From reviewing various movie clips, I tend to notice a 100% kick attack success rate, but a nearly 0% lightsaber attack success rate. Is there a canon explanation for this, or is it simply theatrics? The kicks seem so much slower! Wouldn't legs just get chopped off extremely frequently?

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    Survivor bias. There are no movies made about Jedi who missed their kicks. – Peter Jul 20 '17 at 14:06
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    Consider this. Your opponent is coming at you with a weapon that can effortlessly cut off limbs, and he also has legs. You're going to want to keep all your attention on the thing that can cut off your limbs, and just hope the kicks don't hurt to much. – Magikarp Master Jul 20 '17 at 14:11
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    I strongly recommend you see the Star Wars: The Old Republic cinematics for some really cool lightsaber action. – Gallifreyan Jul 20 '17 at 14:15
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    It's impossible to cut off a Jedi's legs. You have to go for the right arm. – DisturbedNeo Jul 20 '17 at 14:27
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    True Story: We have no midchlorians in our legs. – Cort Ammon Jul 20 '17 at 18:30

In-Universe some of the kicks are from trained martial artist duelists, Out-of-Universe Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality applies

The kicks you see Darth Maul so graciously use in combat were a carefully developed style, allowing that way for a higher chance of success.

From Wookieepedia:

Most species were known to engage in this kind of combat, and a number of sentient species and cultures also developed it into different martial arts proper; just as the various lightsaber combat forms could be applied unarmed, so too could many of these unarmed combat styles be applied with the lightsaber.

Darth Maul and Anoon Bondara were both students of the Teräs Käsi martial art, developed by the Followers of Palawa, who became accomplished lightsaber duelists.

However it could be anticlimatic if lightsaber duels were finished by a quick effective strike; some people speculate that in real life a duel with such a weapon would be indeed very short. It happens in many shows that the deadlier the weapon the less frequently it strikes preventing this, tvtropes name this Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality and Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy.

On the other hand short duels can be indeed awesome and very emotive as demonstrated by Obi-Wan.

  • "Käse" is German for "cheese", so the name of the martial arts category sounds like "Terra cheesy" for me. – Fabian Röling Nov 7 '17 at 9:58
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    @Fabian "Teräs Käsi" is actually Finnish for "Steel Hand." So it sounds like.... steel hand for me. – C. Helling Feb 2 '18 at 17:07

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