|Form II: Makashi|
Form II: Makashi, also known as The Way of the Ysalamiri, or The Contention Form, was the second of the seven classic forms of lightsaber combat. Developed for the purpose of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, to address the failings of Form I: Shii-Cho, Makashi was the most dueling-centric of the seven classical forms. Relying on precision and efficiency over Shii-Cho's wild, sweeping motions, Form II allowed an initiate to defend himself against an opponent with minimal effort, while placing a heavy focus on avoiding disarmament.
Makashi was described as elegant and focused, and was based on balance and footwork to outmaneuver opponents. Fluidity and economy of motion were relied on, rather than strength, with Form II bladework heavily utilizing jabs and light cuts rather than hack and slash movements. Overall, the form was at its fore when engaged in combat against a single enemy duelist. However, after the Hundred-Year Darkness saw the destruction of most of the galaxy's Dark Jedi, the chances of a Jedi encountering a lightsaber-wielding opponent began to decrease drastically. In the intervening years, the Great Hyperspace War and the Old Sith Wars began and ended in fits and starts, which caused the appearance of Dark Jedi and Sith to take on a sporadic pattern. This, combined with the increasing availability of blaster technology, resulted in Jedi encountering ever-increasing numbers of blaster wielding opponents, but only rarely encountering enemy duelists. As Makashi had been designed strictly for blade-to-blade combat, it lacked an effective means of combating enemies with projectile weapons. Due to this oversight, Makashi lost a great deal of its practical applicability, and over time it faded into relative obsolescence. It would eventually be supplanted by Soresu, which was both the most defensive of the seven forms and designed specifically for blast-deflection.
- "...a technique that helps one resist the Force attacks of an enemy, and is also excellent for lightsaber combat. It does more damage, but it leaves you vulnerable to other attacks. Use it against others wielding the Force or lightsabers, but not against anyone else."
Of the seven forms, Makashi was the most akin to bladed weapon dueling, developed during an era where engagements with Darksiders and rogue Jedi became an almost routine activity. Form II's primary purpose was to serve as a counter to the first form, Shii-Cho, by relying on precision swordplay to counter Form I's sweeping movements, with a heavy focus on preventing disarmament, the primary goal of Form I. The early levels of Makashi were devised to provide a defense against an opponent's blade, allowing an initiate in the style to defend himself with minimal effort, but needing to be paired with a more offensive style to score a winning blow.
The higher levels of the form proved considerably more effective. Form II bladework encouraged precision and efficiency over power, using jabs, parries and light cuts rather than slashes, blocks and chops. The blade manipulation required for this form was very calculated, requiring intense focus and expert timing. It was described as elegant, powerful and precise, relying on feints to confuse and trap opponents. These refinements allowed a user of the form to attack and defend with minimal energy expenditure. Makashi also placed a great deal of emphasis on footwork in both attack and defense. The footwork of Form II practitioners commonly followed a single line, front and back, shifting the feet to keep in perfect balance as the practitioner advanced and retreated. Makashi was a style based on balance, on back-and-forth charges, thrusts, and sudden retreats. Makashi practitioners were also uncommonly adept at defending themselves from Force-based attacks. These elements combined to create a form that was extraordinarily effective for lightsaber combat against a single opponent.
Form II emphasized fluid movement and anticipation of a weapon being swung at its target, and so required very smooth motion of both the blade and the body, and practitioners often wielded the blade one-handed for a greater range of movement. With a skilled practitioner, the results were deadly. In fact, masters of the form often seemed so relaxed when employing it that they appeared to be dancing. Makashi duelists also trained themselves to avoid enslavement to form, as such devotion opened the practitioner to be defeated by unpredictable tactics — what Count Dooku dubbed "the unforeseen".
However, for all its effectiveness, Form II was not without its weaknesses. As it was designed to combat enemy duelists rather than enemy gunmen, it provided poor blast-deflection training. While this was ultimately the reason for the style's decline and eventual obsolescence, it could be overcome through skill and practice. Also, Makashi was most potent when used against a single opponent, and was reduced in effectiveness when fighting groups of adversaries. However, skilled practitioners could still fare very well against multiple foes; Dooku could engage up to four opponents with little difficulty, relying on his footwork to outmaneuver them and take them one at a time; Asajj Ventress compensated by wielding dual-blades.
