Saga Lightsaber combat

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Aleksei, Nov 11, 2013.

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  1. Aleksei Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2013
    I got to thinking about this reading the Flynning entry for Star Wars -- somebody somewhere mentioned that Flynning might be justified by the fact lightsabers have no blade weight, no guard and are one-hit kill weapons, so fighting styles for them would be different from the norm.

    Now -- I think that's a good point, but at the same time I think the lightsaber styles as shown in the movies (which are meant, I suppose, to be reminiscent of oriental fencing techniques) are the wrong way to go with that sort of weapon. It's exceedingly silly that a weapon with its weight recessed entirely in the hilt, which is capable of slicing through materials harder than steel as if the were butter, would require a two-handed grip (two-handed styles are meant to lend strength to strokes by using the muscles of both arms and the entire upper body).

    I'd imagine a realistic fencing form with lightsabers would look more like cutlass or cavalry saber fights -- a one-handed style focused on making light stabs and cuts and keeping both your blade and your villain's as far away from your body as possible. Such a style wouldn't result in powerful strokes or parries, but you'd be much quicker bringing your weapon about so you shouldn't have much trouble finding openings in your villain's defense and ending the fight quickly.



    By the way, hi I'm new here. :)
  2. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2013
    star 4
    I think it has to do with the fact that you need to parry a lot in saber battles. If you don't have a two-handed grip, you have a disadvantage when it comes to blocking with a saber. I suppose it can also vary person to person. Different Jedi different strokes.
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  3. Aleksei Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2013
    You could dodge instead of parrying. Or use your villain's ridiculous full-body two hand power stroke to just hit him faster; a simple flick into his body should suffice. Or wield two sabers and use them both to parry. Or any combination of the above.

    ffs, Jedi strength is force-assisted, and lightsaber strokes don't even need any strength behind them to begin with to do damage.
    Last edited by Aleksei, Nov 11, 2013
  4. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    I don't remember which book I read it in but there was a comment about a jedi (I think) paring a blaster bolt and nearly getting his 'sabre blown out of his hand so the two hand gripe could be for that
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  5. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2013
    star 4
    A lightsaber is quite long. How could you dodge one easily? Besides, in a saber battle, you cannot rely completely on the Force, some worldly strength is required.
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  6. Aleksei Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Leapfrog over, duck under, parry and backpedal. It's done often enough in two-handed styles.


    That makes more sense, yeah.
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  7. DLINE Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2013
    star 1
    Welcome you froums and lightssabers I don't think they are the best I think blisters are the best for close rage. And why don't they have banets?
  8. Aleksei Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Lightsabers are cooler. :cool:
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  9. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    There's a complicated explanation. The original methods used to produce the Lightsaber blade effects required a bright light and material wrapped around the blade to help create the white core glow, which in turn would help with the rotoscoping the blue and red colors. The downside is that this made things difficult when filming the duel and the blades were a bit more fragile. Lucas had either at the time, or later on, said that he envisioned the sabers as being heavy like a broadsword, requiring two hands. For TESB, gray rods were used to film the fight scenes and ILM just worked harder to rotoscope the colors in. On that film, Bob Anderson who doubled for Dave Prowse, switched back and forth between one and two handed styles, which Lucas wasn't fond of at the time. Hence the switch to a two handed style in ROTJ. By the time of AOTC, because Christopher Lee was skilled in fencing from previous films and I presume stage work, he was quite capable of doing both. By that point, Lucas was willing to go with a fencing style combined with the two handed approach.

