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Old 12-08-2008, 03:34 AM   #1
Phantasm
 
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Default [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Lightsaber Combat Styles

These styles are the main styles of lightsaber combat studied by the Old Republic Jedi. Many of them, particularly Makashi, Djem So, and Juyo, are also studied by the Sith.

The Force Staff skill (detailed below) listed as an optional trait in many of the styles represents training in the double-bladed lightsaber, first created by Jedi Master turned Sith Lord Exar Kun and popular with many of the Jedi who fought during the Mandalorian Wars. A true double-bladed lightsaber practitioner should study the Quarterstaff style from Martial Arts in addition to the styles below.

Author's Notes: I have decided not to do Vapaad, Mace Windu's style from Revenge of the Sith, due to the following points: He developed the style from Juyo late in the Star Wars timeline, and he only taught it to two fellow Jedi, both of whom fell to the Dark Side and died before he did. I have also left Jar'Kai separate from Niman, following older source materials from before the more recent sources that combined them.

Skills

Force Saber (DX/A)
Default: DX-5, Force Sword-3, or other Fencing skill at -3.
This skill is the fencing variant of the Force Sword skill.

Force Staff (DX/H)
Default: DX-6, Force Sword-4 or Staff-3.
This skill covers weapons that consist of a single hilt, often about 12 to 18 inches long, with energy blades that extend from both ends. Note that a critical failure with such a weapon tends to messily injure the wielder.

At the GM's discretion, a successful roll on the Force Staff Art skill can add a bonus to Intimidation equal to one-half the margin of success.

(Author's note: The pricing of the skill as a DX/H skill comes from in-universe comments about the "twin blades being harder to master." The Intimidation bonus comes from in-universe comments about "making enemies stampede in retreat.")

New Techniques

Deflect Blasters
Default: Parry Missile Weapons Parry-5.
Prerequisites: Parry Missile Weapons, Enhanced Time Sense or Precognitive Parry. Cannot exceed Parry Missile Weapons Parry.
This is the technique used by lightsaber wielders to parry and deflect blaster bolts harmlessly into the ground or the air. The ability to use the Force is not a prerequisite, as those who use the (illegal and addictive) highly-refined form of andris spice to increase their own perceptions, or naturally possess the Enhanced Time Sense advantage in their racial package are able to learn it.

Reflect Blasters
Default: Deflect Blasters–3.
Prerequisites: Parry Missile Weapons, Enhanced Time Sense or Precognitive Parry. Cannot exceed Deflect Blasters.
An advanced version of the above Deflect Blasters technique, this technique is used to reflect the blaster bolt back to its source. Once per turn, should a successful Parry roll be made when deflecting blasters, the lightsaber wielder can make an Attack roll at the lower of his Force Sword, Force Staff, or Parry Missile Weapons skill to strike the original attack with his blaster bolt. The original attacker can only dodge, and has a penalty to his Dodge roll equal to the deflector's margin of success due to not being ready. This is definitely a cinematic technique.

Form I: Shii-Cho
3 points
Shii-Cho is the simplest of the lightsaber forms taught in the Jedi Order, built upon the ancient swordfighting styles of the past. Because of this simplicity, it is one of the first styles taught to Padawans as an introduction to the weapon before progressing to one of the more advanced forms.

The form focuses on attacking certain target areas in order to bring the fight to a quick and decisive end with a minimum of violence. The target areas taught - in order of lethality - are the weapon, the hand, the arm, the leg, and the neck; sometimes, a killing stroke is necessary, but is held by Jedi to be a last resort. A Shii-Cho practitioner will Evaluate his opponent for a round or two, then Feint before finally Attacking; particularly daring stylists will combine the latter two into an All-Out Attack.

In Shii-Cho, the lightsaber is commonly wielded two-handed. One-handed use is also taught, freeing the other hand up for the occasional unarmed grapple or strike. The form does not rely on the use of the Force; because of this, those few who have obtained a lightsaber without being Force users can learn this style. Force users are often trained to be hyper-aware of their opponents at all times, as well as being taught to focus their mind.

Skills: Force Sword; Force Sword Art.
Techniques: Close Combat (Force Sword); Disarming (Force Sword); Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Arm)); Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Hand); Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Leg); Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Neck); Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Weapon).
Cinematic Skills: Mental Strength; Sensitivity.
Cinematic Techniques: Grand Disarm (Force Sword).
Perks: Grip Mastery (Lightsaber); Off-Hand Weapon Training (Force Sword); Style Adaptation (Any Lightsaber Style).

Optional Traits:
Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Force Sword).
Skills: Fast-Draw (Force Sword); Judo; Karate; Meditation; Philosophy (Jedi); Force Staff; Tactics.

Form II: Makashi
3 points
Makashi is a lightsaber style derived from ancient fencing styles, designed specifically for lightsaber dueling. It is an elegant form, being at the same time perfectly suited for its role as well as artistic in execution. In Makashi, the lightsaber is normally wielded one-handed; the other hand is often used for balance. The style focuses on parries and counterattacks; especially skilled Makashi stylists will utilize the Riposte.

Makashi stylists often design their sabers with a curved hilt for easier use with the style. This essentially means the lightsaber is designed to use the Force Saber fencing skill rather than the Force Sword skill.

In practice, Makashi stylists will begin on the defensive, utilizing Evaluate, Wait, and Defensive Attacks, until the opponent leaves an opening. Once the stylist observes an opening, he switches to Attack or Committed Attack, often with Rapid Strikes, to end the fight; All-Out Attacks are rare, as proponents of the style never lower their defenses completely. More aggressive Makashi stylists will use Feints and Deceptive Attacks in order to make openings in their opponents' defenses. Masterful stylists can utilize the Tip Slash to inflict painful yet small wounds which disable their opponents without causing permanent crippling injuries.

Makashi stylists who use the Force are often able to anticipate their opponents; many are taught to duel without actually seeing their opponents.

If Makashi has a weakness, it is that the style does not teach how to deflect blaster fire with the lightsaber. Makashi stylists also tend to be somewhat arrogant, believing their form to be inherently superior to the other lightsaber forms. This form excels at lightsaber dueling - something most Jedi would not encounter but which would be of utmost importance to a Dark Jedi or Sith.

Skills: Force Saber; Force Saber Art.
Techniques: Bind Weapon (Force Saber); Close Combat (Force Saber); Counterattack (Force Saber); Disarming (Force Saber); Feint (Force Saber); Retain Weapon (Force Saber).
Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting; Sensitivity.
Cinematic Techniques: Initial Carving (Force Saber).
Perks: Grip Mastery (Lightsaber).

Optional Traits:
Secondary Characteristics: Improved Basic Speed.
Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Force Saber); Perfect Balance.
Disadvantages: Delusion ("My style is inherently superior to all others."); Overconfidence.
Skills: Fast-Draw (Force Sword); Force Sword.

Form III: Soresu
3 points
Soresu is a lightsaber style designed with ultimate defense in mind. A skilled Soresu stylist can stand in the middle of a firefight and deflect every blaster bolt directed at him; the most highly skilled can even reflect the blaster fire back at his opponents. Normally, a stylist will wield his lightsaber two-handed for maintaining total control over his weapon.

As can be expected of such a style, All-Out Defense and Wait are common maneuvers, reserving the various Attack manuevers for when the opportunity presents itself. Defensive Attacks are common; Committed Attacks and All-Out Attacks are almost unheard of.

Soresu's main weakness is that a pure stylist rarely takes the offensive; this can lead to extraordinarily long combats that can tire out the stylist. Masters of the style commonly add in elements of one or more of the other styles to supplement it.

While listed below as an "Optional" trait, Enhanced Parry is essential to truly master the form.

