Before I begin, I would like to state that any names, concepts, ideas, themes, motifs, and references strictly belong to Lucasfilm and, by extension, Disney. I do not claim any ownership of them.
|Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker|
(source: New York Times)
I like to present myself as an academic character. However, there is one question – and consequent theory – that has been bothering me for quite some time. And I’m afraid to say that it isn’t really very academic. It is, inevitably (with me) about Star Wars. Don’t worry, it’s not a lamentation about Disney’s takeover – that said, there is a small part of me that can’t wait for the Force-sensitive lobster with a Jamaican accent in Episode VII. This is about my area of ‘expertise’, my chosen subject on Mastermind if you will: lightsaber combat.
As a little bit of background to those of you still reading, lightsaber combat is not as simple as hitting someone with a sword made of pure energy. There are different WAYS of hitting them, and differing philosophies attached to those different ways. They are the Seven Forms of Lightsaber Combat (note the all-important capitalisation), and they exist as follows:
|Count Dooku (Makashi)|
Form III: Soresu. This form is all about defence. A master of Soresu can stay alive in a fight for a long time due to the fact that his opponent cannot get past his defences. The only problem is, you’re always on the defensive; you can’t beat your opponent until he tires, and that might be after you do. Obi-Wan Kenobi was renowned for his style of Soresu – although that’s a complicated matter, as I shall mention later.
Form IV: Ataru. This form is the dichotomy of Soresu: all-out attack. The more acrobatic you are, the more you somersault and dive and twirl, the more accomplished you are. As long as your opponent is not attacking, you’re all right. And that’s the problem with Ataru; it has absolutely no defensive capabilities whatsoever. Admittedly, the master of this form is very long-lived, thus disproving the previous statement; Yoda was aged 902 (ish) when he died of natural causes.
|Mace Windu (Vaapad)|
Form VII: It’s here that things get a little more complicated. This has two variants:
(1) Juyo: this focuses on letting one’s anger overwhelm one and thus give one strength. This, naturally, was used almost exclusively by Sith – Darth Maul is notable, when discussing Juyo.
(2) Vaapad: this is the Jedi adaptation of Juyo, allowing anger to flow through one, rather than consume. Mace Windu (cool-purple-lightsaber-dude) developed it, with help from Sora Bulq (who later allowed his anger to consume him and fell to the Dark Side, showing the dangers of Vaapad).
However, to go back to the point of this article, my questioning arose when I began to consider the dual wielding of lightsabers, called Jar’Kai. Usually, those who duel wielding lightsabers are portrayed as holding them both in the orthodox fashion – that is, pointing forwards. This brings some advantage, not least through the fact that you have two opportunities for attack, but one must be equally strong in both hands, wrists and arms to achieve a half decent attack. To hold both lightsabers in the unorthodox reverse Shien grip is foolish, for you have no powerful attacking strokes – one just has to look at Ahsoka Tano for a demonstration of how stupid this would be. However, so as to reduce the need for extensive training and to combine the ease of blocking with precision of attack, why not hold the primary lightsaber in the stronger hand in the orthodox way and the secondary lightsaber in the Shien reverse grip, thus enabling rapid defence with little strength needed without sacrificing any offensive capabilities?
Anyway, enough rambling from me. I hope you’re listening, Disney. This would look exceptionally cool in Episode VII…