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"He is a fencer. Leverage, position, advantage—they are as natural to him as breathing."
Qui-Gon Jinn's spirit to Yoda on Count Dooku, a Makashi master[5]

Form II, also known as Makashi, The Way of the Ysalamiri, or The Contention Form, was the second of the seven classic forms of lightsaber combat. Developed for the purpose of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, to address the failings of Form I, Makashi was the most dueling-centric of the seven classical forms. Relying on precision and efficiency over Shii-Cho's wild, sweeping motions, Form II allowed an initiate to defend themselves against an opponent with minimal effort, while placing a heavy focus on avoiding disarmament.

Makashi was described as elegant and focused, and was based on balance and footwork to outmaneuver opponents. Fluidity, precision, and economy of motion were relied on, rather than strength, with Form II bladework heavily utilizing jabs and light cuts rather than hack and slash movements. Overall, the form was at its fore when engaged in combat against a single enemy duelist. However, after the Hundred-Year Darkness saw the destruction of most of the galaxy's Dark Jedi, the chances of a Jedi encountering a lightsaber-wielding opponent began to decrease drastically. In the intervening years, the Great Hyperspace War and the Old Sith Wars began and ended in fits and starts, which caused the appearance of Dark Jedi and Sith to take on a sporadic pattern. This, combined with the increasing availability of blaster technology, resulted in Jedi encountering ever-increasing numbers of blaster wielding opponents, but only rarely encountering enemy duelists. As Makashi had been designed strictly for blade-to-blade combat, it lacked an effective means of combating enemies with projectile weapons. Due to this oversight, Makashi lost a great deal of its practical applicability, and over time it faded into relative obsolescence. It would eventually be supplanted by Form III, which was both the most defensive of the seven forms and designed specifically for blast-deflection. However, the style would see a return to prominence during the New Sith Wars, a thousand years of off and on warfare which saw the rise and fall of numerous Sith organizations. After the Battle of Ruusan concluded these wars, the style once again faded from popular use and never regained any widespread practice amongst the Jedi.


"…a technique that helps one resist the Force attacks of an enemy, and is also excellent for lightsaber combat. It does more damage, but it leaves you vulnerable to other attacks. Use it against others wielding the Force or lightsabers, but not against anyone else."

Asajj Ventress utilizes her dual-blade practice of Makashi against Obi-Wan Kenobi's Soresu.

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.[1] 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.[6][7]

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.[1][8][2]

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.[8] Makashi duelists also trained themselves to avoid enslavement to form, as such devotion opened the practitioner to be defeated by unpredictable tactics — what Count Dooku dubbed "the unforeseen".[9]

Dooku Open Seasons

Dooku deflects blaster bolts.

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.[10] 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;[7] Dooku could engage up to three opponents with little difficulty, relying on his footwork to outmaneuver them and take them one at a time;[10][11] Asajj Ventress compensated by wielding dual-blades.[12][13]

However, the greatest flaw of the Makashi system of combat was its inability to generate kinetic energy in its application; the focus on precision and blade control hampered an adherent's ability to generate momentum in both offensive and defensive maneuvers. This meant that a duelist who possessed a sufficient level of physical strength could potentially overwhelm a Makashi practitioner, shunting aside strikes from the form's precision offense and simply bashing through its evasive, footwork-oriented defense. This lack of physical force left Makashi practitioners vulnerable to duelists utilizing more contemporary forms, which emphasized power and brute strength. This weakness was especially pronounced against practitioners of the Djem So variant of Form V, as the style was based almost entirely around fast, strength-oriented swordplay.[10] However, this weakness could, to varying degrees, be compensated for with rigorous strength training or cybernetic augmentation.[14][12] Additionally, as demonstrated by Dooku's numerous victories against power duelists during the Clone Wars, simply utilizing a strength-oriented style against a Makashi practitioner was no guarantee of victory.[8]

Known moves and maneuvers[]

"Masters of Form II develop unique offenses and defenses, and trained studiously against having their weapon taken or damaged."
―Cin Drallig on Form II[15]

A Jedi duelist performs the Makashi salute prior to engaging an opponent.