Skills: Force Sword; Parry Missile Weapons.
Techniques: Close Combat (Force Sword); Counterattack (Force Sword); Disarming (Force Sword); Retain Weapon (Force Sword).
Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting; Precognitive Parry; Sensitivity.
Cinematic Techniques: Deflect Blasters; Reflect Blasters; Timed Defense.
Perks: Style Adaptation (Any Lightsaber Styles); Sure-Footed.

Optional Traits:
Secondary Characteristics: Improved Bastic Speed; Improved FP.
Advantages: Enhanced Dodge; Enhanced Parry (Force Sword).
Skills: Fast-Draw (Force Sword); Karate; Force Staff.
Techniques: Jam (Karate)
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Form IV: Ataru
5 points
Ataru is a more aggressive lightsaber combat form than the prior forms, one which relies on a combination of speed, power, and grace. Practitioners of the style are always on the move; those who let the Force guide their actions can perform incredible feats of acrobatics, becoming a flurry of flips, spins, and cartwheels with a flashing blade. Ataru practicioners who use the double-bladed lightsaber have been described as being "moving blenders", and can send foes running for cover in panic. Many of the Jedi who served Revan in the Mandalorian Wars circa 4,000 BBY used this form with the double-bladed lightsaber.

Practitioners are constantly varying between Feint and either Attack or Committed Attack, coming in from unexpected angles; Rapid Strikes are especially common. The most reckless Ataru stylists often use All-Out Attack, which can leave them open to counterattack, particularly when facing a Makashi stylist. Many practicioners also use Move and Attack maneuvers, remaining in motion while attacking.

Ataru's primary weakness comes from its tendency to tax the body; the highly mobile form is not suited to extended combats.

The style is a favorite of Jedi who are smaller than human size, as its cinematic skills help counteract the drawbacks of their size.

Skills: Acrobatics; Force Sword; Force Sword Art; Karate.
Techniques: Acrobatic Stand; Attack From Above; Axe Kick; Breakfall; Close Combat; Drop Kick; Elbow Drop; Evade (Acrobatics); Feint; Jump Kick; Kicking; Push Kick; Reverse Grip; Spinning Attack; Sweep.
Cinematic Skills: Flying Leap; Lizard Climb.
Cinematic Techniques: Flying Jump Kick; Whirlwind Attack.
Perks: Acrobatic Feints; Acrobatic Kicks; Grip Mastery (Lightsaber).

Optional Traits:
Attributes: Increased DX.
Secondary Characteristics: Increased Basic Speed; Increased FP.
Advantages: Enhanced Dodge; Enhanced Parry (Force Sword); Perfect Balance; Super Jump.
Disadvantages: Impulsiveness.
Skills: Climbing; Fast-Draw (Force Sword); Jumping; Force Staff.

Form V: Djem So/Shien
3 points
Djem So, also known as Shien, developed by combining the defensive elements of Shii-Cho and Makashi and redirecting them into an offensive form, one which emphasized strength and power over one's opponent.

Like Ataru, Djem So stylists are always on the offensive, the difference comes in the application. Djem So practitioners are not as concerned with speed and grace as they are raw power. While an Ataru practitioner is a blur of motion, a Djem So practitioner is much more direct. Stylists use two hands on their lightsaber at nearly all times, using their raw physical strength to enhance their blows. The style's unarmed components emphasize kicks which can be delivered without jumping.

Djem So practitioners generally start with a round or two to Evaluate their opponents before moving to Feint, Attack, Committed Attack, or All-Out Attack. Retreats while parrying are rare for a stylist; Beats when Feinting are quite common.

Using the Force, a Djem So practitioner who has a Weapon Bond with his lightsaber is able to double its damage (doing 8d x 2 (5) burn) through the Power Blow skill, despite the fact that a lightsaber's damage is not ST-based.

Djem So practitioners commonly practice with steel swords instead of lightsabers in order to build their striking power. Some even go as far as to eschew the lightsaber altogether, favoring cortosis or phrick alloy vibroblades. Djem So practitioners who use the double-bladed lightsaber can be found training with and occasionally using steel staves.