    Also, Lucas is a fan of Japanese Samurai films like "The Hidden Fortress", where katanas require two hands for traditional Bushido/Kendo fighting and because of the nature of the blade, katanas are best used in a slicing motion. Either vertical, horizontal or diagonal. A katana is seldom used to stab an opponent.
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  10. Kenobi098 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2013
    star 1
    An in universe explanation could be that prior to lightsabers Jedi and sith used swords and their fighting styles came from the use of swords that were not rapiers, eppes, or foils. Their was a recent book called dawn of the Jedi in which Jedi from thousands of years pre lightsaber were using metal bladed Jedi Katanas.
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  11. Order66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2004
    star 1
    Aleksei: I agree with you that a lightsaber style would favor a single-handed cutting rapier style like German mensur, or even Western smallsword, relying on the tip instead of a cutting slash. Small, simple weapons, can hold their own against larger and heavier weapons because it’s the skill of the individual, not the weapon that determines who wins.

    However, two-handed weapons, like the Japanese katana or Western broad sword, can be both powerful and fast, taking less than a third of a second to go from a non-moving stance to striking the head, for example.

    Dooku’s curved hilt, allowing it to be used like a fencing foil, is an extremely elegant compromise in lightsaber design in the Saga.


    Darth Sinister: I have also read that GL was not fond of Kershner’s single and two-handed fighting style, but in an interview I did with Peter Diamond in 1999, he said every decision to use one or two hands during the duel was done deliberately to reinforce the subtext of the dialog.

    Definitely, the Jedi are equated to the samurai; thus, swords being held two-handedly.

    Regarding the general statement “A katana is seldom used to stab an opponent”, I must insist that the point would be used at any opportunity when it would be effective. In competitive kendo, the thrust to the throat is a valid target of opportunity; in a real combat the kissaki was designed to be used for a thrust whenever the target presented itself.

    Regarding Christopher Lee, Nick Gillard told me personally that it was very frustrating working with Lee on lightsaber fighting because he came in with a letter from his doctor saying that he wasn't to raise his arms above his shoulders. That's why there was a double for Lee in all of the dynamic lightsaber scenes.
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  12. therealharvywallbanger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2013
    star 1
    The thing is they are not fighting with just the saber they are using the force as well. Aside from Han Solo slicing open the tauntaun I don't think a regular joe could have to much success with it.
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  13. Darth Binky Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 1999
    star 4
    Don't forget General Grievous, who was able to kill multiple Jedi, but that was due to his fancy robotic body and saber training by Dooku.
  14. therealharvywallbanger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2013
    star 1
    Yep I forgot about him.
  15. Order66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2004
    star 1
    I get what you say about using the Force in combat, but there isn't any representation of it in the actual sword fighting on screen. It's simply choreography and the physical skill of the actor. When the Force is represented in combat, it's as a telekinetic ability reinforced with a hand wave, usually to move physical objects like Dooku bringing down the ceiling.

    In universe, it would be preposterous to think that the Force wasn't used to give added weight to a strike, or to enhance the speed of a slash, or to give extra "push" when blades are locked, but there really isn't any indication that GL insists that this is actually happening. Someone could make up a mechanism (the mind's will influences the midichlorians that touch upon the molecules of an object permitting it to move), but that would be a logical guess made up by people like us who geek out about SW. The closest "mechanism" regarding the use of the Force is that Force lightning can't be used through Anakin's metallic arm. And, is that actually an "official" law of the SW universe?

    Personally, I like to think anyone can do Jedi lightsaber fighting without using the Force, but that's just me because I can sword fight. Even Grievous's lightsaber fighting is informed by his alien brain, and not particularly by training in the Force. He's defeated and killed Jedi using a lightsaber, and was ironically killed by a Jedi using a blaster.

    On another thought, there is a huge philosophical statement on Obi-Wan's statement that Force can obey your will, but that it also partially controls you, particularly in lightsaber fighting. The Force controlling your lightsaber skills would explain how a Jedi could deflect blaster bolts so effectively. Or is simply good reflexes and training?
  16. Darth Binky Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 1999
    star 4
    There is definitely an element of partial Force control involved. Recall in TPM when Qui-Gon talks about how Anakin has unnaturally good reflexes and that he can almost see things before they happen- Qui-Gon recognized this as a sign of latent talent with the Force (I believe he called it "a Jedi trait"). Or during the final duel with Darth Maul, they could obviously tell when things were about to occur, like the laser walls opening.
    Last edited by Darth Binky, Dec 6, 2013
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  17. therealharvywallbanger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2013
    star 1
    This all brings up a good point. During the battles you don't see them using the force with strikes or parries it's only us insiders who know they are using it. I would love to see them elaborate on that more in E7 with a resemblance to the Matrix style of story telling. I'm not set on any one way of achieving that but the Matrix popped into my head. The last fight scene with Neo countering and blocking was a beautiful representation of letting the viewer feel what Neo was feeling.