However, the greatest flaw of the Makashi system of combat was its inability to generate kinetic energy in it's application; the focus on precision and blade control hampered an adherent's ability to generate momentum in both offensive and defensive maneuvers. This meant that a duelist who possessed a sufficient level of physical strength could potentially overwhelm a Makashi practitioner, shunting aside strikes from the form's precision offense and simply bashing through it's evasive, footwork-oriented defense. This lack of physical force left Makashi practitioners vulnerable to duelists utilizing more contemporary forms, which emphasized power and brute strength. This weakness was especially pronounced against practitioners of the Djem So variant of Form V, as the style was based almost entirely around fast, strength-oriented swordplay. However, this weakness could, to varying degrees, be compensated for with rigorous strength training or cybernetic augmentation. Additionally, as demonstrated by Dooku's numerous victories against power duelists during the Clone Wars, simply utilizing a strength-oriented style against a Makashi practitioner was no guarantee of victory.
Known moves and maneuversEdit
- "Masters of Form II develop unique offenses and defenses, and trained studiously against having their weapon taken or damaged."
- ―Cin Drallig on Form II
Being a style geared towards efficiency, Makashi adherents relied on balance and economy of movement, preferring to refrain from the leaps and acrobatics common to Form IV. The Form II opening stance was a single handed low guard. The saber would be held in the strong hand of the user, and held at his side, the blade pointed down, and the feet would be shoulder width apart. Some faced their opponent side on, so the blade was pointed in their direction. The lightsaber hilt would be held with the thumb pointing down the length of the blade to allow for smaller, tighter, more accurate movements of the saber. The rest of the fingers wrap around the hilt holding it tightly, but not so tight as to limit the fluidity of the movements. The typical Makashi flourish consisted of rapidly moving the tip of the blade in an X shaped pattern through the air, often following the Makashi salute. The salute was not an attack or maneuver but a challenge to an opponent. The saber was held in one hand, brought up vertical directly in front of the practitioner's face, then swung down in a Makashi flourish.
Makashi duelists were typically skilled in the application of two Marks of Contact; the Sun djem and the Shiak. In a marked difference from the Shii-Cho "disarming slash" maneuver, which was a power attack designed to rip an opponents weapon from his grasp, the typical Form II applications of the sun djem were precise attacks directed at the weapon itself, often destroying it or even burning through an opponents fingers to disarm them. Applications of the shiak were a natural result of Form II footwork and swordplay, all of which followed a single back and forth line, and was seen as an indication of skill and control. Two Makashi maneuvers were the "contentious opportunity" and the "Makashi riposte". The "contentious opportunity" was based around recognizing and exploiting an opening in the opponent's defense before swiftly moving to strike the exposed enemy. The "Makashi riposte" was similarly designed to slightly alter the angle of an opponent's attack before quickly retaliating with a counter strike.
Makashi Weapon SpecificationsEdit
- "The curved-hilt lightsaber is perhaps the least radical of all variants. Its extended handle accommodates a slight bend seldom exceeding thirty degrees. This style is common among practitioners of Form II lightsaber combat, who prefer its balanced weight and precise handling for saber-to-saber dueling."
- ―Skarch Vaunk in The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
Due to Form II's emphasis on blade manipulation, and its many fluid one-handed moves, Makashi practitioners often wielded lightsabers that were specialized for such use. The most prominent weapon for this purpose was the curved-hilt lightsaber. These weapons were used because the curved hilt fit better into the palm, granting better blade control and allowing for greater precision and strength. In addition to this, wielders often created highly decorated weapons, and occasionally included blade-guards, as shown with Dooku's lightsaber.
The other, considerably rarer, weapon type was the Lightfoil, a specialized type of lightsaber used by the Mecrosa Order. Original lightfoils were built with small handles for exclusively one-handed usage, and were much better balanced than typical lightsabers, allowing for greater precision. However, curved lightsabers and lightfoils were not the only weapons that Makashi could be effectively utilized with; Shaak Ti, Kento Marek, and Darth Vader all wielded lightsaber with standard hilts, and Asajj Ventress demonstrated the ability to utilize the style with a saberstaff.
