This question, and the answers it produced, got me thinking - could a group of Jedi working together confront a single Sith opponent and peacefully subdue him/her by using nonviolent Force techniques, thereby avoiding injury and/or loss of life to either party? The argument that such an approach would be dangerously aggressive and potentially lean towards the Dark Side doesn't seem to hold water, since the alternative would be for one or more of the Jedi to chop the Sith to pieces with a laser sword until he/she dies, which is obviously far more aggressive than disarming him/her and taking him/her into custody without the use of weapons or violence.

To avoid claims that this question is opinion-based, let's break it down thusly:

  1. Has this ever been considered, attempted, or achieved in any canonical/formerly canonical material?
  2. Is there any clear canonical/formerly canonical evidence that this would be possible or impossible? If the latter, why would it be impossible?

I have already encountered an objection to using the Force this way, similar to the objection I mentioned above, but I don't think it stands up:

I would argue that using that solution is even worse! "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." By inflicting the force powers as you describe is inherently evil. What's to stop all Jedi from doing this always? And you use this technique once and you realize how powerful you are. What is there to stop you from doing it again? And the others from doing it to you? And what about non-force users? You can crush them! This is definitely down the dark path

My response was, and is, as follows:

The Jedi have the power to dismember Force-user and non-Force-users alike with laserswords. That seems like a more dangerous amount of power than what amounts to a Force-tazer, used to disarm and arrest people who are armed and intend to kill you and enslave trillions of people. The Jedi are allowed to arrest people, but in most cases, they just kill them on the spot. Disarming and apprehending their opponents would be more merciful, less aggressive, and would be less of an abuse/use of "physical force" (as opposed to "[the] Force").

The Force powers I'm thinking of don't include lightning, choking, push/pulling him to his death, or "inflicting" pain/discomfort/injury of any kind - more like freezing him in his tracks, taking his lightsaber away, cuffing him, and putting him in a humane, reasonably comfortable holding cell. Compared to Mace Windu wanting to summarily decapitate Palpatine, or Obi Wan tearing open Grievous' sternum and shooting him directly in the heart, or Obi Wan lopping off his best friend's arm and legs and leaving him to burn alive, my suggestion seems like an improvement, and a dramatic reduction in the use of physical force.

I would add that saying the Jedi would be abusing their power if they did what I am suggesting (when the alternative is fighting to the death with laser swords) is akin to arguing that the police abuse their power when they use tasers and mace on armed suspects who intend to harm others, but they aren't abusing their power if they shoot him to death instead.

When you have to choose between killing your opponent on the spot and subduing him nonviolently and without causing him any pain and then bringing him to trial, the former clearly comes closer to exercising "absolute power" than the latter. A Jedi is ideally supposed to be a guardian and public servant, not judge-jury-and-executioner rolled into one. If the Jedi abuse their ability to incapacitate, disarm, and capture their opponents, the courts would presumably release anyone who had been wrongfully arrested in this manner, and the Jedi in question would hopefully be disciplined, even arrested, tried, and imprisoned himself.

In the "lightsaber fight first, ask questions later" scenario, the Jedi unilaterally decide who lives and dies; in the "incapacitate, disarm, arrest, and send to court" scenario, the decision is left to the proper authorities and the Jedi merely keep the peace.

The debate continued, and this was the response to my argument:

It's more like the police being able to subdue you by pressing a button to activate a chip in your brain. And yes I absolutely have an issue with that. Note that Mace uses a saber form that is considered incredibly dangerous and not-jedi-approved, so he's not exactly the paragon of light side techniques. It's imposing your will upon another who cannot defend themselves from these mental attacks, and that is just not something that Jedi do. In SWTOR, that's the type of thing that would earn you dark side points

To this I say: In Episode IV, Obi Wan lops someone's arm off for nothing more than knocking Luke over in the cantina. That's right - for misdemeanor assault, the Jedi punishment is amputation at the shoulder. Imagine if he simply disarmed the offender (no pun intended) and incapacitated him long enough to get out of Mos Eisley - which do you think Spiderface would consider a more substantial imposition of Obi Wan's will?

