repulsorpod back at him, forcing Sidious to dodge.[6]

However, a common misconception is that Dun Möch was only used by Sith. Like Force lightning, Dun Möch could also be employed by Jedi in certain circumstances. It is theorized by some that this may have occurred during the confrontation between Darth Sion and Meetra Surik on Malachor V, though this use did not match the standard usage of Dun Möch and was completely different from any seen before. Sion was indestructible by conventional methods, as he was capable of healing his wounds in an instant. Surik instead used taunts and arguments to erode Sion's will, which in the end caused Sion to sacrifice his own life to the Force.[2] However, most applications of the technique by Jedi had the more benign goal of motivating opponents to surrender, as shown by Obi-Wan Kenobi's taunts of Asajj Ventress during their duel on Teth, though again, this may not have actually been Dun Möch.[7]

Notable examples[]

"Even with my vision clouded, I recognize the fighting style of Count Dooku. Your version is unrefined. Amateurish. Sloppy."
―Luminara Unduli to Asajj Ventress[8]

Kyle Katarn engaging Boc Aseca, a frequent practitioner of Dun Möch.

Darth Tyranus used Dun Möch on Geonosis, taunting Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda respectively.[1] Tyranus would later focus this skill on Anakin during their rematch onboard the Invisible Hand,[6] but before that, he used this skill to taunt Anakin of his fear of pain and loss.[7] Darth Sidious also used this form against Yoda in his duel against the Grand Master, both by taunting Yoda verbally and displaying his mastery of telekinesis in an "unnecessary" flashy fashion.[6]

Luminara Unduli used this in her duel with Asajj Ventress, mentioning to Ventress that her fighting style appeared to be a sloppy version of Darth Tyranus' Makashi form, though she suffered from the boomerang effect.[8]

Darth Maul also used this in his second duel against Obi-Wan Kenobi, by cruelly reminding the Jedi Master how Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn in front of him, to a great effect.[9] He later applied this against Judd during the Battle of Moorjhone, forcing the Jedi Master to choose between facing the Sith Lord and saving the Moorjhoni from certain destruction. This gave Maul enough time to rescue his brother, Savage Opress.[10]

Galen Marek employed this technique against Darth Vader during their duel, taunting him concerning his inability to break free from the Emperor's control while Marek himself had broken free of Vader's. These taunts enraged the already frustrated Vader, causing him to redouble his attack against Marek and ultimately to waste a great deal of energy, tipping the duel in Marek's favor.[11] During the Assault on Kamino, Vader used Dun Möch against Starkiller, an imperfect clone of Galen Marek, telling him to overcome his artificial feelings for Juno Eclipse. Though enraged and possessed with the desire for revenge, the clone stayed his hand and reluctantly spared his creator's life.[12] Vader, in 0 BBY would use it against Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Death Star,[13] but, as shown by Kenobi's calm retorts, he experienced little success.[14] He used it again facing Luke Skywalker in their duel on Bespin's Cloud City to great effect.[15] Vader applied the technique again during their duel on the second Death Star; however this usage proved counter-productive, as Skywalker was spurred into a rage instead of being demoralized by the taunting.[16]

Kyle Katarn was repeatedly exposed to Dun Möch during the Valley of the Jedi crisis against the Seven Dark Jedi. During Katarn's duel with Boc Aseca, the Twi'lek never ceased laughing and taunting with gibes such as "You're an angry one, aren't you?" and "Feisty!", combining them with his evasive jumping technique to frustrate Katarn into making a mistake. After their respective defeats, both Maw and Jerec attempted to goad Katarn into turning to the dark side by striking them down. Maw, in a sense, succeeded. By the time Katarn faced Jerec, however, his emerging maturity in the light side caused him to react uniquely to the Dun Möch: Katarn neither struck Jerec down nor spared him; instead, he rearmed the murderous Dark Jedi so as to kill him in honorable combat.[17]

Desann's Reborn warriors utilized Dun Möch to frustrate the members of the New Jedi Order that they encountered in combat. Kyle Katarn, once again exposed to Dun Möch, managed to ignore their taunts and emerge victorious in every duel he had with the Reborn.[4] The New Reborn of Tavion Axmis's Sith cult carried on this tradition and were often heard taunting Jedi with expressions like "Do you fear me?" and "I thought Jedi were powerful."[18]

Jacen Solo applied Dun Möch when he used the Force to hurl dislodged bricks at Mara Jade Skywalker during their brawl on Kavan. When that proved useless in stopping Mara's advance, Jacen used a clever variation of Dun Möch by disguising his own face as his cousin's with the Force to manipulate Mara Jade Skywalker's love for her son against her. The result was Mara hesitating during the fight and Jacen mercilessly striking Mara down.[19]

