“This technique is good against a lone opponent, and you will find your critical strikes are more effective. But you will be vulnerable to almost everyone else you are fighting.”

The Way of the Hawk-Bat. Otherwise known as the Aggression Form. This is one of the most common and used forms by the Jedi, especially during times of war. For good reason. But perhaps I am biased. I have seen what Master Yoda has done with the form, for I have been met with the end of his blade because of it many times. Extreme mastery of this form makes one virtually unstoppable, especially with his incorporation of ‘su ma’.

‘su ma’ means rotation, and it is key to excelling in Ataru. There are three kinds of su ma:

  • jung su ma, being spinning

  • ton su ma, being somersaults

  • en su ma, meaning cartwheels

Incorporating all of these allows for one to be physically anywhere around your opponent, probing angles and body centres one could not normally reach from the standard forward profile of combat.

Ataru was created during a troubled time during Galactic History. It was made in response to the great warriors of Mandalore. With armour, jet packs, weapons, and styles specifically made to counter Jedi, the Order needed something new. More than a lightsaber and a firm footing on the ground. They needed mobility and speed, which are key to Ataru, one will experience failure without them. Using Ataru makes you a mobile fighter, as well as a confusing and aggressive one. Similar to the hunting technique of the Hawk-Bat, quick strikes from a vast amount of positions and directions are what allow Ataru users to overwhelm their opponents.

However, Ataru is not without its flaws. It finds itself faltering outside of its one field of success. Made after a time where Soresu was the dominant form, Ataru is extremely lacking in deflection techniques, with blaster bolts being the cause of death for many Ataru users. Due to the constant positioning change that Ataru adopts as its formula, one can find it leaves them out in the open after performing their ‘su ma’ sequences.

Not only that, but Ataru is similar to Makashi in the respect of focusing on one user at a time; however, Ataru suffers from this even more so. Engaging several individuals without mastery of the form will likely make the user meet a quick end. And against a grounded user with their defence strong and mind clear, Ataru begins to fall apart and become nothing but a waste of energy and time.

And the final failure of Ataru: its need for open spaces. This is… what got Qui-Gon killed. Darth Maul, according to Obi-Wan, led him into the reactor room where he knew a confined space meant Qui-Gon could not use the acrobatic and sweeping movements of the form. A confined space, like a corridor or small room, would reduce the effectiveness of Ataru to the point of it being a weakness.

To Summarise:

  • Movement, speed and physicality are key. Probe your opponent from multiple areas around their guard with acrobatic movements.

  • Incorporate su ma to allow for movement to these points, as well as becoming a target that is hard to hit.

  • Confined spaces mean Ataru users cannot use the full extent of the form, so attempting to use the form in one is a deadly mistake.

  • One user at a time. Ataru is not well suited to facing multiple opponents.

  • A lack of focus on deflection. Blaster bolts work exceedingly well on Ataru users.