To the argument that using Mind Control is a Dark Side power, I reply that I never suggested the Jedi should use Mind Control - I was actually thinking more along the lines of Stasis/Force Stun, a Light Side (or at least neutral) power. The Jedi already use Stasis/Force Stun frequently, and it must be noted that they often follow up on Stasis/Force Stun by chopping their now immobile, defenseless opponents to death with lightsabers. From the Wookieepedia page on Force Stun (I will, for the time being, leave aside questions as to the canonicity of Stasis/Force Stun; my argument doesn't rely on this technique, merely on some means of disarming/incapacitation without resorting to violence; and after all, this whole question is about whether some method of doing so exists, whatever it might be):

"She'll be okay. It doesn't hurt. Ask Ruu."
"Force stun. Sorry, but I had to do it. It's kinder than breaking her wrist."
―Bardan Jusik to Kal Skirata, after Force stunning Arla Fett

Force Stun was a Force power that could temporarily deaden the senses and perceptions of a targeted enemy, preventing most movements. It was often used when a Jedi faced a large number of opponents or if they wished to disable an enemy long enough to flee from or apprehend them. To use the power, the Jedi would use the Force to induce them into a catatonic state.

Force Stasis was a more potent version of Force Stun. The Jedi would use the Force to deaden the senses of an enemy, inducing a near-catatonic state and in effect freezing that person or being in place. This power was very useful when the Force-user was stuck in tight spots against a superior number of foes.

Stasis Field was the highest level of Force Stun. Often learned and practiced by higher-level Jedi Knights and Masters, this power allowed the Force-user to put multiple enemies into brief, non-harmful catatonic states at one time, allowing for quick escapes or to avoid protracted confrontations against seemingly overwhelming numbers. This power could also be used to avoid combat entirely, if the wielder wished to apprehend or sneak by opponents put into stasis.

This entry alone seems to suggest that the Jedi cou̺ld - and indeed did - use Force techniques to peacefully subdue and apprehend opponents with minimal use of physical force.

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    Quantity has a quality all of its own - Clausewitz, On War May 8, 2015 at 21:40
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    "To this I say: In Episode IV, Obi Wan lops someone's arm off for nothing more than knocking Luke over in the cantina. That's right - for misdemeanor assault, the Jedi punishment is amputation at the shoulder. " - uh... nice propaganda spin... BUT it's false on 2 levels. (1) First, the Force lets' a Jedi know the intent and the danger, so what Obi-Wan was addressing was not the push already done, but the intended murder of the only hope the Light Side of the Force had in the last 20 years. Never mind the Force though - see ""you'll be dead" ... May 8, 2015 at 21:43
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    ... (2) Second... see the bolded part. He wasn't interested in peacefully disarming a criminal. He was interested in protecting the Skywalker Child while delivering Death Star plans to the rebellion. Being nice and cuddly to a serial killer ("death sentence ... in 12 systems") ain't a viable option, given the Imperial entanglement potential. May 8, 2015 at 21:45
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    Pretty much any "Force X" technique is non-canon at this point. Do you have any canon support for the existence of "Force Stun" or "Stasis Field"?
    – KSmarts
    May 8, 2015 at 21:45
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    Dude pulled a gun and discharged it. Obi Wan deflected the shot and then dis-armed him. Case closed. Chopping an energy weapon in half might injure others.
    – Mazura
    May 9, 2015 at 0:36

5 Answers 5


In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

The protagonist turns out to be Darth Revan a Sith lord who has his mind erased and has to regain his attunement to the force. This was done in the middle of a space battle after Revan's apprentice saw an opportunity to turn on his master and gain control. The Jedi boarded Revan's crippled ship and block his memories.

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    I played KOTOR I and II, but for some reason this didn't occur to me.
    – Wad Cheber
    May 9, 2015 at 21:54
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    It's an edge case right? He was weakened by Malak so technically, they didn't do anything violent, but it's doubtful if they would have been able to had he not been incapacitated. Yet still it is an instance of just that. May 10, 2015 at 0:48
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    The problem is that we're supposed to stick to canon, and Mickey Mouse says pretty much nothing is canon anymore. Were the KOTOR games ever canonical to any degree?
    – Wad Cheber
    May 10, 2015 at 1:07
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    There were EU books based on the KOTOR games and "canonical" paths through the game. Don't know if they count anymore May 11, 2015 at 5:05
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    @WadCheber SWTOR is canon. and in Swtor Revan appears without anything being changed from the book "Revan" or the Kootor 1 or 2. So canon by association?
    – Cherubel
    Sep 1, 2016 at 8:21

In Rule of Two, attempts to use direct Force powers to subdue a Sith Lord without damaging him were used.

