The lightsaber is presumably not a very heavy weapon. It's implied to be little more than a handle with a weightless plasma blade, very easy to swing and throw around.

So why do so many people wielding one do so with two hands?

It can't be the weight. And you'd have thought they could do something useful with that free hand. Balance better. Swing from things or punch things during the energetic routines that seem to constitute lightsaber combat. Wield a blaster or, hell, even another lightsaber: we know that's possible because General Grevious does so, as do characters in KOTR (no idea how canon that is).

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    @MattThrower lightsabers were meant to be heavy
    – user35609
    Jan 24, 2016 at 22:10
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    Besides the saber weight, there's a high chance you'll hit your rival's lightsaber while dueling, and it's really useful to be using as much hands as you can then - so you can apply more strength. Jan 25, 2016 at 0:38
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    Haven't you noticed what tends to happen to hands when there's a lightsaber nearby? Best to keep them both firmly attached to the handle where it's relatively safe.
    – Ray
    Jan 25, 2016 at 2:10
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    People are overlooking the leverage aspect. When wielding a sword, one hand can act as a fulcrum, while the other pulls. The further the second hand is away from the fulcrum, the longer the lever, and then the more force the blade comes down with.
    – user151841
    Jan 25, 2016 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


Because the evolved lightsaber fighting style is based on the Japanese sword fighting style used by the samurai, now practiced as the sport of Kendo... which uses a two-handed stance.

There's a really interesting ESPN documentary about it, hosted by Mark Hamill, called "Star Wars: Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel" (Full 23 minute show on YouTube).

While the documentary largely addresses the more recent films, The Force Awakens in particular, there is a lot of documentation of how much Lucas took from Japanese filmmakers, particularly Akira Kurosawa.

In this video he specifically mentions being inspired by Seven Samurai and Yojimbo (which is about a ronin, a samurai without a master), which both feature samurai-style fighting.

  • @Davor I think you mean "heavy"? I don't personally know enough about Kendo to know if it's similar or not, personally... but all the people who trained the actors (and the stunt performers who choreographed the fights and, occasionally, fought them) say, very clearly, that it's all based on Kendo... more starting in Episode V and later (RW chronology) than in Episode IV.
    – Catija
    Jan 24, 2016 at 23:06
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    Like 90% of Kendo are slashes from above like this: img5.visualizeus.com/thumbs/4f/eb/…. That is because katana is a big, heavy two-hander, and is used almost like an axe. You are supposed to strike at your opponent's head/shoulder and basically split him in half. I don't think I've ever seen anyone in SW fight like that.
    – Davor
    Jan 24, 2016 at 23:24
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    @deamentiaemundi Can you expand on real sword fights don't last long, maybe a couple of seconds if at all?
    – erictrigo
    Jan 25, 2016 at 8:48
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    @user568458: That myth keeps on getting passed around, but the steel was folded because it was low-quality steel and the katana wasn't especially good at penetrating armor. You may want to read essays like this one: thearma.org/essays/hype.htm But maybe if we want to talk about swords, chat might be an appropriate place for the discussion. Jan 25, 2016 at 10:03
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    @Davor: as someone with a fair amount of practical knowledge of steel metallurgy I'd be interested in seeing some documentation on the fragility of these swords. The folding technique used in producing a katana should produce a stiff blade but one which would return to original shape when deflected (i.e. a spring) . Unless there was a fair amount of some alloying agent such as sulfur in the metal which would make it brittle I don't see why these blades would have been "fragile". Can you provide some references to back up your statements? I'm particularly interested in the metallurgy. Thanks. Jan 25, 2016 at 12:37

In universe it could be that the force of two lightsabers hitting each other is so strong that the wielder needs to hold on with both hands to fight against it. Similarly when the sabers are locked together it isn't the mass of the object they are holding onto as to why they need two hands it is too fight against the strength of the other person.

Also as mentioned by DaaaahWhoosh two hands can help with the incoming force of blaster bolts when deflecting them otherwise that'd be sure to break bones.

I do not have any evidence for this, just my take on it from what I've seen.


They are too long! Hit out one-handed with a weapon that long and you just spin.

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    I don't really follow what you mean here
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jan 25, 2016 at 17:26
  • @TheLethalCoder I think they're saying is that swords act as levers, and the longer the blade, the more leverage your opponent has against you. Using a second hand gives you more leverage so you can properly control your blade when striking, as well as blocking things like blaster bolts, some of which could probably break your wrist if you were fighting one-handed. Jan 25, 2016 at 18:30
  • @DaaaahWhoosh Regarding the blaster bolt part, can I add that into my answer? Seems like a good fit and something I missed
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jan 26, 2016 at 8:56
  • @DaaaahWhoosh For the leverage thing unless I'm mistaken I always thought it was mainly the weight of the weapon and partially the force in swinging it forward that could potentially cause you to spin not whether or not you were holding it with one or two hands
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jan 26, 2016 at 8:57
  • @TheLethalCoder Yeah, you can add that to your answer. As for your second comment, not too sure what you mean, I was just saying that a second hand always helps to stabilize. Jan 26, 2016 at 13:17

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