JEDI HoloNet

Form I – Shii-cho

Alternative Names: Way of the Sarlacc, Determination Form

The most basic of the lightsaber Forms, and the first of those taught to any lightsaber-wielding emotions, Shii-Cho is also among the oldest of those created for use with a lightsaber. Drawn upon the traditional principles used in swordsmanship, the Form focuses primarily on the foundations of combat, placing emphasis on proper technique and on simplicity as a hallmark of the Jedi. Students learning Shii-Cho are taught the basics of footwork, cadences to improve precision with the blade, the marks of contact usable with a lightsaber, as well as the most basic attacks, parries and counter-attacks of swordsmanship. Also, it is at this elvel that students are trained in basic deflection principles, and many of their initial first encounters with use of the Force come from their training with this Form, since they must learn to use the lightsaber in conjunction with the sensory abilities that are the inherent talent of all Force Sensitives, relying on their perceptions to move a weapon that could remove their heads with an imprecise stroke.

In order to prevent accidental injury (since students taught this Form have usually not held a lightsaber prior to this point, even on training frequencies), Shii-Cho focuses on the use of single strikes and uncomplicated motions, improving the student’s co-ordination with their weapon and also creating that sense of simplicity that is the focal point of the Form’s mindset and practice. Alongside this training comes very basic Force techniques: primarily, students need to be able to detect movements through the Force and be able to react quickly to them in order to initiate the appropriate counter. Alongside their training in swordplay, students also need to be taught basic Telekinesis and assisted movements to increase their range of abilities, since these are the key skills they are likely to use in their defense during a spar. Their sensory abilities will also be developed through training in this form: enabling them to track their opponents, the flow of energy around them and to provide them with situational awareness that is fundamental in combat.

Used in combat, an observer would see a proficient user of Shii-Cho using a highly co-ordinated sequence of movements, each one simple but effective, aiming not for complexity but for sheer strength and brutal efficiency, all of which can easily overwhelm an opponent, particularly one expecting more complex motions – as is often noted among swordsmen, simpler techniques are often the best, since complex ones are more easily countered or disrupted in this manner. As such, a Shii-Cho user will rarely engage in use of feints, binds, fl├ęches or a complicated sequence of parry-ripostes. The parries remain simple lateral parries, rather than the semi-circular or circular parries, and as such, the blade is often held in both hands with little in the way of wrist motions. Turns and twists are rarely employed, since Shii-Cho is taught mostly in an upright, singular stance, the blade angled across the body with the feet spread apart, the back foot inverted at an angle to the front foot. Ducks and jumps are perfectly acceptable, but these are also kept simple: backflips and rolls require more complex tactics, and thus changes in elevation or orientation are used mostly for evasion.

With regards to strengths and weaknesses, Shii-Cho is the weakest of all the forms with regards to advanced techniques, but due to the simplicity of the Form, it can also be used to successfully defend against a practitioner of the ‘higher’ forms when studied to an advanced level. Since only simple attacks are used, Shii-Cho is often called upon to provide a highly random element to the style, since the practised cadences and drills can be combined in thousands of different ways, chained in a manner that can be both hard to predict and lethal, purely as a result of the fact that it keeps things simple. Since the Form places equal emphasis on attack and defense, it can be argued that Shii-Cho practitioners are disadvantaged compared to users of other Forms because they have no specialist emphasis, but this is also an advantage in that they also lack the consequential weaknesses (a Djem-So user would predictably maintain a weaker defense when pressed, as a Soresu practitioner would have a weaker offensive skill, and an Ataru user would be severely threatened with a lack of room to maneuver, for example).

The mindset of a Shii-Cho practitioner can differ considerably, but the Form’s philosophy of simplicity usually finds it’s way into other aspects of a Jedi’s life (as is true with all the lightsaber forms), with practitioners often being direct in their approach to resolving problems, but elegant purely because of that simplicity: while others might try to weave a complex solution that is inclusive of all considerations, a Shii-Cho user will cut to the heart of the matter, fix it with minimal effort and then move on. Likewise, in temperament, they tend to be calm but less analytical than the majority of their brethren. As Jedi, they are far less likely to specialise, instead preferring to encompass all aspects of a Jedi’s training and balance them, much as Shii-Cho balances attack with defense, inclusive of all elements of their lightsaber training.