Form I; Shii-Cho
There are many different ways to wield a saber in combat—seven different forms in total. Form I, also known as Shii-Cho, was the first of the seven forms of saber combat. In combat, Form I is wild and raw, relying on deliberate tactics and being primarily aimed towards disarming rather than injuring foes. Initiates may demonstrate a rather clumsy performance, though in the hands of a Kyber Master, Shii-Cho is fluid but highly randomised and unpredictable.
At Kyber Society we are currently focusing on the teachings of Shii-Cho. However, we aim to eventually teach all seven forms of saber combat.
Many of the basics of saber combat are established by the Shii-Cho form, as it was the first form developed, and is specialised towards training individuals in the use of sabers. Attacks and parries in saber combat are described by the body zones they target. In idealised sparring drills, most attacks are executed with horizontal swipes, while parries are carried out with vertical blocks meant to push the point of the enemy's blade away, with the exception of Attack 1 and Parry 1, detailed below.
The Head. A zone 1 attack consists of a vertical chop towards the head, with the goal of vertically bisecting the opponent, and the corresponding parry is a horizontal block. A classic zone 1 attack was typically preceded by a high guard position, though the zone 4 parry position was also used for this purpose. The zone 1 parry position was a horizontal guard, with the blade held at head-height and angled across the body. It was not unheard of for a zone 1 attack to be deflected aside by having a zone 1 parry transition into a zone 2/3 drop parry position.
The Right Arm and Side. Zone 2 attacks are horizontal sideswipes, with the corresponding counter being a vertical parry position. Shii-Cho sparring drills have the handle held at waist height with the blade extended upwards, though other combat forms employed drop parries with the handle held high. Assuming a duelist's right arm is their dominant, any strikes against their weapon arm would correspond with Zone 2 attacks.
The Left Arm and Side. Zone 3 attacks are much the same as zone 2, albeit the directions are reversed. Assuming a duelist's left arm is their dominant, any strikes against their weapon arm would correspond with Zone 3 attacks.
Back. Zone 4 encompasses the entire midsection and torso, but refers specifically to the back. A successful Zone 4 attack is almost always fatal. As the classic Parry 4 position is a drop parry position with the blade angled downwards behind the duelist's back, the classic Attack 4 is likely a variation on Zone 2 and 3 attacks. An alternate, albeit more awkward, Parry 4 position has the hilt held behind the back at waist height, with the blade extended upwards.
Zones 5 & 6
Zones 5 and 6 referred to the right and left leg, respectively. Zone 5 and 6 attacks are low sideswipes or slashes, while the corresponding defensive positions are drop parries with the hilt held at the waist.
Rings of Defense
There are a total of three Rings of Defense. These areas around the body must be guarded effectively against all forms of attack.
The Outer ring of defense relies on grand sweeping blows to attack at range. The wide attacks take longer to deliver, but are very powerful. The Outer ring consists of four guard positions, all with the blade held diagonally: the upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left.
The Middle ring of defense is designed to pick up quicker blows and block them. The guard positions all feature the blade being held at right angles, with the upper and lower guards being horizontal, while the left and right positions are vertical.
The Inner ring is the last line of defense, dangerous to be attacking or defending from. It is proof against lunging attacks, and relies on parries instead of blocks. It has only a single guard position, with the hilt covering the navel. Attacks can be deflected by angling the blades tip and shunting them aside with the lower third of the blade, facilitating a swift counter towards the opponents chest or abdomen.