- "Finesse. Artfulness. Economy."
Count Dooku was one of the finest practitioners of Makashi in his day, mastering the form at its highest levels. Dooku personally emphasized emotional levelheadedness and tactical know-how over the rage-fueled frenzy many of his opponents, and even some of his students, relied on, examples including Asajj Ventress or General Grievous. He demonstrated precision and elegance in his bladework, with a pin-point accurate and unpredictable offense reinforced by an almost effortless defense, all drilled and practiced to the point of being instinct. He relied on feints to entrap his opponents, and footwork to outmaneuver, basing himself around balance and mobility. Dooku would use these skills to work his way around opponents, deflecting and evading their attacks rather than trying to meet them head-to-head. His skill with the style marked him out as one of the greatest swordmasters produced by the Jedi Order, and the Form's rarity provided him with an edge against most duelists, who simply were not prepared for the finesse and precise movements of a form bred for lightsaber dueling.
Dooku's practical application of the form was exemplary; his skills were surpassed only by Yoda, and only Mace Windu was credited as Dooku's equal. On Geonosis, Dooku demonstrated many of these skills against Obi-Wan Kenobi. His efficient defensive maneuvers left the Jedi's swift slashes looking exaggerated and overdone, while Kenobi struggled to catch up to the Count's precise ripostes and unpredictable feints. During their initial duel, many of Kenobi's parries and blocks missed Dooku's blade completely, forcing him to retreat. Kenobi was ultimately brought down by light, though damaging cuts across his left arm and thigh. However, despite Dooku's absolute mastery of Form II, he was still prone to one of the style's weaknesses; the lack of kinetic power. Perhaps the most notable demonstration of this was during Dooku's fateful duel with Anakin Skywalker; Dooku was simply unable to generate the necessary power to evenly match Skywalker's preferred form, Djem So. The sheer, raw power of Form V wore down Dooku's defenses, physically exhausting him and draining his reserves of Force power. This weakness, combined with Dooku's age and Skywalker's overwhelming skill and power, resulted in Dooku's defeat.
Another Form II practitioner active at this time was Asajj Ventress, one of Dooku's students. Developing her skills under Dooku's tutelage, her eventual prowess as a duelist enabled her to hold her own against up to three adversaries with little difficulty, demonstrated during her mission to Ruul. Her skills even advanced to the point where she was able to defeat Kit Fisto and hold her own for a limited time against Mace Windu, both of whom were Jedi Council Masters.
However, Ventress was no master, and while she demonstrated both elegant bladework and sophisticated footwork, her form lacked refinement. Rather than practice emotional levelheadedness as Dooku did, she often grew impassioned and fought with animal rage. While this angry onslaught enabled her to engage, and even defeat, some of the best Jedi duelists of her day, it could also compromise her tactical planning abilities. During her earlier years, she lacked the physical strength necessary to compensate for the inherent weaknesses of both Makashi and dual-blade combat. Her attacks lacked power, as shown by both Dooku's casual defensive moves during their bout on Rattatak, and her retreat before Anakin Skywalker's frenzy of power attacks during their duel on Yavin 4. However, she eventually developed the strength necessary to compensate for this weakness, demonstrating the ability to hold up simultaneous bladelocks with multiple duelists at a time. Ventress was also heavily reliant on her extra blade, and was left at a disadvantage if deprived of it.
- "Even with my vision clouded, I recognize the fighting style of Count Dooku."
- ―Luminara Unduli analyzing Asajj Ventress' bladework.