Being a style geared towards efficiency, Makashi adherents relied on balance and economy of movement, preferring to refrain from the leaps and acrobatics common to Form IV.[16] The Form II opening stance was a single handed low guard. The saber would be held in the strong hand of the user, and held at their side, the blade pointed down, and the feet would be shoulder width apart. Some faced their opponent side on, so the blade was pointed in their direction. The lightsaber hilt would be held with the thumb pointing down the length of the blade to allow for smaller, tighter, more accurate movements of the saber. The rest of the fingers wrap around the hilt holding it tightly, but not so tight as to limit the fluidity of the movements. The typical Makashi flourish consisted of rapidly moving the tip of the blade in an X shaped pattern through the air, often following the Makashi salute. The salute was not an attack or maneuver but a challenge to an opponent. The saber was held in one hand, brought up vertical directly in front of the practitioner's face, then swung down in a Makashi flourish.[9]

Makashi duelists were typically skilled in the application of two Marks of Contact; the Sun djem and the Shiak. In a marked difference from the Shii-Cho "disarming slash" maneuver, which was a power attack designed to rip an opponents weapon from their grasp, the typical Form II applications of the sun djem were precise attacks directed at the weapon itself, often destroying it or even burning through an opponents fingers to disarm them. Applications of the shiak were a natural result of Form II footwork and swordplay, all of which followed a single back and forth line, and was seen as an indication of skill and control.[16] Two Makashi maneuvers were the "contentious opportunity" and the "Makashi riposte". The "contentious opportunity" was based around recognizing and exploiting an opening in the opponent's defense before swiftly moving to strike the exposed enemy. The "Makashi riposte" was similarly designed to slightly alter the angle of an opponent's attack before quickly retaliating with a counter strike.[17]

Makashi Weapon Specifications[]

"The curved-hilt lightsaber is perhaps the least radical of all variants. Its extended handle accommodates a slight bend seldom exceeding thirty degrees. This style is common among practitioners of Form II lightsaber combat, who prefer its balanced weight and precise handling for saber-to-saber dueling."
Skarch Vaunk in The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force[16]

Darth Tyranus's curved-hilt lightsaber

Due to Form II's emphasis on blade manipulation, and its many fluid one-handed moves, Makashi practitioners often wielded lightsabers that were specialized for such use. The most prominent weapon for this purpose was the curved-hilt lightsaber. These weapons were used because the curved hilt fit better into the palm, granting better blade control and allowing for greater precision and strength.[3] In addition to this, wielders often created highly decorated weapons, and occasionally included blade-guards, as shown with Dooku's lightsaber.[18]

The other, considerably rarer, weapon type was the Lightfoil, a specialized type of lightsaber used by the Mecrosa Order. Original lightfoils were built with small handles for exclusively one-handed usage, and were much better balanced than typical lightsabers, allowing for greater precision.[17] However, curved lightsabers and lightfoils were not the only weapons that Makashi could be effectively utilized with; Qui-Gon Jinn, Shaak Ti,[19] Kento Marek, and Darth Vader all wielded lightsaber with standard hilts,[14] and Asajj Ventress demonstrated the ability to utilize the style with a saberstaff.[20]


"Finesse. Artfulness. Economy."
―Darth Tyranus[9]

Dooku utilizes Makashi against Yoda's Form IV mastery.

Count Dooku, alias Darth Tyranus, was one of the finest practitioners of Makashi in his day, mastering the form at its highest levels. He personally emphasized emotional levelheadedness and tactical know-how over the rage-fueled frenzy many of his opponents, and even some of his students, relied on, examples including Asajj Ventress or General Grievous.[9] He demonstrated precision and elegance in his bladework, with a pin-point accurate and unpredictable offense reinforced by an almost effortless defense, all drilled and practiced to the point of being instinct.[10][8] He relied on feints to entrap his opponents, and footwork to outmaneuver, basing himself around balance and mobility. Dooku would use these skills to work his way around opponents, deflecting and evading their attacks rather than trying to meet them head-to-head. His skill with the style marked him out as one of the greatest swordmasters produced by the Jedi Order, and the Form's rarity provided him with an edge against most duelists, who simply were not prepared for the finesse and precise movements of a form bred for lightsaber dueling.[8] The sole dedication to Makashi Dooku emphasised into his lightsaber training managed to grant him knowledge and skill nigh-unrivalled by any other Force sensitive during his time, truly showcasing how the exactness and fluent efficiency of a genuine Form II master made for a highly formidable duelist.


Dooku uses Makashi in a sparring match with Grievous.