Jacen's own sister Jaina employed Dun Möch against her brother in his new guise of Darth Caedus, Dark Lord of the Sith. While dueling Caedus in the bowels of his personal Star Destroyer, the Anakin Solo, Jaina used the Force to hurl bodies, gurneys, and other items at Caedus, in an attempt to halt his advance. Luke Skywalker used Dun Möch in the same battle by disguising Jaina as himself.[20]

Over one hundred years later, Cade Skywalker used Dun Möch against Darth Krayt during their duel, taunting him about his Yuuzhan Vong "armor" that was slowly killing him.[21]

Boomerang effect[]

"Closer, but still so awkward. Your master would be ashamed."
Satal Keto chides Ulic Qel-Droma further into darkness[22]

Maw relentlessly taunting Kyle Katarn

If not carefully applied, Dun Möch could backfire upon the user, spurring the intended target to anger instead of overwhelming him/her with fear. During a sparring match, Exar Kun tried to make Sylvar lose focus by claiming the superiority of Humans over Cathar, only to have her lash out at him with her claws.[23] Krath leader Satal Keto heavily taunted the Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma during their duel, so much so that Ulic succumbed to his anger and struck Keto down in a fit of rage.[24]

Darth Tyranus was victimized by this twice, both times when he was engaging Anakin Skywalker. The first instance took place during their duel on Tatooine, which Tyranus had spent taunting Skywalker, culminating in him displaying a hologram of Skywalker's then-Padawan Ahsoka Tano being ambushed by three of Dooku's IG-100 MagnaGuards. The second instance took place during their duel on the Invisible Hand, when Dooku taunted Anakin about his fear and his refusal to use his hate and anger. Both instances prompted Anakin to viciously attack Dooku, ultimately defeating him. However, Dooku was spared in the first incident.[7][6]

Darth Tyranus being victimized by the Dun Möch boomerang effect.

Luminara Unduli also became a victim of this when she taunted Asajj Ventress, calling her lightsaber style "unrefined", "amateurish", and "sloppy". This angered Ventress, who pressed the attack. With the aid of a blast of hot steam from a nearby vent, Ventress temporarily damaged one of Unduli's eyes, and looked likely to win the encounter. Only the intervention of Ahsoka Tano swung the balance of the encounter in favor of the Jedi.[8]

Anakin Skywalker was later the victim of this effect when, as Darth Vader, he attempted to taunt his son Luke on the second Death Star, only to send Luke into a fit of anger.[16] The same happened to Maw who, injured, taunted Kyle Katarn with false and exaggerated details of his father's death. This resulted in Kyle giving in to anger and striking down the unarmed Dark Jedi.[17]

The Sith Saber, Gavar Khai taunted Ben Skywalker when they dueled. However, it had the opposite effect on the young Jedi, calming him which gave him the edge in the duel.[25]

"Dun möch may backfire if it provokes an enemy into mindless anger. But rage opens your enemy to the dark side, which can be exploited in its own way."
Darth Sidious' side comment on a page of Darth Bane's The Rule of Two[26]

In some cases, spurring an otherwise passive target to anger was the desired effect, as opposed to failed usage. Darth Sidious often employed this against potential apprentices such as Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker, and Luke Skywalker, in order to make them give into their inner darkness and therefore make them easier to convert to the dark side of the Force. Desann's unorthodox application also relied on this, as he needed Kyle Katarn to be angry enough to seek out the Valley of the Jedi to regain his Force powers quickly, thus revealing the Valley's location.[4]

Inverse Dun Möch[]

"Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you. The conflict."
is no conflict."
"You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before and I don't believe you'll destroy me now.
―Luke Skywalker, to Darth Vader[16]

Rachi Sitra uses inverse Dun Möch on an opponent

In addition, Luke Skywalker used the very opposite of Dun Möch aboard the second Death Star. The young Jedi attempted to turn Darth Vader to the light by reminding him that there was still good left in him and that he was still capable of love. Luke was successful and Anakin Skywalker ultimately redeemed himself.[16] Around 4,000 years earlier, this method may have been used by Revan on the Star Forge to redeem Bastila Shan, and later Revan attempted to redeem his former apprentice much in the same way.[27] Even earlier still, Jedi Knight Cay Qel-Droma may have used this method in an attempt to sunder his brother, Ulic, from the throes of the Krath. By using his brotherly love, Cay sought to penetrate the darkness surrounding Ulic and bring him back into the light. His attempts were in vain, however, for Ulic only gave in to his anger and murdered Cay in cold blood. Only in death were Cay's urges successful; upon seeing his brother's murdered corpse, Ulic renounced the dark side and started down the path to redemption.[28]



Notes and references[]