55

Tutaminis (force energy absorption) allows a Jedi to catch blaster bolts and even stop lightsabers with their body using the Force:

enter image description here

Why don't the Jedi just use tutaminis to defend themselves instead of worrying about lightsaber combat?

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    Why downvotes? This is a good question. Maybe, people aren't understanding what Tutaminis is. Clarifying the question. – Baby Yoda Mar 23 '15 at 16:58
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    I dunno. Solo's blaster shots during his encounter with Vader look more like they were deflected than an absorbed. – Ian MacDonald Mar 23 '15 at 19:44
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    I always thought that's just what a blaster bolt hitting an artificial hand would do. – Liesmith Mar 23 '15 at 23:11
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    @LenieLenape It clearly shows deflection. At about the 9.5 second mark you see one of the shots deflect and hit the (left) side of the doorway and spark/smoke. The next time you see the same spot, around the 13 second mark, there is a visible scorch mark where the deflected blast hit. – user31178 Mar 24 '15 at 3:52
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    At first I read this as "Why don't the Jedi use Tsunamis...?" m-/ – Zommuter Mar 24 '15 at 8:00
54

Tutaminis is a difficult skill to master. As Wookieepedia notes:

it was a rare feat to be capable of dissipating concentrated energy such as what makes up a blasterbolt or lightsaber blade.

If tutaminis was easy to master, no Jedi or Sith would ever die by lightsaber blade or blaster bolt. Of all the thousands of Jedi in the galaxy, Wookieepedia only lists a few dozen practitioners in all of galactic history known to have used it.

On the other hand, a lightsaber is relatively easy to wield. Push a button to turn it on, and you can easily block a lightsaber blade or blaster bolt with a little use of the Force to predict where it would hit you. A lightsaber is small and easy to carry, too.

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    Plus, it likely uses more Force Energy to dissipate blaster bolt s with your hands than a simple deflection with a lightsaber – The Fallen Mar 23 '15 at 21:12
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    @SSumner You underestimate the badass factor, dear padawan. To actually stop a lightsaber strike with only your hand would surely shock, stun, and bewilder your opponent. Even terrify him. – 15742 Mar 24 '15 at 0:38
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    @fredsbend only because it's a rare thing, it wouldn't work that way if it was commonplace. – o0'. Mar 24 '15 at 9:10
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    @fredsbend Heh, unfortunately it doesn't seem to have that effect on a Sith... youtu.be/Y77BsaCoOMk?t=3m30s – TylerH Mar 24 '15 at 13:36
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    @Thomas I think he meant that only a few could block concentrated sources like lightsaber, blaster bolts, or force lightning. – Lenie Lenape Mar 25 '15 at 12:15
26

They do use it. Tutaminis can take many forms. According to Wookieepedia,

Tutaminis was an umbrella title used by the Jedi Order to classify Force abilities related to energy absorption. Designated as one in a family of Control abilities, tutaminis techniques were taught to Jedi Initiates within the Jedi academy throughout the history of the Order.

One such instance, in Episode II:

enter image description here

If only Yoda had thought to teach Luke that...

Actually, Luke did (sorry Master Yoda, for my language) try to use Tutaminis in his encounter with the Emperor.

Luke Skywalker, when Palpatine attempted to torture him with Force lightning, attempted to utilize this ability in a feeble attempt at defending himself.

Being able to do that with blaster bolts or lightsabers is very rare.

Nejaa Halcyon's abilities in this power were such that he was able to catch lightsaber blades with his hand, an extremely rare talent

Even then, note that Nejaa could only absorb them with his hand, not, for example, with his torso or neck. While undoubtedly a useful skill, I doubt it's any easier to block a lightsaber with your hand than with a lightsaber in your hand.


Real world analogy:

Some people can catch arrows bare handed.

That doesn't mean they won't ever die due to arrows, or even that they would be very good in combat.

It takes a great deal of concentration and energy. In a combat situtation, they will likely do well to also have a real offensive/defensive weapon.

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    Much of this is a copy from the Wookieepedia article without citation, but +1 for the analogy. – Null Mar 24 '15 at 2:59
  • @Null, thanks. Since the OP took exclusively from Wookieepedia, I thought it was clear I was doing the same. – Paul Draper Mar 24 '15 at 4:44
  • @PaulDraper it wasn't clear to me. This is only one person's opinion, but I think it is better to be explicit about where your quotes are coming from. (But I leave it to you to decide whether to actually make that change.) – David Z Mar 24 '15 at 6:06
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    It occurs to me if you caught your opponent's lightsaber in your hand he is now exposed to your blow unless he can duplicate the feat. – Joshua Mar 24 '15 at 17:23
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    @Joshua you might have "caught" it, but how good is your grip? I'm guessing it's slippier than an eel in butter. Admittedly, I have never personally held a flesh-searing beam of energy in my hand. – Paul Draper Mar 24 '15 at 17:33
6

In the novels, the the earliest published example of this ability that I recall is from novel I, Jedi. In this novel Corran Horn, rebel X-Wing pilot and one of Luke's new Jedi trained in the academy on Yavin 4, has this unique ability. (I highly recommend that novel, it's one of my favorites.)

Corran has the ability to absorb and redirect energy, an ability that he inherited from his father and grandfather. This suggests that the rarity of the ability is due to genetics. Jedi come in many different shapes, sizes, skill and power levels, and predispositions to specific talents, and this one is difficult enough that even someone with the genetic tendencies struggle to master it.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader does indeed use this ability, but a blaster bolt contains a lot of energy, and that energy can't simply be absorbed forever. Vader absorbed the first bolt, then used that energy to deflect the second. A lightsaber blade contains orders of magnitude more energy.

Unfortunately, Corran also inherited the inability to use some common Force abilities like telekinesis. The only times he can physically move objects or increase his strength and speed is when he first absorbs energy. If this inability is commonly tied to absorption/deflection then it makes those individuals decidedly weaker in direct combat. It's an ability for sneaky types, not brawler types, and even then best only as a last resort.

I would also note that if the disabling of a lightsaber for psychological effect is desired, the best way would be wearing gloves or armor made of a cortosis weave, in the novels it's commonly showed as interrupting and disabling a lightsaber blade for quite some time.

  • Vader used his gloves, not the Force – Zommuter Mar 24 '15 at 8:03
  • This is Star Wars. There are many legends told by many people throughout the ages. I am merely relaying what is said in one of them. – aherocalledFrog Mar 25 '15 at 15:00
  • I'm merely referring to your paragraph about ESB - see this question – Zommuter Mar 26 '15 at 12:01
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    Sure, sure. It's been a few years since my last read of I, Jedi but either it specifically mentioned the relevant Solo/Vader incident in ESB, or something I read online about Corran Horn and his abilities mentioned it. That scene from the movie may have inspired parts of the novel. The point of my other comment was merely that because there were so many people writing for this fictional universe and even it's creator took liberties, left mysteries and overlooked inconsistencies, so there usually isn't just one right answer. I only present one possibility. – aherocalledFrog Mar 26 '15 at 15:28

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