Jedi Order developed the third lightsaber form to minimize the weaknesses of the first and second lightsaber forms. The third form provides an unbreakable defense against lightsabers and blaster guns. But, with time, the weaknesses of the third form also began to appear.
While the third form had a tough defense like Mynocks, it lacked the first two forms in the offense. There was no way to act aggressively in combat while keeping the same strong defense.
Efforts to cover up this weakness resulted in form iv of lightsaber combats. The fourth form gave Jedis an upper hand on Sith lords. This form is also remembered as the Yoda lightsaber form by many. It was also the Qui-Gon Jinn lightsaber form.
Lightsaber Form IV – Ataru
The fourth lightsaber form of the seven lightsaber forms is called Ataru. It is also known as the Aggression Form or the way of Hawk-bats. Ataru form was an aggressive form as the name says. It is considered the most aggressive form of all the seven forms.
Ataru user form relied on quick movements and fast-paced combats. Ataru users stay close to their opponent and aggressively attack him from all sides. He keeps pressing the opponent with slurries. The purpose of the Ataru fighting style is to dominate its opponent as quickly as possible. Jedis included certain aerobatics in form iv, like summersaults, to make it more effective in combats.
Ataru form users depended upon a lot of users of Force. They used Force to draw extra energy to go aggressive in the fights. So, Ataru was very effective in fast-paced combats but unreliable in prolonged fights, which was an Ataru weakness. Ataru was not designed for lengthy fights like the third form, Soresu.
Ataru form’s aggression is similar to the first lightsaber form Shii-Cho. But, form iv is more organized and focused. The Ataru stance includes better use of Force than the first form. Still, the brute strength of the Ataru form was the core idea of this form, but with disciplined Ataru stances, unlike Shii-Cho.
Luke once said that the Ataru form is aggressive but focused. You are not supposed to rely on your skills or weapon. You must act like your whole body is a weapon. Jump to overpower your enemy.
Why is Ataru Called the way of Hawk-Bat?
Hawk-Bat was a bat-like creature native to the planet of Coruscant. It was one of the two native species that did not go extinct. Hawk-Bats are very offensive creatures. It was very dangerous for the people and even for the Jedis. Although, the Republic kept them under protection as they ate some dangerous parasites of Coruscant.
The aggressive behavior of Hawk-Bats got them the name of pirates or loop gangers. Jedi order also named form iv as the way of Hawk-Bat after the aggression of these creatures.
The Ataru fighting style was all aggressive, and the Ataru stance required the users to be unfocused on their defense. While Soresu was very defensive, Ataru was highly offensive. The Ataru user could leave openings for the opponent during the combat. Makashi users who relied on precision could easily benefit from these openings.
Jedi Order did not recommend Ataru form against enemies with blaster guns. Form iv was weak in defense and it was difficult for practitioners to focus on blasters while going all aggressive. Form iv always needed a combination of other forms when fighting against enemies with blaster guns.
As we discussed earlier, another major Ataru weakness was its energy consumption. Makashi and Soresu forms depended on their energy economy during the fights. Ataru’s quick aerobatics caused the users to tire earlier. So, the form iv user had to end the fight quickly or be at a disadvantage.
Jedi Order needed to balance Ataru’s fighting style. They need a lightsaber form that could balance both defense and offense. So, they developed the fifth form of the lightsaber and covered up the Ataru weaknesses.
Who used Ataru?
Jedi Order created Ataru much earlier, but it came in common use during the Jedi-Mandalorian wars. Mandalorians were warriors and experts in close combats. So Jedis began to learn Ataru to fight the Mandalorians in close fights. It turned out very effective. The use of Force and the aggressive nature of the Ataru fighting style helped Jedis win the Mandalorian Wars.
Since then, form iv has been the most used lightsaber form. Most Jedis during the Clone Wars also preferred the Ataru form. But what famous characters used form iv? Is it the Anakin lightsaber form, Qui-Gon Jinn lightsaber form, or Yoda lightsaber form?
All three of them used the form iv of lightsaber combats, but it is commonly remembered as the Yoda lightsaber form. Master Yoda was an expert on Ataru. He was quite proficient in the leaping strikes and summersaults. His fights against Count Dooku and Darth Sidious reflect his Ataru fighting style abilities.
The grey Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn, is another notable name to have master Ataru form. He used form iv against Darth Maul, as seen in “Phantom Menace.” An Ataru weakness became the reason for his demise. He left an opening during his aggressive attacks, and Maul stabbed him in his opening.
Is it also Anakin’s lightsaber form? Well, Anakin mostly used sixth lightsaber form in his most lightsaber combats. But, he was also an expert on form iv of lightsaber combats. He even taught some basics of Ataru form to his Padawan Ahsoka Tano.
The knowledge of the Ataru fighting style extended itself to the New Republic as well. Luke Skywalker preserved the knowledge after learning it from Master Yoda. Luke’s wife, Mara Jade, was also proficient in form iv. His wife is not part of the Canon storyline, though.
Some other famous names of Ataru form users are Ki-Adi-Mundi, Shaaki-Ti, Dark Jedi Set Harth, Vrook Lamar, and even General Grievous.
Important Ataru Stance
Ataru’s opening stance includes holding the lightsaber with both hands in a vertical position. Jedis use this Ataru stance to strike the opponent without giving them time to react quickly. After the strike, he quickly backs off before he can counterattack. This strike is also known as Hawk-Bat Swoop.
Jedis also use the Ataru stance in another way. They stormed a series of slurries on their opponent, forcing them to go defensive and finish him with an unpredictable side attack. This maneuver is called a Saber swarm.