Skills: Force Sword; Karate.
Techniques: Aggressive Parry; Back Kick; Back Strike; Close Combat; Elbow Strike; Feint; Jam; Kicking; Knee Strike; Neck Snap; Push Kick; Targeted Attack (Force Sword Swing/Weapon).
Cinematic Skills: Power Blow; Push.
Perks: Rapid Retraction; Style Adaptation (Any Lightsaber Style); Suit Familiarity (NBC Suit or Vacc Suit); Weapon Adaptation.

Optional Traits:
Attributes: Increased ST.
Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Force Sword or All).
Disadvantages: Impulsiveness; Overconfidence.
Skills: Broadsword; Fast-Draw (Force Sword or Sword); Force Staff; Tactics; Two-Handed Sword.
Perks: Special Exercises (Striking ST +1) (can be taken 3 times); Weapon Bond.

Form VI: Niman
4 points
Niman is the most common form of lightsaber combat studied by Jedi who are not combat-oriented, such as diplomats and medics. It attempts to be a well-rounded yet simple form, taking elements of the other forms and stripping away parts that are considered "extraneous". The lightsaber can be wielded either one-handed or two-handed, with no real preference given; Niman stylists switch between the two as needed.

Niman stylists are generally patient, letting their opponents do all the work. In practice, stylists tend to use defensive maneuvers, most commonly All-Out Defense and Wait, evading their opponents and using unarmed grappling maneuvers with their off hand to use their opponents' momentum against them. The style teaches defense against blaster fire, although the form lacks the perseverence of Soresu against such attacks.

Some dedicated Niman practitioners have sought to increase their understanding of the Force by focusing on the healing arts. To this end, they have incorporated their knowledge of pressure points into the style.

Skills: Force Sword; Judo; Parry Missile Weapons.
Techniques: Breakfall; Evade; Feint; Judo Throw; Sacrifice Throw.Trip.
Cinematic Skills: Precognitive Parry; Pressure Points; Pressure Secrets.
Cinematic Techniques: Deflect Blasters; Pressure-Point Strike.
Perks: Grip Mastery (Lightsaber); Style Adaptation (Any Lightsaber Style).

Optional Traits:
Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Force Sword).
Disadvantages: Pacifism (Self-Defense Only).
Skills: Diagnosis; Diplomacy; Esoteric Medicine (Force Healing).

Form VII: Juyo
3 points
Juyo as a style is not commonly taught by the Jedi, who see it as an incomplete style which treads dangerously close to the Dark Side, but it is a style taught by the Sith. It is an aggressive style which relies on a combination of speed and power, melding aspects of Ataru and Djem So.

Juyo practitioners are always on the attack, probing and wearing down defenses with Defensive Attacks and Feints before moving in with Attacks and Committed Attacks; Deceptive Attacks are quite common. Unarmed strikes and grapples are also part of the style. The style doesn't train to defend against blaster fire, being intended for lightsaber dueling.

While not part of the style, Juyo practitioners, particularly the Sith and other Dark Jedi, often use the Force to affect their opponents' minds, causing the opponents to lose control of their emotions.

Skills: Force Sword; Judo; Karate.
Techniques: Feint.
Cinematic Skills: Sensitivity.
Perks: Grip Mastery (Lightsaber); Style Adaptation (Any Lightsaber Style).

Optional Traits:
Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Bully; Callous; Sadism.
Skills: Acrobatics; Jumping; Psychology; Force Staff; Tactics.

Form X: Jar'Kai
4 points
Jar'Kai is a form developed from an ancient swordfighting style of the same name on the planet Atrisia in the Core Worlds. Unlike other forms, Jar'Kai stylists wielded two lightsabers, one in each hand.

