JEDI HoloNet

Form VI – Niman

Alternative Names: First Niman, the Way of the Rancor, Moderation Form, the Diplomat’s Form

Form IV is a particularly unusual form, in that it lacks a traditional combat focus the way the other forms do (with the exception of Shii-Cho), designed to build upon the basic principles of lightsaber combat while drawing in the uses of every other discipline to integrate itself into a well-balanced and often unpredictable form. It is sometimes referred to as First Niman to distinguish it from the use of two lightsabers in combat, which has been referred to as Niman in the past (termed such by the Kashi Mer Dynasty of the planet Kashi), but under such circumstances is referred to as Second Niman or, alternatively, as the Jar’Kai style (somewhat inaccurately). Often called the ‘Diplomat’s Form’, it is thus termed because it is less demanding of a Jedi’s attention than the other Forms, since it does not espouse a particular emphasis in training, nor requires the user to learn specialist techniques, instead building upon the simplicity of Shii-Cho while drawing more complex techniques from the other Forms to supplement itself, though not relying upon the philosophy of those Forms, thus making it the most versatile of those in existence.

It is essentially considered the most practical of the Forms in terms of use: any Jedi can learn it, and it has many hundreds of applications in the field, since the absence of any emphasis on combat technique allows for the Jedi to obtain a more rounded education, so Niman practitioners are often those Jedi who prefer not to limit themselves to a specialist path, but instead work primarily in field operations, requiring them to learn everything from use of their Force-given abilities to diplomacy, stealth, battle tactics and more besides. Thus, a Niman practitioner is often one of the more well-rounded among the Jedi Order, but conversely, they are unlikely to possess any particular strength in a single skill set, relying instead on a good solid grounding in many and using them with a versatility and creativity that Jedi choosing a more focused path may well lack.

In combat, a Niman practitioner will combine lightsaber strikes with Force usage, good motion, use of their environment to aid themselves or to hinder their opponents, and essentially using any tactic they feel is appropriate. Since Niman places no emphasis on offensive or defensive ability, a Jedi using it can choose one to suit their situation, becoming either aggressive or conservative as they believe best befits the circumstances, or simply choosing to balance the two as they feel necessary. This provides them with an incredible amount of potential in a battlefield situation, but also limits them because they will lack the finishing capabilities of the specialist fighters: they will lack the pure focused aggression and offensive skill of Djem-So, the impressive tactical abilities of an Ataru practitioner, and the defensive skills of a Soresu user. They can certainly use techniques or emphasis from any of the other forms, but they are unlikely to have skill similar to these blade-to-blade.

However, this weakness is also Niman’s strength: a user of a more focused Form will be likely to have a very particular mindset and strategy to deal with an opponent, but a Niman practitioner is limited only by their ability and imagination. Most Jedi using this form will also spend some time developing their Force abilities in a generalised way, perhaps offering them a good number of potential options in combat that other Jedi may lack, and because the only emphasis of their form is upon finding balance within their skills, there’s no telling what a Niman user will do until they do it – and often they don’t know until that happens, either. Unpredictability and creativity are the hallmarks of a Niman user, with the Jedi encouraged to go with their gut and use whatever feels best in the situation. With that in mind, many Niman users spend considerable time training their sensory abilities, so they have more information about a given set of circumstances and can thus formulate a strategy based upon this, presuming they use strategy at all – many can simply work on impulse and use whatever they feel best.

The weaknesses of Niman are fairly obvious: it relies on the intuitive creativity of the user, and this is a natural limitation when the Jedi is forced to work in limited conditions, and due to the lack of any particular battle emphasis, Niman users are often at a disadvantage against more focused lightsaber wielders, lacking the same complexity and skill that comes with being devoted entirely to a single philosophy and approach to combat. Conversely, however, this is the strength of the Form, with that flexibility and open-mindedness in both form and function giving the Jedi a lot of different but effective options at their command where other Jedi may only have one or two available to them. There are few weaknesses of the form in terms of technique, since it draws from all of the others in moderation, but it is this moderating tendency that creates the largest systematic weakness that exists with this form.

The mindset of the Niman practitioner is very much as you’d expect: they are well balanced, flexible and open-minded, capable of forming beautifully creative solutions to problems that may not occur to other Jedi. Their broad training foundations will give them many options that others are unlikely to possess, and this will also often present in having a very ‘outside-the-box’ mentality. Their tendency towards using the best solution to fit the situation requires them to have sound judgement in every respect, and this can be a difficult thing to develop. However, Niman is not called the ‘Diplomat’s Form’ for nothing, and many users of it will hold considerable interest in current affairs, politics and the strenuous arena of diplomatic negotiation, leading them to maintain a calm mindset that takes into consideration all information that becomes available, quickly sorting through potential consequences and discerning strategies or solutions to any issues that may well arise as a result. As such, they are among the best strategic thinkers in the Order outside the arena of combat.