Force Lore: Lightsaber Combat


Source: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Lightsaber_combat/Legends

OVERVIEW

Lightsaber combat referred to several schools of martial arts specialized in, though not limited to, fighting with a lightsaber. Such fighting forms were required to compensate for or take advantage of the unique attributes of lightsabers, notably the odd balance of the weapon, all of the weight being in the hilt, and the omni-directional cutting edge. The most prominent lightsaber-oriented combat styles were the seven forms of the Jedi Order, though other organizations were known to have developed their own styles and methods, an example being the Sith-developed Dun Möch technique.

The various combat forms owed their unique focuses and methods to the eras in which they were created, as they were oftentimes developed to answer a new generation of weapons technology. For example, the dueling-centric Makashi form was created during a time when Dark Jedi and rogue Force-sensitives ran rampant through the galaxy, and lightsaber duels became a common occurrence, whereas Soresu was developed when such confrontations were rare, and Jedi were more likely to confront blaster-wielding opponents and gunslingers rather than lightsaber duelists.

BODY TARGET ZONES

Many of the basics of lightsaber combat were established by the Shii-Cho lightsaber form, as it was the first form developed, and was specialized towards training individuals in the use of lightsabers. Attacks and parries in lightsaber combat are described by the body zones they target. In idealized sparring drills, most attacks are executed with horizontal swipes, while parries are carried out with vertical blocks meant to push the point of the enemy’s blade away, with the exception of the “Attack 1” and “Parry 1”, which are reversed.

  • Zone 1: The Head. A zone 1 attack consists of a vertical chop at the head, with the goal of vertically bisecting the opponent, and the corresponding parry is a horizontal block. A classic zone 1 attack was typically preceded by a high guard position, though the zone 4 parry position was also used for this purpose. The zone 1 parry position was a horizontal guard, with the blade held at head-height and angled across the body. It was not unheard of for a zone 1 attack to be deflected aside by having a zone 1 parry transition into a zone 2/3 drop parry position.

  • Zone 2: The Right Arm and Side. Zone 2 attacks were horizontal sideswipes, with the corresponding counter being a vertical parry position. Shii-Cho sparring drills had the handle held at waist height with the blade extended upwards, though other combat forms employed drop parries with the handle held high. Assuming a humanoid duelist’s right arm was his dominant, any strikes against his weapon arm would correspond with Zone 2 attacks.

  • Zone 3: The Left Arm and Side. Zone 3 attacks are much the same as zone 2, albeit the directions are reversed. Assuming a humanoid duelist’s left arm was his dominant, any strikes against his weapon arm would correspond with Zone 3 attacks.

  • Zone 4: Back. Zone 4 encompasses the entire midsection and torso, but refers specifically to the back. A successful Zone 4 attack is almost always fatal. As the classic Parry 4 position is a drop parry position with the blade angled downwards behind the duelist’s back, the classic Attack 4 is likely a variation on Zone 2 and 3 attacks. An alternate, albeit more awkward, Parry 4 position has the hilt held behind the back at waist height, with the blade extended upwards.

  • Zone 5&6: Zones 5 and 6 referred to the right and left leg, respectively. Zone 5 and 6 attacks were low sideswipes or slashes, while the corresponding defensive positions were drop parries with the hilt held at the waist.

THREE RINGS OF DEFENSE

  1. Outer Ring: The Outer ring of defense relied on grand sweeping blows to attack at range. The wide attacks took longer to deliver, but were very powerful. The Outer ring consisted of four guard positions, all with the blade held diagonally: the upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left.

  2. Middle Ring: The Middle ring of defense was designed to pick up quicker blows and block them, though it was also effective for blast-deflection. The guard positions all featured the blade being held at right angles, with the upper and lower guards being horizontal, while the left and right positions being vertical.

