|Form V: Shien / Djem So|
I prefer more straightforward tactics."
"Master of understatement.—Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Labyrinth of Evil
Form V: Shien / Djem So, also known as The Way of the Krayt Dragon, or The Perseverance Form, was the fifth of seven forms recognized as canon by the last Jedi Council for lightsaber combat. It was developed by practitioners of Form III: Soresu, who felt that the defensively-minded form would unnecessarily extend time spent in combat by forcing its users to wait for an opportunity to strike, rather than creating their own openings.
Shien, considered the classical Form V, was more adept at blocking blaster bolts, whereas Djem So, developed later, was designed for lightsaber combat. Both Shien and Djem So were designed to use the opponent's attack against them, as evidenced by Shien's focus on returning blaster bolts to their origin.
You will find it easier to deflect blaster fire with this form—and it shall also guard you against critical strikes by your opponents.—Zez-Kai Ell, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Form V was created by Form III masters who preferred a more offensive style, since the defensive nature of Form III could lead to prolonged combat. It evolved into an accepted style by combining the defensive maneuvers of Form III with the more aggressive philosophy and tactics of Form II. Form V also required a higher level of physical strength than the other lightsaber forms, due to its focus on complete domination of opponents. The form was developed alongside Form IV at a time when the Jedi were increasingly called upon to actively keep the peace.
Some Jedi, noting its dedication to domination and strength, felt that Form V encouraged an inappropriate focus on controlling others. Others, including noted lightsaber combat instructor Cin Drallig, were cautiously neutral about the form. However, its proponents maintained that Form V was an effective and powerful tool for the Jedi Order.
Form V had two distinct variations: Shien and Djem So.
To the Jedi of the ancient Republic who developed and employed the classical Form V, Shien, the form was known as the Perseverance Form. Shien was described as being well adapted to guarding against blaster fire and enemy strikes without compromising one's ability to launch powerful counterattacks, though was less effective against a single opponent. Shien was known to have existed at least as early as the Jedi Civil War. With its focus against blaster fire, Shien kept in mind that Jedi were often outnumbered by their opponents and needed to defend themselves while retaining offensive capability.
Form V's Djem So variation is devoted specifically to lightsaber dueling.—Cin Drallig, Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
Djem So was the creation of a group of Form III masters who felt that Soresu was too passive. It addressed the shortcomings of Form III, in which a Jedi Master may have proved to be unbeatable but was likewise unable to overcome a skilled opponent. Utilizing a combination of blocks and parries, a Djem So user maintained a proper foundation in terms of defense against both ranged and melee attacks. While a Soresu user stayed on the defensive, however, and only counterattacked when necessary or when an opening appeared in his opponent's defense, a Djem So practitioner was not nearly so passive. Immediately after defending against an opponent's strike, a Djem So stylist would follow with an attack of their own, bringing the force of the opponent's own blow against them and seeking to dominate the duel. Djem So placed a heavy focus on brute strength and pure power, with wide, powerful strikes and parries followed immediately by counterattack.
You will doubtless encounter many situations with multiple assailants. To better protect yourself from blaster fire without compromising your offensive capabilities, use the Shien form.—Kavar, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Despite its metaphorical and literal strength, Form V was not without its weaknesses. Shien was particularly weak against a single opponent and Djem So was known for having a lack of mobility. However, a skilled duelist in Form V was capable of compensating for these weaknesses and employing the form effectively in combat.
By the time of the Ruusan campaign, the Djem So variant of Form V had been developed. Djem So had an emphasis on strength and power, allowing a user to make good use of his or her own physical size and strength. It was for this reason that Sith blademaster Kas'im advised the fledgling Darth Bane to learn Djem So; Bane's imposing size and strength would serve to compliment Form V. Power attacks from a Djem So user could even knock an opponent back just through sheer kinetic force, throwing them off balance and leaving them vulnerable to further brute force strikes and power blows that sought not just to penetrate an opponent's defense, but push them back and leave them unable to counter blows.
Unlike Soresu or Ataru, Djem So required the user to not only counterattack, but press the assault, combining Force-enhanced strength with powerful blade combinations to overpower and overwhelm an opponent's defenses. Djem So's sheer power, when combined with physical and Force-imbued strength, was capable of defeating a user of Makashi, a lightsaber form focused on dueling, finesse, and elegance, when employed by a skilled practitioner. Anakin Skywalker initially employed Shien in his defeat against Dooku on Geonosis, but throughout the Clone Wars, he developed his practice of both Shien and Djem So. The many engagements of the Clone Wars, against both mechanical opponents and against lightsaber wielding Dark Jedi honed his skills. On the Invisible Hand, he deceived Dooku with a Shien opening stance and Ataru acrobatics, but partially through the duel, he returned to his own preferred Djem So strokes. The Sith was barely able to deflect his blows and eventually was scorched by his own blade being forced back onto his own shoulder. Using Form V, Anakin pushed Dooku back with power blows, bolstered by use of rage in the fight, until he eventually disarmed and killed the Sith Lord.
After losing to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, Darth Vader continued to employ a new variant of Form V, even more focused on sheer power, in his service to the dark side and quest to destroy the Jedi. Vader again employed Form V on the Death Star versus his former master in their final duel—rather than continue to fight, Kenobi sacrificed himself. Ironically, the same techniques used by him against his former master would be mirrored and used against him by his son, Luke Skywalker.
On Bespin, Luke revealed that he was a gifted duelist; after only one brief session with Obi-Wan Kenobi three years previously and a short period of study with Yoda, the inexperienced youth was able to hold his own against Darth Vader for a time. Ultimately, he was unable to stand against Vader's aggressive barrage, being driven back and disarmed, losing his hand. After that duel, Luke further studied lightsaber skills he'd found in a journal left to him by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and greatly advanced in his abilities.
