Form III – Soresu
- by DB Barrett
“The road is long, but it is worth the journey, for a true master of Form III is invincible.”
Soresu or the Resilience Form was recognized prior to and during the Clone Wars, but was developed much earlier, during the widespread emergence of blasters as an offensive weapon, being originally an extension of Form I’s blast deflect training, as Makashi’s focus on enemies wielding lightsabers was ill-equipped to combat blaster fire.
It relied on constant blade motion to build up momentum, minimizing energy expenditure. In the hand of a master, the lightsaber would appear as a glowing circle of protection, a deadly shield that allows nothing to penetrate.
“That is so like you, Master Kenobi. I am called a great swordsman because I invented a lethal style; but who is greater, the creator of a killing form – or the master of the classic form?”
– Mace Windu
Form III originally began as an elaboration of Form I’s deflection and defense training. However, over time, Soresu transcended this basic origin and came to be considered the ultimate expression of non-aggressive Jedi philosophy.
Form III focused on strong defensive technique to essentially outlast an opponent, waiting until he began making mistakes due to frustration or fatigue, before taking advantage of these lapses and countering. Form III necessarily involved preparation for long battles, wherein the practitioner observes his opponent’s technique, searching for openings, learning as much as possible in the heat of battle. The objective is learning to control the combat situation, creating multiple options for Jedi employing this Form. A wielder of Form III could choose to kill, disarm or even reason with their opponent when they are exhausted.
Despite its undeniable effectiveness as a defensive tactic, Soresu came under criticism for lacking offensive options.
The style facilitates survival, not victory. Its emphasis is almost entirely on blocking and parrying. Against determined and sufficiently cautious opponents, or against overwhelming numbers, Form III merely delays the inevitable.
Despite its efficiency in creating a veritable shield of energy, its cautious style can be broken by a vicious enough offence. To supplement its defences, more aggressive forms were created. These would be Ataru (Form IV) and Shien/Djem So (Form V). The necessity of these forms was that even though Soresu was easy to learn, it was difficult to master. Even among the Jedi, there are few patient enough to master the principle of Soresu.
Obi-Wan Kenobi. Considered the greatest master of Soresu in the Jedi Order’s history, he defeated several lightsaber wielders considered his superior in duelling. He was praised by Mace Windu for his absolute mastery of the classic form, and was noted by Dooku to have raised the otherwise bland Form to a new prominence. Obi Wan practiced and mastered this Form after watching his mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn cut down before him. His master utilized the far more aggressive Form IV.
Luminara. A member of the Jedi Council and a powerful wielder of Soresu.