An Abridged Explainer of Lightsaber Forms, Part 2

Created by Shadow Knight Shana Oban HRH on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 @ 10:39pm

Lightsaber Forms IV - VI and Their Inspiration

Form IV - Ataru, The Way of the Hawk-Bat

Ataru's aggressive form is known for its continuous momentum, lightning-fast speed, kicks, and leaping strikes. All of which are enhanced with The Force.

The intent of Ataru is to be able to make strong, fast moves against your opponent and keep the onslaught of offensive strikes up all the time. If done right, the enemy will be overwhelmed to the point they cannot keep up. Then your opponent will make a critical mistake due to their fatigue and will be prime for a critical strike.

Required Years of Study:
Becoming adept at Ataru is no easy feat. Due to the amount of Force Power a Form IV practitioner uses to amplify their strength, jumps, and speed, the duelist is required to build up a fair amount of physical strength and stamina.

The more physically strong and conditioned a practitioner is, the less-dependant they are to enhance their strength with The Force. And the longer a duel carries on, the more Force Power a duelist uses.

So, on this alone, to be adept enough to pass a Force Warrior's dueling trials, you're looking at ten years of 8-10 hour days of physical and blade training.

As your body gets used to the amount of Force Power one uses, and the greater Force ability a duelist gains, determines if someone can master this form. Not every Force User is considered exceptionally gifted with Force Power.

If a Force User is dedicated enough in their Force training, to achieve a basic mastery of Ataru, it takes around 25 years. To do Master Yoda-level of offensive superiority (which is exceptionally rare), you're looking at another 20-25 years.

Ataru is strictly offensive. Most Form IV master practitioners are only able to make this formwork in melee situations. The rare, most powerful Force Users who utilize Ataru, make this lightsaber formwork exceptionally well against multiple opponents.

Ataru has very little room for blocks and locks with melee opponents. As such, if their momentum is broken, they have very little defensive capability to continue a fight on someone else's terms.

Form IV's other weakness is that due to its continued momentum and dependence of Force-enhanced attributes, the longer you stay in a fight, the faster you drain your energy. This form is meant to end a fight quickly. Never to go head-to-head in an endurance challenge (you will lose).

Speed and strength are the bane of my enemies.

Real-World Inspiration:
Wushu is the direct inspiration of Ataru. Flips, kicks, aerial attacks. All of which are wicked-fast. It takes several decades to master Wushu. Ataru, is no different.

Form V - Shien and Djem So, The Way of the Ysalamiri

Form V has an offensive variation (Djem So) and a defensive variation (Shien). While the former addresses dueling situations and the latter blasters, both versions of Form V focus on the dominance of critical openings that they both create and wait for, thus ending your fights with expediency.

Shien uses similar circular blade movements around the body, like Soresu but takes a more finite approach in reflecting blasters bolts. Redirecting enemy fire back at opponents is a cornerstone to mastering the anti-blaster variation of Form V.

Djem So relies on physical strength to strike, block, then counterstrike in various ways designed to intimidate or wear down opponents. What makes Djem So so aggressive, is the ability to create weak points in their dueling rival. Then, the Djem So practitioner performs mostly overhead critical strikes to finish off their opponents.

Required Years of Study:
Shien takes 3-4 years of dedicated study to master. Once a practitioner can take on 20+ remotes and reflect their stun bolts back to their source expertly, most masters will declare the Shien pupil a full master in this variation of Form V.

Djem So, like Ataru, requires a certain level of physical conditioning. You can learn all the dueling sequences and ace them, but if you aren't physically strong, there is no way you can master the form. So most Djem So practitioners lift weights and bulk up until they can lift their own body weight (or close to it).

This physical conditioning can take a decade to achieve, and dedicated blade training on Djem So sequences can take around 6 years. How adept and how fast a Form V duelist is at creating opportunities and ending fights, determines if the practitioner is mastered in it.

If someone chooses to master both variations of Form V, there are few situations they aren't equipped for.

Both Form V variations are vulnerable to disarmament. The dueling variation's critical strike sequences often leave the practitioner vulnerable to sneak attacks, and fast, sudden strikes.