Onboard the second Death Star, Luke was this time able to duel Vader on an even footing, mirroring Vader's Form V technique. When Vader attempted Dun Möch to weaken Luke by invoking his sister, the tactic backfired and provoked Luke into a fury, and in that state he was able to defeat the experienced Sith Lord.
Known moves and maneuversEdit
Shien Opening Stance
The opening stance for Shien was a high guard position, with the hilt held in a two-handed grip above the user's head, and the blade angled upwards and behind the user. The dominant leg would be back, enabling powerful step-through strikes to be utilized.
Horizontal Attack Stance
Another Shien stance consisted of an unorthodox horizontal grip which was used to perform long, sweeping strikes to take down several enemies at a time.
Djem So Attack Stance
The Djem So attack stance consisted of holding the lightsaber above the head, angled back and down at an approximately forty-five degree angle.
Djem So Attack
One of the characteristic moves of Djem So was an overhand power blow downward upon an opponent, the lightsaber held firmly in both hands.
Djem So lightsaber designEdit
Lightsabers belonging to Djem So practitioners sometimes had a solid casing (either as a whole or in multiple sections for maximum protection against power surge deterioration) and a heavily shrouded or beveled blade emitter. The beveled emitter was designed to designate separate facets of the blade for either offensive or defensive purposes. Their hilts also commonly included ridged, occasionally thick, hand grips, as Djem So required its users to maintain a solid grip on the lightsaber hilt.
However, many types of weapons could be wielded effectively by Form V practitioners, even curve-hilted lightsabers, weapons traditionally associated with Form II, as demostrated by Darth Bane. Bane noted that curved lightsabers fit better into the palm, allowing greater power without costing precision. They also altered the angle of attacks ever so slightly, which gave Bane a unique dueling style, one that his opponents were not usually prepared to meet. Other weapon types wielded by Form V practitioners include lightsaber pikes, as shown by the Shien practitioner Kazdan Paratus, or saberstaffs, as shown by the Jedi Master Zez-Kai Ell.
Peace through superior firepower—Jedi maxim on Form V, Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
To the Jedi of the Clone Wars era, the most prominent practitioner of Form V was Anakin Skywalker, who mastered both Form V variants. However, the form had been in existence for several millennia, with Shien users including Kavar, Zez-Kai Ell, Vrook Lamar. Some time before the Great Sith War, Djem So was developed, with practitioners including Ulic Qel-Droma and Darth Bane, who was trained in its use by the Sith Blademaster Kas'im.
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 Form V.
During the Clone Wars, Form V practitioners included Khaat Qiyn, Aayla Secura, Zelice Sturm, Sora Bulq, Luminara Unduli, Ahsoka Tano, Kazdan Paratus, Adi Gallia, and Cin Drallig. Other practitioners included the Lannik Jedi Master Even Piell and his apprentice, Jax Pavan, in addition to the other six forms Jedi Council member Plo Koon also used the Way of the Krayt Dragon. Obi-Wan Kenobi possessed an at least basic knowledge of Shien, as demonstrated by his precise blast-deflection skills during the Naboo Crisis. Additionally, despite their lack of Force sensitivity, General Grievous and his IG-100 MagnaGuards learned Form V from Count Dooku during the Clone Wars. The Anzati Jedi Nikkos Tyris also practiced this style, and trained his Jensaarai followers in it before his death.
Anakin Skywalker had studied Shien and Djem So even as a Padawan. However, in his duel with Count Dooku on Geonosis, he employed Form IV while wielding two blades. Once Dooku managed to destroy one of the weapons, Skywalker was forced to revert to his Form V practices. While his skill enabled him to hold his own against Dooku, he was unable to overcome the Count's elegant Form II bladework, and was defeated. As the Clone Wars progressed, Anakin's grasp of the style increased to the point where he proved able to defeat Dooku, his first rematch with the Count ending in a stalemate, and his second ending with Dooku's death.
After turning to the Dark Side and joining the Sith, Skywalker continued to employ Form V, interlacing it with Dun Möch. However, his defeat at Mustafar and subsequent internment in bulky life-support armor forced him to alter his style into a new conglomeration. Darth Vader incorporated elements of Juyo, Ataru, Soresu and Makashi into his own personalized variant of Form V. His secret apprentice, Galen Marek, was also familiar with the form, having been personally trained by Vader. Vader's son, Luke Skywalker, would also instinctively mirror Vader's swordplay during their duel on Bespin, holding his own against Vader for a long period of time before being driven back and defeated by Vader's aggressive frenzy. In their rematch on board the second Death Star, Luke responded to Vader's aggressive usage with his own furious demonstration of Form V technique, eventually defeating the experienced Sith Lord before refusing to continue the fight.
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. One practitioner of the Djem So form was Jedi battlemaster Kyle Katarn.
Behind the scenesEdit
Form V (Shien and Djem So), 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. Form V also had a non-canonical appearance as part of Darth Vader's role in the fighting game Soulcalibur IV, where it comprises part of Vader's fighting style.
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. It is possible that the Jedi Exile was trained in the use of Form V 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 II: Attack of the Clones Template:Retcon
- The Cestus Deception (Mentioned only)
- "The Dark Side Beckons"
- 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 (First appearance)
- Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight (Indirect appearance)
- Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force (Indirect appearance)
- The Force Unleashed novelization
- Star Wars Galaxies
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Template:Retcon
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- Soulcalibur IV (Non-canonical appearance)
- Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
- Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat
- Hero's Guide
- Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
- Order 66: Destroy All Jedi
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game: Champions of the Force
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia