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Got A Bad feeling

I have a bad feeling about this…

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"Nothing is impossible with the Force."
The Force

Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi use Force push against each other.

Force powers were the manifestations of a Force-sensitive being's connection with the Force, an energy field that surrounded and bound together everything in existence. The nature and practice of such abilities were usually taught to learners by experienced practitioners, such as the Jedi and the Sith. Some techniques required a deep connection with either the light side or the dark side of the Force, but many were not specific to either affinity. The Force was practiced as a form of magic by some groups, such as the Witches of Dathomir, Nightsisters, Mind-witches, and users of Sith magic and Sith alchemy. Force powers can also be used to levitate objects, calm animals, and sense others' feelings.



The Force expressed itself as the Living Force and the Unifying Force. While the Unifying Force was vast and cosmic, part of space and time rather than physical bodies, the Living Force was close to beings in their lives and deaths. Tangible Force abilities—such as soothing others' emotions, moving objects, heightening the senses, jumping, and running—were techniques related to the Living Force.[2]

The Jedi Order[]

"A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack."
―Former Grand Master Yoda[3]
Jedi symbol

A symbol of the Jedi Order

The Jedi Order classified abilities with the Force according to three themes: Control, Sense, and Alter. Jedi Initiates studied Control, which was centered in one's own body and regarded as the basic skills used throughout a being's lifetime. Padawans progressed to Sense, extending themselves into their surrounding environment and expanding their awareness of the Living Force. As Jedi Knights, their education was furthered with Alter, the abilities that physically impacted their surroundings and were the most difficult to master.[2]

The Sith[]

"A Sith knows when to unleash the fury of the dark side, and when to hold back. Patience can be a weapon if you know how to use it, and your anger can fuel the dark side if you learn how to control it."
―Darth Bane[4]
Sith Emblem

An emblem of the Sith

The Sith Purebloods developed ritual methods of manipulating the dark side of the Force through incantations and gestures; the techniques were later adopted by the exiled Dark Jedi on Korriban and the Order of the Sith Lords. A Sith sorcerer's spellcasting techniques could be enhanced by the use of specific amulets or raiments.[5]

The Sith of Darth Bane's legacy divided their powers into three schools or focuses that channeled the dark side: Offense, Body, and Mind. Offense included skills that were dynamic, immediately applicable to lightsaber combat, and required relatively little exertion to deploy. Body drew upon the Living Force in one's own cells to affect another's on the physical plane; as such, it could damage one's body and be hindered by the presence of cybernetics. Mind, which drew upon the Unifying Force, operated in memory and thought rather than the body or physical strength; its disciplines demanded intense concentration and psychic clarity.[5]


By the Jedi Order[]


"Control is internal. It is the Jedi's ability to recognize the Force in himself and to use it to his benefit."
Jedi Master Bodo Baas[6]

A Jedi centers himself in preparation for combat.

The Jedi Order's teaching method began with the aspect of Control, taught to Jedi Initiates as a way to open their minds to the Force and establish a base point for further development. Control was centered on the Initiate's own body and self. Development of these skills would continue throughout a Jedi's life and serve as the foundation for subsequent disciplines.[2]

Three main abilities were centered around Control: tutaminis (energy absorption), curato salva (healing one's own self), and altus sopor (increasing one's focus on the Force).[2]


"…Sense involves the next step, in which the Jedi recognizes the Force in the universe outside herself."
―Jedi Master Bodo Baas[6]

The Sense discipline was taught to Padawans to broaden the scope of their Control abilities. Dipping into a deeper understanding of the Living Force, Sense abilities allowed Force-wielders to immerse themselves in the environment. By the end of their apprenticeship, Padawans were expected to use the Force as an additional sense and be constantly attuned to its undulations.[2]

The Jedi Order divided Sense abilities into four main groups: prima vitae (life detection), tactus otium (Sense Force), tai vordrax (postcognition), and projected telepathy. While there were many other styles to the Sense family, these were considered the most vital to Jedi teachings.[2]


"Alter is the third and most difficult area to master, for it involves the student's ability to modify the Force and redistribute its energies."
―Jedi Master Bodo Baas[6]

Yoda using telekinesis to lift Luke Skywalker's X-wing.

