|Form IV: Ataru|
Ataru is the name given to the movements of this form - though it is aggressive, it is focused, and its best use is in combat against a single opponent.—Zez-Kai Ell, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Form IV: Ataru, also known as the Way of the Hawk-Bat, or The Aggression Form, was the fourth of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. The history of Ataru stretched back through the Old Republic, to at least as early as the Mandalorian Wars, where it was commonly employed by Jedi of that day. Ataru continued to be a common form among the Jedi in the latter stages of the Republic.
An aggressive style, Form IV was fast-paced and effective against single opponents, though weaker in prolonged combat and confined spaces. Ataru was characterized by Force-assisted acrobatics, both for attack and defense, and fast, powerful strikes. Notable users of this combat form included Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn.
Form IV, also called Ataru, is the most acrobatic Form, filled with numerous elaborate moves, and relies heavily upon a Jedi's ability to run, jump, and spin using the Force.—Cin Drallig, Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
Ataru was an aggressive combat form relying on a combination of power, strength, and speed. Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with wide, fast, and powerful swings. Form IV practitioners constantly called upon the Force to aid in their movements and attacks. By allowing the Force to flow throughout their body, they could overcome their physical limitations (including old age, as was the case with Master Yoda) and perform amazing feats of acrobatics, such as somersaults and backflips, not only for attack, but also to evade the attacks and strikes of their opponents. Jedi utilizing Ataru needed to incorporate all the Force powers that involved surpassing normal physical ranges of motion, speed, and agility in order to be successful. Running, jumping, and spinning were all emphasized in learning the elaborate kinetics of the form.
Those who used Form IV could move at high speeds and could rain strong blows, jumping and attacking through the air. Powerful and quick spinning attacks could be utilized from all angles, either from ground or air. A master in Ataru combat could appear like a blur to their opponents, attacking from all directions—from the front, the sides, overhead, or behind. The Force not only allowed them to perform athletic feats not possible otherwise, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat.
The opening stance for Ataru was a balanced two-handed guard: holding the lightsaber vertically with both palms, either on the right or left side of the body.
This form is Ataru. Because it is such an aggressive fighting style, you should only use it against single opponents.—Vrook Lamar, on Form IV, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Ataru proved to be an effective combat form when used properly, and was common among Jedi in the Mandalorian Wars. It was well-suited to close combat, particularly against single opponents.
Because it was such an aggressive style, Ataru was not generally optimal for use against multiple opponents, and it was somewhat ineffective against blaster fire, particularly from multiple foes. Despite these weaknesses, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were able to employ this form with great success during the Battle of Naboo against numerous B-1 battle droids. This form was also considered not as effective for prolonged combat, as the nature of Ataru could greatly tax the body. Fatigue was theorized to have been a contributing factor in Qui-Gon Jinn's defeat at the hands of Darth Maul. Another contributing factor in Jinn's death was the requirement of open space for the kinetic acrobatics of Ataru. Without ample space in the Theed Palace reactor core to move, Jinn was deprived of the key element in his defense, and thus could only attempt to block Maul's incessant barrage of Juyo strikes. This event influenced Kenobi—after his master's death, he changed his preferred form to Soresu, the most defensive of all forms.
Through the Force, Yoda was considered to have mastered Form IV to its highest level. He used it in almost all of his battles, and his mastery of the style caused others to describe him as virtually unstoppable against most opponents, including Separatist battle droids, despite his small size and advanced age. His moves in his duel against Count Dooku on Geonosis were revealed on close examination to be a fast-paced demonstration of the standard components of Form IV. Each action flowed from one to another in the smooth transitions characteristic of Form IV. In addition, three kinds of rotation, called su ma, figured prominently in his style: jung su ma (spinning), ton su ma (somersaults), and en su ma (cartwheels). These three moves represented the three possible axes of rotation in three-dimensional space. Together with Force-enhanced jumps, the rotational su ma moves composed most of his style, making the Grand Master exemplary of Form IV mastery. At one point prior to the Clone Wars, Yoda was known to give demonstrations of the form in use, some of which were recorded on databooks in the Jedi Temple. Yoda also employed Ataru against the clone troopers on Kashyyyk and Coruscant. Despite its weaknesses to blaster fire and multiple opponents, Yoda's mastery of the form was such that he was able to defeat the clones.
Dooku stated that he understood "every weakness of the Ataru form, with its ridiculous acrobatics." Dooku's Makashi would counter Ataru by launching a series of thrusts toward the enemy's legs to draw the opponent into a flipping overhead leap, so that Dooku could burn through the enemy's spine from kidneys to shoulder blades with his Makashi attack. The Count applied this tactic against Obi-Wan Kenobi onboard the Invisible Hand, who blocked Dooku's blows with Soresu.
Besides Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn, other notable practitioners of Ataru were Vandar Tokare, Zez-Kai Ell, Vrook Lamar, Kavar, Sith Blademaster Kas'im, Cin Drallig, Quinlan Vos, his former Padawan, Aayla Secura, Shaak Ti, and Dark Jedi Alema Rar. Obi-Wan Kenobi was also a practitioner of Ataru, but proceeded to study Soresu following the death of his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, at Naboo. General Grievous and his IG-100 MagnaGuards also learned Ataru from Count Dooku.