Farfalla gathered energy from the light side of the Force, and at the last moment released it in a single concentrated burst of energy, encasing Bane in a stasis field of light side power. This was not enough to subdue a Dark Lord of the Sith however. The shield exploded into energy fragments as Darth Bane broke free

Article for Force Barrier

That said, Farfalla is far from the strongest Jedi in history. A group of Jedi would likely have been able to handle it.

On the opposite end, use of Force persuasion is rampant in the galaxy far far away. A single, highly persuasive Force user could, say, convince a Sith Lord give himself up or even kill himself, as Meetra Surik did to Darth Sion in Knights of the Old Republic II. However, this is something like third tier canon.


There is no evidence of this in canon which lends to the fact that this is a light side technique that is used. Therefore, I believe this opens this to speculation about what would the Jedi be able to do.

Do the Jedi subdue anyone ever with the force?

The answer is no. The Sith on the other hand use force mind manipulation in many examples here. Specifically, here is a quote which emphasizes that during training, mind manipulation is handled carefully and with regard. I emphasize that there are no canon examples where these subduing techniques are used by the Jedi.

When instructing Jedi students, Yarael Poof stressed that a user must be mindful when utilizing this ability, that their target was nevertheless a living being with lives of their own, and that extra precaution must be exercised as their command could potentially ruin their target's life

There is an inherit evil in subduing an opponent with an attack for which he can provide no defense. Even Obi-Wan/Luke's Jedi Mind Trick is never used to subdue an opponent, but merely stealth or alter perception slightly (debated here). Also, Joruus C'baoth uses Mind Meld to control an entire fleet in battle. He was a Dark Jedi, driven insane arguably by this power.

Do the Jedi use mind attacks in combat?

The Jedi do not use force powers to detain opponents because Jedi are committed to non-aggressive force use in combat. If you look at the movie use of force powers, no aggressive force power or mind incapacitate is done outside of perhaps stealth:

  • Qui-Gon/Obi-wan vs. Darth Maul - Force Leap and Force Telekinesis, and Qui-Gon uses Force Meditation during the fight.
  • Yoda/Anakin/Obi-Wan vs. Count Dooku - Anakin uses a Force Leap/Dash, Yoda makes use of Force Telekinesis.
  • Anakin/Obi-Wan vs. Count Dooku - Force Leaps to dodge
  • Anakin/Obi-Wan vs. Grievous - Force Telekinesis/Force Leaps
  • Obi-Wan vs. Grievous - Force Telekinesis/Force Leap
  • Mace Windu vs. Sidious/Anakin - Note that Mace's lightsaber form Vaapad is an adaptation of Juyo. See below for more on forms.
  • Yoda vs. Sidious - Most force moves used by a Jedi here. Force Deflection, Force Leap, Force Telekinesis.
  • Obi-Wan vs. Vader - Force Leaps/Force Telekinesis. This is the most aggressive we see Obi-Wan with the force in the movies, possibly representing his emotional investment in Anakin as we see at the end of the battle (breaking the Jedi code of course).

In the case of the Jedi, using mind control to detain a criminal would be more humane, but this grants the Jedi a GREAT POWER. They can subdue any weak opponent, any non-force user, and any strong opponent through numbers. The Jedi have banned the use of dark side abilities and there are no light side abilities that can be used to subdue in this manor.

Should the Jedi teach these force powers?

Should the Jedi begin teaching submission through the force, who could contest the Jedi? They become an all-powerful force for which no 'criminal' can defend themselves should the Jedi deem them a 'criminal'. And where does this go? Well, if we can detain them, perhaps we can alter their reality to bring them to the light side? Perhaps we can make them in a constant state of detained? Perhaps we can prevent all deaths by pursuing 'criminals' that we can sense through the force. This is clearly a dark path.

