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Form Zero

Though not one of traditional Forms of lightsaber combat, Form Zero is an approach to combat that very specifically requires that the Jedi not use their lightsaber to do battle or, in many instances, not to use their lightsaber at all – thus, to find an alternative to fighting as a means of conflict resolution. As such, it is not a conventional ‘form’ but is referred to as such because it, too, is a philosophy and mindset that a Jedi will use as a means of dealing with a potentially violent situation, much as is true with the other forms. The idea behind Form Zero is not to resort to combat if it’s avoidable – as such, it is an expression of Jedi philosophy as pertains to pacifism and non-violence.

Form Zero consists of three parts:

– Non-aggressive methods of conflict resolution, such as via negotiation and diplomacy
– Use of violent methods to resolve a combat situation but not using a lightsaber, such as melee combat
– Use of the lightsaber as a means of intimidation to avoid a battle

The first part is fundamental to Jedi philosophy: no Jedi should engage in a battle unless it is wholly unavoidable, since to do suggests that they have disregarded other options and maintain a similar disrespect for life, since to fight is to allow the potential for injury or death to enter the equation, ensuring that any you deal with on this level are harmed as a consequence of your presence. Jedi believe it of paramount importance to show respect for life by not causing harm to sentient beings unless the alternative is that many more will be harmed through inaction. As such, violence must ultimately be considered the last resort of any Jedi, and oftentimes the resort of one who simply hasn’t the patience or creativity to seek a better way around the situation. This is when Form Zero is best applied: completely non-violence.

As such, all Jedi are provided with training that encourages them to resolve disputes without violent intervention, through use of courtesy, discussion and compromise. Mediating everyone’s concerns and issues and learning to find a fair compromise that suits all parties is indeed a tricky skill, and rarely aided by the presence of politicians, who often seek to gain the greatest advantage for themselves or their constituents, but nonetheless, it can be a rewarding field to work in if a few meetings results in an entire system or sector remaining peaceful. Certainly a Jedi who kills an aggressor with their lightsaber to save a few people is attending to their duty, but the Jedi who preserves millions of lives by stopping a war before it happens is doing so on a much larger scale with far less harm to others, and this is considered the ideal for a Jedi.

The second part of Form Zero, use of combat without a lightsaber, is one which, though not ideal, nonetheless complies with Form Zero’s exhortations not to cause harm to others unnecessarily. Although it’s certainly possible to kill using melee techniques (this being the usual method by which this part of Form Zero is observed), most Jedi are trained to use methods that cause no permanent damage to the opponent, since most melee battles will invariably end up with grapples or methods of incapacitating an adversary painlessly, or with minimal actual damage caused. Thumb locks, arm bends, floor grapples and the like are all acceptable techniques: sufficient to remove the immediate threat (such as disarming an opponent of their weapon) and placing the Jedi in control of the situation with no collateral damage inflicted. Not ideal, by any means, but certainly better than drawing a lightsaber and removing limbs or heads.

Likewise, all Jedi have other means at their disposal to deal with a situation: stealth instead of assaulting the front door, disarming an attacker through Telekinesis rather than at the point of a lightsaber, and many other abilities which enable them to defend both themselves and others without having to harm anyone else – this is the pinnacle of Form Zero, such that should violence be employed against them, they demonstrate a respect for life by *not* similarly employing violence in their own defense.

The third and final part is the use of a lightsaber as an intimidation tactic – the reputation of the Jedi Order has been such over the millenia that many tend to overestimate the powers of the Jedi while nonetheless being unprepared for those we do have, meaning that the presence of a lightsaber in the field can alter the subtleties of a situation very rapidly. As has been noted many times, the lightsaber is the symbol of the Jedi, and while worn, it informs all that see it that the carrier may be trained in it’s use and carries the full authority of the Jedi Order in the field. Why is only one Jedi normally sent into the field? Because behind every single Jedi is a thousand more, and that reputation tends to get around, so merely having a lightsaber carries significant potential for intimidation. And, of course, the mere presence of a weapon implies violence, and Jedi are well-trained in combat abilities both with and without a lightsaber, and that alone often serves to deter many who might otherwise act in conflict with a Jedi present.

The key to the mindset of Form Zero is to, at all times, remember that even people we dislike are living beings, and should be respected as such. To take a life is (or should be) a momentous event, not something done with ease or without due consideration, and certainly not an act taken lightly. On those rare occasions that a Jedi must kill, it should be quick and done with due respect to an adversary, but at all other times, they should endeavour to find an alternative – even causing a little harm and incapacitating their opponent is far better than killing or maiming them, so restraint should always be exercised by a Jedi in the field. To take a life is to have failed in our duty. Always keep that in mind.