Form II's primary niche was among Jedi duelists who engaged Darksiders, or conversely, Darksiders who engaged Jedi. Examples of such combatants include Kreia, who later taught the Jedi Exile the basics of the form, or the Sith apprentice Fohargh, who was trained by the Sith Blademaster Kas'im. However, following the final battle of Ruusan, Makashi was left obsolete; the dueling-centric form lacked proper blast-deflect techniques to make it a practical fighting method against criminals, and the number of active lightsaber-wielding Darksiders to engage was practically nil. However, Form II was still taught among the Jedi, with proponents such as Skarch Vaunk praising the mental discipline it instilled. In fact, the Jedi-held Mid-Year Fete featured classical Makashi duels between the various participating swordmasters, ensuring the styles continued survival and use. Furthermore, the attitude towards the styles obsolescence was disputed by notables such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who argued that the idea that there were no enemy lightsaber duelists to combat was mere wishful thinking.
Despite this, by the time of the Clone Wars, few practiced the form, the most notable being Dooku. Like Skarch Vaunk, Dooku argued Makashi's continuing relevance was due to the discipline it instilled, and held it among the highest of fighting forms. Other Jedi masters of Makashi included famed Jedi battlemaster Cin Drallig and Jedi Council Master Shaak Ti. As Darth Tyranus, Dooku trained both Asajj Ventress and Grievous in Form II. Makashi evidently became one of Grievous' primary fighting methods, as many of his opponents commented on Dooku's influence in his technique, and he passed this training on to his IG-100 MagnaGuards.
During the Great Jedi Purge, the Sith Lord Darth Vader featured many elements of Makashi in his personalized Djem So variant, taking advantage of his cybernetically augmented strength to overcome Makashi's prime weakness. The Jedi Knight Kento Marek also included elements of Makashi in his bladework, though his understanding of the style was limited. Vader's apprentice, Starkiller, was versed enough in Form II to recognize it in Vader's technique during their duel. The Jedi Knight Jax Pavan also received Form II training at some point, applying some basic Makashi moves and tactics against Aurra Sing in combat. Makashi, like the other six forms, would eventually be rediscovered by the New Jedi Order.
Behind the scenesEdit
Makashi was first described in the novelization of Attack of the Clones, but while its specifications and history of the form were heavily expounded upon, it was never referenced by name. However, the Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat article in Star Wars Insider 62, written by David West Reynolds and fencer Jack "Stelen" Bobo, identified it as Form II lightsaber combat. The proper name of the form, "Makashi", as well as its alternate titles as the "Contention Form" and the "Way of the Ysalamiri" would be specified in later sources.
There are also Jedi who are theorized to practice Makashi based on descriptions and comments about their fighting techniques. Examples include Valenthyne Farfalla, whose fighting style was described as elegant and clean, demonstrating perfect form, and Tholme, who was complimented by Dooku for keeping up his dueling skills and favoring the old ways. Another likely practitioner of Makashi is Sora Bulq, based on statements in the official Databank.
Makashi, along with the other lightsaber forms, appears in Star Wars Galaxies as part of moves and techniques employable by Jedi characters. This has not definitively been clarified to be canonical.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Red Harvest
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan (Non-canonical mention)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones novelization (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 7"
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 10"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Cloak of Darkness"
- Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 22"
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization
- Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows
- The Force Unleashed novel
- "Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat"—Star Wars Insider 62
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 68 (LIG11-13, Count Dooku's Lightsaber)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 116 (DOO6, Count Dooku)
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- Hero's Guide
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- Order 66: Destroy All Jedi
- Jedi Academy Training Manual
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 27
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars Comic UK 6.5
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- Totally 20: The Phantom Menace
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Star Wars: The Card Game - Edge of Darkness (Card: Makashi Training)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novel
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Labyrinth of Evil
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The Force Unleashed novel
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Cloak of Darkness
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The Jedi Path: A Manuel for Students of the Force
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Legacy of the Force: Fury
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones novel
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Jedi Academy Training Manual
- ↑ Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- ↑ Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars film
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Jedi: Mace Windu
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 The Cestus Deception
- ↑ Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Visual Guide
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 7"
- ↑ Star Wars: Clone Wars – "Chapter 19"
- ↑ Star Wars: Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force
- ↑ Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- ↑ Republic: Trackdown
- ↑ http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/players/content.vm?id=64186&resource=publish; http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/en_US/players/content.vm?id=66843&resource=features; http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/players/guides.vm?id=70002