The Myth of the PT Jedi Guardians
View Single Post
02.25.2013 , 04:19 AM |
Quote: Originally Posted by
No problem, I do a lot of editing for different people, so it's sort of second nature sometimes. If you want good examples of excellently written swordplay, check out the Wheel of Time. Robert Jordan (the author) was an infantry officer in Vietnam and he writes excellent battles and duels.
Makes better sense with your explananation, although I do have a strong personal dislike of Ataru as a form.
Perhaps I should try harder to view all this through the lens of the Jedi Code, but if I were instructing Jedi padawans in combat techniques it would go something like this:
Shii-Cho: Teaches you the basic footwork for later forms. Never use this ever.
Makashi: Flashy and showy, but effective for conserving energy if your opponent doesn't use Juyo or Djem So.
Soresu: Only employ this if you're facing blasters, or trying to escape a superior foe.
Ataru: Don't use this. It's sloppy and it tires you out too quickly.
Shien/Djem So: Balanced and good for any combat situation, especially against lightsabers.
Niman: No one even knows what this form is, let's be honest. It relates to Jar'kai... somehow.
Juyo: This is your standby for winning fights. Only use another form if you're being attacked via the Force, otherwise push the offensive and carve 'em up.
But then again, the combat instruction I provide in real life is "Kick out their knee and stomp on their head. If they try to grab you, crush their windpipe and snap their neck." So, first off, I'd probably be instantly expelled from the Jedi Order. Secondly, I'd have to sit through sensitivity training with Yoda about how I can't have padawans engaging in live fire exercises and beating each other with sticks... but that might look pretty good when I applied for the position of Korriban Academy Dueling Team Coach...
Let's leave Lucas and his petty squabbling with the EU out of this. I'm holding out the hope that Episode VII will put G-Canon in its grave, and we can pretend that The Phantom Menace was just a bad dream...
But you're right about the stamina playing a role, it just doesn't matter how long you can fight if your adversary ends that duel three seconds in (the majority of hand to hand engagements that begin with lethal intent last less than six).
This is pretty much what I'm trying to do. I'm not saying that the PT Jedi are pathetic and weak (or rather, that they're any more pathetic and weak than the Jedi who came before them) but rather that they are inexperienced with fighting. I'm not saying EVERY Jedi in the OR Era was a master duelist, I'm just saying that there were a lot of prolonged conflicts that produced exceptionally experienced warriors.
To answer you directly, Malgus didn't singlehandedly kill every Jedi at the temple. He brought a large contingent of Sith with him, who were likely selected from the ranks of the Sith Empire for this assault because of their combat prowess. The Jedi at the temple were probably still completing their training, with the exception of their instructors who were likely veteran Jedi returned from the battlefields. However, there would not be many of them at the temple, only enough to train the new padawans, meaning that the Sith force would have the edge in experienced warriors, as well as the element of surprise and a coordinated assault on the temple.
The PT Era Jedi began the Clone Wars without much experience at all. Mace Windu even says to the Chancellor "We are keepers of the peace, not soldiers" at the outset of the Clone Wars. These Jedi are not accustomed to warfare or the realities of combat. It seems that over the course of the Clone Wars, they gain experience with many aspects of warfare, but lightsaber dueling doesn't really seem to be one of them. There's no practical
for them to be good at it, just as in the modern day world soldiers still learn how to march and drill, but it is by no means an essential skill on the battlefield. In the Napoleonic Era, the ability of a regiment to hold formation and execute bayonet drills in the face of an enemy charge was
to their surivival. Modern infantry are trained in all the same aspects of marching and drill, but they have much less need to hone their skills to perfection than their predecessors did.
To extend my analogy, PT Era Jedi would likely be experts at Soresu and the deflection aspects of Shien because these are skills the will
to survive. And while they will have a working knowledge of the other forms, they are not forced to apply them in a fight against another saber wielder.