The strength of Jai'Kai comes from being able to attack with one lightsaber while parrying with the other. Some stylists use a regular lightsaber in the off hand, while others use a shoto, a short lightsaber with a blade that is roughly 18" long. True Jar'Kai masters are rare; most lightsaber wielders who learn the form use it to supplement their primary form rather than studying it directly. Using the shoto in the off hand has also proven useful in defending against opponents who wield a lightwhip, such as the Sith Lords Githany and Lumiya.

Exhibitionists with steel swords are common throughout the galaxy; these replace the primary skills with the Broadsword Art and Main-Gauche Art skills instead. The style is easily adapted to any pair of balanced one-handed weapons.

(Personally, I found the dual lightsaber sequence in Attack of the Clones to be far too short.)

Skills: Force Sword; Main-Gauche; Parry Missile Weapons.
Techniques: Close Combat; Counterattack; Disarming; Feint; Retain Weapon; Reverse Grip;
Cinematic Skills: Precognitive Parry.
Cinematic Techniques: Deflect Blasters; Dual-Weapon Attack (Force Sword); Dual-Weapon Defense (Force Sword); Whirlwind Attack (Force Sword).
Perks: Grip Mastery (Lightsaber); Off-Hand Weapon Training (Force Sword).

Optional Traits:
Advantages: Enhanced Parry (Force Sword);
Skills: Broadsword; Broadsword Art; Force Saber; Force Saber Art; Force Sword Art; Jitte/Sai; Jitte/Sai Art; Knife; Main-Gauche Art; Rapier; Rapier Art; Saber; Saber Art; Shortsword; Shortsword Art; Smallsword; Smallsword Art.
Techniques: Weapon Adaptation.


So, comments? Critiques? Suggestions? Criticisms? ... Flames?
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Last edited by Phantasm; 12-08-2008 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Well, the bad news is there's no point in switching between forms as in the various computer games.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh
Well, the bad news is there's no point in switching between forms as in the various computer games.
Well, the only computer game I've played is KOTOR2, and in that I tended to stick with the one common Force Concentration Form, as I relied heavily on Force Lightning as a Light-Sider no matter which "class" I took.

But then again, in other (non-CRPG) sources I've seen (mostly the novels), the Jedi or Sith trained in the form that best benefited them: Kenobi and Darth Zannah in Soresu, Yoda in Ataru, Darths Vader and Bane in Djem So/Shien, Dooku in Makashi, etc. The only "common" form, it seemed, was Shii-Cho, and that was rarely "mastered".
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Old 12-08-2008, 01:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbrock1031
So, comments? Critiques? Suggestions? Criticisms? ... Flames?
These are fascinating, especially to someone like me who isn't as immersed in the SW universe. Questions:

1) I note that Shii-Cho is taught to Padawans, so I assume that all Jedi have this Style; is there any order to learning the others, or do most Jedi simply pick one other to "graduate" to and borrow elements from others?

2) It seems to me that the entire concept of Jedi here is predicated on certain prerequisites. What are the pre-reqs, in your mind, to becoming a Jedi? Perhaps a Template for a Padawan is in order? I apologize if you've already posted such; perhaps you could include a link to it, if you have.

Keep up the great work!
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Nice stuff.
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Old 12-08-2008, 04:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik_Nielsen
These are fascinating, especially to someone like me who isn't as immersed in the SW universe. Questions:

1) I note that Shii-Cho is taught to Padawans, so I assume that all Jedi have this Style; is there any order to learning the others, or do most Jedi simply pick one other to "graduate" to and borrow elements from others?
From what I've been able to gather from various novels, including the movie novels, most people that wield a lightsaber tend to focus on one of the styles, typically one that complements their other abilities or to compensate for a physical shortcoming. For example, in the Darth Bane books (Path of Destruction and Rule of Two), it's mentioned that his Sith training was in Djem So/Shien, as that form complemented his immense size and strength, while his apprentice, Darth Zannah, studied a double-bladed lightsaber variant of Soresu (the actual passage was something like "the whirling twin blades of the lightstaff provided an impenetrable defense", which is Soresu's hallmark). In the Revenge of the Sith novel, it's mentioned that Yoda mastered Ataru to compensate for his diminutive size. Likewise, in the novel for Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku studied Makashi because he prefered the "civilized elegance" of fencing over the "ridiculous acrobatics" of Ataru or the "brute force" of Djem So. In Sith, it was mentioned that Dooku noticed Kenobi and Skywalker adding elements of other forms into their fighting, which he wasn't prepared for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik_Nielsen
2) It seems to me that the entire concept of Jedi here is predicated on certain prerequisites. What are the pre-reqs, in your mind, to becoming a Jedi? Perhaps a Template for a Padawan is in order? I apologize if you've already posted such; perhaps you could include a link to it, if you have.

