A lightsaber form is a distinctive style, methodology and philosophy of lightsaber combat. According to Star Wars canon, there are 7 known lightsaber forms. Although a Force user may favor only one or a few of the 7 lightsaber forms, the individual may select a form to best fit the conditions of a specific the incident, battle or lightsaber duel.
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FORM I: Shii-Cho
The Way of the Sarlacc or The Determination Form
Originally developed by the Jedi Order, Shii-Cho is the oldest, simplest and crudest of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. All members of the Jedi Order are taught Shii-Cho during their training.
Although Shii-Cho fell out of favor following the development of additional more sophisticated lightsaber forms, Force practitioners often returned to the foundational Shii-Cho when other combat styles failed.
Shii-Cho Practitioners: Kit Fisto, The Grand Inquisitor
FORM II: Makashi
The Way of the Ysalamiri, or The Contention Form
An elegant and graceful style, the Jedi Order developed Makashi specifically to address and counter a lightsaber wielding Sith opponent. A heavily duel-centric style, Makashi emphasizes precision, accuracy and efficiency of strikes with minimal effort.
Makashi Practitioners: Count Dooku, The Grand Inquisitor, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Assaj Ventress
FORM III: Soresu
The Way of the Mynock
Developed by the Jedi Order, Soresu embodies a defensive philosophy, emphasizing blocks, deflections, and dodges. Relying on patience and skill, Soresu excels against aggressive lightsabers attacks and long range blaster fire.
Soresu Practitioners: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Depa Billaba, Kanan Jarrus, The Grand Inquisitor, Barriss Offee, Luminara Unduli
FORM IV: Ataru
Way of the Hawk-Bat or The Aggression Form
Ataru, which was developed by the Jedi Order, is a high-energy, acrobatic lightsaber combat style that thrives in open spaces.
Ataru Practitioners: Ezra Bridger, The Grand Inquisitor, Aayla Secura, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda
FORM V: Shien and Djem So
The Way of the Krayt Dragon or The Perseverance Form
Form V specializes in strong defensive tactics followed by immediate counterattacks against an opponent. Form V includes two variations: Shien and Djem So. Shien accommodates the the uncommon reverse grip of a lightsaber hilt. Djem So emphasizes strong blocks and parries, followed by immediate counter strikes. Form V excels in both lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat and blaster bolt deflection.
Shien and Djem So Practitioners: Depa Billaba, Adi Gallia, Kanan Jarrus, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Khaat Qiyn, Aayla Secura, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Mace Windu
FORM VI Niman
The Way of the Rancor
Difficult to master, Niman blends together many elements of the previous five lightsaber forms. A diversified and well-rounded style, Niman is one of the most challenging lightsaber combat styles to master since practitioners must thoroughly and diligently study up to five other forms. Niman may combine double-bladed lightsaber combat with other Force powers like pushes, jumps, etc.
Niman Practitioners: Darth Maul, The Grand Inquisitor
FORM VII Juyo or Vaapad
The Way of the Vornskr or the Ferocity Form
Form VII, the most aggressive, ferocious, and unpredicable style, is final known form of lightsaber combat. Form VII includes two variations: Juyo and Vaapad. The style favors bold, decisive and direct movents, requires significant internal focus from the practitioner. Although both Jedi and Sith practiced Form VII lightsaber combat, Jedi Master Mace Windu is the only Jedi pracititoner of the aggressive form that did not fall to the dark side of the Force.
Juyo/Vaapad Practitioners: Depa Billaba, The Grand Inquisitor, Darth Maul, Mace Windu
Practicing Lightsaber Forms in Real Life
Star Wars fans and lightsaber enthusiasts enjoy developing and practicing real life lightsaber forms at home or in groups at lightsaber clubs or lightsaber academies. The group TPLA:Terra Prime Light Armory notably developed their own interpretation of all 7 lightsaber forms. Visit the TPLA YouTube channel for an assortment of lightsaber form tutorials and training tips.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT: Lucasfilm/Disney
Image depicts the lightsaber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.