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I didn’t hesitate to allow my Padawan to create his own style. Many students want their own form; however, many fail to finish. The creation process requires determination, and many students turn back to the common styles. Cyril was one that did not. I barely helped him create the style he has now. I laughed at first, considering it to be a reckless form of Niman. The day he perfected his style was the day I could never beat him in sparring again.
Hayai Oujou was a lightsaber form developed by Jedi Master Cyril Ahlen Khan in 3,872 BBY. The form was originally created from the techniques of various common lightsaber forms. Cyril had taken what he had considered to be the more useful moves from the forms Makashi, Soresu, Ataru, Juyo, and Sokan and transitioned them into a single style. After a few years, however, Master Khan decided to take the combat form in a different direction after it started to appear identical to Niman in both strengths and weaknesses.
Khan intended for Hayai Oujou to become an effective dueling form, which made use of never ending momentum. The form had an interchangeable offense and defense that led masters to state, “Every strike is a block, and every block is a strike.” This statement did not apply to all techniques, but it did to most. Initiates often used the form recklessly due to its difficult techniques and applications, but once training was fully completed, a student would have developed the precision and grace the style required.
Hayai Oujou had originally been designed to fit a combatant with a weighted sword and not a lightsaber. Seeing a Jedi apply this style with his lightsaber did not fully reveal the fact that the style was originally designed for the weighted sword, and only the blaster defense techniques exposed this detail. Hayai Oujou had almost no techniques to block or redirect attacks from ranged weapons, because a combatant with a weighted sword and no Force potential had little chance of stopping the incoming fire. The weighted sword was also used primarily in training, regardless of whether the trainee was to use a lightsaber later.
Cyril Ahlen Khan, a future Jedi Master and Jedi Order High Council Member, began to design Hayai Oujou when he reached the age of twelve. At a young age, he would watch the masters of each standard lightsaber combat form practice and attempt to emulate their techniques. His first master, Deven Jarmain, was not enthusiastic on teaching him any form of physical combat. Although the master was not very pacifistic, he believed that Force training was more important than sword training. Cyril used the techniques he learned solely from observation to make the first version of his lightsaber combat form. Because of its early design, weapon masters commented that the early techniques of Hayai Oujou were unrefined and that Cyril only appeared to be training Niman with poor form.
When Jarmain left the Jedi Order without alerting the council, his student, or any other Jedi, Jedi weapons master Jorfac Correl became the new master for the Padawan. When Jorfac learned that Cyril had minimal sword training, he rushed to critique all the skills that the student had developed. The apprentice had to work diligently to relearn all of the techniques properly, but the results helped the student complete his style. At first, Correl believed that his student wanted to master the form Niman, but Cyril began to take his style in a separate direction.
During the period when Jorfac was critiquing his pupil's techniques, Cyril announced to his master that he wanted to create his own form; Cyril stated that the other common forms were too well known and that an average swordfighter could defend against them too easily. The master agreed to assist him with anything he requested in his journey to a personalized form. When too many similarities appeared between Hayai Oujou and Niman, Khan decided to shift his route and begin thinking differently about his style.
At one point, Cyril chose to train only with a weighted sword, because he wanted to be able to use the style perfectly with any bladed weapon. Jorfac did not dismiss this idea and believed it was wise to consult the original weapon of the Jedi. The metal weapon shaped the style from a Niman copy into a completely different form all together. The extra momentum the blade created incited the student to apply a strategy of constant motion. The heavy blade forced Cyril to slightly change the lightsaber techniques so that the applications would work with his weighted sword. By the time Cyril returned to using a lightsaber, the style barely resembled what it had originally been.
The final phase of the creation of Hayai Oujou was the process of emulating a weighted blade with the lightsaber. Cyril decided to keep the executions and applications that he made for the metal sword and use them with the lightsaber. The ceaseless motion of the blade became the first noticeable effect of the transition, where the strikes and blocks merged together. The weighted blade also changed the style so that most strikes and blocks could be used for both offense and defense. Once Cyril perfected his form, he succeeded with making a style that no one was familiar with. While the individual techniques were recognizable, he had modified them all and their martial applications by the time he finished the sword form. As a final touch, he gave the style its name, Hayai Oujou, which translates to “two blades” from a dialect of Durese.
