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I'm having a hard time figuring out whether Soresu could be used in combat against a foe who also uses Soresu.

As I understand it, you basically wait for your opponent to attack. So, if both use the third form in its strictest sense, there shouldn't be any blade contact whatsoever, right? Both opponents would simply stand in front of each other without trying to strike.

Are there maybe documented fights of this sort? I mean, I don't see why a Sith would or could use this form, but apparently there are Sith who do. Therefore, a conflict involving two Soresu opponents would be possible.

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Despite what is being written about the fantastic fighting styles of the Jedi, from a martial artist perspective (as an ex-military person, I have trained in a variety of martial arts), no art is purely defensive.

Even arts such as aikido which have a passive-appearing stance toward combat (letting the opponent come to you and using their energy against them) does not mean it does not have a variety of means of securing goals against an opponent. They may include locks, holds, throws and pins. These are not aggressive, per se, but they are also quite effective.

  • Jedi martial styles are exactly that, STYLES of combat designed to focus on a particular aptitude, capability or preference of the Jedi and their approach to problem-solving.

  • Consider all Jedi styles to bear within them the basic skills for combat making them capable of offensive, defensive, protective, and force-interation while using a light-saber.

  • Then after the basic coursework is done, consider it the equivalent of a black belt in light-saber use, specialist techniques that work toward a particular interest or preference of the Jedi.

  • If the Jedi works in an area where Blasters are quite common, or may prefer assignments where droids soldiers make up the bulk of his opposition, then he may prefer Soresu, it would be a logical art to use if he wants to maintain his maximum effectiveness.

  • What most of these descriptions of Jedi styles don't do is discuss the progression of their style and what other arts may help to develop, expand and define that style. If you study the history of Earth's martial arts, you will find influences, technology, cultural mandates, environments, all contribute to how styles develop and why they have strengths and weaknesses to certain kinds of attacks.

While Soresu is considered a defensive style, no purely defensive style is completely defensive, otherwise it would lack the capacity to WIN any conflicts. It might be better described as "defense-oriented" where the goal is to outlast, out-wait, or delay an opponent until an opportune time to strike is presented or the opponent runs out of time to complete their objective.

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First off, Soresu was developed to combat blasters. Certainly this defensive techniques can also be used in lightsaber combat, but since when do those trained to use a lightsaber only ever use one form?

From the description section on Soresu:

Soresu focused almost entirely on self-defense, often at the expense of offensive capabilities.

The keywords would be "almost" and "often". It doesn't mean there's no offense involved.

Imagine if an MMA fighter (see Mixed Martial Arts) went into a fight with the intention to only lay on the ground and wait for their opponent to get on top of them for a ground fight? Especially in the case where the fighter laying down is a much better ground fighter than the other, whom may be a better fighter standing up. It's certainly happened in the ring, and it is a bit silly. So what happens? Well, in a sanctioned match, if the standing fighter doesn't want to go to the ground against his opponent, then the referee will have the fighter on the ground get up. The match needs to move forward and make progress.

In a lightsaber duel then, if the intention is to defeat your opponent, then something needs to happen. They're not both going to stand their ground and wait for an attack only to maybe counter.

So to answer your question directly, yes, Soresu can certainly be used against another that uses Soresu, but it's highly unlikely that it would be the only form used in combat.

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    I would also like to add that, in my limited kendo experience, defense-oriented fencers can be quite dangerous. As sunpech stated, in a duel, someone eventually has to strike. And if your opponent decides not to attack, you can always use feints. In the heat of battle, a good feint will make your opponent try to counter even though there really is no attack coming. You can then use your own defensive style to counter this counter. Good defensive fencers are thus often also very good at feinting, as it is their main tool against other defensive fencers. – Dungarth Aug 3 '12 at 5:29
  • @Dungarth: Fighting against an opponent with telepathy and precognition would really make this interesting. A Jedi may well have to feint with his mind as well as his lightsaber. Perhaps by mentally committing to the attack and then "changing his mind" halfway, or planning two possible attacks made with the same motions. Or maybe the Zen state of no-mind, except Force precognition would still work against that. – Zan Lynx Aug 28 '13 at 19:01
  • @Zan Lynx - In the Star Wars cannon, precognition has often been described as seeing many different outcomes for an event. A fight is thus akin to chess : he who can foresee the most moves in advance will most likely win, as he can then build a better strategy. If you are relying on the Living Force, however , you are pretty much fighting unconciously, not planning anything in advance, but rather taking cues directly from the Force to guide yourself. If the Force favors you for this fight, will your opponent be able to forsee your moves easily? – Dungarth Aug 29 '13 at 12:02
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Just to elaborate what sunpech said from another angle:

In any conflict, both sides GENERALLY have an aim, some sort of goal. Merely winning the fight is just a way to achieve that goal.

