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"Energy constantly flows through the crystal. You're not fighting with a simple blade as much as you are directing a current of power. Your thoughts, your actions, they become energy. They flow through the crystal as well and become a part of the blade."
―Kanan Jarrus, to Sabine Wren[src]

Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader engaged in lightsaber combat on Mustafar.

Lightsaber combat occurred when two or more opponents using lightsabers, or at least one of the combatants used a lightsaber while the other used a different bladed weapon, engaged in a duel. Such opponents were often, though not always, Sith and Jedi. Though lightsaber combat decided the results of some important conflicts throughout the galaxy, often when two Force-sensitive opponents were nearly evenly matched, they had to resort to other means to settle the conflict, such as drawing on other Force powers.

There were seven known forms of lightsaber combat: Form I, Form II, Form III, Form IV, Form V, Form VI, and Form VII.

Overview[]

"Keeping your saber moving is key to deflecting the fire of 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."
―Anakin Skywalker[src]
Lightsaber style Brief description
Form I: Shii-Cho[1] The oldest known form of lightsaber combat, it was a simplistic style that balanced traditional maneuvers intent on maiming and killing with a focus on disarming an armed foe and was used against superior number of opponents. It was a popular form among Padawans in the Jedi Order.[2]
Form II: Makashi[1] A style regarded for its elegance, graceful presentation, and balletic approach in wielding a lightsaber. It was notable for its primary focus on facing a single opponent and the avoidance of being disarmed by an opponent while simultaneously working to disarming them.[2]
Form III: Soresu[1] A defensive style that utilized tight, controlled movements and strict economy of action. Practioners of this form focused on defense entirely in any situation and committed to analyzing their opponents and openings created, often from the frustration and fatigue of the enemy, while not succumbing the fatigue or mistakes themselves. It remained popular even during the creation of other lightsaber forms.[2]
Form IV: Ataru[1] A speedy, acrobatic, and aggressive lightsaber combat style that placed greater emphasis on using the Force to enhance movements in all areas of combat and required great room to attack from all directions. Due to its nature, it was considered a demanding fighting style both physically and through the Force.[2]
Form V: Shien/Djem So[1] Two fluid disciplines of lightsaber combat, which were considered physically demanding styles due to their requirement of quick transitions from dedicated defensive stances to all-out attacks. The Shien variant had users often attack when least expected and could utilize a reverse blade grip. The Djem So variant taught users maneuvers that geared it for both saber-to-saber combat and blaster deflection, but lacked agility.[2]
Form VI: Niman[1] Considered the most popular lightsaber combat form in the Jedi Order, it balanced the qualities presented in all the other forms but did not incorporate any notable strengths. Less demanding than all the other previous combat styles, its approach was a careful balance between offense and defense but leaned towards the latter and extensive integration of Force powers.[2]
Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad[1] Considered the most aggressive and unpredictable disciplines and therefore the most controversial, it was a combat style with a history of the Jedi High Council forbidding it and later allowing only select users to practice the disciplines. It was a style considered both physically and emotionally exhausting.[2]

The Juyo variant focused on aggressive assault and a mindset that drew upon anger and negative emotions to fuel relentless assault. This mindset caused many users to fall to the dark side of the Force or close to it.[2]

The Vaapad variant, developed by Mace Windu, similarly drew upon anger and passion, but required the user to not give into them. This style is characterized by rapid, frenzied strikes and powerful blows. However, it was not as reckless in nature as Juyo.[2]

Jar'Kai[2] The method of using two lightsabers during combat, be they single blades or double blades altogether.[3] Variants of Jar'Kai included utilizing more than two single-bladed[4] or double-bladed lightsabers at the same time, depending on the physiological[5] or technological capabilities of the combatant.[4]

History[]

Republic Era[]

Age of the lightsaber[]

"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Luke Skywalker[src]

The advent of the Clone Wars brought about a resurgence in the use of lightsaber combat.

