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At Wookiepedia I found the following:

Dooku was a respected instructor in the Jedi Temple and one of the most renowned swordsmen in the galaxy. Only Masters Yoda and Mace Windu were considered his equals.

When it comes to lightsaber combat mastery one finds regularly these three names sometimes alongside Darth Sidious but not that of Anakin Skywalker or Darth Vader. Examples:

Mace Windu was a formidable warrior and generally considered one of the greatest swordsmen ever produced by the Jedi Order [...]. Even without his unique fighting style, it is said that only his one-time friend, Dooku, and the venerable Grand Master Yoda could outspar him.

Yoda was a master of lightsaber combat, one of the greatest duelists of all time. It was said that only Mace Windu, Count Dooku and Palpatine were able to fight with him on equal terms.

So how could Anakin defeat Count Dooku so easily at the beginning of "The Revenge of the Sith"?

This Question contains some good points but I guess it can't be only a matter of fighting styles as Dooku's "Makashi" is a special duelling style and he had good knowledge of the other styles too.

Maybe Dooku's age played a role but then again when the force is your ally this shouldn't matter too much (see Yoda).

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8 Answers 8

up vote 26 down vote accepted

According to the novel, Sidious had told Dooku to hold back, because he wanted to use Anakin to murder Obi-Wan. (Which also partly explains Dooku's shocked face when Sidious tells Anakin to kill Dooku. While he might have expected a Sith master to stand back and let the strongest man win, he would not have expected his master to change the plan on him in that way.)

Also, Sidious was there and he was watching. He was also quite capable of using the Force in whatever small ways he wanted to if it would influence the outcome by either helping Anakin or by hindering Dooku.

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But didn't he only hold back at first and "powered up" after noticing that Obi-Wan and Anakin held back as well to ensure he could kill Obi-Wan? –  Philipp Jan 25 '12 at 13:03
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I'm sorry, if I was a bit unclear. If I remember it correctly the Count had at first a very easy time fighting Anakin and Obi-Wan, because the both of them held back at first. Then the two jedi changed tactics revealing that they have gotten much better in lightsaber combat. Thus they surprised the Count and he got into trouble. But Dooku was able recover and continued the fight with (I presume) full strength, so that he was able to take out Obi-Wan. –  Philipp Jan 25 '12 at 15:41
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In the novel you find: "[Dooku thought]: These clowns might—just possibly—actually be able to beat him. No sense taking chances; even his Master would agree with that. Lord Sidious could come up with a new plan more easily than a new apprentice." This sounds to me like he decided to take them on with full strength so as not to risk his own life. –  Philipp Jan 25 '12 at 16:23
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@Jared: A plot hole? In Star Wars? Surely you jest! –  Tango Jan 25 '12 at 21:17
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@Jared: Luke and Anakin both gave in to anger at some point, but Luke didn't fall because he stopped himself at the edge - when told to kill Vader, he refused. When Anakin was told to kill Dooku, he... refused less. –  Tynam Feb 13 '12 at 15:00

The loss of Count Dooku to Anakin is aptly explained by looking at the Jedi Lightsaber Forms that the two used. Count Dooku was one of the premier duelists in the order before becoming a Sith. His mastery of Form II (Makashi) was legendary.

"He is a fencer. Leverage, position, advantage—they are as natural to him as breathing." Qui-Gon Jinn's Spirit to Yoda in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

One of the advantages of Form II is it's level of control and one-on-one domination. It does have its flaws, the most telling in this engagement being the lack of the ability to generate momentum in both its offensive and defensive maneuvers. Against Anakin in the first encounter, this was not a problem- though Skywalker used Form V (Shien) against Dooku, he was not at this time, extraordinarily proficient, and wasn't as practiced in Jar'Kai when he tried to use his fury against Dooku after saving Kenobi from Dooku's blade, resulting in the loss of his arm.

However, in the battle where he defeated Dooku, two things were in play. At first, Dooku was attempting to hold back, in deference to Sidious' wishes. When he began to defend in earnest, he found that he couldn't generate the necessary energy to ward off Skywalker's newfound proficiency in Form V (Djem So), which is characterized by power attacks and defense immediately followed by a counter-strike. Djem So is the counterpart of Shien, and encourages aggression and domination, to not only counterattack, but also to press the assault, combining Force-enhanced strength with powerful blade combinations to overpower and overwhelm an opponent's defenses. Skywalker was a natural at the style which was the reason for his change from Shien to Djem So, and the defenses of Form II were not up to warding off such, to Dooku's lament.