    I want to see and feel that something more powerful than normal abilities are guiding them.
    Last edited by therealharvywallbanger, Dec 6, 2013
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  18. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Indeed, that is where the Force comes into play. It seems unlikely if you just take it as Lightsaber dueling. But then how do you account for Jedi blocking blaster bolts against the Droid Army, the Clone Army and what Luke did against Jabba's goons and the Scout Trooper? They all saw the attacks before they were going to happen and blocked it to the best of their ability. The downside is that even Jedi can be overwhelmed by blaster fire as we saw in AOTC and ROTS.
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  19. therealharvywallbanger Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2013
    star 1

    I know you from back in the day. 2005 era. Or are you another Darth Sinister?
  20. Master Mini 907 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2013
    star 3
    My favourite lightsaber combat style is Form III: Soresu which I use in combat but I'm also a fan of Form IV: Ataru which can be very effective with good agility :D
  21. Order66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2004
    star 1
    "Use the Force, Luke."

    Two things about this quote from Obi-Wan to Luke, prompting him to turn off his computer: it's convention particular to a cinematic presentation, and it is, as the Japanese say, mushin.

    A writer would reference in a difference way -- "letting go, the swordsman released his mind to the power and control of the universe," for example. Or, "Obi-Wan, from the essence of the Force, spoke to Luke." Or, "Just then, he heard Ben's voice: 'Use the Force, Luke.'" [SW Trilogy (Borders Ed.): Ryder Windham p. 201] So a big question is how literally we interpret the event in the movie.

    The concept of Mushin is heavily influenced by Zen. I prefer to translate it as absence of mind (or consciousness). "This time, let go of your conscious self and act on instinct." (Obi-Wan to Luke) Do these two ideas coincide? Probably not, but they're pretty close, if not parallel in concept.

    Does "Use the Force, Luke" actually help us figure out how the Force is used in lightsaber combat?
  22. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
  23. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Master Neo seems to prefer the long hilted ‘sabre model
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  24. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9

    I was here then as the ROTS Spoilers Allowed moderator. I posted regularly from June of 2001 until November of 2007 and then less and less frequency until last July. There was another Darth Sinister at the time, but there's no relation.

    Not quite. Obi-wan was continuing his part in getting Luke to put his faith and trust in the Force. It was only through the training on Dagobah, most of which we didn't see, where Luke was able to strengthen his connection to the Force and thus he could fight as a result. The strong his belief and focus was, the stronger his connection to the Force became.
  25. Order66 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2004
    star 1
    I'm all for training as the source for Jedi combat, and I like that belief and focus can be extrapolated from ESB, but I think the in-universe inconsistency are midichlorians. It's the everyman/woman Jedi where we all can aspire to be Jedi versus the noble bloodline.

    I think it is problematic for GL (or any screenplay writer) to explain or define the mechanisms of the Force, much less how it affects lightsaber combat. It should've been left open to interpretation and left as an unexplained but consistent superpower. EU writers have delved into the mechanisms of the Force and role-playing games and video games have created elaborate rules and delimited abilities, all to be ignored by GL.

    I'm not a fan of overly powerful interpretations of the Force like Mace Windu destroying an army of droids or Starkiller bringing down a stardestroyer with a wave of his hand, or other hyperbolic examples because lightsbaber fighting in the movies is essentially choreography, which, in itself, is a convention for entertainment.
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