The Jedi Order regarded the Alter discipline as an advanced form of Force use, taught to Jedi Knights who had mastered the arts of Control and Sense. It involved manipulating objects, influencing other beings, and affecting the environment. Such abilities needed to be perfected and honed, but many non-trained Force-sensitives stumbled upon such powers accidentally, which usually resulted in disastrous events. Without advancing to the Alter discipline, individuals could see the Force, but were incapable of manipulating it.[2]

The fundamental Alter techniques were: telekinesis, affect mind, and Alter Environment.[2]

Jedi career paths[]

Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters pursued different careers within the Order based on their innate abilities, including their use of Force powers.[2] Jedi Consulars emphasized the more cerebral Force skills[7] and tended to utilize those powers rather than their lightsabers. Precognition and postcognition, healing, and strong empathic talents were among their specialties. Jedi Guardians often used the Force to enhance their physical capabilities, such as their reaction speed and battle awareness, but they were better known for their talents with lightsabers. Jedi Sentinels, as described by Jedi recruiter Morrit Ch'gally, struck a balance between the Guardians and the Consulars and also developed more practical abilities that did not rely upon the Force; however, some had an intuitive understanding of machinery and technology through mechu-deru.[2]

By the Sith[]


"Offense encompasses the Force skills with immediate, dynamic applications for lightsaber combat."
―Darth Bane, in Book of Sith[5]

In Darth Bane's teachings, the school or focus called Offense included immediately applicable techniques that required little exertion, making them particularly useful in lightsaber duels. Such skills included Inertia, Blind, Push, Choke, and Throw.[5]


"The second school, or focus, Body, encompasses those abilities that draw from the living Force. They emanate from your own cells and affect the physical structures of others."
―Darth Bane, in Book of Sith[5]

Another of Bane's teachings, Body drew from the living Force in one's own cells to physically affect another being, at the possible cost of damaging the user's own body. Body techniques included lightning, convection, cryokinesis, drain life, and death field.[5]


"The third school, or focus, 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."
―Darth Bane, in Book of Sith[5]

The last of Bane's focuses or schools was Mind, drawing upon the unifying Force to act upon thought and memory instead of the physical realm of the body. Unlike Offense, intense concentration and psychic strength were demanded by abilities such as Crucitorn, Hatred, Horror, Memory Walk, and Mind Shard[5]

Sith magic[]

"It is not sufficient to simply use Force powers, as the Jedi teach. Ritual gives spellcasting added power."
Sorzus Syn, journal excerpt in Book of Sith[5]

The incantations of Sith magic were originated by the Sith species. They included Sutta Chwituskak (Bolt of Hatred), Odojinya (Dark Side Web), Qâzoi Kyantuska (Suppress Thought), Dwomutsiqsa (Summon Demon), and Tsaiwinokka Hoyakut (Reanimated Dead).[5]

Relativists and the Potentium[]

Following an alternative philosophy regarding the Force, relativists argued that the dark side did not exist within the Force itself. They believed darkness was instead a manifestation of the individual Force-wielder's mind; since darkness was relative to the purity of their intentions, the use of dark side powers was justified if their intent was pure.[2] The Potentium philosophy and those who followed it held such beliefs, which both the Jedi Order[6] and the Sith regarded as a misguided and inaccurate view of the Force.[8] The name of the theory was also used by a group founded in 132 BBY by Leor Hal, who was expelled from the Jedi Order. Hal and his disciples taught that the Force, which they also called the Potentium, was inherently and inevitably good and without a dark side, and a being's connection with it should not be obscured through training or discipline.[6]

Behind the scenes[]


Luke Skywalker using Force Choke, a form of telekinesis.

West End Games originally established the Control, Sense, and Alter split for roleplaying game purposes in the first edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. As game mechanic, they functioned as three Force skills that a player character could train through skill points; without training, the skills could not be used. Force powers were methods of using one or more Force skills, with each power requiring a skill roll to determine its success or failure. For instance, "Contort/Escape" was a power governed by the Control skill, while "Projective Telepathy" required both Control and Sense. The rulebook emphasized that a power was not a "spell."[9]

The 2007 Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition Core Rulebook from Wizards of the Coast instead had a single Use the Force skill with Force Sensitivity and Force Training feats; Force powers were governed by Use the Force skill checks. Alter, Control, and Sense became Force talent trees rather than skills, alongside another talent tree for characters with Power of the Dark Side.[10] The reference book Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, written by Ryder Windham and published by Del Rey on November 27, 2007,[11] canonized the names Control, Sense, and Alter as in-universe descriptions used to classify various uses of the Force rather than purely game mechanics.[6]


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Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]