As a Padawan, Anakin Skywalker studied Ataru briefly, as it fit his flashy, bold, and aggressive personality—he would later use those same traits to become a skilled Form V practitioner. When Anakin applied Jar'Kai tactics against Count Dooku on Geonosis, his swordplay was actually based on Ataru moves. Because neither Jar'Kai nor Ataru were Skywalker's most effective styles, Dooku broke through it easily with sun djem, forcing the young Padawan to switch back to his standard Form V. In general, in the waning years of the Old Republic, Padawans would spend a year or two studying each Form from II to V, including Ataru.
During the Clone Wars, both Obi-Wan Kenobi, who had mastered Ataru in addition to his expertise in Soresu, and Anakin Skywalker often applied some of the Ataru acrobatic moves, despite their mastery of Soresu and Djem So, respectively. When dueling Dooku on the Invisible Hand, Obi-Wan Kenobi started the duel using Ataru stances and techniques to mislead the Sith. Ahsoka Tano practiced Ataru in a training session with Skywalker, shortly before the Battle of Bothawui. Weequay Jedi Sora Bulq as well as Lannik Jedi Master Even Piell also practiced Ataru, in addition to other saber forms. Piell's apprentice, Jax Pavan, would also learn Ataru, along with the other forms, during his Jedi training. After his transformation and defeat on Mustafar, Darth Vader included elements of Form IV in his personalized variation of Form V, such as during his second duel with Jedi Master Roan Shryne. Vader's secret apprentice was also familiar with Ataru, and his personal droid PROXY attempted to emulate the form, albeit without the aid of the Force, which the apprentice found to be a notable weakness.
The New Jedi Order would learn of this form, along with the others, from knowledge gleaned from holocrons and recordings, particularly the Great Holocron which included a recording by Cin Drallig explaining lightsaber forms. Kyle Katarn and Alema Rar, among others, were trained in the use of the fourth form of lightsaber combat.
Behind the scenesEdit
Ataru, along with forms II, III, and VII was first mentioned in Attack of the Clones: Visual Dictionary, but little information was given about the form other than a brief description of it, and listing Anakin Skywalker as a known practitioner.. Along with the other six classical forms, it was fully fleshed out and described by David West Reynolds in Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat after the release of Episode II, as part of Star Wars Insider 62. Reynolds was aided in this work by fencer Jack "Stelen" Bobo.
In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Labyrinth of Evil, and Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, Ataru is misspelled as Ataro. In Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary, it is mistakenly stated that Obi-Wan is "a master of the Jedi lightsaber style known as Ataru, in which deflection is prized above aggression". Though Obi-Wan did know Ataru, this statement totally contradicts Ataru's true form, as it is not very good for deflecting blaster bolts and is one of the most aggressive of the seven forms. The dictionary likely refers to Form III: Soresu instead.
The name Ataru may derive from the Japanese infinitive verb "Ataru," which has several meanings, including but not limited to "to be successful; to face (confront); to undertake; to treat; to be hit (passive voice)." The second definition, of "to face/confront" would be particularly in keeping with the form's characteristics.
While Darth Sidious is sometimes believed to be a Form IV user, no source has confirmed his lightsaber form. Due to comments from Nick Gillard that Sidious has been shown to use several different forms proficiently, it is possible that he has mastered most of them. Ataru, along with the other lightsaber forms, appears in Star Wars: Galaxies as part of moves and techniques employable by Jedi characters. This has not definitively been clarified to be canonical. It is possible that the Jedi Exile was trained in the use of Form IV after her return from exile. However, it is also possible that she was a Jedi Consular and learned the Force forms instead.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- Darth Bane: Rule of Two
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- The Clone Wars: Wild Space
- Labyrinth of Evil
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
- Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight' (indirect appearance)
- Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force (indirect appearance)
- The Force Unleashed novel
- Star Wars Galaxies
- Soulcalibur IV (non-canon)
- Attack of the Clones: Visual Dictionary (First mentioned)
- Hero's Guide
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 75 (LIG15-16, Yoda's Lightsaber)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 93 (LIG18 Anakin Skywalker's Lightsaber)
- Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- Order 66: Destroy All Jedi (Indirect appearance)
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game: Champions of the Force
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- (Indirect appearance)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Clone Wars Campaign Guide
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Fury
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Template:WizardsCite
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novelization
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- ↑ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- ↑ Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- ↑ Order 66: Destroy All Jedi
- ↑ On her site, Jan Duursema has stated that both Quinlan Vos and Aayla Secura are Ataru practitioners (http://www.comicscommunity.com/boards/janduursema/?read=4986)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 The Force Unleashed
- ↑ Labyrinth of Evil
- ↑ Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- ↑ The Clone Wars: Wild Space
- ↑ Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight
- ↑ Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force
- ↑ Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
- ↑ The Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon
- ↑ Based on statements in http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=starwars/article/LOTFpreview5
- ↑ Attack of the Clones: Visual Dictionary
- ↑ http://www.ataru-karate.co.uk/atarumeans.htm Not all definitions listed.
- ↑ http://www.theforce.net/episode3/jtf/palpatine.asp
- ↑ http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/players/content.vm?id=64186&resource=publish; http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/en_US/players/content.vm?id=66843&resource=features; http://starwarsgalaxies.station.sony.com/players/guides.vm?id=70002
- ↑ Soulcalibur IV