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Form III – Soresu

Alternative Names: Way of the Mynock, Resilience Form

Soresu is primarily practised amongst the Jedi, for the simple reason that it is a passive form, focusing purely on the principles of defense and deflection as opposed to aggressive attacks or the intent to dominate the opponent through whatever means are necessary. As a result, this technique has almost never been observed as being used by Sith, who have no real need of it, since they use their lightsabers to destroy their opponents as opposed to simply fight their adversaries to an impasse by defending themselves in order to permit the possibility of negotiation in defeat. The major emphasis of Soresu is on the deflection of projectiles and blaster fire, and on the parrying of lightsaber and melee weapons in close-range combat.

Since Soresu is defensively focused, it has major weaknesses within the field of offensive ability, and therefore the majority of the attacks made by a Soresu practitioner will be in the field of counter-attacks (hence, attacking into the attack of an opponent) or through the use of Force-generated strikes which knock the opponent off-balance enough to allow for a full strike to be made without risking the user’s defensive cohesiveness. In order to achieve this, Soresu users maintain a very tight bodily profile, keeping the blade in their body area and not using far-reaching guards like Makashi and Djem-So are known for. They also tend to be well practiced in defensive uses of the Force: telekinesis, mind tricks and illusions, and well as maintaining strong sensory skills that allow them to accurately predict attacks.

The form is not designed to defend against a particular individual weakness in the practitioner, like some of the other forms do – Ataru providing for lack of physical strength or height, Djem-So to accomodate the aggressive tendencies of the individual, Vaapad to enable the user to channel their own personal darkness (for Jedi), and so on, but is instead designed to answer to their strengths: steadfastness, courage in the face of adversity, and a willingness to themselves in harm’s way to protect others, and doing so in a manner that is both efficient and yet requires minimal effort, thus maintaining a level of simplicity second only to the techniques of Shii-Cho. Consequently, Soresu is also one of the most stable of the lightsaber forms – but it is also limited in that stability, since while the practitioner is being solid in their defense, they cannot necessarily produce the kind of aggressive ability required to completely defeat an opponent head-on – Soresu’s basic tactics for defeating an opponent is to wage a battle of attrition, until the adversary wears themselves out or makes a mistake that the user can capitalise on without compromising their defense.

It ought to be observed, however, that since Soresu is so defensively focused, it is very static, and hence is weaker against the more kinetic forms of Ataru and Djem-So. While engaging in combat, a good Soresu practitioner will aim to give as little ground as possible, simply remaining as passive as possible and deflecting all blows directed at them, rather than blocking them – the latter is generally far too inefficient, since it counters the flow of combat. Parrying and Deflection is therefore the most-used approach with Soresu. However, Soresu also prefers to redirect an opponent’s aggression back against themselves, thus making them their own worst enemy, so traditionally a Soresu practitioner will be very well-versed in reflection of a blaster bolt back towards the one that fired it, and will also use parry-ripostes to a considerable extent as a means to counter a lightsaber attack.

In terms of weaknesses, Soresu is most obviously countered by Djem-So, which has a level of offensive use that is the overt opposite of Soresu’s defensive energies, and focuses on using forward momentum to keep an opponent off-balance and vulnerable. The static nature of Soresu is not designed to cope with that, so the only way to counteract Djem-So using Soresu is to either put a complete stop to that kinetic motion, or to retreat before it and use efficient parries to keep your defense from being penetrated. Ataru similarly uses motion to counteract Soresu, but due to the more tactical nature of the Form, a static response is more viable, provided that the Soresu user incorporates turns to protect their back and flanks. A Makashi practitioner can also make use of feints and other deceptions to find a gap in the Jedi’s defense, since very few Soresu-using Jedi have perfect form, but this is countered by the fact that Soresu maintains a balance that is just as solid as that of Makashi.

Mindset for a Soresu practitioner is passive, relaxed, and focused solely on the objective at hand. Their aim is to limit collateral damage, conserve energy and use their attacker’s strengths against them, so their approach is to essentially settle in and wait for an opponent to make their own mistakes before capitalising on it. They will be less likely to take a pro-active approach to a situation beyond assessing the potential for threat, danger or disadvantage, and rarely plan ahead, allowing situations to unfold as they will, and standing firm to make the best of the situation. In this respect, they are often the most cautiously optimistic among the Jedi, and prefer not to spend too much time contemplating the future or trying to alter the flow of events, instead being accepting of things as they happen and using the momentum of those events to create an environment most favourable to their goals.