Dooku's practical application of the form was exemplary; his skills were surpassed only by Yoda, and only Mace Windu was credited as Dooku's equal.[5] On Geonosis, he demonstrated many of these skills against Obi-Wan Kenobi. His efficient defensive maneuvers left the Jedi's swift slashes looking exaggerated and overdone, while Kenobi struggled to catch up to the Count's precise ripostes and unpredictable feints. During their initial duel, many of Kenobi's parries and blocks missed Dooku's blade completely, forcing him to retreat. Kenobi was ultimately brought down by light, though damaging cuts across his left arm and thigh.[8]

However, despite Tyranus' absolute mastery of Form II, he was still prone to one of the style's weaknesses; the lack of kinetic power. Perhaps the most notable demonstration of this was during Tyranus' fateful duel with Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi; he was simply unable to generate the necessary power to evenly match Skywalker's preferred form, Djem So, nor to penetrate the defenses of Kenobi's Form III. The sheer, raw power of Form V wore down Tyranus' defenses, physically exhausting him and draining his reserves of Force power. This weakness, combined with his age and Skywalker's overwhelming skill and power, resulted in his defeat.[10] Earlier on, Tyranus had been disarmed by Savage Opress, a towering juggernaut who received little lightsaber training.[21]

Tranquility detention blocks

Asajj Ventress engages Luminara Unduli and Ahsoka Tano.

Another Form II practitioner active at this time was Asajj Ventress, Tyranus' best assassin.[12] Developing her skills under Tyranus' tutelage, her eventual prowess as a duelist enabled her to hold her own against up to three adversaries with little difficulty, demonstrated during her mission to Ruul.[22] Her skills even advanced to the point where she was able to defeat Kit Fisto,[23] disarm Obi-Wan Kenobi,[20] and hold her own against Mace Windu,[22][24] all three of whom were Jedi Council members.

However, Ventress was no master, and while she demonstrated both elegant bladework and sophisticated footwork,[5] her form lacked refinement.[12] Rather than practice emotional levelheadedness as Dooku did, she often grew impassioned and fought with animal rage.[9][25] While this angry onslaught enabled her to engage, and even defeat, some of the best Jedi duelists of her day,[12][23] Darth Sidious believed it could also compromise her tactical planning abilities.[15]

During her earlier years, she lacked the physical strength necessary to compensate for the inherent weaknesses of both Makashi and dual-blade combat. Her attacks lacked power, as shown by both Dooku's casual defensive moves during their bout on Rattatak,[26] and her retreat before Anakin Skywalker's frenzy of power attacks during their duel on Yavin 4.[27] However, she eventually developed the strength necessary to compensate for this weakness, demonstrating the ability to hold up simultaneous bladelocks with multiple duelists at a time;[12] she could even manage to hold off the strikes of physically superior opponents such as General Grievous or Savage Opress, if only temporarily.[13][28] Ventress was initially heavily reliant on her extra blade, and was left at a disadvantage if deprived of it,[20] though she eventually overcame this with time.[29]


"Even with my vision clouded, I recognize the fighting style of Count Dooku."
Luminara Unduli analyzing Asajj Ventress' bladework[12]
Seperatist leadership

Dooku trained both Grievous and Asajj Ventress in Makashi.

Form II's primary niche was among Jedi duelists who engaged Darksiders, or conversely, Darksiders who engaged Jedi. Examples of such combatants include Kreia, who later taught the Jedi Exile the basics of the form;[2] Rance Lussk, the top student at the Sith academy on Odacer-Faustin[30] or the Sith apprentice Fohargh, who was trained by the Sith Blademaster Kas'im.[3] However, following the final battle of Ruusan, Makashi was left obsolete; the dueling-centric form lacked proper blast-deflect techniques to make it a practical fighting method against criminals, and the number of active lightsaber-wielding Darksiders to engage was practically nil.[15] Nevertheless, Form II was still taught among the Jedi, with proponents such as Skarch Vaunk praising the mental discipline it instilled. In fact, the Jedi-held Mid-Year Fete featured classical Makashi duels between the various participating swordmasters, ensuring the style's continued survival and use. Furthermore, the attitude towards the style's obsolescence was disputed by notables such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who argued that the idea that there were no enemy lightsaber duelists to combat was mere wishful thinking.[16]

Despite this, by the time of the Clone Wars, few practiced the form, the most notable being Dooku.[1] Like Skarch Vaunk, Dooku argued Makashi's continuing relevance was due to the discipline it instilled, and held it among the highest of fighting forms.[8] Other Jedi practitioners of Makashi included Dooku's former Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn;[31] famed Jedi Battlemaster Cin Drallig;[15] Jedi Council Master Shaak Ti;[19] and Master Jerec, who was said to have mastered the form.[32] Grand Master Yoda appeared to have also used the form, as he had once taught Dooku the Makashi salute.[33] As Darth Tyranus, Dooku trained both Asajj Ventress and Grievous in Form II.[10][12] Makashi evidently became one of Grievous' primary fighting methods, as many of his opponents commented on Dooku's influence in his technique, and he passed this training on to his IG-100 MagnaGuards.[9]

