, 12:18 PM
Alright, let's address some of these points.
Fair enough. I don't want this to get bogged down into a perpetual argument over PT vs. OR Jedi blah blah blah. I'm trying to address a very specific concept here, which is the experience and skill of duelists with lightsabers, and the factors that lead to their development.
From that initial thesis, several topics have spun off, all of which I am interested in discussing.
1. What were the Jedi doing when they weren't fighting the Sith?
- 1.1 Why does an organization with an aversion to warfare assume the mantle of Jedi Knights?
2. How do we justify new content that occurs in between already established canon?
- 2.1 Specifically, the Great Galactic War represents an entire era on par with either of the film trilogies.
- 2.2 Old statements by Lucas, etc. don't take into account newer developments/ideas.
3. (this one is just off the cusp) Why do the Jedi monopolize the education of Force Sensitives? We see an active attempt throughout the existence of the Jedi Order to suppress alternative Force Traditions. Is it illegal for other organizations to train their members who may be Force sensitive? What if the Jedi want to take your child for training and you object? I'm not sure these questions have been raised before... perhaps I'll put this in a different thread.
Anyhows, while I'm specifically addressing points that Aurbere raised/countered in this post, I would love for anyone else with an opinion to jump in and give their two cents, especially with any new topics that might creep into my post here. Please do not be intimidated if you only have a minor point to contribute and don't want to write a "mega-post" like some of us (not pointing fingers, but we know who we are) tend to.
1. The Jedi were keeping the peace throughout the galaxy. Going off on missions to settle disputes or put an end to 'law-breakers' and their ilk. Their actions included fighting in the Yinchorri Uprising and the Stark Hyperspace Wars.
But they were also expanding their knowledge of The Force and the lightsaber forms. Peace times are excellent times to broaden knowledge of The Force and the lightsaber forms. Veterans of the New Sith Wars passed on their knowledge of the lightsaber forms, allowing the Jedi to learn from their predecessors and pass these teachings down to other generations. The forms were also expanded upon.
Knights are typically guardians when it comes to Star Wars. They are defenders of the Republic. It's just that war has adverse effects on a Jedi (as has been mentioned before).
2. Previous statements by George Lucas remain in effect until either he or Leland Chee retracts them. So Darth Sidious is the most powerful Sith Lord ever, Luke is the most powerful Jedi ever, and the PT Jedi Order is the Golden Age of the Jedi.
3. I don't think they monopolize Force sensitivity, at least that's not how I see it. Let's take the Baran Do for example. While the Jedi to take some Kel Dor for training, the more traditionalist Kel Dor families send their children to learn from the Baran Do Sages. Training isn't illegal for other organizations, but I assume the Jedi would just like to keep tabs on everything to prevent any sort of devastation by rogue Force users. But that's my opinion.
The forms were revolutionized during the 1000 year peace. Bane believed that the Jedi would stagnate, while the Sith grew in power and skill, but he was wrong. The Jedi advanced just as much as the Sith did. The Jedi didn't just sit around. They actively developed the lightsaber forms. While you are correct that dueling forms like Makashi went out of style, the Jedi still practised and mastered forms that could be used against lightsaber wielding opponents.
You are entirely correct that training is crucial to building the foundations of a skilled swordsman, or any combatant for that matter. I am hardly suggesting throwing half-trained Padawans into the fray of battle. Practice and sparring will build the technical skills necessary to become a good duelist.
What I am talking about are the steps after you've learned the basics. The Jedi Knights and Masters who actually fight lethal duels against trained Sith will be the ones who develop good combat instincts.
There is so much more to winning an engagement than being a technical master of a lightsaber form, or even all seven. Knowing something and knowing how to apply it are two different realms. There is an intuitive leap that must be made between the formal instruction in combat techniques, and the instincts to use them effectively.
Please allow me to be clear, there are two phases in the development of an expert combatant. The first consists of showing him the skills he will use on the battlefield, and the second consists of actually practicing those skills himself, in the heat of battle. These two phases will alternate, and a combatant will continually improve between battles and engagements, absorbing his experience and supplementing it with further practice to sharpen his skills.
The PT Era Jedi can only progress up to a certain point without experiencing combat. The sparring among fellow Jedi is part of learning the fundamentals of the forms, but it cannot stand in as a substitute for experience. Similarly, the Jedi cannot "revolutionize" the fighting forms during 1000 years of peace. They remained almost completely unchanged between Ruusan and the Clone Wars, because they were stagnant. It wasn't until Mace Windu (an extremely unconventional Jedi) that any further developments were made to the forms.
Answer me this: if combat experience is so important, why did the 1000 years of peace produce some of the greatest duelists to ever live? Every source will tell you that many of the PT Jedi were the best in their chosen form. How can that be if they have no combat experience? Suffice to say, combat experience isn't as important for a Jedi as it would be for a Sith or soldier.
Well let's go over this. While Obi-Wan would be of great help in the battle against the Emperor, there is still a very high chance that he would be killed. As it is noted in the ROTS novelization, as the duel between Yoda and Sidious comes to a close, Yoda has been pushed to his limits, while Sidious hsa not reached that point.
But yes, back to Yoda. Or rather, back to Obi-Wan. He of all people should know better than to confront a Sith Lord alone. I seem to recall:
"We'll take him together, you go in slowly on the left..."