During the Republic Era, the Jedi Knights served the Galactic Republic as peacekeepers[6] and ambassadors of the Galactic Senate.[7] In their capacity as guardians of peace and justice in the Republic,[8] the Jedi resorted to "aggressive negotiations," using lightsabers to settle disputes if diplomacy failed.[6] Upon the advent of the Clone Wars, however, pushed by the militant stance of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious manipulating matters for his own ends, "aggressive negotiations" through lightsaber combat became commonplace.[6]

Skilled duelists in lightsaber combat fighting on the side of the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic included Agen Kolar, Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, Obi-Wan Kenobi,[6] Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano,[9] Shaak Ti, Saesee Tiin, Luminara Unduli, Mace Windu, and Yoda.[6] Those fighting against the Jedi—either for their own reasons or in support of the Sith or the Confederacy of Independent Systems—included General Grievous,[4] Darth Maul,[7] Savage Opress,[10] Darth Sidious,[4] Count Dooku,[6] and Asajj Ventress.[11] Still others fought at one point for the Jedi, but later fell to the dark side of the Force. These included Pong Krell,[5] Barriss Offee,[12] and Anakin Skywalker, who became the feared Sith Lord Darth Vader.[4]

The master of Makashi[]

"Much to learn, you still have."
"It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the Force, but by our skill with a lightsaber."
―Yoda and Dooku[src]

Anakin Skywalker's first lightsaber duel with Count Dooku resulted in the amputation of his right arm.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker confronted the Jedi renunciate Count Dooku at the onset of the Clone Wars, intending to end the conflict quickly by capturing the Separatist leader.[6] Dooku had mastered the second form of lightsaber combat,[1] however, and was prepared to fight to fight multiple lightsaber-wielding opponents. With his abilities augmented by the dark side of the Force, the count bested Kenobi and his headstrong apprentice,[13] disarming both of them and severing Skywalker's right arm.[6]

Dooku was forced to contend with Grand Master Yoda soon after defeating Kenobi and Skywalker. Unlike his duel with the younger Jedi,[6] he was unable to outfight his former master in lightsaber combat despite his enhanced power through Sith training.[13] In the aftermath of the First Battle of Geonosis, another duel ensued between Dooku and Skywalker during the latter's return to his homeworld of Tatooine.[14] As they fought, the count was impressed to discover that Skywalker had grown more powerful since their first duel on Geonosis.[13]

A duel to the death[]

"My powers have doubled since the last time we met, Count."
"Good. Twice the pride, double the fall."
―Anakin Skywalker and Dooku — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

Dooku was slain by Skywalker during their final contest in lightsaber combat.

During the Battle of Coruscant, Dooku confronted Skywalker and Kenobi for the final time. The two Jedi Knights had infiltrated a Separatist warship, the Invisible Hand, to rescue Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine. Ignoring the count's request to surrender their lightsabers,[4] they challenged the Sith Lord to a duel in lightsaber combat.[15]

Despite their teamwork, however, Dooku was a formidable opponent.[15] He overpowered Kenobi with the Force, rendering the Jedi Master unconscious, only to be bested by Skywalker in turn. The younger Jedi Knight severed Dooku's hands and, at the urging of Chancellor Palpatine, executed the unarmed prisoner using the Skywalker lightsaber in conjunction with Dooku's lightsaber. Skywalker regretted his actions, though, noting that he had acted against the Jedi Code. However, the chancellor reassured him that the desire for retribution was natural, recalling the earlier duel when Dooku severed Skywalker's arm.[4]

The destruction of Grievous[]

"Your move."
"You fool. I've been trained in your Jedi arts by Count Dooku. Attack, Kenobi."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi and Grievous[src]

Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi fought against General Grievous during the Battle of Utapau.

The Battle of Utapau commenced as an invasion by the 212th Attack Battalion. Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived on Utapau ahead of his battalion to confirm the location of his target, General Grievous, a cyborg who learned the art of lightsaber combat from Count Dooku. The generals engaged in lightsaber combat, with Grievous using his cybernetic arms to wield four lightsabers against Kenobi. The Separatist warlord lost his lightsabers after Kenobi dismembered and overpowered him with the Force, causing Grievous to retreat from the battle. Kenobi temporarily lost his lightsaber while pursuing Grievous,[4] and was forced to rely on a weapon which he considered "uncivilized" in order to kill his enemy.[15]

Showdown on Coruscant[]

"It's treason, then."
―Darth Sidious, to Mace Windu[src]

Sheev Palpatine revealed his true identity as Darth Sidious, and his skill in lightsaber combat, to the Jedi Order.

Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Saesee Tiin, and Agen Kolar were on their way to meet with Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine when Anakin Skywalker informed Windu about his discovery regarding Palpatine's secret identity as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. The Jedi Masters proceeded to confront the chancellor in his office at the Senate Office Building, and declared their intention to arrest him on behalf of the Galactic Senate. The chancellor resisted their efforts to remove him from power, accused the Jedi of treason, and attacked them with a concealed Sith lightsaber. Kolar, Tiin, and Fisto were killed in quick succession by the Sith Lord, leaving only Windu to fight for the survival of the Republic and the Order.[4]

While Sidious succeeded in dispatching three Jedi Masters with his skill in lightsaber combat,[4] Windu was a master practitioner of Form VII, also known as "The Ferocity Form." He had perfected the art of Vaapad, a variant of Form VII, to channel his inner dark side into serving the Jedi cause.[2] The duel in Palpatine's office ended when Windu disarmed Sidious, causing the Sith Lord to lose his weapon by the time of Skywalker's arrival. The conflicted Jedi Knight prevented Windu from killing Sidious,[4] which gave the Sith Lord the opportunity to kill the Jedi Order's champion.[16]

The Grand Master and the Dark Lord of the Sith[]

"If so powerful you are, why leave?"
"You will not stop me. Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us."
―Yoda and Darth Sidious[src]

Having survived the purge of the Jedi Order, Yoda challenged Darth Sidious to a duel of lightsaber combat.

Following the proclamation of the New Order, Grand Master Yoda confronted the newly-installed Emperor of the Galactic Empire in the Senate Building on Coruscant. With the Jedi Order purged through Order 66,[4] Yoda made a desperate final attempt[17] to destroy the Sith before Sidious could consolidate his reign as Galactic Emperor.[4] Sidious and Yoda were both masters in the ways of the Force; they fought fiercely in the Senate chamber[17] until Sidious resorted to the use of his Force powers.[4] The Emperor ultimately overwhelmed Yoda with his strength in the dark side,[18] forcing Yoda to flee in defeat[17] and exile.[4]

Djem So versus Soresu[]

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must."
"You will try."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader[src]

The duel on Mustafar tested Darth Vader's lightsaber skills against that of his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

In the aftermath of Order 66, Obi-Wan Kenobi returned to Coruscant where he discovered that Anakin Skywalker had turned to the dark side of the Force, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Vader and leading the attack on the Jedi Temple. Kenobi confronted his former apprentice on Mustafar. Despite his initial unwillingness to fight Vader, having formed a friendship with his former persona, Kenobi resolved to defeat the Sith Lord in lightsaber combat. Vader accepted the challenge and the duel on Mustafar began with an all-out attack from the former Jedi Knight[4] who had mastered the art of Form V "Djem So."[19] Kenobi, a practitioner of Form III "Soresu,"[20] fought defensively as they dueled across the fiery landscape of Mustafar. They also fought in hand-to-hand combat after briefly losing their lightsabers.[4] The duel ended in a stalemate, however Vader refused to concede.[15] As a result, Kenobi severed Vader's remaining limbs and left him to die on Mustafar, although Vader survived and was reconstructed as an armored cyborg.[4]

Imperial Era[]

"You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi, to Darth Vader — (audio) Listen (file info)[src]

Despite the near extinction of the Jedi Order, lightsaber combat was still practiced during the Imperial Era.

During the early rebellion against the Galactic Empire and the Galactic Civil War, Kanan Jarrus trained Ezra Bridger, a young Force-sensitive from Lothal, in the ways of the Force and to use a lightsaber,[21] and he later trained his fellow rebel the Mandalorian Sabine Wren in using Tarre Vizsla's Darksaber.[22] Bridger utilized recordings of Anakin Skywalker's lectures on lightsaber combat forms in order to improve his skills.[23] Despite this, he was defeated by Darth Vader on multiple occasions, the second resulting in the Mission to Malachordestruction of Ezra Bridger's lightsaber on Malachor.[24]

Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis fought against the fallen Jedi Taron Malicos on Dathomir.

There were many Jedi survivors who used their lightsabers in combat to battle the Empire or protect themselves from Inquisitors, for example, Cal Kestis utilized his lightsaber to defend himself against Inquisitors when he was discovered on Bracca and against Vader on Nur. Additionally, Kestis encountered the former Jedi General Taron Malicos Whereas Kestis had undertaken a quest to restore the Jedi Order, Malicos converted to the ways of the dark side as a result of the Great Jedi Purge and his time on Dathomir. As a result, Kestis and Malicos fought against each other, using the lightsaber combat skills that they learned as members of the Jedi Order.[3]

New Republic Era[]

"You were unbalanced, bested by a girl who never held a lightsaber. You failed!"
―Snoke, to Kylo Ren[src]

