Yoda grew frail in his old age and was rarely seen without hunching over his cane. But when it was time to duel, he transformed into an acrobatic titan capable of defeating Sith Lords in lightsaber combat within minutes.
Yoda was well-versed in Force speed and wielding the Force to flow through his body, explaining why he was so fast despite his old age. Given his acrobatic Ataru fighting style, he became the fastest Jedi in the Skywalker Saga.
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How Fast is Yoda?
If you watched clips of Yoda’s duels with Count Dooku and Emperor Palpatine, you immediately noticed Yoda, although well into his 800s, was among the fastest Force-sensitives in the galaxy.
He was so fast, he once single handedly defeated an entire army of droids before the lethal war machines fired a single shot. While many Jedi grew proficient in blocking blasters, none matched Yoda in the skill.
Why is Yoda so Fast?
Jedi wield the Force to augment their natural speed with a technique called Force speed. Coupled with Yoda’s fighting style, Force speed further enhanced his ability to outmaneuver opponents.
In The Phantom Menace, we saw a phenomenal example of Force speed when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn escaped the Trade Federation’s droidekas.
Unlike Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, Yoda took his Force speed a step further. As a being so well-versed in Force-sensitivity, Yoda figured out how to let the Force energize him.
This allowed him to summon the Force, let it flow through his body, and transfer the energy into each lightsaber blow he delivered to an opponent. It allowed him to simultaneously evade an enemy’s strike and return with his own attack in one swift motion.
Yoda’s green-bladed shoto also holds a clue to his speed. Green-bladed lightsabers symbolize Jedi who forge a deep connection with the Living Force, and no Jedi in the Skywalker Saga forged such a connection as Yoda.
And it allowed him to keep his body young and nimble when called upon.
Why Does Yoda Fight Fast Yet Use a Cane?
In his late 800s during the Prequel Trilogy, Yoda comes across as frail. His hunched appearance and shuffle shows his age. There were also times he was too tired to walk, prompting him to use levitating pods.
When Yoda confronted the Sith Lord Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, he surprised audiences with athleticism that even the most gifted professional athletes couldn’t match.
It was the first time he treated fans to his immense acrobatics. Yet he further raised eyebrows after forcing Dooku to flee, morphing back into his frail self and relying on his cane for transport.
So how did he go from looking his age to resembling a Force-sensitive lightsaber duelist hundreds of years his junior?
Here’s the bottom line: Yoda was approaching 900 and physically, he was weak. But when he dueled Dooku and, in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Sidious, Yoda wielded his Force-connection to give him his athletic ability.
Yoda also mastered a fighting style called Ataru, also known as Form IV. Acrobatics served as the fighting style’s most distinguishing trait. Any Jedi who mastered Ataru used the Force to pull off moves they could never use when in their normal state.
Other Jedi who practiced the style included Anakin Skywalker, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Ezra Bridger.
Who is the Fastest Jedi?
Mace Windu comes to the minds of many fans, including Star Wars Theory. You can make the case for Windu because his Vaapad fighting style allowed him to wield both the light and dark sides of the Force.
Using Vaapad, he absorbed his enemies’ emotions and reflected them with reckless, unpredictable lightsaber strikes. And while he was an accomplished duelist showcasing speed and aggression, he was not the fastest.
Before he turned Sith, Count Dooku also served as an ideal candidate. Given his fighting style, he relied more on speed than power. It’s something we saw in Attack of the Clones when he gained the upper hand against Obi-Wan and Anakin.
You can make a stronger case for Obi-Wan over Dooku, considering the latter turned Sith and augmented his powers through the dark side.
We know Obi-Wan was among the least talented duelists at the Jedi Temple during his Youngling days. This forced him to work harder and, in time, he built his skills.
During his early days as a Padawan under Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan’s ability continued to sputter. He eventually overcame these obstacles, honing speed and skill.
Long after his promotion to Jedi Knight and later, Jedi Master, his efforts allowed the Jedi to appoint him to travel to Utapau to duel Grievous.
While Obi-Wan won that duel against the non-Force-sensitive cyborg who wielded four lightsabers at Force-sensitive-equivalent speed, even he wasn’t the fastest.
Is Yoda the Fastest Jedi?
Yoda was the fastest Jedi. While you can make a strong case for all the Jedi mentioned in the above section, Yoda’s Ataru fighting style and connection to the Force allowed him to hang with anyone in a lightsaber duel, Jedi or Sith.
Who’s Faster: Palpatine or Yoda?
Yoda’s climactic duel with Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith provided clear insight on who’s the faster duelist. It was clear before the two dueled that Palpatine wanted to end Yoda via Force lighting, evading a lightsaber confrontation altogether.
Yoda had other ideas, forcing Palpatine to draw his lightsaber. As the two dueled, the look on Palpatine’s face showed realization that he couldn’t defeat Yoda with lightsabers alone. The Jedi Master was just too fast.
This forced the Sith Lord to get rid of his lightsaber and resort to attacking Yoda with pods via telekinesis. When Yoda again drew his lightsaber, Palpatine used his Force powers, causing Yoda to lose his lightsaber.
Yoda retreated, prompting many to believe he either stalemated or lost his duel with Palpatine. While this may be the case, it’s also easy to conclude that, given his speed, he won the lightsaber portion of the duel.
Yoda became the fastest Jedi even in his old age because he mastered Ataru, or Form IV. He further augmented his speed by mastering Force speed and deepening his connection to the Living Force.
His Ataru fighting style and connection to the Force also explains why he aged in reverse when he engaged in lightsaber combat yet returned to his frail self immediately after.
Yoda wasn’t just the fastest Jedi. He was the fastest Force-sensitive being, evidenced during his duel with Emperor Palpatine.
Sion Fawkes has been covering Star Wars since January 2022, expanding his expertise in both Star Wars Canon and Legends. When not writing, you can find Sion in the gym or running trails. He also likes watching sports and listening to audiobooks.