It is well known that the original lightsaber duels in Star Wars were based on kendo, and the choreography became increasingly sophisticated, especially in the second trilogy.

The technique I am specifically asking about occurs at 13:08 in this video Every Lightsaber Duel from Star Wars (Episodes 1-6), Youtube, 2015/4/26

In it, Christopher Lee counters while turning his back, but unlike the unsatisfactory turning the back moments in prior lightsaber duels, in this Lee keeps his sword oriented on the opponent throughout the turn, which develops into a set of coiling thrusts to the face.

(Musashi wrote about thrusting at the face as a strategy to keep the opponent at bay or unnerve them. This beautiful expression of the body turn is my single favorite moment in all of Star Wars:)

More optimal examples are at 17:32 & 34, where blade-to-blade contact is maintained throughout.

  • Does this body-turning technique derive from kenjutsu and does it have a name?

Note that I'm not asking if these techniques are recommended for dueling, merely if they are taught and practiced, and if so, how to refer to them.

Other reasonably acceptable body turns in Star Wars are at 15:36 ff. and 15:53.

1 Answer 1


Here's the thing about real sword fights, Spinning and acrobatic tricks are largely useless because they waste energy. At 13:09 Dooku was using a divert blade maneuver then spin, to place a blade tip thrust. taking ones eyes off an opponent During a clash is very likely to leave the spinning fighter dead with a blade through their back.. Granted the addition of Force senses help with this fact.

  • Absolutely. I have a few spin movements, but one would never choose them over simple, reliable techniques. ("stick 'em them with the pointy end" as the most fundamental:) Attempting a body turn without maintaining blade to blade contact while controlling the enemies blade is imho suicidal. But, when done right, it can be beautiful in choreography. Where it is mostly done wrong, these star wars choreographers, the best in the world at that particular type, gave us a few bright points.
    – DukeZhou
    Apr 29, 2021 at 2:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.