Yoda was a Jedi Master who, despite his age, wowed audiences with his acrobatics during the Prequel Trilogy. So how did Yoda become so well-versed, even at his old age, in lightsaber combat? It stems from his preferred fighting form.
Yoda mastered all fighting forms, but he preferred Ataru, or Form IV. And he did not stop there. Yoda also embraced Form I (Shii-Cho), Form III (Soresu), and Form VI (Niman), used each to supplement his proficiency in Ataru when necessary.
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What are Yoda’s Lightsaber Forms?
Ataru, or Form IV, became Yoda’s go-to. It’s something he put on display during two duels in the Prequel Trilogy when confronting Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith.
Of the seven dueling forms, Form IV is by far the most breathtaking. Whereas Form I, also called Shii-Cho, required aggressive strikes, almost medieval-like, and Form II, or Makashi, focused on elegant movements, Ataru dealt with acrobatics.
It’s such an advanced form of dueling that only those with strong Force-sensitivity learned it.
An all-out offensive style, the practitioners of Form IV wanted to end duels quickly. Since it could boast an aggressive nature, the style became popular with the Sith, and it led vulnerable Jedi toward the dark side.
However, unlike Form V, or Djem So, or Form VII, or Vaapad and Juyo, Form IV did not require aggression. Which explains why Yoda embraced it.
Yoda Used Ataru in the Prequel Trilogy
In the Prequel Trilogy, we see Form IV in action when Yoda pulls off those astonishing flips over his opponents.
Moving so fast despite his old age, he mastered Form IV to the point where Count Dooku retreated. Even Darth Sidious abandoned his lightsaber and resorted to using Force powers. Both realized they could not defeat Yoda with lightsabers alone.
Form IV also allowed Yoda to use the Force to morph from an 800-plus-year-old elderly Force-sensitive to this nimble, acrobatic athlete.
On-screen, Yoda looked like nothing more than a blur when outmaneuvering his opponents. However, Yoda was akin to that of a “semi-retired athlete.”
What we saw in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were outliers compared to his many duels and battles from centuries past, as by the time the Prequel Trilogy rolled around, he did not whip out his green Shoto often.
While Yoda specialized in Ataru, it wasn’t the only fighting form he knew. A Jedi Grand Master who lived for centuries, Yoda, like many Jedi, became well-versed in a few forms.
What Fighting Forms does Yoda Know?
Yoda mastered, or at least carried extensive knowledge of, all seven forms of lightsaber combat. Besides Form IV, Yoda also knew Form VI. It was a fighting form most Jedi learned during the latter days of the Old Republic.
One reason for its acceptance and popularity within the Jedi Order stemmed from its perceived balance with older lightsaber fighting forms. Form VI took some, but not all, the strengths of Forms I through V, and discarded the weaknesses.
Because Form VI didn’t take all the strengths from the earlier forms, some Jedi Masters didn’t care for it. However, avoiding full potency acted as a key motive behind creating Form VI.
Yoda also mastered Form I. As the most basic form, every Jedi started their combat training with Form I, and Yoda was no exception. Form I also acted as a fallback plan when other forms failed, implying Yoda used this form throughout his life.
Over the centuries, it’s easy to conclude Yoda knew Soresu, also known as Form III.
Developed as a response to the advent of long-range weapons like blasters, Soresu allowed Jedi to block and reflect blaster bullets. Given the high number of blasters, all Jedi eventually learned this form.
Is Yoda a Master of All Lightsaber Forms?
Although Yoda was one of the most celebrated Jedi in the galaxy, there were some forms of combat he stayed away from.
Not that the 900-year-old Jedi Master didn’t master them. But either way, he believed they were obsolete or unnecessary to the Jedi, it’s safe to say he didn’t use them.
Knowing about his tendency to keep a watch on Dooku while the latter trained as a Jedi, Yoda shied away from Form II.
The form arose during the old Jedi-Sith Wars, and it focused on elegant strikes, opting for finesse instead of strength.
Yoda, like most of the Jedi, believed the Sith were extinct before the Clone Wars proved otherwise. Form II appalled him so much that when he saw Dooku gravitating toward it, Yoda took it upon himself to train the future Sith Lord.
Form V was another fighting form that Yoda probably didn’t bother with. Many in the Jedi Order frowned upon this form, given its practitioners’ tendencies to teeter between using the Force for offense instead of the Jedi’s preferred method of defense.
Form VII was another thing Yoda would not have cared for. Given its requirements for Jedi to use their emotions. Thereby tapping into their inner dark side, and using them against opponents, Yoda would have warned against any Jedi looking to learn Form VII.
Except perhaps for Jedi Master Mace Windu. Windu used Form VII’s most popular variant, Vaapad. But even he rarely taught it to apprentices because of its tendency to lead weaker souls astray.
However, if an apprentice proved they mastered their emotions, he had no qualms teaching this movement. Yoda probably would have wanted to see the fighting form banned.
So, while Yoda knew and mastered all seven forms of lightsaber combat, he also would not have used specific forms given their darker tendencies or lack of necessity.
Yoda was best known for mastering the Ataru fighting form, which focused on acrobatics and quick, offensive strikes. Yoda and other practitioners, like Anakin Skywalker, resembled blurs on the screen because they were so well-versed in the form.
Yoda would have used Forms I and III since they were basically prerequisites for all Jedi. Form I as a fallback, and Form III when facing a horde of blasters. He was also well-versed in Form VI, which became the standard fighting form during his time.
Yoda learned and mastered all fighting forms, but it’s safe to say there were a few he did not use.
Given his disdain of Dooku’s lightsaber hilt, he was not a fan of Form II. Forms V and VII required that the Jedi use the Force to generate their inner-emotions, respectively. Something Yoda detached himself from.
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.