Lightsaber Combat Form II – Makashi
by DB Barrett
“He is a fencer. Leverage, position, advantage—they are as natural to him as breathing.“
Makashi, or the ‘Contention’ Form was the second of the lightsaber forms, created to address the shortcomings of Form I. Makashi was the most duelling-centric of the forms, relying on precision and efficiency over Shii-Cho’s comparatively wild, sweeping motions. It focused heavily on footwork and balance to outmanoeuvre opponents, utilizing quick jabs and light cuts as opposed to heavy committed assaults and hack and slash attacks.
Makashi’s closest real-world analogue would be modern fencing, using rapiers or similar thrusting swords.
“Finesse. Artfulness. Economy.”
Form II emphasised fluid motion and anticipation, thus requiring smooth motion of both the blade and the body, and practitioners often used the blade one handed for greater range. The rise of Dark Side users necessitated the evolution of Form I to Form II. The focus and skill required to master Makashi often made its practitioners extremely strong-willed, and thus far more capable to combat the Force-based attacks of their enemy.
What this resulted in was a Form that was sublimely suited to battling a single, Force-sensitive opponent. It is considered the most ritualistic of the combat forms, and archaic practitioners would often begin their duels with the Makashi salute – an ancient sign of respect.
It is the ‘Duelling Form’, and in the hands of a master, virtually unstoppable.
Despite its precision and efficiency, Makashi had two notable weaknesses.
- Its form was perfected before the rise of blasters, and suddenly Makashi practitioners had to deal with random blaster fire from all directions. With their emphasise on precise movement and focus on thrusting attacks, it is ill-suited to coping with omni-directional blasting fire. Those using this form had to switch to either Form I or Form III to cope with blasters. Only one Force-Sensitive ever developed any proficiency using solely this form for each and every situation, and that was Count Dooku.
- Makashi was a form dedicated to grace and mobility and generally did not generate much kinetic energy, favouring precision over strength. As such, when faced with forms that utilized strength, Makashi duellists would soon be overpowered and exhausted. It is essential that when placed in such situations that the Makashi duellist defeat their opponent in the early moments of the duel, or the advantage would fall to their adversary. An example of this was the final duel between Makashi master Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker, who revealed himself to be a master of the strength and skill reliant Djem So (Form V).
- Count Dooku was the paramount duellist in the order, having been one of the only two Jedi in the Order to defeat Mace Windu (the other being Master Yoda). His mastery of Makashi was absolute, able to rely on it completely when most other Jedi learned a little of each form to supplement their weaknesses in a certain form. However, this overspecialization proved to be his downfall when he faced off against Anakin Skywalker.