EDIT: In response to the claim the "
a master of Soresu is invincible
", I provide a quote from this page:
is invincible. That word should be stricken from these forums. Moving on...
The Jedi who fought in the days of the Great Galactic War, and the Mandalorian Wars, Jedi Civil War, Great Hyperspace War, etc. etc. would have
they would encounter enemy duelists, and while blaster deflection would matter, it was of equal importance to be able to win lightsaber duels. In the time of the PT Era Jedi, lightsaber dueling was practically an obsolete art. How many Jedi ever even saw a Sith? It had been a thousand years since the Jedi fought enemies with lightsabers. No matter how meticulously they practiced the forms recorded in holocrons, almost none of the Jedi had any experience with dueling. There are thousands of subtle nuances that cannot be taught or learned from a textbook (er... holocron). For Jedi, who rely partially on precognition and hair-trigger reactions during their duels, learning to interpret their instincts during a duel would probably be even more important than it is for regular soldiers. Without the actual experience of the real thing, a fight to the death, there is simply an element missing from that duelist's instincts. The learning curve is rather steep, and the price heavy, but you cannot underestimate the value of real experience in your organization.
Well, I suppose I was trying to avoid having to address this point. What you are saying is that Jedi are disrupted by conflict, that it interferes with their ability to wield the Force, and that it weakens them. In theory, you can find canonical arguments to support all of these statements, but what concerns me here are the implications that this has for the Jedi Order.
Lightsabers and Jedi are introduced to us by Obi-Wan Kenobi, saying
"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic."
(If you didn't hear that in Alec Guinness' voice in your head, I don't know what I'll do...)
One of the primary duties of the Jedi is to protect the Old Republic, apparently from the Sith. Since the Sith are generally fairly aggressive, and historically have favored the tactic of "invade the Republic with massive fleets and armies" it would make sense for the Jedi to prepare themselves for war in order to combat the threat posed by the Sith.
Unfortunately, it seems that the very thing they exist to do (fight the Sith when they invade) also weakens them fatally and disrupts all of their abilities. That would make the Jedi a
dysfunctional order indeed.
Every time the Sith start a war, it becomes a losing proposition for the Jedi. Their entire philosophy forgoes preemptive strikes or aggressive campaigns in warfare, and so it usually ends up that the Sith pick the time and nature of their engagements with the Jedi. The longer the war stretches, the weaker and less powerful the Jedi become, thus making it harder for them to continue defending the Republic.
Basically, according to this line of thinking, the Jedi suck at their job. Not just now and then, but fundamentally and irrevocably. The Jedi Order is practically doomed to fail at its mission, because the very act of carrying out their duties also seems to be their ultimate weakness.
Aside from this glaring inconsistency in the purpose and philosophies of the Jedi Order, the point that I am trying to address here is this: actual combat experience produces the best duelists.
I am not saying that years of warfare strengthen the Jedi Order as a whole. I am not saying that the casualties sustained by the Jedi during a war do not affect them negatively. What I am saying is that during times of war, specifically when Jedi fight against large numbers of Sith, you will find the most experienced and deadliest lightsaber duelists.
Naturally, extended conflicts sap the strength of both sides. This is the nature of war, it is destructive and costly. I never said that it wasn't. However, wars do produce experienced warriors.
The years immediately preceding the First Jedi Purge saw the Jedi Order pushed to the edge of annihilation. This was obviously terrible for the Jedi Order, and it would take them a long time to rebuild themselves. By the time of the Great Galactic War, we actually have a situation rather similar to the PT Jedi Order. Centuries of peace have allowed the Jedi to replenish their numbers and they are well established. Then we have Malgus' seething:
"For 300 years we prepared, we grew stronger. While you rested in your cradle of power, believing your people were safe and protected...but you were deceived."
The Sith invade, striking first and striking hard. They push the Jedi back, they take countless worlds. The war drags on, and the Jedi are barely able to defend the Republic. Finally, a stalemate is reached after twenty-eight years of warfare.