To learn only Shien, means you have little offensive ability against a duelist. To learn only Djem So, means you will do poorly against blasters.

Brute force and opportunity will see me through.

Real-World Inspiration:
Form V's dueling variation, Djem So, is based on traditional medieval swordplay. Very little acrobatics, if at all, is used. The movement is much slower, compared to wushu, but the devastating blows inflicted by a medieval knight can cleave through an opponent's armor (if they have the right weapon).

Form VI - Niman, The Way of the Rancor

Form VI, Niman, was a lightsaber form that originally was meant to represent how a single duelist communed with The Force. Niman was the be the ultimate freedom of expression in the way a Force User fought. However, The Jedi Council eventually decided a more structured set of standards that combined tactics and sequences from the other forms, along with using telekinetic Force Powers within those sequences was better suited for judging the Trial of Skill test.

Going with the Jedi Council's, "Cookie Cutter" standard, a padawan studying in some of the more theological, diplomatic, medical, or other scholastic fields could become an adept duelist in a matter of a few years. But the Jedi standard was meant to take on dueling opponents and lacked greatly in defense.

While not discouraged, those who wanted to make Niman their own form, followed the Jedi tenants more accurately - in that the duelist could spend at least a decade finding a style that did well both defensive and offensively. Thus being the dueling representation of one who is, "Balanced."

What a Niman practitioner's form looked like, depended greatly on how deep into the sequences of forms 1, 3, 4, and 5 they chose to go. And which of those four forms most of their fighting style hailed from.

Required Years of Study:
Most scholastic-focused Force Users choose a few years dedication to the standard, adept dueling sequences set by the Jedi Council thousands of years ago in order to pass the Trial of Skill.

To master the form, you need to understand what Your Niman's focus is. Learn what makes Your Niman legit in your physical manifestation and relationship with The Force. You have to master far more sequences expected of Niman adepts than duelists focused in any other form, as well as be able to infuse Force telekinetic abilities into your form.

Form VI duelists who can make these skills fluid, adapt on-the-fly, and keep their opponents from predicting their patterns and sequences is considered a master. However, the minimum decade or so training is only the beginning. True Niman masters are always adapting, always learning new sequences.

Niman (Non-Jedi Standard Version) is the most adaptive form and can be tooled for whatever function, thus making it hard for opponents to predict your next move. It is also the friendliest to dual-wield and non-lightsaber Force Weapons like shotos, tonfas, saberstaffs, lightsaber pikes...

The Jedi Council's Niman standard is extremely potent against other duelists due to the mid-air Force-grabs of opponents, Force waves attacks, and other Force techniques commonly employed in conjunction with the practitioner's lesser-blade work.

Niman requires the practitioner to have a strong command over The Force. If not, their duels aren't going to last long. Like Ataru, the more you draw on The Force for Force-based attacks, the shorter the fight will be. Most likely it will be you who loses if you lack in generating a lot of Force-based attacks.

The right set of sequences from other forms using no Force Powers, can counterbalance and prevent this outcome but requires high intelligence, adaptability, and honesty of the Niman duelist in question.

The Jedi Council's Niman standard is extremely vulnerable to blasters and the biggest reason any duelist adept or mastered completely to the Jedi Council's Form VI standard died on Geonosis. This variation of Form VI lacks much in adaptability and freeform, which is vital to succeded in Niman.

Through adaptation and The Force, I cannot lose.

Real-World Inspiration:
Hands down, this is Mixed Martial Arts and possibly Parkour (Freerunning) mixed with wizard powers. The more you delve into the Martial Arts world, learn what you're physically capable of, and then create new MMA sequences from other moves you learned off other martial arts? The more deadly/capable you are.

To pick one Martial Arts discipline, you learn their limited amount of sequences. You learn them so its muscle memory, should a fight happen and you need to defend yourself. But if others know those same sequences, you are predictable and thus easily defeated against a well-studied MMA opponent.

The MMA world shows those that take those lessons to heart and adapt and evolve are better off defensively and will survive and win most often against opponents who stick to a specific Martial Art discipline.