Explore other lightsaber forms in our guide here.
Shii-Cho, or Form I, is the first style a Jedi learns. It is known as the 'Way of the Sarlaac' or 'Determination' form and is the perfect entry point for those who want to learn how to use their duelling saber.
What is Shii-Cho?
Shii-Cho is the first style of lightsaber combat developed by the Jedi as they evolved from traditional bladed weapons. It focuses on determination, classic sword-fighting attacks and battling with multiple opponents - but was not designed for lightsaber-on-lightsaber combat.
Shii-Cho is similar to many real-world sword fighting techniques, specifically those of Japanese Samurai. One of its common stances, with your blade held out in front of you and feet placed one behind the other, is almost identical to the Kendo stance 'Chudan-no-Kamae'.
Shii-Cho, like Kendo and Kenjutsu in the real world, is a system all about balance - it's a form that blends focus between stance, parrying and attacking. Later Jedi forms specialised on combatting specific scenarios, but Shii-Cho was the originator of fighting with a saber against many different kinds of opponent.
Crucially, Shii-Cho was developed by the Jedi in the transition period between traditional blades and lightsabers, so it relied on many traditional sword fighting movements that later styles replaced. For that reason, Form I was a good fall-back for Jedi outmatched in other styles, as they could switch to Form I to force their opponent back to the more 'raw' manoeuvres of metallic bladed combat.
Shii-Cho is a form all about traditional swordfighting techniques - focusing on attacking and exploiting windows of opportunity. It often looks wild and aggressive, but is a form built around calmness and lots of practice. Users were adept at spotting weaknesses and darting in to attack.
However, Shii-Cho was also famed for sweeping horizontal slashes at target zones. Unlike traditional real-world swordfighting, where slashes would likely leave the attacker open and have to contend with armour, flesh and bone, the Star Wars lightsaber was free to slash quickly through all materials.
Some key techniques include:
- Disarming slash: slashing wide at a foe's weapon to disarm, rather than to injure.
- Sarlaac sweep: a wide horizontal sweep with the saber blade designed to take on multiple attackers.
Form I's Name Explained
Form I, or Shii-Cho, also had two other names. It was called 'The Way of the Sarlaac' because of its simplicity and persistance. Like a Sarlaac waiting for prey in a pit, Shii-Cho allowed a Jedi to simply outlast and overcome opponents. The form also utilised a wide sweep against multiple foes named the 'Sarlaac sweep' that helped establish the nickname.
Most famously, the form was called 'The Determination Form' - named that way for its focus on...you guessed it, determination.
The Downsides of Form I
Shii-Cho was, unfortunately, not created in time to address lightsaber on lightsaber combat. It was the first style, developed before the great rift that led to Jedi and Sith battles.
With that in mind, the form is not as good at dealing with other lightsaber wielders. In real life, with a physical saber, that's not as much of an issue as many sword fighting principals remain relevant - but in the lore of Star Wars Shii-Cho wasn't ideal for dealing with weightless energy blades.
Who Used Shii-Cho?
The most famous master of Shii-Cho was Master Kit Fisto, who used it to great effect in duelling General Grievous. Form I's ability to tackle multiple opponents meant Master Fisto could handle the many lightsabers and limbs of the cyborg. He was then able to attack limbs with slashes and disable Grievous' legs.
Unfortunately Shii-Cho's limitations in 1 on 1 combat would lead to Fisto's downfall at the hands of Darth Sidious.
Why Use Shii-Cho?
Considering that even the Jedi rarely used Shii-Cho once other forms were developed, why would we be suggesting it as the perfect starting point for duelling sabers?
Well - the answer is simple. It's a form perfect for newcomers - which is why all Jedi initiates learned it. But it's also a form rooted in real-world practicality. Before Jedi had fully embraced energy weapons, they used traditional swords and this means Shii-Cho has great real-world sensibilities for your duelling techniques.
If you'd like to learn more about Shii-cho and real-world duelling saber training, keep your eyes peeled on the site for some BIG news coming soon. Get ready for awesome training with a quality duelling saber that can withstand the most rigorous Jedi trials.