"While you rested in your cradle of power" ...
Resting is the act of recovering. You rest to restore yourself after being exhausted, but resting does not increase your strength at all. It seems that peace did not make the Jedi stronger, it only allowed them to amass larger numbers of padawans in the absence of battlefield casualties. Did the Great Galactic War make the Jedi stronger? Not necessarily, but it would certainly have made the Jedi better duelists. The constant need to learn and refine dueling techniques, always grasping for that edge against the invading Sith armies, would have pushed the Jedi to the limits of their abilities. You either mastered lightsaber combat, or you died facing the red glow of a Sith's lightsaber.
After the Ruusan Reforms, the Jedi essentially abandoned warfare. The Army of Light disbanded, and the Sith were presumed extinct. In many ways, this was a golden era for the Jedi. Finally, they could pursue the study of the Force and its mysteries without the constant need to prepare for war against the legions of the Sith and their followers.
But over the course of this millenium, the arts of war receded into the background. There was no need for Jedi generals, or for duelists to fight back the Sith. Lightsaber combat was studied from holocrons, and Jedi sparred against each other, but for generations no one actually had to apply these skills on the battlefield. By the time of the Battle of Theed, when Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi face Darth Maul, the Jedi are barely even able to identify a Sith.
The Jedi council expresses disbelief that the guy
WEARING BLACK ROBES AND SWINGING A RED LIGHTSABER
was actually a Sith warrior. Mace and Yoda think that the Sith are extinct, and find it hard to believe that they've returned. Only after Qui-Gon is dead do they finally realize that they're dealing with the real thing. Even then, it takes the better part of the Clone Wars for anyone to begin to suspect Palpatine of anything sketchy despite the fact that Mace Windu clearly states "the dark side of the Force
the chancellor" ... apparently that still leaves some doubt as to his nature?
It seems quite clear that these Jedi have absolutely no experience dealing with Sith. When the Clone Wars break out, Windu again says "we're keepers of the peace, not soldiers". These Jedi have spent a thousand years mediating debates, resolving disputes, and meditating. In the first two minutes of the war almost 150 Jedi Knights and masters are cut down by mere battle droids in the Geonosis Arena, whereas as the war progresses we later see various Jedi perform much better against these droids. Their abilities in combat clearly improve over the course of the war. Anakin and Obi-Wan become dramatically more proficient between their first fight with Dooku and their second.
Should this even be possible, according to Beni and Aurbere's line of reasoning? If anything, three years of non-stop warfare should have degraded the abilities of the Jedi, but instead we see most, if not all, of the Jedi who survive numerous battles becoming better combatants.
So, to wrap up a post that may have rambled slightly (and I apologize for that, I didn't get around to starting this until rather late but wanted to get my thoughts down) I have this to say for war vs. peace:
Times of war will hone the individual combat skills of Jedi, when evaluated on an individual basis. They have access to veteran teachers, and will gain first hand combat experience to not only reinforce their training, but allow them to develop vital instincts for battle. The flipside of course is that prolonged warfare will eventually diminish the Jedi's numbers to the point where it becomes difficult to train new Jedi.
Times of peace will allow the Jedi Order to increase numerically, but none of these Jedi will gain real combat experience. Thus, entire generations may pass through the order without the need to ever put their lightsaber training to the test. This is especially true for lightsaber on lightsaber techniques. While the threat from occasional blaster fire is fairly constant, dueling experience becomes quite rare.
Lastly, to address the absurd plethora of individual Jedi that have been listed as skilled duelists. They are all stated to be "one of the best in his/her day" or "among the most skilled of their era" and so on and so forth. Comparisons like this are only possible with those Jedi's peers, or with the Jedi who trained directly under them/lived in their lifetime. If none of the Jedi in a particular era have seen combat with lightsabers, how exactly are they going to be expert judges of a certain duelist's proficiency? It is only after these skills have been laid to the ultimate test that they will know for certain.
I bow before thee, lore-master!