Form IV – Ataru
-by DB Barrett
“Form IV, also called Ataru, is the most acrobatic Form, filled with numerous elaborate moves, and relies heavily upon a Jedi’s ability to run, jump, and spin using the Force.“
Form IV was Ataru, also called the Aggression Form. Though many Jedi used it in the days of the Old Republic, it’s most triumphant and powerful user was none other than the Jedi Master Yoda. Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with wide, fast, and powerful swings, but what differentiated them from other combat forms was augmenting the body’s agility by constantly drawing on the Force in the heat of battle. By allowing the Force to flow through the body, one could overcome their own physical limitations and become capable of incredible feats of acrobatics, including backflips and somersaults, not only to attack, but to evade the attacks of the opponent. Running, jumping and spinning were all emphasised in learning the kinetics of this form.
A master in Ataru combat could appear like a blur to their opponents, attacking from all directions—the front, the sides, overhead, or behind. The Force not only allowed them to perform athletic feats not possible otherwise, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat.
Ataru is the classic Form most attuned to the Force, drawing on it constantly, and it is theorized that Niman (Form VI) is an extrapolation of Ataru’s balance between physicality and the Force. Even though it is aggressive, those who utilize the Force so strongly are guided by it and not by base emotions. The tranquility of its relentlessness is akin to the constant descent of a waterfall.
By far the most visually impressive form, Ataru is not without its share of weaknesses.
Appropriately entitled ‘Aggression’, Ataru focuses on solitary adversaries with a single-minded determination. With the mind occupied by drawing on the Force, a Jedi can sometimes be thwarted by facing multiple opponents.
Designed to address the offensive shortcomings of Form III, Ataru sacrifices Soresu’s defences against blaster fire.
Because of its agile style, practitioners and specialists of Form IV require space to perform their most effective acrobatic techniques. Form IV’s offence is all but neutralized in more confined areas.
Yoda. Easily the greatest user of Ataru in Jedi history. With his deep connection to the Force, Yoda was able to surpass the limits of his small frame and advanced age, and was capable of incredible physical feats. He was able to battle Emperor Palpatine – master of all seven classic styles – to a draw, with nothing but Ataru and his mastery of the Force.
Qui-Gon Jinn. Using a more grounded and methodical version of Ataru than Yoda’s (influenced, no doubt by his master Count Dooku), Qui-Gon Jinn was an effective duellist. However, the room-requiring form of Ataru proved his downfall. The Sith Lord, Darth Maul lured Qui Gon Jinn into the Theed Reactor Room on Naboo, depriving Qui-Gon of the space needed to perform Ataru. Qui-Gon, isolated, could only then block Darth Maul’s Form VII flurry until he was eventually struck down. Qui-Gon’s death caused Obi-Wan Kenobi to abandon his learning of Form IV and instead mastered Soresu, the form focused on blocking.
Luke Skywalker. Trained by Yoda himself, Luke Skywalker learned Ataru, which served him well against Darth Vader in his final battle.