Chapter 5

Form III: Soresu
"If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of
your enemy float by" - Japanese Proverb
     The Third Form of Lightsaber Combat is Soresu. In Canon, it
is referred to as The Resilience Form and the way of the Mynock,
a bat-like creature that can survive in the dark vacuum of
     As the War between the Jedi and the Dark Side came to a
close in the Days of the Old Republic, so too did the need for
Lightsaber dueling. The Jedi's began to form into the Order we
are so familiar with. The Jedi were Peacekeepers, Defenders of
the Republic, Diffusers of Conflict. It was also during this
time that Blasters became wide-spread throughout the Galaxy, to
which Makashi and Shii Cho were not wholly adept in dealing
with. It is here that Soresu, a wholly defensive Form, was born.
     Soresu is a stark contrast of the previous two Forms. Where
Shii Cho and Makashi relied on broad blade use and linear
footwork, Soresu relied on keeping the blade close to the body
and using broad footwork to move around the playing field. Any
sweeping motions were kept short and never left the main core of
the body, still protecting it as a shield. A Soresu user only
attacks when it is necessary, and only when the opponent
provides an opening.

However, it is not wholly passive. Remember, a lightsaber is an all cutting weapon. Yes, it can repel other laser based weaponry, but it can still cut. Soresu Users were equated to the Eye of a Storm. They were Calm at serene, while all around them was violence and movement. The same is true for people engaging a Soresu User. Moving towards a Soresu User is like flying into the Path of a Cyclone or Hurricane; it is nothing short of suicide or desperation.

     Soresu is the predominant Form of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Kenobi
is, inarguably, the consummate Jedi in the films. He is the one
we look at in the Original Trilogy and go: "this is a Jedi".
That he would use Soresu, which relies on patience and cunning
rather than brute strength and violence, tells you something not
only of the mindset of Kenobi, but of the Jedi at their core. It
should be noted, however, that Kenobi was also a user of Form
IV, Ataru, as well as being taught Shii Cho along with everyone
else in the Jedi Order. This means that not everything you see
him use in any of the films is wholly Soresu.
     Soresu is the ultimate Defensive Form. Ranged attacks,
Melee Attacks, Single or Multiple Opponents, Soresu could adapt


to all of these situations. Kenobi, a master of Soresu, was said
to be able to block any strike and was able to move less than 20
strikes per second. The Form was good for small incursions. It
was best utilized by people with high concentration of Focus,
Patience and Observational skills.
     While Soresu is the ultimate Defense, that is ultimately
its weakness. Soresu can block a blade or blaster round better
than any of the other Forms. However, that is all it does.
Soresu relies on the chance that one's opponent(s) will grow
tired and create an opening. There is no such thing as
Initiative in wielding Soresu. If a Form III User finds
themselves in a protracted battle against massive numbers, or
against one highly aggressively overwhelming attacker, then they
will become the ones most likely to tire and create openings for
attack. Like everything that promotes Stasis and Safety, it runs
the risk of Stagnation. It is not surprising that many of the
remaining Forms were developed either as a contrast or to answer
the weaknesses in Soresu.
     Soresu marks another progression in Saber Combat. While
Forms I and II helped teach Control and Precision, Form III now
focuses on applying that to defense. Soresu protects the body,
including the Marks of Contact. This defense continues until the
user is able to "Diffuse" the situation. This often means that
the target of few strikes that Soresu users wield focus on the
Marks of Contact to stop the conflict.
     Trying to find a good analogue for Soresu is problematic.
I'm hard pressed to find a Martial Art that is purely defensive.
It's my belief that, like Shii Cho and Makashi before it, that
Soresu is an amalgamation of several different weapon defense
principles. If I had to be forced to make a decision on any
martial art or weapon use that matches Soresu, I would have to
pick the Chinese Broadsword, or Dao. The blade work is fast, and
kept close to the body. The User does several rapid flourishes
for deflection. They attack sporadically. It also employs
nonlinear footwork that is paramount in Soresu.
     Another system that works well with the principles of
Soresu is the Defense side of the Alphabet system used in Stage
Combat. Where attacks in the Alphabet promote the precision and
directness of Makashi, the defensive movements are static.
They're flat, 180 degree blocks that block the vital portions of
the body (head, groin, shoulders and hips). This allows for
attacks to bounce off or ricochet, there are no deflections. Any
attacks that come from this either come from the defender
exploiting an opening in the attack.


     Interestingly enough, a source for Blaster-oriented Soresu
comes from another athletic endeavor. There are many in the
community who find Tennis to be a close analogue to Soresu.
Several of the groups have been known to use training exercises
in block Nerf balls with their sabers. Having undergone some of
these drills, I can say that it requires patience and focus-two
main aspects of Soresu-are required to react and deflect the
projectile accurately.

YouTube Video

     Soresu is the second of the Canon forms to have a
corresponding Group Form in the Saber community. It was
developed by Mike Zhang (Ebon Wing). Mike has been trained in
several martial arts including Wushu, and has a degree in
performance art. The group form of Soresu was developed from
Mike's personal Kata, and several elements have been lessened
for mass consumption. It is based on Dao movements with several
static blocks.
     As it is the most passive Form, it has the least number of
dedicated users in the Saber Combat Community. However,
alongside Mike Zhang, one of the founders of NY Jedi, there are
a few members who use the Forms. Steve Cohen (as Joga
Crosswind)uses Soresu as his base form and supplements with
Ataru and Vaapad. Stephanie Lindquist (Lin-Tes Quin), head of
Connecticut Jedi, also wields Soresu

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