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02.21.2013 , 11:50 PM | #1
Are the Prequel Trilogy Jedi all they're cracked up to be?

The Golden Age of the Old Republic, the millenium or so after the Ruusan Reformations, saw peace and prosperity return to a galaxy that had been ravaged by almost constant warfare for centuries. During this time the Jedi Order settled in and kept the peace, acting as negotiators and mediators throughout the Republic.

Supposedly, this was a flourishing of the "Jedi Arts", until the beginnings of the Clone Wars. While certainly, the centuries of peaceful meditation led the Jedi to a greater understanding of the Force and its mysteries... what did they really accomplish? Peaceful introspection is the ultimate calling of the Jedi code, especially for consulars. But were the Jedi Guardians we see during the prequels really the best that the Jedi Order had ever produced? Quite doubtful.

For a thousand years, the Jedi did not see open warfare. In fact, the purpose of the Ruusan reforms was to demilitarize the galaxy. The Army of Light disbanded, and the conventional Republic forces were no more. What few conflicts did occur were dealt with by local planetary forces. The claims that somehow, the PT Jedi Order had perfected the arts of combat in this era are absurd. While the technical aspects of the lightsaber forms were of course still known to the Jedi, they lacked practical experience with combat. Even worse, each generation of instructors who lacked experience in warfare then trained another generation, multiplying the effects of their inexperience.

In the old days, starting the the Hundred Years Darkness and concluding with the Ruusan Reforms in the time of Darth Bane, lightsaber combat was not just a flourishing art. It was life or death, as force sensitive combatants fought on all sides of every war in those eras. And wars were frequent.

It was during these days that we saw the most rapid evolution of the lightsaber forms, rapidly expanding from the simplistic movements of Shii-Cho to incorporate the dueling form of Makashi, and so on until the time of Exar Kun, when Niman had been developed. By the days of the Jedi Civil War, Juyo was in practice, even if frowned upon by the Jedi Council.

In these times, any battle would involve numerous lightsaber duels. These were not artistic, complex affairs, but rather deadly contests on the field of battle. Jedi regularly fought Sith, and Dark Jedi of all stripes. Even amongst the Sith, lethal duels were extremely common, seen as both preparation for facing the Jedi and to weed out the weak among them.

Count Dooku lamented the way the Jedi Council had allowed dueling techniques to deteriorate by the times of the PT, and even in the times of the First Jedi Purge, Kreia warned the Jedi Exile that compared to ancient masters like Tulak Hord and Marka Ragnos, more modern Jedi were merely "children playing with toys". It is clear that during the ancient times, duelists were far more formidable than in the PT era. This is not to say that the vaunted Master Yoda did not possess vast wisdom and knowledge of the Force, but that the combat skills of the PT Jedi were not up to scratch when the Clone Wars opened up.
The Heir to ChaosAdded Chapter Sixteen-- 17 APR 2013
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ~ George Orwell