Hey duellists - this one's going to be a great read.
Have you ever felt angry? Not just angry, but furious? Have you ever channelled that fury into your training - pushing past barriers and breaking the limits of what you thought possible?
If you have, you've touched on the very essence that fuels some of the most ferocious fighters in Star Wars history. We're talking, of course, about Form VII - known more commonly by the two disciplines within it called Juyo and Vaapad. Practised by our #1 Jedi duellist of all time, Mace Windu, Form VII is known for its savagery. It was even called the 'Ferocity Form' at first.
But what's the difference between Juyo and Vaapad? Why - or a better question, when, should you choose to use this form? Keep reading to find out...
Juyo vs Vaapad
Form VII was originally named Juyo - a style that grew out of the techniques discarded from the more traditional form of Shii-cho. The Jedi council recognised Juyo as 'The Ferocity Form' - but it was banned shortly afterwards.
The Jedi are all about calm and balance - but Juyo basically demands the fighter to be in a heightened emotional state. It's an aggressive form that requires fury and anger to be used as weapons. This meant that while Juyo was tolerated during peak Sith vs Jedi periods, it was eventually banned because many of the Jedi who used it fell to the dark side. One of its most famous users was famous Sith fighter, Darth Maul.
Vaapad, on the other hand, was developed to utilise many of Juyo's techniques and concepts but to resist the pull to the dark side. Pioneered by Mace Windu, it was a way to overwhelm opponents whilst resisting any loss to the dark side or recklessness.
Juyo in real life
Every good competitor knows that you should never fight angry. In real life, the philosophy of Juyo would require blending aggressive with restraint - limiting the 'all or nothing' mentality employed by the fictional Juyo wielders and instead using moments of savagery to surprise your opponent.
When duelling, this would translate to suddenly launching offensives after a feint, attacking relentlessly but being ready to defend and regroup - rather than 'fall' all the way to the Dark Side of Juyo and lose your technique to anger. This is more in line with the spiritual successor of Juyo, Vaapad.
Vaapad is born
Considering the reputation Juyo had built, it was unlikely the council could ever publicly endorse it as a style. Even as the 'ban' became less common and some Jedi were permitted to train it, Juyo never regained any kind of recognisable status.
However, one main duellist refused to let the style die out. So influential was Master Windu that he was allowed to develop his own style of Form VII that dealt with the weaknesses of Juyo but kept all of its strength.
With that, Form VII became Vaapad. The style retained the ferocity of its previous incarnation but was honed to exclude any of the inner darkness and lack of control Juyo had. Vaapad was all about measured aggression - using controlled bursts of kinetic energy to overwhelm foes.
But even as Vaapad became established, it was rarely seen used by anyone other than its creator, the master duellist, Mace Windu.
Vaapad & Mace Windu
Mace Windu, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the film franchise, was a Jedi who stood apart. As a youth, his frustrations at those who opposed the Jedi ideals often made him seem overly emotional. However, his steadfast commitment to the Jedi order and a sense of empathy for others made him a fantastic Jedi who was known for his incredible duelling abilities.
Despite his commitment to the Jedi code and his often 'harsh' actions such as expelling Ahsoka Tano from the order, Windu was also a man famous for self-control. He never sought revenge against Boba Fett for his attempt against his life, nor did he agree to murder the Zillo Beast.
In combat, this all translated to a master of Vaapad who could launch into bursts of ferocious aggression whilst remaining in control of his emotions. Windu was the highest rated duellist in our top duellist article and for good reason: he was an adept lightsaber fighter who could defeat other Jedi and Sith, as well as a master at deflecting blaster bolts and destroying droids.
Vaapad & Mace Windu go hand-in-hand. The form is almost uniquely his, practiced only by a select few. He is the only Jedi who used Form VII extensively not to fall to the dark side. Why is this? We believe it's because of his control.
Vaapad lessons for duellists
If you'd like to use Vaapad in your own duels, keep the following tips in mind.
- Aggression doesn't mean bullying. That's how you fall to the dark side (or in real life, annoy your opponent or get disqualified).
- Launch your attacks in moments of opportunity and be relentless - but don't forget to defend.
- Vaapad used bare-hand combat techniques including elbow strikes, palm strikes etc. If you find a willing partner, it may be worth practicing these - but don't do them in a Ludosport competition or you'll be banned.
Of course, great Vaapad demands a great duelling saber that can withstand the ferocity form. You're in luck - all of our duelling sabers are made from riot-shield grade polymer and can stand up to the demands of battle.