"No, I'm taking him now!"
Because that worked out so well. But wait, next time it worked much better!
"This time, we'll do it together."
So when Yoda proposes splitting up, you would think Obi-Wan (who's supposedly a pretty good General at this point as well) would say something like, "Wait, Yoda! That's not how divide and conquer works, you've got it backwards!" Rather than take the opportunity to confront the two Sith individually when they'll have the numerical advantage, they blunder in like... well, like a reckless Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones.
EDIT: I just remembered that Obi-Wan's experience with this goes back even further. Part of the reason that Qui-Gon Jinn was killed was because Maul managed to separate him and Obi-Wan. Seriously, Obi-Wan's entire psyche should be screaming out against this brilliant plan to split up.
And, yes, Obi-Wan is not good enough to challenge the Emperor, but it would certainly tip the scales in Yoda's favor to have an ally with him. After all, Master Kenobi is one of the finest warriors in the Jedi Order, capable of sparring with Mace Windu. He'd probably be pretty darn useful in that fight.
Teamwork is another thing that war is supposed to teach you. On a battlefield, you don't stand much chance alone, but working with your squadmates, or other allies, you are able to wreak havoc on the enemy. You watch each other's backs, gang up on individual enemies, and generally support each other in combat (Gosh, I can't think of when SWTOR players would ever team up to take on adversaries they can't handle alone...)
This is what I mean by Mr. Lucas not thinking out the actions of his characters very well. The actions of two of the wisest Jedi in the order. Two generals, who've been coordinating the Republic's armies for three years. Right, those guys.
Think of it this way. If they both went off to face the Emperor, they could both be killed, leaving the galaxy in eternal darkness. By splitting up, they ensure that at least one of them will survive. Yoda believed that Obi-Wan could beat Anakin, but he would be no match for Sidious. Yoda had to ensure the survival of one of them. By sending Obi-Wan to face Anakin, he ensured that at least one of them would survive. However, the battle ended in a gamble, with Obi-Wan being the victor.
I do think it would have been wise for them to face the Emperor together, but the chance for failure was still too high. But their would be the chance for success, just not a very high one. Sidious could destroy Obi-Wan with ease if he wished to.
Remember that they learned of the Rule of Two from Kibh Jeen, a fallen Jedi. It was considered the ravings of a madman, but they eventually discussed the return of the Sith before the Battle of Naboo. Remember that Mace Windu also says "I do not believe the Sith could have returned without us knowing." So Mace Windu and Yoda knew the Sith would return, but then Ki-Adi Mundi says that it is impossible. It is confusing.
You are entitled to your opinion. That's part of the beauty of Star Wars, we can argue over things until we figure them out because it doesn't all add up. That's almost part of the fun, fitting the puzzle pieces of this exciting universe together.
However, it makes no bloody sense Yoda would take stock in the ravings of a madman who died a century ago. It's his first reaction, not some theory that he eventually begins to consider. He and Mace straight up declare that there are always two Sith. They are clearly entirely aware of the Rule of Two, and so it should figure prominently into their planning.
(I'd appreciate a response from Aurbere on this point, since it's not related to the main debate per se, but raises some interesting questions nonetheless. The ball's in your court, Historian. You have made me quite curious)
However, this also explains why only Yoda and Mace Windu can compete with Palpatine (in the words of George Lucas), as they may be the only ones who had been preparing. Of course none of this is canon fact (except for what Lucas just said), so I'm theorizing here.
But also remember that the Golden Age produced some of the greatest duelists of all time. So even if the above theory is correct (which I doubt as it has been said that Yoda was preparing the Order for a war with the Sith), combat experience isn't necessary to produce master duelists.
Also, what StarSquirrel said.
Combat experience isn't the same for Jedi as it is for everyone else. War affects Jedi in a bad way. They lose touch with The Force. The Force isn't a simple component of lightsaber combat, it is intertwined with lightsaber combat. The Force gives the Jedi the enhanced reflexes to dodge and block attacks with almost lightning fast reflexes.
But then you ask, why fight in wars then? Because they have to. It is their role as Guardians of The Republic and Keepers of the Peace to fight those who would disrupt it. It is their sworn duty.
But then why aren't Jedi falling to the Dark Side during the Clone Wars? Well Jedi did fall, just not that many. The Clone Wars is a different kind of war, against an enemy never fought before- droids. Jedi feel the emotions of those around, and react to them. Droids do not have emotions, and their destruction has no effect on the Living Force, therefore a Jedi has little to worry about in terms of losing connection to the Light.
^This bit is just in response to the whole 'war is bad for the Jedi' discussion.
I think what you need to understand is that combat experience works differently for a Jedi than it does for a Sith or regular soldier. Sith are your standard soldier. They are always learning and feeding off of the combat. Jedi are not like that. While you could say that they learn from combat as well, but it is not combat that strengthens a Jedi. Peace times give strength to the Jedi, war strengthens the Sith.
The nature of the Light Side is to be at peace. As followers of the Light, the Jedi share the same traits. I think that is what you need to understand.
Added Chapter 29 to The Shadows Fall
"Your only hope to survive is to give in to the rage boiling within you, to acknowledge the Dark Side you deny, and tap into it!"