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4/10/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form IV: Ataru

Form IV: Ataru
Form IV: Ataru, also known as the Way of the Hawk-Bat, or The Aggression Form, was the fourth of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. The history of Ataru stretched back through the Old Republic, to at least as early as the Mandalorian Wars, where it was commonly employed by Jedi of that day. Ataru continued to be a common form among the Jedi in the latter stages of the Republic, and was also known to be employed by the Sith. An aggressive style, Form IV was fast-paced and effective against single opponents, though weaker in prolonged combat and confined spaces. Also, it was not recommended for use against opponents wielding blasters. Ataru was characterized by Force-assisted acrobatics, such as somersaults and leaping strikes, both for attack and defense. Another characteristic of the form was its fast, powerful strikes from multiple directions. Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with wide, fast, and powerful swings. Form IV practitioners constantly called upon the Force to aid in their movements and attacks. By allowing the Force to flow throughout their body, they could overcome their physical limitations—including old age, as was the case with Master Yoda—and perform amazing feats of acrobatics, such as somersaults and backflips, not only for attack, but also to evade the slashes and strikes of their opponents. Jedi utilizing Ataru needed to incorporate all the Force powers that involved surpassing normal physical ranges of motion, speed, and agility in order to be successful. Running, jumping, and spinning were all emphasized in learning the elaborate kinetics of the form. Those who used Form IV could move at high speeds and could rain strong blows, jumping and attacking through the air. Powerful and quick spinning attacks could be utilized from all angles, either from ground or air. A master in Ataru combat could appear like a blur to their opponents, attacking from all directions—the front, the sides, overhead, or behind. The Force not only allowed them to perform athletic feats not possible otherwise, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat. The opening stance for Ataru was a balanced two-handed guard: holding the lightsaber vertically with both palms, either on the right or left side of the body. One technique employed with greater effect by Ataru users was the Hawk-Bat Swoop. When utilized by Ataru practitioners, it was intended to allow a combatant to quickly strike their opponent without giving them a chance to react, and then escape before they had a chance to retaliate. Another move that Ataru users could use effectively was dubbed the Saber Swarm, where numerous short strikes were aimed at the adversary to force a defensive posture. Ataru wielders were able to execute this combination with particular skill. Both the Hawk-Bat Swoop and the Saber Swarm were related to the Falling Leaf technique, and they gained in popularity during the New Sith Wars.

Advantages of Form IV: It has a great and unpredictable offense, letting the force guide you movements. This form allowed any duelist to seem as if they were a master and any age can use it.

Disadvantages of Form IV: NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER. Usless against multiple foes, Ataru was made for intricate movements against single opponents. It is also useless against blaster fire, and should be coupled with a more defensive lightsaber form, such as Soresu. This is what Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi did with this form and he made it more effective than it had ever been. However, he prefered to simply use Soresu.

                                   Notable Master of Form IV: Jedi Grandmaster Yoda
                                                                            

In my next segement, I will discuss the other form created to cope with soresu's lack of offense: The Popular Form V: Shien/Djem-So. I am Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May the Force be with you!


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