Keep up the great work!
I haven't come up with any templates for Jedi (or other Force wielding orders). As for the prerequisites for becoming a Jedi, there are a few factors: Force-Sensitive, in whatever form it takes, is a clear prereq. A Meditation skill of 12 should be appropriate, as well as either a Theology or Philosophy skill, to represent one's understanding of the Force. Discipline of Faith (Monasticism) should also be appropriate for Jedi; DoF (Asceticism) might also be appropriate for some, as Old Republic Jedi are not supposed to have attachments - either to other people or to material possessions. (The post-movies New Jedi Order relaxed these tremendously.)

The Sith, the Dark Side offshoot of the Jedi, however, have gone through many changes over the millennia. The Sith Order which ran from Darth Bane to Darth Vader was very different from the Brotherhood of Darkness it descended from, which was itself different from Revan's Sith Order from 3,000 years before it. The overall theme of the various Sith Orders seems to be a reverence for the "Dark Side", but each one approached it differently. I would hazard a guess that each Sith Order would have to be handled separately.

Sorry for the ramble...
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quick question on a related topic:

Has anyone come up with the style used by the Imperial Guard when weilding double vibro-blades (aka vibrostaffs) as depicted in the two Crimson Empire miniseries from Dark Horse Comics? (For the weapon itself, I was thinking the stats for the Qian Kin Ri Yue Dao should suffice for a base, before adding the vibroblade modifiers; just need to remove the blades around the hand guards.)
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh

Well, the bad news is there's no point in switching between forms as in the various computer games.
There's no point to that in real life, either. The concept of "switching forms" is a silly one, rarely found outside of demonstrations (where you're graded on purity of form) and sports (where your "form" is "moves that are allowed by the rules"). If a martial art is using that language and purporting to teach an actual life-or-death combat style, then there's some bullshido at work.

A fighter trained at, say, BJJ, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Krav Maga, and Muay Thai wouldn't "switch forms" in a fight. He would fight using whatever tactics and techniques best suit his current situation . . . like everybody else. The benefit of studying many styles is that he has more tactics and techniques from which to choose. It isn't as if he could only use BJJ moves after a conscious switch to "BJJ form" (which doesn't even mean anything!). He could respond with a KM technique from a MT guard position, and if that put the fight on the ground, alternate BJJ and GR moves as necessary to survive and, hopefully, win.

What would happen in the case at hand is that a generalist lightsaber user who knew many styles would have more stuff to draw on. There are rules for learning multiple styles in Martial Arts. In a fight, an observer might notice him using a skill or a technique that's only part of one style and comment, "Ah, you're using the <whatever> form!", but that would not be any kind of modal shift, like readying a new weapon. It would just be a split-second of action with a recognizable style origin, interesting mostly to a coach or a hoplologist.

Fighting video games require you to switch forms mostly because they only have a certain number of controls and animation sets. It's to do with technical limitations, not with how fighting works.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: [MA] My takes on the Star Wars Lightsaber Styles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Fighting video games require you to switch forms mostly because they only have a certain number of controls and animation sets. It's to do with technical limitations, not with how fighting works.
Also, they often extremly simplify martial arts styles to the point of "this style gives you +1 Defence" or "This style reduces damage, but increases striking speed" or something similar.
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