The Acolyte highlights one major thing about Jedi training that we need to understand

The Acolyte is doing something truly special with its portrayal of Jedi combat.
(Center): Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(Center): Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Wars: The Acolyte has done more than just apparently pit friend versus friend: it has flipped the script on Jedi combat.

We've always seen Jedi as these near-invincible warriors, their lightsabers glowing like beacons of justice and hope. But guess what? This show is pulling back the curtain to reveal a fascinating twist in how these guardians of the galaxy actually fight.

In The Acolyte, we get a glimpse at Jedi training. It’s not just about waving a lightsaber around - it’s intense, grueling, and all-encompassing. Jedi spend years honing their bodies and minds, learning to fight with their hands, feet, and any other appendage they can use. They become living, breathing weapons in their own right. This training regimen highlights the Jedi’s commitment to peace and their belief that violence should always be a last resort. They train to be ready for any situation, and their physical combat skills ensure they can handle themselves without immediately resorting to lethal force.

And this is why they seemed weaker against one Dark Side Force user in the show's fifth episode, "Night": they're so well trained in every other aspect of being a Jedi, but because the lightsaber is only used in dire situations they haven't encountered often for the most part, the Dark Side Force user bests them with it because that's what they focus on the most.

MILD SPOILER WARNING: I will be touching on certain parts of the latest episode of The Acolyte, "Night". Read at your own risk.

(L-R): Mae (Amandla Stenberg) and Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Martial Arts vs. Lightsaber

As witnessed since its very first episode, the Jedi in The Acolyte aren't just relying on their lightsabers to get the job done. These glowing blades, while powerful, are reserved for the most dire of situations. The Jedi have become so mighty and confident in their force abilities that they see using a lightsaber to kill as a last resort. So, what do these wise space monks do instead? They become absolute masters of hand-to-hand combat. Yep. We see Jedi throwing punches, kicks, and flips like they're starring in a Star Wars-themed martial arts movie. It's like Enter the Dragon meets The Phantom Menace. The Force may be strong with them, but so are their right hooks and spinning roundhouse kicks.

This approach to fighting is not just about physical prowess - it’s a storytelling goldmine. It showcases the Jedi’s discipline, their restraint, and their incredible training. They don’t just rush into battle with their lightsabers swinging. No - they think, they strategize, and they rely on their bodies as much as their mystical powers.

And on the other side of the coin, we have the Dark Side

Now, let's talk about The Master and other Dark Side Force users. These dark side devotees, especially The Master in this most recent and fifth episode, are like, "Why hold back?" They go full throttle with their lightsabers, slicing through Jedi like a hot knife through butter. The Sith (I'm aware he is not a Sith, but that's a lot faster (and easier) than constantly typing "Dark Side Force user" and it gets my point across) don’t have the same hang-ups about using their sabers to kill. For him, it's all about power, dominance, and getting the job done with as much flair as possible.

Here’s where it gets really juicy. Yes, everyone and their grandmother is upset that The Master was able to win over a group made up of nine Jedi. That is not a misrepresentation, and this is what I'm trying to get through to you. His lightsaber skills are top-notch, and he was able to take down nine Jedi without breaking a sweat. But what happens if he were to be disarmed? That’s where the tables would turn in a dramatic fashion.

As we can see in The Acolyte, without their lightsaber, the Sith find themselves at a severe disadvantage. Remember, the snag in Mae's entire quest to kill the Jedi Masters was that she had to do it without using a weapon: no lightsabers, no tools. The Dark Side's reliance on the weapon means they haven’t honed their hand-to-hand combat skills to the same level as the Jedi. Suddenly, those nine Jedi they would cut through like tissue paper are a formidable challenge. The Jedi’s mastery of martial arts, their agility, and their strategic minds come into play. It’s an epic reversal of fortunes that makes for some nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat action.

Storytelling at its finest and the power of restraint

This dynamic isn’t just cool to watch - it’s a brilliant storytelling device.

It highlights the Jedi's philosophy and discipline. They’re not just warriors: they’re thinkers, strategists, and deeply spiritual beings who see their lightsabers as sacred tools, not just weapons of war. On the other hand, the Sith’s approach underscores their ruthlessness and single-minded pursuit of power. They rely on their lightsabers to assert dominance, showing that while they might be powerful, they’re also incredibly dependent on their weapons. This contrast adds layers to the characters and enriches the narrative.

There’s something incredibly powerful about restraint (which is why I wish I had more of it as a person myself), and The Acolyte shows this beautifully.

The Jedi’s choice to use their lightsabers sparingly is a testament to their strength and their commitment to their principles. It’s easy to destroy - it’s much harder to protect and preserve, and the Jedi embody this ideal. Their proficiency in hand-to-hand combat also means they can adapt to any situation. Whether they’re disarmed, facing multiple opponents, or in close quarters where a lightsaber might be more of a hindrance than a help, the Jedi are prepared. This versatility makes them even more formidable.

So, what does all this mean for The Acolyte? It means we’re in for some truly epic showdowns, with "Night" having a memorable and well-choreographed lightsaber fight. The shift in power dynamics, the unexpected twists, and the sheer skill on display make for some of the most memorable fight scenes in Star Wars history.

We are seeing the Jedi in a whole new light. They’re not just lightsaber-wielding heroes - they’re disciplined warriors who train their minds, their bodies, and their spirit to protect life and preserve peace in the entire galaxy. The Acolyte is doing something truly special with its portrayal of Jedi combat. By emphasizing hand-to-hand combat and the Jedi’s restraint in using their lightsabers, the show adds depth and nuance to these iconic characters. It challenges our perceptions and offers a fresh take on what it means to be a Jedi.

Next. The Acolyte's newest episode, "Night", is a major game-changer. The Acolyte's newest episode, "Night", is a major game-changer. dark