- "Keeping your saber moving is key to deflecting the fire from multiple adversaries. Fluid motion, one into the next, into the next, and so on. I've made some adjustments to the classic Form IV techniques that I think you'll find work well against droids and other ranged attackers. Here, I'll show you..."
- ―Anakin Skywalker, in Kanan Jarrus' holocron
Form IV, also known as Ataru (pronounced uh-TAR-oo) or The Aggression Form, was the fourth form of lightsaber combat invented by the Jedi Order. An acrobatic combat style, Ataru could be used to defend against incoming projectiles but was best suited for open spaces and attacking. When the Galactic Republic was in its last years of existence, Anakin Skywalker made adjustments to the classic Form IV techniques and demonstrated them in a holographic recording, later found in holocron owned by Kanan Jarrus.
The fourth lightsaber form, Ataru, originated some centuries after Form III. In many ways the inverse of Soresu, Form IV focused almost exclusively on offense. Its practitioners sought to end a fight as quickly as possible rather than outlast the foe. At the time of Form IV's development, Jedi understanding and mastery of the Force had grown significantly since the early days of Shii-Cho. Compared to that form, Ataru placed greater emphasis on the use of the Force to enhance movement in all aspects of combat. However, Form IV's defining features was its focus on all-out offense and on speed and agility.
Whereas Form I depended on a continuous series of strikes to eventually force an opening, Ataru sought to end a fight swiftly by rapidly overpowering the foe with a flurry of blows. Dubbed the Aggression Form for its reliance on offensive techniques, Form IV utilized a highly acrobatic style. Practitioners employed leaps and somersaults to attack an enemy from many unexpected directions. Ataru required considerable open space for best effect, as the practitioner needed adequate room to move in all directions. With the enhancement the Force offered, an Ataru fighter could obtain considerable height with each jumping strike and could cover distances with preternatural speed.
The many acrobatic techniques of Ataru utilized the Force in a more obvious way than did other forms. Although all Jedi drew on the Force in their mastery of lightsaber combat, Form IV featured many movements that were clearly impossible without using the Force, even for the most athletically accomplished sentients. An Ataru master moved with lightning speed, delivering a barrage of lightsaber strikes too fast for the unaided eye to follow. It was the Aggression Form that gave rise to galaxy-spanning legends of the supernatural powers of the Jedi.
Despite its focus on attack, Ataru did incorporate some of the lessons of Form III. Still, Form IV used defensive movements only minimally. The focus was always on attack. Parries, blocks, and other defensive techniques served only to protect the warrior long enough to close with the foe and deliver a flurry of Force-enhanced strikes. In overcoming the offensive limitations of Soresu, Form IV admitted equally significant defensive limitations. When facing numerous opponents or those with blasters, an Ataru practitioner had little choice but to use techniques from Soresu or another form in order to successfully defend against multiple attackers or deflecting things such as blaster fire. Without doing so, even the most skilled Form IV experts could scarcely hope to defeat all foes before a blast or blade penetrated their meager defenses.
Ataru in practice
If Soresu was the calm at the center of the storm of battle, Ataru was the gale and the lightning. Warriors employing Form IV were a blur of motion and flashing lightsaber strikes, unleashing an irresistible assault against the foe. Although the form had its limitations, it was undeniably effective, particularly against foes unprepared for such an onslaught. Of all lightsaber forms, none could so reliably secure victory so swiftly.
The whirlwind of attacks that Form IV comprised was not easily achieved, even by the greatest warriors. The form was incredibly demanding physically, and prolonged application could exhaust any practitioner. While the Force could counteract the effects of physical exertion, using it to enhance one's attacks was draining in its own way. This was why Ataru users had to swiftly secure a decisive victory. Many masters of the form believed that all battles had a tipping point by which an Ataru practitioner either had to achieve victory or accept defeat.
Form IV placed speed above power, another deviation from Form I. This evolution was not surprising, as the very nature of lightsabers was such that the user's raw strength did not hold the importance it did with traditional blades of metal. Nonetheless, momentum was vital for effective Ataru technique, and masters of the form used the Force to enhance their blows and better overcome enemy defenses.
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
- Star Wars Rebels – "Shroud of Darkness" (First appearance) (Appears in holocron)
- (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know (First identified as Form IV) (First identified as Ataru)
- Savage Spirits
- Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded
- Star Wars: Destiny – Awakenings (Card: )
- Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: Lightsaber Battles
- Knights of Fate
- Rise of the Separatists
- "Lightsabers and Jedi Equipment" – Star Wars Encyclopedia