Since the dawn of Jedi history, seven fighting disciplines
have arisen, known as the Seven Forms. The Forms represent
differing styles and philosophies of combat. Each Form
has its respective merits, and as seen in Attack of
the Clones, all of them are still in use.
Millennia before the Clone Wars, advanced technology
replaced metal swords with energy-beam lightsabers.
In this transition the first Form was born. Jedi Masters
created Form I from ancient sword-fighting traditions,
since the principles of blade combat remained much the
same. The basics of attack, parry, body target zones,
and the practice drills called velocities are all here.
Young Jedi still begin their training by learning
The ultimate refinement of lightsaber-to-lightsaber
combat became Form II, advancing the precision of blade
manipulation to its finest possible degree and producing
the greatest dueling masters the galaxy has ever seen.
Today Form II is an archaism studied by almost no one
in the Jedi Order, because it is not relevant to current
tactical situations, in which Jedi enemies rarely fight
with lightsabers. Even with the resurgence of the Sith,
confrontation of an enemy with a lightsaber is an exceedingly
rare prospect for a Jedi, so they continue to focus
on more practical Forms. Sith expecting to battle lightsaber-wielding
Jedi, however, find Form II a powerful technique.
Form II is the chosen discipline of the machiavellian
Separatist Count Dooku, who wields it to devastating
effect. His utterly precise moves overwhelm Jedi who
are not accustomed to the special requirements of lightsaber
dueling. With Form II, Dooku holds his own even against
Acknowledged practitioners: Count Dooku, Exar Kun
The third great lightsaber discipline was first developed
in response to the advancement of blaster technology
in the galaxy. As these weapons spread widely into the
hands of evil-doers, Jedi had to develop unique means
of defending themselves. Form III thus arose from "laserblast"
deflection training. Over the centuries it has transcended
this origin to become a highly refined expression of
non-aggressive Jedi philosophy. Form III maximizes defensive
protection in a style characterized by tight, efficient
movements that expose minimal target area compared to
the relatively open style of some of the other Forms.
Obi-Wan Kenobi takes up a dedication to Form III after
the death of Qui-Gon Jinn (who favored Form IV), since
it was apparent to Kenobi that Jinn's defense was insufficient
against the Sith techniques of Darth Maul. True Form
III masters are considered invincible. Even in his elder
years, Kenobi remains a formidable Form III practitioner.
Even the extraordinarily deadly Jango Fett is unable
to penetrate Obi-Wan Kenobi's superb lightsaber defenses.
Acknowledged practitioners: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Form IV is the most acrobatic Form, heavily emphasizing
Jedi abilities to run, jump, and spin in phenomenal
ways by using the Force. Masters of Form IV incorporate
all of the ways in which the Force helps them go beyond
what is physically possible. Their lightsaber combat
is astonishing to watch, filled with elaborate moves
in the center of which a Jedi may be all but a blur.
Yoda, with his deep emphasis on the Force in all things,
is a Form IV master. Form IV was also the chosen discipline
of Qui-Gon Jinn and the early choice of his apprentice
Ordinarily Yoda walks with a slight limp, his ancient
body wracked with arthritis and the normal infirmities
of old age. In combat however, the diminutive Jedi Master
presents extraordinary strength and reflexes - entirely
the result of focusing the Force through his physical
body and not just his spirit as is his usual emphasis.
Acknowledged practitioners: Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn
During an era when Jedi were called upon to more actively
maintain the peace in the galaxy, Form V arose alongside
Form IV to address a need for greater power among the
Jedi. Jedi Masters who felt that Form III could be too
passive developed Form V. A Form III master might be
undefeatable, but neither could he necessarily overcome
his enemy. Form V focuses on strength and lightsaber
attack moves. This Form exploits the ability of the
lightsaber to block a blaster bolt and turns this defensive
move into an offensive attack by deflecting the bolt
deliberately towards an opponent. A dedication to the
power and strength necessary to defeat an enemy characterizes
the philosophy of Form V, which some Jedi describe by
the maxim "peace through superior firepower."
To some Jedi Knights, Form V represents a worthy discipline
prepared for any threat; to others Form V seems to foster
an inappropriate focus on dominating others.
As the Clone War begins, Anakin Skywalker dedicates
himself to Form V in his increasingly blind quest for
strength. As Darth Vader he will still be using Form
V when he confronts Obi-Wan Kenobi and later Luke Skywalker.
Acknowledged practitioners: Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker
In the time of Palpatine's Chancellorship, Form VI is
the current standard in Jedi lightsaber training. This
Form balances the emphases of other Forms with overall
moderation, in keeping with the Jedi quest to achieve
true harmony and justice without resorting to the rule
of power. It is considered the "diplomat's Form"
because it is less intensive in its demands than the
other disciplines, allowing Jedi to spend more time
developing their skills in perception, political strategy,
and negotiation. In practice, Form VI is a combination
of Forms I, III, IV, and V. Young Jedi spend their first
few years studying Form I and then a year or two with
each additional Form before completing their training.
By comparison, a Form VI master will spend at least
ten years studying only that Form after completing the
basic Form I training. Form VI well suits the modern
Jedi's role in the galaxy, in which a Knight overly
trained in martial combat might be at a loss to resolve
a complex political conflict between star systems. However,
full masters of other Forms sometimes consider Form
VI to be insufficiently demanding.
In an increasingly dangerous galaxy, the "diplomat's
Form" might not be enough against serious combat
dangers. All the Form VI Jedi Knights who fight on Geonosis
die in the arena battle.
Acknowledged practitioners: numerous Jedi, including
those lost on Geonosis
Only high-level masters of multiple Forms can achieve
and control the ultimate descipline known as Form VII.
This is the most difficult and demanding of all Forms,
but it can eventually lead to fantastic power and skill.
Form VII employs bold, direct movements, more open and
kinetic than Form V but not so elaborate in appearance
as Form IV. In addition to very advanced Force-assisted
jumps and movements, Form VII tactics overwhelm opponents
with seemingly unconnected staccato sequences, making
the Form highly unpredictable in battle. This trait
makes for a much more difficult execution than the graceful,
linked move sequences of Form IV. Form VII requires
the intensity of Form V, but much greater energy since
that focus is wielded more broadly. Form VII draws upon
a deeper well of emotion than even Form V, yet masters
it more fully. The outward bearing of a Form VII practitioner
is one of calm, but the inner pressure verges on explosion.
Form VII is still under development since so few can
achieve the necessary mastery to advance the art.
Form VII master Mace Windu fights alongside Form
III practitioner Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Battle of Geonosis.
This spiritually dangerous regimen cuts perilously close
to the Sith intensity of focus on physical combat ability.
Mace Windu is one of the only current practitioners
of Form VII.
Author Dr. David West Reynolds and fencer Jack "Stelen"
Bobo derived the "in universe" principles
of lightsaber combat based on the action that appears
in all five Star Wars films to date. An importance notice
to the reader: these Jedi histories are not stunt choreographies
nor intructions from Episodes I and II Stunt Coordinator
Nick Gillard, who developed the exciting sequences we
see on screen. Do not attempt fencing without proper
safety precautions and training.
See this article and other exciting information
in Issue 62 of Star Wars Insider.