An Abridged Explainer of Lightsaber Forms, Part 1
Created by Shadow Knight Shana Oban HRH on Sun Sep 6th, 2020 @ 7:48am
Lightsaber Forms I - III and Their Inspiration
Form I - Shii-Cho, The Way of the Sarlacc
At its core, Shii-Cho is the foundation of all other lightsaber forms. Form I establishes rudimentary parries and the use of wide, sweeping motions to strike multiple opponents. As well as focusing on the most effective methods of disarming your opponents.
Unlike many other forms, part of Shii-Cho's simplicity is not using The Force to amplify the duelist's physical attributes, nor utilize Force-based attacks, such as Niman (Form VI) does.
Required Years of Study:
To be adept in Shii-Cho, 2-Years of daily 8-hour sessions. To master the form, a full 4 years of intense training, on average.
Against a small handful of opponents, Form I does just fine. When a duelist finds their preferred forms are not effective, Form I is the default fallback. More so in melee combat. This form was very much intended to perform best against other saber wielders.
Of all the lightsaber forms, Shii-Cho is the best, when trying to disarm opponents.
Against an army of blasters, this form will fail you. Shii-Cho is also not designed to go up against Force-Empowered practitioners of Form IV or Form V for very long.
Sometimes the most simplest of lightsaber techniques is the most effective.
If fencing is about fineness, and medieval swordplay is about strength, Shii-Cho's inspiration is a very grounded, very basic middle ground of swordplay. No acrobatics, and a lot less-refined with blade work, compared to fencing.
While there is not a distinct real-world sword discipline Form I has ties to, think of Shii-Cho as a visually sloppy, slightly more aggressive form of fencing.
Form II - Makashi, The Way of the Ysalamiri
This lightsaber form focuses on blade precision, footwork, and limited strength-based abilities. Due to Makashi's fluid movements, Blocking is avoided, if at all possible.
To master this form is to be an expert not just in your blade work, but causing your opponents to trip and fall over their feet. Get them invested in keeping up with you and your blade work, and you can easily determine where your opponent is led to, during any given duel.
Required Years of Study:
To become adept in this form, it is about 5 years of intense blade and footwork, and dueling strategy. Another 3-5 years to master the Makashi form.
There is but one strength to this form - which is that it's the premier dueling form. Almost all dueling enthusiasts of the Star Wars universe generally respect a Makashi master because of how pin-point their blade work and dueling strategies are.
Makashi was never meant to go head-to-head with blaster fire. Its other weakness is the overreliance of grounded blade work. Due to this, many Form II practitioners are not as refined with Force Jump and other Force powers that enhance/empower Force Users.
He/She who controls the direction of the battle wins the fight.
Makashi takes its cues from Fencing. Parries and lunges, with excellently-timed thrusts. The power comes from the lunge, and the finite accuracy of your foil (sword). Fencing is also considered to be a chess-like strategy sport in which you have to anticipate your opponent and try to entice them into tactical traps.
So Makashi, like Fencing, is about 50/50 in terms of skill to strategy.
Form III - Soresu, The Way of the Mynock
Soresu is a lightsaber form most commonly known for its defensiveness. Against blasters or duelists, Form III focuses on endurance and resilience by using close-quarter parries, blocks, and dodge maneuvers that are designed to keep the body protected, without exerting oneself.
If Ataru uses the Force to temporarily enhance physical strength and speed, Soresu practitioners utilize the Force to replenish their stamina and help them see where the fight is headed next. Thus most Form III masters also utilize Battle Precognition (Force visions/insights, related to a fight).
Soresu heavily utilizes blocking against blasters, but very sparingly in duels against melee weapons. More so against stronger opponents in 1-on-1 situations. If a Form III practitioner does jab or strike offensively, it is only because an opportunity presented itself. Thus to master the form, Patience is a requirement.
Required Years of Study:
Adept Soresu practitioners study almost 5 years, running over 10 miles or more a day to physically build endurance and stamina, as well as 4-6 hours training with Form III.
Masters of the form, spend another 2-3 years of study. In which time, they have proven themselves capable of controlling their impulsive instincts. They wait and listen for the right opportunity to strike. They can fight a very long time, without feeling exhaustion. And they've mastered Battle Precognition.
Form III is designed for any body-type to master. Strong or fast, tall or short. Soresu is also The defensive form of lightsaber combat.
Soresu is visually similar to Makashi, in that there are very little flips and jumps. Form III also lacks greatly in offensive skills. Only by sheer endurance, can a Soresu duelist outlast and overpower their opponents.
Through perservence and determination, our battles are won.
Soresu does not have a specific real-world counterpart. The closest comparison, would be a defensive variation of fencing, since Soresu does not utilize a lot of flips or kicks. But unlike fencing, any offensive strikes of Form III in dueling, lack the accuracy required of a real-life fencer.
Categories: Lightsaber Information