Therefore, most times, ONE of the combatants needs to progress the fight - either because he needs to reach some physical objective protected by the other fighter, or because his time to spend on the fight is limited in light of other/larger goals.

That fighter will then be forced to attack and go on offensive, otherwise he loses the goal whatever happens in the fight.

Therefore, 2 100% fully defensive stances are unlikely to happen independently of styles practiced by the fighters.

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As I understand it all lightsaber wielders are taught the basics of Shii-Cho before anything else. Shii-Cho has aggressive maneuvers that are very simple and in some sense elemental, such as a vertical cut, a horizontal cut, and so on. Soresu likely includes these techniques without really taking any credit for them. An analogue would be Aikido. If you ever take a class or just pick up a book on Aikido you will find that punches and karate-chops are used in the exercises so that students can apply their defensive techniques against them. Even though Aikido doesn't really take credit for those techniques it does not exclude them, and may incorporate them into more complex techniques, usually for more nuanced purposes than simple attack. For instance, if the attacker is gripping the Aikidoka's lapels, the Aikidoka may feign a palm-strike to his face to disrupt his concentration, before turning his body and gripping the attacker's arm and taking him to the ground. Is palm-striking then an Aikido technique? Well yes and no. It is a simple and aggressive move not in keeping with the general style of Aikido, but it can be used by them. So I suppose that it is the same with Soresu. Interestingly enough the very first lightsaber duel seen in the films (A NEW HOPE, Ben Kenobi v.s. Vader) could be viewed as a Soresu v.s. Soresu match. Vader in that film is in that phase of his personal style that is described in the James Luceno book on him as an archaic style where his elbows are kept close and he uses tight defensive bladework to protect his vulnerable chest panel . . . etc. Even though Vader is a Djem-So master he knows Soresu and uses it. Old Ben of course is a master of the form. When they fight you see what happens. They use simple and rather timid attacks, no acrobatics, though they do use some evasive stepping as well as simple advances and retreats. It does indeed resemble two turtles, but it is a tense and technical duel. So yeah, basically I think that simple low-level Shii-Cho attacks would be incorporated into Soresu even if they were not Soresu techniques proper i.e. not exclusive to the form, they still might be elements incorporated into and taken for granted by the form.

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This would be a very tedious fight at best. If both combatants are sufficiently skilled at Soresu, then the fight should go on for a long time. However, nobody is perfect. One is better than the other, one would make a mistake etc.

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Two turtles in battle tends to provide a very boring fight for most people. Sort of like in football when you have two teams with very strong defenses and less polished offenses. In football this will usually result in a battle for field position as they punt back and forth, struggle to get a first down back and forth. But I have found that in contests as dynamic as football or air to air combat or lightsaber duels, the contest is not 'won' per se, it is 'lost.' IE, "It's over, Anakin! I have the high ground!" Obi Wan won the duel in an absolute sense but tactically, Anakin LOST the duel when he chose to make his move. A battle between two turtles will be decided by whoever goes longer without making a mistake, probably whomever has greater patience.

For instance, whichever team fumbles or throws an interception, gets within field goal range and misses, allows a big punt return or muffs the punt reception, will probably lose. In lightsaber terms, it could be as simple as a force push that knocks both parties into differently disadvantageous positions, such as when Sidious and Yoda knocked each other off the Senate pod but Sidious had a handrail on his side.

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Soresu is an excellent form if you are against blasters, but as an offensive form, it's not the most ideal. A better idea would be the Soresu base (blaster bolt deflection), but to polish the form with a more offensive-based form: Vapaad, Djem So, etc. You come out with an attack-based form. For example, perform a high parry, but angle the tip towards an opponent. It allows for both defense and offense.

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Soresu can be used against Soresu. in its pure form alone. you see, Soresu is in a series of Blocks and counter attacks. so they could just touch their blades together and on both ends a series of block and counter attacks would spark. The truth on what decides it? well, whoever has more energy and or physical strength and or skill in Soresu.

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    This is just a speculation. We encourage evidence-backed answers. – Gallifreyan Dec 23 '16 at 17:58

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