Lightsaber forms: which is best for you?

A lightsaber is an elegant weapon, but how it is used depends on the wielder’s style. Gripped by dark side users, a lightsaber becomes a savage tool of oppression and pain. Handled by a Jedi who has mastered specific forms, lightsaber combat can be a dance of grace and beauty – but with deadly stakes.

Like a real-life martial art, saber combat has specific forms that play into key strengths of the wielder. There are seven established lightsaber combat forms in the Star Wars universe and for cosplayers, these forms allow you to find your own unique balance in the force to suit your physical attributes.

So what are the forms? Let’s go through each of the seven and discover which one is right for you.

Form 1: Shii-Cho

Shii-cho, or way of the Sarlaac, is the oldest and most practiced fighting form. It was developed in ancient times when Jedi were still using metal blades – meaning the form is more basic as it was created when handling weighted weapons. For cosplayers, who unfortunately do not get to enjoy a weightless plasma blade like real Jedi, Form 1 allows you to replicate the Jedi of old who used blades like those available in our own world.

Shii-cho is all about angular strikes and tackling groups of opponents. It is notable for its disarming slash technique, aimed at the weapon rather than the person – designed to offer a non-lethal way to dissuade attackers.

Form 1 was developed as an all-purpose style that was practiced by Jedi using classic fencing principles. When dark side users began to arise, however, the form fell short in terms of lightsaber to lightsaber combat and Form 2 was born.

All Jedi are taught form 1, and many default back to it if other forms are failing. It is the cornerstone of all Jedi combat and the base from which a good practitioner is built.

Favoured by Kit Fisto and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Is it right for you?

With wide, sweeping slashes and angular strikes aimed to bisect opponents, Form 1 is great for cosplay thanks to the large swings of the weapon. If you want to keep things simple, Shii-cho

Form 2: Makashi

Makashi, The Way of the Ysalamri, was developed to counterbalance the weaknesses in form 1, utilising the weightlessness of a lightsaber to create more elegant and flashy moves. It is designed specifically for saber to saber, single target combat but can also be used to outmanoeuvre groups if needed.

Makashi duellists use single lines to advance and retreat, duelling like a real-life fencing expert. Form 2 users are experts in parrying attacks and using this to create openings. The style utilises far more jabs than any other, eschewing the wide slashes of form 1 and concentrating on speed and economy of movement.

Count Dooku is one of the most famous form 2 experts, with his saber crafted specifically to aid in his duelling style. Makashi’s main weakness is its lack of kinetic energy – with users focusing on smaller, faster movements it became easier for a physically superior opponent to overwhelm a makashi user.

Favoured by Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus

Is it right for you?

With its precision and finesse, this is a style best suited to those who admire fencing.

Form 3: Soresu

Soresu, or Way of the Mynock, is a third form that was developed to address the widespread use of blasters. While Form 1 taught blaster deflection, Form 3 users master the art of defence by including dodges and a tight pattern of blade movements that was designed to minimise the risk of being hit by a blaster shot.

In a duel, Form 3 users employ this defensive attitude to outlast their opponents, using economic movements like Form 2 to conserve their energy whilst their opponents tire themselves out. However, some Jedi looked down on Soresu because it lacked offensive capabilities and was geared around survival. That being said, many Jedi caught in tight spots could rely on this form to help them.

The most iconic movement in Soresu is the opening stance, where the user adopts a wide-footed posture and holds the saber in their back hand with the blade pointing forward. The front hand is out, held in challenge.

Favoured by Darth Bane and Darth Zannah.

Is it right for you?

If your cosplay involves blaster fire, you need to learn Soresu. Plus let’s face it, the stance looks epic.

 

Form 4: Ataru

Ataru is an acrobatic form of lightsaber combat which is also called the Way of the Hawk-Bat. It is often referred to as the aggression form, and for good reason – it is the style that prioritises attack. With somersaults and jumping strikes, Ataru can leave a Jedi exposed and for that reason it was not often used against blasters.

Instead, Ataru was favoured by those who wanted to utilise raw strength and agility. Through the force, a user could surpass physical limitations to deliver savage strikes from all angles. Master Yoda was a famous Ataru user whose size did not hamper his aggression.

Ataru was a force-intensive form, which demanded users could wield the force as they ran, flipped and jumped at opponents during their attacks.

Favoured by Qui Gonn Jinn and Yoda

Is it right for you?

For natural athletes and acrobats who want to add flips into their cosplay, Ataru is perfect.

Form 5: Shien & Djem So

This fifth form is a tale of two variants. Djem So is based on blocks and parries with strong ripostes, whereas Shien used a reverse grip favoured by Ashoka Tano. Form 5 was developed to address the issues with Soresu, creating a more attack focused form that balanced offense and defence. Shien was developed first and was used to deflect blaster bolts back at firers, with Djem So developed afterwards to add more melee capabilities into the form.

The manoeuvres and techniques of Form 5 were physically demanding, with quick transitions from defence to offense to try and catch opponents off guard.

People often ask what lightsaber form does Rey use in her appearances. Unfortunately, Rey’s training methods come from a reluctant Luke Skywalker and improvisation with her staff – meaning that the only form we see Rey use are Shien methods.

Favoured by Anakin Skywalker and Ashoka Tano.

Is it right for you?

One of the most balanced styles in terms of attacking and defending, cosplay duellers who try out form 5 will often fall in love with it.

Form 6: Niman

Niman was a style that blended the use of double-bladed lightsabers with force pushes and pulls, designed to throw opponents off balance and open them up to attack. Niman rose to popularity in the Jedi order and was adopted by almost all Jedi after it was accepted by the council, largely for its ability to combine the advantages of other forms. Form 6 is all about balance, with a focus on being able to deliver justice without being lured by the temptation of power.

Niman is less physically demanding than other forms because of its use of the force. It looks similar to Form 3 in action, with less physical action and attacking. However, its main usage was all about strength of will and as such, it is less used in cosplay duelling (Unless you can secretly use the Force in real life, which we wish we could!).

Favoured by Darth Maul

Is it right for you?

Much of Niman combat was fought with the force – so it is often unsuitable for cosplayers. However, the style’s utilisation of the double-bladed lightsaber makes it an exciting prospect for owners of a dual blade.

Form 7: Juyo and Vaapad

Like Form 5, Form 7 had two variants. Overall, it was known as The Ferocity Form and was all about aggression. Juyo was designed to be even more aggressive than Form 4, drawing on anger and rage. For that reason it was banned by the Jedi council and turned many of its users to the dark side.

Vaapad was developed by master Mace Windu as a way to combat the dark side allure of the style. Like Juyo, Vaapad was all about aggression but instead channelled inner darkness into worthy ends. It was a refinement over Juyo, but in battle both styles features high speed, frenzied striking and were both physically and emotionally demanding.

Favoured by Mace Windu

Is it right for you?

For those who want a physically dominating, intimidating style, Form 7 offers everything you could ever want.  

 

Whichever form you adopt, our Power Battle Saber is ideal for any fighting style. Order a free coupler and you can attach a second saber to create a dual-bladed model for Niman battles!

 

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