11

We know Kylo wasn't at his best when he fought

Finn and Rey.

We know from questions like this: Why doesn't Kylo Ren simply Force Push his way to victory?; and this: How could the trained, physically stronger person lose this lightsaber fight? that there are reasons for

him being defeated by Rey.

...

Before fighting Rey, however, who seems to be eons ahead of Finn in the Force and combat abilities - Kylo fought Finn.

We can overlook the fact that he chose to engage in a lightsaber duel instead of Force Pushing due to his physical and mental handicaps at the time — psychologically, he was a wreck.

Why, however is Finn able to last more than 1 second against Kylo and injure him?

Finn is some type of Stormtrooper who worked in sanitation detail. Why and how is he able to take on the likes of Kylo?

  • 1
    “Why, however is Finn able to last more than 1 second against Kylo and injure him?” Because sword fights don’t last 1 second? – Paul D. Waite Dec 26 '15 at 9:08
  • @PaulD.Waite This is a lightsaber duel between a sith apprentice and a wanna be storm trooper. not a sword fight. – sol acyon Dec 26 '15 at 9:10
  • 2
    oh yeah, sorry. There are lots of lightsaber duels that last one second. – Paul D. Waite Dec 26 '15 at 9:11
  • 5
    @PaulD.Waite Yes. Pick any random storm trooper or droid vs a jedi or sith and count how long it takes. – sol acyon Dec 26 '15 at 9:12
  • 2
    Sol those droids did not have lightsabers. – CandiedMango Dec 26 '15 at 10:06
12

Because he was underestimating Finn AND basically playing with him.

Once he got serious about it, it DID last about a second.

From the Foster novelization:

Despite his fear, Finn raised the beam to defend himself. Ren lunged, struck—and Finn parried. Shards of light flew, illuminating the snow and the surrounding vegetation. Drawing back slightly, Ren considered his unexpectedly determined opponent, then resumed his assault with a vengeance.

Finn blocked him again and again, once letting the other man’s beam slide against his own and harmlessly off to one side. He counterattacked, to no avail. The longer the contest continued, the stronger Ren seemed to become. It was as if he was enjoying the challenge. Feeding upon it.

At least, it appeared so until Finn parried, swung, and unexpectedly stabbed, the tip of his lightsaber beam grazing Ren’s arm. That made it more than a challenge. Taking a step back, Ren reconsidered his opponent. When he closed the distance between them anew, it was with a purpose that had been previously lacking. Expecting an execution, he had found a contest. Now he had been touched. It was time for play to end.

Advancing relentlessly, he was driven by something that Finn could not even sense, far less counter. Still the ex-trooper fought back, until Ren landed a blow that cut across Finn’s chest and sent the lightsaber flying from his hand. It landed in the snow six meters distant.

It was over.

Leaving that aside, as you yourself noted,

  • Ren isn't exactly in top shape OR firing on all cylinders at the moment

  • Finn is a trained stormtrooper. A sanitation specialized one, granted, but still trained (and from the books, shown to be pretty good in his training marks).

  • Finn is a trained stormtrooper armed with a lightsaber. That helps, usually.

  • We don't know it yet, but there's an off chance that Finn ends up being Force Sensitive.

  • 3
    One aspect of Finn’s training might have been hinted to with the riot control Stormtrooper who had that electrified baton. If Finn had some level of basic training with a baton like that, then the idea he could use a lightsaber makes some sense. – JakeGould Dec 26 '15 at 16:39
  • @JakeGould - I'll check the book about their training and update – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 26 '15 at 16:48
  • 3
    Ren did shout “traitor” at him before their fight started. Psychologically, maybe he didn’t just want to win, he wanted to beat Finn. – Paul D. Waite Dec 27 '15 at 1:07
  • @PaulD.Waite - plausible – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 27 '15 at 1:12
  • I think it's also important to remember that Ren isn't nearly as skilled as he thinks he is. He's arrogant, over-confident, rash, foolhardy, impulsive and childish. His force ability certainly makes him a formidable brat, but a brat none-the-less. I think it's these negative characteristics that give Finn the (minimal) fighting chance that he had. In addition to DVK's point about Finn being trained. A lightsaber is certainly a powerful weapon, but if you're trained with a baton, it makes a GREAT baton. If you're trained with a vibra-blade or lance, a lightsaber makes a GREAT blade or lance ;-) – Matt May 5 '16 at 14:00

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