Forms 1-7

So far, those of us discussing this matter, have come to an agreement that there is no need to reinvent the wheel with regard to martial forms or styles. We see no need to attempt to create a new "Jedi Martial Art", much less 7 of them. The real world has given us a breath-taking smorgasbord of Combat styles from all over the globe from which we can choose our preferred systems. 

As the Jedi Lightsaber Dueling Styles/Systems/Forms are for the most part completely fictional in origin, with stage combat consultants used to create the appearance of a distinctive style without any real reference to martial effectiveness in the real world; then I am personally inclined to discard them completely. However, I am also very willing to be experimental to see if the 7 Jedi Combat Forms have any real world usefulness at all perhaps derived from their alignment with metaphorical truths.

I contemplated using them as possible ways of Categorizing real world martial arts. But even if every real world martial art could be neatly categorized into 7 different slots...what real good would that do us? Further, I can think of many martial arts which seem to straddle 2 or more of the Jedi Styles conceptually. So, I have come upon a different way to potentially make them useful. 

The Jedi Combat forms can be used to categorize combat mind sets and attitudes. Also perhaps ways in which we can experience working with the Force in our martial/physical disciplines and practices. I shall now go through some of my thoughts on the matter, which are far from final...and I look forward to feed back.

Form 1 - I see this as perhaps any all martial styles/systems as the Jedi learns the pieces and how to put them together. This Form is just about technique, whether that technique is a circle or a straight line. This form is and should be really devoid of personality and individuality. This is where we all start, learning the pieces and how to put them together and make them work for us. This Form is our foundation and any attempt to skip ahead or on to more "interesting" portions of training will likely result in ruin eventually. I mean really, its our foundation! Although this Form is the only place from which we can start. I do not believe that the other forms necessarily follow after in sequential order.

 

Form 2 - I see this form as the portion of our martial practice where we begin to "play chess" with our opponents. Someone who masters this Form is mastering serial entailment or contingency planning. Spending time on this Form is a game of "what if...and then what". This is Form is about learning or creating logical combinations of maneuvers and techniques based upon scenarios. This Form is about going for the win and gaining the advantage over your opponent by thinking 1, 2, 3 or more moves ahead thus leading inevitably to their defeat. See the Robert Downey Jr. versions of the Sherlock Holmes movies for the concept I am going for here. Sherlock would be in this context a Master of Form 2 combat.

 

Form 3 - I see this Form as a philosophical divergent form from Form 2. While Form 2 goes for the win, Form 3 goes for the stalemate, and happily stays there. It would seem that in our real world the laws of physics and all other applicable laws seem to favor moving to a neutral place, rather than one with a charge, one way or the other. Being happy with a stalemate is not winning, but it is its own kind of advantage. Someone stuck in a Form 2 mind set, who feels that they must "win", will find themselves increasingly frustrated when dealing with someone operating in a Form 3 mind set. A great example of this actually comes from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. CDR Data, an android, & the shows metaphorical "Tin-Man", engages a Grand Master of a fictional Strategy game, and after doing fairly well, loses to the Grandmaster. At the end of the episode, Data re-engages the Grand Master in this game. After the game continues well past the point that the Grand Master had won the game in his previous match, the Grand Master stands up and storms out of the gaming area with some insults that mean next to nothing to CDR Data. When his crew mates ask him how he beat the Grand master, Data says that he in fact did not defeat the Grand Master. What he did was change his paradigm to opt for stalemate over victory, which he could theoretically have done until the end of time. 

 

Form 4 - This Form, for me, is about physicality and athleticism. In the movies they exemplified this form with a lot of very flashy acrobatics. These kinds of maneuvers are not generally considered combat effective or efficient. However, you can ask any soldier or professional fighter, simply being in better shape than the other guy and bring you victory all by itself by you being able to out last your opponent. Being stronger, and faster can certainly help as well. Most of the superior martial techniques are designed to remove or neutralize the advantage of an attacker with superior physicality. However, when technique is equal superior physicality will still probably carry the day. Any style could use Form 4, but Capoeira is one of the most extraordinarily acrobatic style that I have witnessed that also did not sacrifice martial effectiveness. As for a movie example...Rocky 4...nuf said.

 

Form 5 - To me this form is about moving between Forms 2, 3, and possibly 4. Like using a Form 3 mind set to draw out the frustration of an opponent, then switching into a Form 2 mind set when your opponent has passed beyond any ability to recover, then bringing all of the power of ones technique and physicality to bear upon that weakness.

 

Form 6 -This Form to me is about training a technique until it moves into a place beyond thought, so that techniques are not something one does when one thinks about it but habits one has developed. Someone who has trained themselves into this Form does not square off and take a stance with his opponent, nor does he fight from a layman's natural stance...but rather his fighting stances have become his natural stances. Form 6 master is, in a way, always practicing. A Form 6 practitioner, then could be just as surprised as the next person, but he does not need to transition to a state of readiness because he is always there. I guess I think a bit more highly of Form 6 type practices than the writers of the Star Wars Universe. There is a reason that the internal Chinese martial arts still survive as martial arts and not just dances.

 

Form 7 - This form to me is about is about giving oneself over to ones instincts and intuition in equal measure. To me this Form is where the ancient Norse and Celtic warriors were trying to go with their practices of berserking and warp spasming. Form 7, is about moving the conscious mind as far out of the way as possible. Ideally, one would lose awareness of ones limitations, feelings of fear, fatigue, and or weakness would lose their meaning and thus power over the practitioner of Form 7. History is full of stories about warriors who lose themselves in the frenzy of battle. Fighting relentlessly, for minutes or perhaps even hours, in spite of injuries that for all intents and purposes should have killed them. Moving in a way that is seemingly oblivious to pain and disability. Also seeming to move with monstrous alacrity, and prowess. If a small woman whose child is in danger can move into a Form 7 mind set and lift a car, a full grown man who is fit and trained for many years as a warrior, should be absolutely terrifying in this state. For those of us who aspire to be real world Jedi could conceive of Form 7 as giving oneself over to the Force and letting it guide his actions completely. A master of Form 7 would theoretically become an inhuman machine, an engine of combat destruction when he enters his battle trance. Although conceptually, one could easily slip to the dark side with this Form by becoming less than human rather than more. Becoming a frenzied blood thirsty beast. As for cinematic depictions. I can think of a great movie which shows both dark and light sides of Form 7 in the same battle. The movie Serenity, at the final stand of the crew vs the Reavers, River Tamm apparently sacrifices herself to save her brother and the rest of the crew by locking herself out side of the area where the rest of the crew would be safe from the Reavers. One assumes that she dies shortly after retrieving her brothers medical supplies and throws them through the hatch and then manages to close that hatch before all of the Reavers appear to pile on top of her. Then when the scene returns to the room full of Reavers, who for our purposes are hyper aggressive practitioners of Form 7. They appear to have no regard for their own safety, and they seem to be completely immune to pain and are motivated by pure bestial blood lust. While our Form 7 light side master, River Tamm, operates with her dancers grace, and with her telepathic awareness (for our purposes high levels of intuition), combining her secret government agency given combat programming to become a machine of lethality, cutting down anything in her path, with apparent superhuman situational sensitivity yet complete detachment. She manages to maintain control of her "machine" and thus only kills those that she means to kill, while the Reavers are monsters who are lost to humanity. And for those who are wondering, yes I have seen that movie many times. 

Blessings, and May the Force be with you.