Chapter 10

Lightsaber Variations
"This weapon is your life!" - Obi-Wan Kenobi
     Lightsabers are weapons that were created personally by
their wielders. They were tasked with seeking out components
that "called out" to them with the Force. They were designed to
match their users, and while some may resemble others, no two
were ever alike. A lightsaber is a personal weapon, with the
various people out there, surely there are more than one kind of
lightsaber.
     While Lightsabers are famously depicted as being hilts
being deployed as swords, these are the standard variations of
hilts. However, the design is relatively simplistic and could be
employed in a various different forms. Some favored specific
forms and some required rare materials to be used. There are
also several non-canon weapons that were developed by the saber
community that are unique to themselves. Here is a list of some
of the more popular variations:

Curved Hilt Sabers: The Hilt is curved either at the emitter, pommel and/or the middle of the hilt. It's main focus is that the curvature allows for a shift in balance, allowing for differing angles of attack. It also accentuated the power in attacks. This makes it a good weapon for Form II and V, and as such it is referred to as a dueling saber. Most famous example is Count Dooku's saber.

Shoto: Also known as "the short saber". The hilt and blade are smaller than the standard saber. It is often used as a defensive, or "off-hand" weapon. It is also favored by Force Users of diminutive size.

     In the fan groups, there is some discrepancy between what
would make a good "Makashi Lightsaber". Due to the films, many
people believe that it is the curved hilt. However, many of the
fencers in the group, who are the most inclined towards Form II,
say that it is the Shoto. The length of the hilt allows for
tight control and aside from a lack of basket or handguard is
the closest to an actual rapier hilt.
     A curved hilt is considered a duelist's hilt in that it
allows for different angles. It also makes moves like Sun Djem
difficult to perform due to the design and way curved hilt had
to be held, which is part of Makashi's techniques.

Guard Shoto: A variation of the Shoto. It is modeled after the Japanese tonfa, a short handled weapon with a perpendicular grip. The weapon is used underhanded, and is good for trapping, slashing and stabbing, making it a good Form V weapon. Not as good in attacking. Required considerable skill and training.

Dual Phase: The Lightsaber is a weapon utilizing an extending blade. A Dual Phase Lightsaber extends the blade out further than the standard. Somewhat similar to the mythical extending staff of Sun Wukong in Journey to the West.

Light Club: The opposite of the Shoto, in that it is a massive hilt that is meant for Force Users of Massive Size.

Double-Bladed Saber: A staff-based hilt that produces two blades on either side. Widely regarded as a Sith weapon, especially as it is the weapon of Darth Maul. Covers 4 times the area as a regular saber. Utilizes broad, circular motions in attacking and defending. There is a variation where both ends are curved. The use of the curved staff requires intense focus, as moving the saber moves the balance point on the staff.

Saber Pike: A Staff-based hilt that has a smaller blade at the top. The staff is predominantly made of some lightsaber resistant material. Good on range, and seems to prefer shiak strikes. A variety of this is the Long Handle Saber, whose hilt was several times longer than a standard hilt, but not as long as a staff.

Light whip: a Lightsaber whose beam is not restricted in a static position and is capable of moving. Highly unpredictable, and was just as much a risk to the wielder as the opponent. One had to know how to use a regular whip before using a weapon. The most famous user was Lumiya, who used a lightwhip that also had cortosis strands, making it an energy and physical based weapon.

     While the many in the Saber Community have kept to
emulating the what Star Wars has given them in ways of
variation, several members have developed other variations of
the lightsaber.

Light Pu-Dao: Based on the traditional Pu Dao in Chinese Martial Arts. It's roughly a cross between a Saber Pike and a Long Handled lightsaber, with the blade being just longer than the handle. Glenn Devecchis (Jin Ke), and The Ankhou use Pu Dao Sabers.

Light Sai: Shoto-like weapons based on the traditional Japanese Sai. As a lightsaber, the blades are smaller, and the rest of the hilt (especially the prongs) are most likely made of some form of lightsaber resistant material. The only pair that exist belong to Maria Nowak (as Crimson Finyx) and were designed and built by Chris Cox (General Ing Chao)

LightShield: Essentially a hand held Force Field built to reflect attacks. Built by Brian Van Kuik (Taomoon Nightstar) which uses a clear, circular riot shield wrapped in EL wire and using a pressure sensor to register hits, making the surface glow brighter.

Light Shivs: Shoto based sabers. the hilts are palm sized and the blades are almost equal in length. Used as a knife. Built by Juan Leiva (Yogen Himashi).

     The reason for these variations lies in the uniform design
of the saber. At its most basic, it is a cylindrical tube. The
very nature of designing one as a personal touch bred different
designs and touches on basic hilts, let alone different hilts
altogether. This is one of the more popular aspects of the Saber
Community.
     Many in the community will normally buy their first sabers
from Ultrasabers.com. This site makes basic hilts with no real
adornments. This can be considered similar to a lightsaber hilt
at its most basic form. It's up to the user to modify the
exterior to suit their purposes, whether it be personal or
performance.
     My personal favorite is The Custom Saber Shop. You buy the
pieces of the saber you have designed. The parts are shipped to
you and you build it yourself. Short of machining the parts
yourself, this is the closest to making your own, personal
saber.
     And finally, and by no means the least, we have the Sabers
from Advanced Light Weaponry. These sabers are made from scratch
out of steel, and are meant to last. They are designed by the
instructions of the buyer, and no two will ever be exactly
alike. These are functional pieces of art, a true expression of
the person wielding it, which is what a lightsaber was.

Chapter 11
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