In lightsaber combat, strikes are often blocked, generating a loud noise and a bright light. If they were normal swords, the swords would have some level of friction holding the contact point in place. With light sabers, it is less clear.

If you cross lightsabers with someone, pushing on the other's blade with your own (using muscle force), and they're pushing back, can the lightsabers slip along each other like they were covered in soap, or do the blades get locked together so that they don't slide at all.

Part of what brought up this question is the lack of guards on lightsabers. If it were easy to strike at someone's fingers, there'd be a guard there, but I cannot tell whether that's because Jedi are too smart to let you strike their fingers, or if there is a physics reason why the lightsabers cannot move that way.

  • It's worth mentioning that all aspects of lightsaber fights are aided by the Force. They move to block blaster fire based on Force premonitions. Still, losing your hand is the most common lightsaber injury shown in the movies.
    – user40790
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:38
  • 8
    Possible duplicate of How do any Jedi still have hands?. Note that the question and top answer talk about a blade sliding down the other blade (i.e. not "sticking").
    – Null
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:05
  • @Null That certainly provides an answer (and I may accept it as "That solved my problem"). However, in some of the original duels, I looked for any sense of slipping and did not see any, which may be contradictory to the answer to the question you recommended I look at. It seems like it'd be something Lucas et. al. would have to answer at some point, so I'd love it if there was an answer that invovled more than an isolated event.
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:29
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    -1, because YOU DID NOT INCLUDE A SCREENSHOT FROM SPACEBALLS! :( Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 21:19
  • Thinking back to the original Star Wars movie and the duel between Obi Wan and Darth Vader, the sights and sounds certainly left me with the impression that the two beams had a sort of "friction" - that while in the classic "X" contact, they can't easily slide.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:30

8 Answers 8


The short answer is, no, they don't stick. The only time you see lightsaber wielders actually stop an opposing lightsaber is when one person is holding two sabers in an X formation. From the various sources of what I've read, the closest physical-feeling equivalent would be fencing with PVC pipes - they don't stick, and in fact bounce a little as the energy blades repulse each other slightly.


According to this highly specifically-titled book there are 7 different styles of lightsaber combat. The act of cutting off the opponent's sword or blaster hand is referred to as Cho Mai. While we look at the removal of limbs as grotesque or horrible, the Jedi looked at it as honorable, as you're removing the ability for the opponent to fight without killing them and causing minimal physical damage (I'm sure that the advances in medical technology help that worldview); conversely, the Sith view it as merciful and a symbol of power as you're bringing the target low, but actively choosing to not kill them outright.

Although I don't have any in-universe data to back it up, I'd also say that the training for lightsaber use would be the main reason that it isn't as much of a problem. The weapon doesn't lend itself to close quarters fighting (although there is one form of the seven devoted to it), but the full style of fighting is a fluid one, and attempting to "slide down the blade" would be fruitless as the other wielder would just keep moving, presumably in some sort of parry. Basically the only time you ever see a wielder holding the blade steady for an extended period is when Qui'Gon is punching holes in doors. Stabbity Jed-di Obviously the commonplace removal of limbs in lightsaber combat is the one of, if not the main, reason Kylo Ren decided to use the crossguard in his lightsaber in Episode 7, but that remains to be seen.



At least in terms of darksaber (which is referred to as essentially the same) to lightsaber.

In Season 3, Episode 14 of Star Wars: Rebels

"Trials of the Darksaber"

Kanan is training Sabine and as the blades come together for the first time, the blades are held together and Kanan says:

The blades will be drawn to each other. There is pull there. Can you feel it?

enter image description here

  • 2
    This is the best reference of all the answers. While they don't stick firmly to one another, it is clear from Trials that there is an attractive force between the blades.
    – Werrf
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 17:39


There is one occasion that I can remember shown in the films where a lightsaber slides along another lightsaber and takes off the wielder's hand; in the fight between Obi-Wan and General Grievous on Utapau when Obi-Wan slices off Grievous' second hand.

It can be seen in this youtube clip at the 2:34 mark

So they do not lock, though as you can see from Obi-Wan, effort is required to move one blade along the other, so there is some friction involved that has to be overcome. The blades do not glide effortlessly so do not act as though they are "covered in soap".



They stick a lot. They must. Why? The sword play. And no guards. No bell guard or hand guard. No hand guard? You need a guard-high parry, with your hands held above the point of attack.

We have very few instances in Jedi sword play where we see guard-high parries, save for Darth Maul and Obi-Wan in the final fight in Ep. 1. (Why? I am sure Ray Parks can be credited for that. He knows his stuff.) Guard high parries are the defensive calling cards of both slashing weapons and limited hand-guard that have gliding ripostes.