Nautolan Fem Sith SWGTCG

An Unidentified Nautolan darksider in the opening stance of Form II

During the Great Jedi Purge, the Sith Lord Darth Vader studied and mastered Form II and he often incorporated many elements of Makashi into his personalized Djem So variant, taking advantage of his cybernetically augmented strength to overcome Makashi's prime weakness.[14] His proficiency even proved great enough to having managed to develop an unorthodox form of Makashi, in which he would rely on the great precision and economy of movement his study of the form granted him by wielding it one-handed but also retaining great power: a method that he applied effectively against Olee Starstone and his own son Luke Skywalker, swiftly besting the former and briefly overwhelming Luke.[34][35]

The Jedi Knight Kento Marek also included elements of Makashi in his bladework, though his understanding of the style was limited. Vader's apprentice, Starkiller, was versed enough in Form II to recognize it in Vader's technique during their duel.[14] The Jedi Knight Jax Pavan also received Form II training at some point, applying some basic Makashi moves and tactics against Aurra Sing in combat.[6] Makashi, like the other six forms, would eventually be rediscovered by the New Jedi Order.[16][15]

Behind the scenes[]


Concept art of Dooku's lightsaber poses from The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Makashi was first described in the novelization of Attack of the Clones, but while its specifications and history of the form were heavily expounded upon, it was never referenced by name. However, the Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat article in Star Wars Insider 62, written by David West Reynolds and fencer Jack "Stelen" Bobo, identified it as Form II lightsaber combat. The proper name of the form, "Makashi", as well as its alternate titles as the "Contention Form" and the "Way of the Ysalamiri" would be specified in later sources.[31][16]

There are also Jedi and Sith who are theorized to practice Makashi based on descriptions and comments about their fighting techniques. Examples include Valenthyne Farfalla, whose fighting style was described as elegant and clean, demonstrating perfect form,[36] and Tholme, who was complimented by Dooku for keeping up his dueling skills and favoring the old ways.[37] Another likely practitioner of Makashi is Sora Bulq, based on statements in the official Databank and Dooku's labeling Bulq as a fencer.[37][38] Xanatos is described in Jedi Apprentice: The Dark Rival to have fought with "economy and grace," indicating that he may have studied Makashi.[39] In the epilogue of Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul, Darth Sidious writes that Darth Maul "is—was—an elegant fighter. Precise." Thus, Maul would've adopted a few tenets of Makashi into his fighting style.[40]

Makashi, along with the other lightsaber forms, appears in Star Wars Galaxies as part of moves and techniques employable by Jedi characters. This has not definitively been clarified to be canonical.[41]


Non-canon appearances[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 SWInsider "Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat" — Star Wars Insider 62
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
  4. Legacy of the Force: Fury
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
  6. 6.0 6.1 Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows
  7. 7.0 7.1 StarWars Fightsaber: Mastering the Art of Lightsaber Combat on StarWars.com (content now obsolete; backup link)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones novelization
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Labyrinth of Evil
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith novelization
  11. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Nightsisters"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Cloak of Darkness"
  13. 13.0 13.1 TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Massacre"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 The Force Unleashed novelization
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jedi Academy Training Manual
  18. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
  19. 19.0 19.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Adventures video game
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
  21. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Witches of the Mist"
  22. 22.0 22.1 Jedi: Mace Windu
  23. 23.0 23.1 The Cestus Deception
  24. "Fashion" — Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic 6.23
  25. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Visual Guide
  26. CloneWarsLogoMini Star Wars: Clone Wars — "Chapter 7"
  27. CloneWarsLogoMini Star Wars: Clone Wars — "Chapter 19"
  28. TCW mini logo Star Wars: The Clone Wars — "Revenge"
  29. The Clone Wars 9
  30. Red Harvest
  31. 31.0 31.1 Star Wars: Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
  32. Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 27
  33. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones junior novelization
  34. Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
  35. Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
  36. Darth Bane: Rule of Two
  37. 37.0 37.1 Republic 72
  38. Databank title Bulq, Sora in the Databank (content now obsolete; backup link)
  39. Jedi Apprentice: The Dark Rival
  40. Star Wars Episode I Journal: Darth Maul
  41. Gal-icon Jedi Abilities: Learning the Way on the official Star Wars Galaxies website (content now obsolete; backup link)