  3. Inner Ring: The Inner ring was the last line of defense, dangerous to be attacking or defending from. It was proof against lunging attacks, and relied on parries instead of blocks. It had only a single guard position, with the hilt covering the navel. Attacks would be deflected by angling the blades tip and shunting them aside with the lower third of the blade, facilitating a swift counter towards the opponents chest or abdomen.

MARKS OF CONTACT

All Jedi forms involve the same marks of contact, describing the objectives, maneuvers to use, and the various outcomes that could arise out of a fight involving lightsabers as weapons. They helped focus a Jedi’s attacks and defenses on a few clearer categories, rather than diffusing awareness across an infinite number of possibilities in a duel.

  • Sun djem: The sun djem was the act of disarming the opponent, the objective usually being not to physically harm him/her. The classic Shii-Cho move, the Disarming Slash, was specialized towards executing the sun djem.

  • Shiim: The shiim was a more minute wound to an opponent by the edge of a lightsaber’s blade. The shiim could be applied anywhere on the body, and was not specific to any zone.

  • Cho mai: The cho mai was the amputation an opponent’s weapon-hand.

  • Cho sun: The cho sun was the amputation an opponent’s weapon-arm.

  • Cho mok: The cho mok was the amputation an opponent’s limb, such as a humanoid’s arm or leg.

  • Shiak: The shiak was the act of stabbing an opponent.

  • Sai cha: The sai cha was the decapitation of the opponent. Being a sideswipe at an opponents side and neck, the sai cha corresponded with Zone 2 and 3 attacks.

  • Sai tok: The sai tok was the act of cutting an opponent in half, usually separating his or her legs from the torso at the waist, but vertical bisections corresponding with Zone 1 attacks were not unheard of.

  • Mou kei: The mou kei was an attack that dismembered an opponent through a circular motion of the lightsaber, aimed at the major limbs. The mou kei, being aimed at all major limbs, lashed out at multiple body zones.

READY STANCES

While all the lightsaber forms had their own unique opening and ready stances, a number of positions were standard to lightsaber combat in general.

  • Jedi Ready: Having much in common with the Ataru guard, the Jedi ready was the most common stance among Jedi. The dominant foot was held back, with the blade in a vertical parry position on the dominant side.

  • Defensive Neutral: The differences between the Defensive Neutral and the Jedi Ready were negligible. The blade was still held in a parry position on the dominant side, though the feet were evenly spaced rather than one held back. This position was intended to provide the maximum amount of blade surface area for blast-deflection, and also to maximize its visual impact as a warning.

  • Offensive Neutral: The feet were evenly spaced, with the blade pointed towards the enemy. The stance was intended to provide the minimum visual blade area for target and tracking.

  • Center of Being: The Center of Being was a stance used in lightsaber combat. It could also be used for meditation. The stance was used by members of the old Jedi Order. Users of this stance would hold the lightsaber horizontally, with the lightsaber hilt just below the chin.

MOVES AND MANEUVERS

  • Jung: The Jung was a 180 degree turn.

  • Jung ma: The Jung ma was a 360 degree spin, used to build momentum for an attack.

  • Shun: The Shun was a 360 degree spin, during which the lightsaber was held one-handed.

  • Sai: The Sai was the act of overleaping an attack at the legs.

  • Flowing water: The Flowing Water cut was a technique based on the principle of using the space created when the opponent withdrew their lightsaber offensively to one’s own advantage. As the opponent pulled their lightsaber back from a bind, the user would follow it with their blade, in effect causing the opponent to pull the user’s blade into themselves.

  • Falling leaf: The Falling Leaf cut was an ancient move that involved the user spinning and making a fast slash at an opponent standing behind them and then return to face the way they were before the maneuver. It was described as spinning one’s feet to “slash from the sky”.

  • Dulon: The Dulon was a lightsaber move where the hilt’s pommel would be held at one’s midsection with the blade thirty degrees up, and would be slashed at high velocity. The name dulon also referred to a solo lightsaber training.

  • Kai-kan: The Kai-kan was not a maneuver per se, but rather a reenactment of a prior lightsaber duel.

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