I think the glissant (blade slide) we see from Obi-Wan to Grievous to take his arm is a real cheap choreographic short-cut to solve a green screen screw-up, where the best choreographed take had this combat error. Yes folks, movies do this.

They must be at least partially repulsing and self restraining, so as to provide enough time for the Jedi to position to a better parry and so that human strength can de-couple a clashed blade. You can't be that "stuck". As a fencer, sword buff, sabersmith, and Star Wars lover I have come to these conclusions. Lightsabers must stick a little. With more friction or mutual repulsion most comments discuss or refuse to accept.

Even the most analogous swords of Earth's evolution had guards; the Samurai sword. Slashing weapon, with an opportunity to thrust, wielded by a religious warrior group devoted to the sword itself. Had guards; not for show, for protection of the hand.

If a lightsaber was even "mostly" frictionless, you would never see guard-low parries. You would see hands above the heart and head, and blade tip low. Period. No other way to deflect away from both vital organs and the hands. Even the most basic parry would be the parry 5, which you see in katana and euro-saber sword play. Guard high, deflect low, followed by riposte with downward slash.

All kendo folks, fencers, and sim-combat sword folks know this. Because they have all had their bell rung, throat jabbed, or knuckles broken or slashed, even in practice bouts.

In all instances of katana sword play, the most regular fact is, when the opponent has hands low, they are dead or soon to be.


You’re forgetting the incredible skill of the Jedi with all the slashing and twirling of blades, guards would just get in the way. I don’t know what Kylo Ren is thinking with his.
As for the original question, I don’t think the same laws of physics apply to lightsabers that do to swords due to the fact that lightsabers are pure energy.

  • 1
    I'm not necessarily wondering why they don't have guards, as much as the lack of guards suggests they must have some reason why they don't need them, which might be sticking blades. The actual source of the question, however, was actually a WorldBuilding.SE question. They were exploring what a Jedi duel would look like, and this question came up from a discussion of tactics. If the blades stick to eachother, the techniques that work look very different than techniques that work if they slip.
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 17:31
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    Aaand punctuate!
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:35
  • 5
    Kylo's LS is broken. The side vents are to deal with a bad crystal. That's what he's thinking.
    – Jasmine
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 23:53

Remember that the Star Wars universe has shield technology. Shields can endure plenty of blaster hits. Note that blasters (like light sabers) are plasma weapons. Light sabers easily repel blaster hits, so one can surmise that they have a shield as part of the design.

A light saber's shield is tuned to act as a containment field for the plasma "blade". The shield not only contains the saber's own blade, but also repels other plasma fields (other sabers). This is why a light saber will slice through most things it contacts, but will act as a solid when it contacts other sabers or when blaster fire hits it.

We've actually seen similar effects from ship shielding where hangar decks can be opened to the vacuum of space. The shields maintain the energy/pressure differential between the warm, air-filled hangar decks and the cold, airless void of space... yet they allow ships to pass through. This is exactly how the light saber contains the plasma field, while allowing solids to be cut and burned.

Another observance... there seems to be SOME resistance to the blades sliding alongside each other. And this resistance seems to grow as a saber slides towards the hilt of another saber. This makes sense as the field is generated from within the hilt, and likely intensifies as you near the origin point. This effect should act in much the way that a guard would on a traditional sword.

  • Do you have source for this information, or is it speculation?
    – Blackwood
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:30
  • There is only one "source" for information when it comes to Star Wars... George Lucas. He either wrote it in a book or showed it to us in a movie. ALL other information is pure speculation. So referencing various fan sites or YouTube videos is just referencing others who speculate.
    – Mike Forti
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:43
  • I agree. I was asking if you can point to something that is in one of the movies or some other canon source that supports your argument. If you can, your answer will probably be well received.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:52
  • Actually, Disney owns Star Wars so George Lucas is no longer the only "source" for information.
    – Null
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 1:54
  • Well yes... I suppose Disney may become the next "source". Kind of a shame that. In any case, they seem to be following the books at least for now.
    – Mike Forti
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 2:27

No lightsabers have never been shown in canon to slide.

Obi wan got away with "sliding" the blade down general grevious' lightsaber not because it slid, but because obi-wan bounced his blade slightly off his opponants. remember when lightsabers contact each other there is a flare of light at that position obi wan lifted his blade, otherwise it would have cut through the hilt of the lightsaber before it even reached grevious' wrist.


I suspect that it's one of those moves that you learn not to do in 'Lightsaber 101', because as you slide your blade down your opponents blade they gain leverage and maneuvering space to decapitate you before your blade reaches their wrists.

That doesn't explain how Obi-Wan managed to get away with it when fighting General Grievous.

  • 1
    Its because Obi-wan is bad-ass Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 16:09

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