A new generation of Jedi learned the art of lightsaber combat under the guidance of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker, attempted to rebuild the Jedi Order in the aftermath of the Galactic Civil War. During the New Republic Era, Skywalker started a training temple to pass his knowledge to a new generation of Jedi.[25] His most gifted apprentice was his own nephew, Ben Solo.[26] Possessing the raw power of the Skywalker bloodline,[27] Solo progressed faster and farther in his than any of his fellow students. One of Solo's peers, the Jedi apprentice Voe, aspired to surpass him. Despite Voe's efforts, however, Solo excelled her in every area of Jedi training, from Force techniques like telekinesis to lightsaber combat.[28]

The art of lightsaber combat remained lost, in all of its forms, to the galaxy at large as a result of Ben Solo's conversion to the dark side as Kylo Ren. The destruction of the Jedi Temple and the deaths of Skywalker's other students left Ren as one of the few individuals who possessed lightsaber skills[29] by the time of the First Order/Resistance War.[30] In 34 ABY,[31] Ren encountered a scavenger from Jakku, Rey, while leading a First Order raid on Takodana.[30] At the time neither Ren nor Rey knew that together they formed a rare and powerful Force dyad,[25] but through their Force-bond, Rey acquired some of Ren's knowledge about Jedi training, thereby awakening her dormant connection to the Force.[32]

Luke Skywalker conjured an illusion to save the Resistance from Kylo Ren, who was unaware of his uncle's deception.

During the Battle of Starkiller Base, Rey managed to defeat Ren who was physically injured as well as emotionally unbalanced after committing the act of patricide against his father, Han Solo. Ren was chastised by his master, Supreme Leader Snoke for losing to a girl who was inexperienced in lightsaber combat.[32] However, Ren believed that Rey only defeated him because of the wound that he sustained from Chewbacca's bowcaster.[33] Luke Skywalker confronted Ren at the Battle of Crait, distracting the new Supreme Leader from his objective to destroy the Resistance. Ren tried to kill his estranged uncle through lightsaber combat, but the Jedi Master fought defensively by avoiding Ren's attacks. Skywalker ultimately revealed that his presence on Crait was an illusion that, at the cost of his life, he projected across the galaxy from his location on Ahch-To.[27]

Kylo Ren and Rey fought their last duel in the Death Star ruins, where their ancestors died.

In 35 ABY,[34] Ren and Rey engaged in lightsaber combat through their bond, fighting through Force despite being in different locations in the galaxy. Their final duel took place in the Death Star ruins on Kef Bir. Rey became frustrated by her inability to break past Ren's defenses and her attacks grew increasingly desperate, but was knocked to the ground by Ren's counterattack. Ultimately, though, the duel was interrupted by Ren's mother, Leia Skywalker Organa Solo, who reached out to her son through the Force on her deathbed, thereby preventing him from killing Rey.[33] In the Battle of Exegol, Rey and Ben Solo both used their skills in lightsaber combat to defeat Darth Sidious' Sovereign Protectors and the Knights of Ren.[35]

Appearances[]

Non-canon appearances[]

Sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Knights of Fate
  3. 3.0 3.1 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  5. 5.0 5.1 TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Carnage of Krell"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
  7. 7.0 7.1 Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  8. Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
  9. Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
  10. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Monster"
  11. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
  12. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Wrong Jedi"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 StarWars-DatabankII.png Count Dooku in the Databank (backup link)
  14. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 StarWars-DatabankII.png Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Databank (backup link)
  16. StarWars-DatabankII.png Mace Windu in the Databank (backup link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 StarWars-DatabankII.png Yoda in the Databank (backup link)
  18. StarWars-DatabankII.png Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in the Databank (backup link)
  19. Star Wars: Lightsaber Battles
  20. SW Legion template.png Star Wars: Legion – Clone Wars Core Set (Card: Obi-Wan Kenobi—Civilized Warrior)
  21. Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Rise of the Old Masters"
  22. Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Trials of the Darksaber"
  23. Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Shroud of Darkness"
  24. Rebels-mini-logo.png Star Wars Rebels – "Twilight of the Apprentice"
  25. 25.0 25.1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
  26. The Rise of Kylo Ren 1
  27. 27.0 27.1 Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
  28. The Rise of Kylo Ren 3
  29. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
  30. 30.0 30.1 Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
  31. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
  32. 32.0 32.1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition
  33. 33.0 33.1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
  34. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary dates the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker as taking place one year after the Starkiller Incident, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 34 ABY. Therefore, the events of Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker must take place in 35 ABY.
  35. Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
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