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I just want to say that the movies fail all the more epicly by not conveying any of this stuff. The prequel trilogy, that is. –  FoxMan2099 Jul 27 '13 at 2:51

Count Dooku lost to Anakin because Anakin was a lot better. Through more training, missions in the Clone Wars, and perhaps his midi-chlorian count, he was almost at his peak.

People get shocked though because the prequel trilogy and didn't really show his progressions and didn't show how powerful he was. They just continued to say, "he's the chosen one" and have him cry all the time.

In Revenge of the Sith Anakin is easily one of the most powerful Jedi and his swordsman skills are on par with others such as Windu.

Palpatine even says to General Grievous that he's going to have a stronger apprentice soon. He loses to Obi-wan at the end because he is not focused.

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I think it's fair to say he lost to Obi-wan also because of arrogance. Though probably the better fighter, he thought he he could get away with attacking Obi-wan while he had the "high ground." –  FoxMan2099 Jul 27 '13 at 2:52

I think Dooku lost because he was just toying with Anakin at the start of the duel. Look how easy he defeated Obi -Wan by knocking him out. But at the same time people forget just how arrogant and cocky Dooku was and he no doubt underestimated Anakin he also didn't think Sidious would just let him be killed. So in a way, he had a false sense of security

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Other than the above answers which are almost all correct. Dooku also encouraged Anakin to USE his anger. That is when Anakin started to really pour it on. Dooku was a fencer, but Anakin was a Form V (Djem So) stylist, and as Dooku said, the best one he had ever seen.

Dooku's Makashi simply could not properly deflect such attacks coming with that level of ferocity, strength, youghful vigor and raw force power. Dooku got Anakin to unleash the dark side in a way he probably hadn't done since cutting down all the Tusken Raiders back on Tatooine after his mother died.

Dooku was also expecting Palpatine to intercede for him, as Dooku even asked him along the lines of "What if Anakin should best me?" Palpatine reassured him that he would step in.

Only when Palpatine told Anakin to kill him, did Dooku realize that he'd been a fool. That he was never the real apprentice or heir to the sith, it that Anakin had been Palpatines goal all along.

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Nice answer. Thanks. –  Philipp Nov 20 '13 at 21:33
    
Thanks, my pleasure. –  JediWitness Dec 5 '13 at 8:27

He was simply toying with Anakin otherwise he would have won; he tried to lure Anakin to the dark side by bringing out his rage- the plan was to turn Anakin to the dark side and rule the empire (from wookipedia)

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After their first encounter Dooku is visibly shaken after the fight with Anakin so clearly he was tested even then. Anakin was able to beat him because he wasn't saving Obi Wan's butt and could just get on with out fighting Dooku who was probably not expecting to lose this time around either.

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What fight were you watching? Dooku beat Anakin twice (knocking him out briefly and then cutting his arm off), and Obi-Wan once and still had enough stamina and skill to hold his own against Yoda. –  phantom42 Jan 17 at 19:20
    
Yeah OK I take your point but he did leg it after Yoda was dancing around him. I suggest that Christopher Lee being the amazing actor he is showed that he was tested quite a bit (panting and sweating dare i suggest?) by Anakin who perhaps had never fought anyone as accomplished as Dooku before and fared much better after saving Obi Wan. Maybe he learned not to be as impulsive which meant the fight did last much longer. Dooku was clearly the superior except for when Yoda finally turned up but i think it was an indication that Anakin was a quick learner? –  Pompom78 Jan 18 at 13:31

I would say that Dooku thought Anakin could be caged by the more predictable methods of the dark side. Even Palpatine didn't use this. His primary weapon against Anakin was using Amadala's life against him. As such Dooku made a mistake in toying with him during the second battle. He fought and realized a little too late that Anakin was way too strong to be simply toyed with. Mind you, Dooku is probably the strongest Sith with a Light Saber to ever have lived. He almost won two complete battles with Obi Wan and Anakin combined. I know no other that would be able to do this. Even Anakin lost against Obi Wan by himself and was pretty much the same par with an old Obi Wan until he let himself get killed.

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