George Orwell 1984 and Minority Report are examples of mind control/manipulation used on criminals and the general public. In 1984, 'criminals' were monitored through surveillance, apprehended, and arguably given a brain treatment to make them behave. In minority report, they were prosecuted on crimes they did not commit yet and sentenced to prison in some cryo-state.

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” ― George Orwell, 1984

A really good parallel would be Jean/Phoenix and Professor X in X-Men. Phoenix becomes completely controlled by her emotions and unjustly murders others without any reason at all simply through her manipulation of the mind and matter.

Added: Jango/Boba Fett are examples of non-force users you CAN fight the Jedi, but would not be able to defend themselves against mind attacks.

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    This answer focuses on Jedi abusing their powers against the common man, but flatly ignores that Jedi are already incredibly powerful beings against the common man. You argue that incapacitating a person (any person) without injury is "evil", yet Jedi are already nearly invulnerable. They can rapidly advance, deflecting or repelling just about any attack, and then cut someone in half with a single strike. Armed with a lightsaber, they are highly efficient assassins. Yet, developing techniques to incapacitate dangerous/evil people without physical conflict is dangerous/evil? I don't get it.
    – Ellesedil
    May 8, 2015 at 21:17
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    @MatthewFrontino - Jango Fett would probably beg to differ, if you could figure out how to reattach his head to his neck and make him stop being so dead. As a general rule, if your adversary decapitates you, you definitely had an "issue" fighting him to say the least.
    – Wad Cheber
    May 8, 2015 at 21:35
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    @WadCheber 1. He fought Obi-Wan just fine. 2. If you are going to ask a question, don't be argumentative with people who answer it. If it's not the right answer, people will vote it so
    – MAF
    May 8, 2015 at 21:37
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    Jango Fett is also one of the most skilled non-Force-sensitive assassins of Jedi in the galaxy. He is certainly an exception, although his on-screen appearances dictate that most of his tactics avoid direct confrontation if possible. Of course, he also died extremely quickly against a Jedi Master, so there was certainly some deficiency in his skills.
    – Ellesedil
    May 8, 2015 at 21:58
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    @WadCheber There is only the force. If anything happens, it is the will of the force
    – MAF
    May 8, 2015 at 22:35

While I'm about a year late to the game on the answer to this question, I can point to a specific example in canon that matches the asker's description. There is a clear (pre-Disney) Force power called the Wall of Light that was used specifically for subduing Force users (usually dark-siders) that normally required multiple Jedi to attempt. It required no violent action on the part of the Jedi involved and cut off the target's Force connection either temporarily or permanently. The use of this technique likely would have been considered carefully by the Jedi as the process was incredibly painful for the target. From Wookieepedia:

"When you feel the dark side energies turned against you, you must use your Jedi abilities to take power away from an opponent, rather than to inflict harm. This technique blinds your enemy to the Force with a wall of light, a permanent blockage if you so choose, rendering him unable to use Jedi powers. It is difficult. And it is the most devastating attack possible using the powers of the light side." ―Odan-Urr, via the Tedryn Holocron

The use of the Force to create a wall of light side energy was a Jedi's most devastating offensive ability. The technique required the collective effort of several participants to form—with considerable difficulty—an all-encompassing prison of blue energy, from which the dark side could not escape. Celestial bodies besieged by a wall of light were sterilized utterly with flames and violent weather phenomena, while wielders of the dark side found themselves completely blocked from the Force.

It's certainly been used plenty of times before, too. The usage section of the Wookieepedia page mentions applications during the Great Hyperspace War where the technique was first developed, and several times applied again against Ulic Qel-Droma and Exar Kun.



Luke Skywalker defeated a Sith Lord, The Emperor, without using the force or violence. In fact, a critical part of his success was his surrendering and forgoing both violence and use of the force, and instead appealing to the emotions of another Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Then Darth Vader carried out the defeat by using physical strength and not The Force. In the end, The Light Side of The Force was used for knowledge and defense, and it was love and self sacrifice that were more powerful than the Dark Side of The Force.

Note that Rey used a similar technique to encourage one Sith Lord to defeat another Sith Lord merely by appealing to emotion.

The best way to defeat the most powerful Sith Lords appears to be to surrender, sacrifice, and let them kill each other.

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