After its completion, the use of Hayai Oujou was permitted only for members of the Khan family. Cyril did not want his personal form to become too well known, as he feared that his enemies and those of his descendants would develop techniques specifically to defend against it. He started a tradition of teaching the style to the three eldest children within his family, Force-sensitive or not, so that it could be carried on into future generations without becoming common knowledge throughout the galaxy. The plan worked effectively; the style never became well known enough for many people to develop strong enough defenses against it, and only a few sword masters, such as Mace Windu and Xhen Velvar, managed to continually defeat a master of Hayai Oujou in combat. However, the style nearly died out many times as a result.
The techniques, executions, and applications of the form were recorded in a datapad to prevent extinction. A student could use the datapad’s records to learn the style without a living master, but the style changed in multiple ways from the original each time a practitioner tried to learn only from the datapad’s files. However, the overall effects of the style remained constant through the ages, and only the techniques and applications changed from misinterpretation. The style, even though it faced large changes, remained among what sword users considered the most effective dueling sword forms.
If masters of Hayai Oujou used the techniques properly, they could defeat opponents in combat with minor trouble. The customized style proved to work effectively during the conflicts between the Jedi, Bendu Order, and Sith in the Old Republic. When faced against what Khan considered an average opponent wielding a lightsaber, a skilled master of the form often would leave battle as the victor. Regardless of its efficiency in melee combat, very few people believed that the style was the best to study during the war. An attack from a member of the Sith or the Bendu was nearly inevitable for a member of the Jedi Order at the time of the form's creation, during the Great Sovereign Crusades, and even though it was considered wise to master a powerful sword to sword form, many Jedi found Hayai Oujou too complicated to master quickly. Other dueling forms, like Makashi, took far less time to perfect, and many preferred them. Even so, those who did take the time to master Hayai Oujou were rarely defeated in one-on-one saber combat.
The form that had challenged the sword masters of the Sith and the Bendu was not invulnerable. On the battlefield, the style was vulnerable to the incoming blaster fire of enemies. Because the style did not harness effective ranged defenses, a Hayai Oujou master would fall rapidly to excessive firepower. This issue led the masters of the form to take on secondary styles that were more effective against ranged combat, such as Soresu and Shien.
Hayai Oujou did not spread during the time of war against the Sith and the Bendu. Cyril Ahlen Khan was the only master of the form at the time, and he refused to teach it to anyone outside his family. The style never became popular or well known, as generally no more than three masters existed in each generation. In fact, combatants knew so little about the form that many respected the masters rather than the actual style that they used, and the term “Hayai Oujou” never struck fear into the hearts of others.
A Hayai Oujou user did not need to have a firm connection with the Force, due to the fact that it was designed to be used without a lightsaber. In fact, the majority of the users had some form of disability in the Force. The Khan line was known for only being able to use the telekinetic core powers of the Force. Thus, the form relied very little on the use of the Force in combat. However, when the Force was used to amplify the effects, the techniques of the form became more effective in duels. The Force was not necessary for the style to be used to its fullest, but most Jedi users of the form found it very useful.
Hayai Oujou did have many physical requirements for a user. Masters of the form constantly taught about the importance of training in hand-eye coordination, because they believed that precision was one of the most important requirements for the form. If a user had poor coordination, the style would often become as equally reckless as the user. Furthermore, the users had to increase their flexibility, especially in the wrist, arm, and knee joints. Hayai Oujou trainers instructed that joint plasticity allowed for practitioners to use the strategies of the form properly. The wrist was necessary for swift strikes and blocks, while the knees were necessary for dodge movements. The arms had to be completely fit for all aspects of the style.
Strength was not a requirement for users. Training in the form built up all the necessary strength for the style. Hayai Oujou used more technique, speed, and precision to focus energy rather than expunge it with strength. However, strength did help increase the capacity of other requirements. Muscle strength assisted in the power behind strikes, blocks, and, most importantly, dodges, which were the style's primary form of defense. Dodges often times needed such power in order to be effective. If a user had extra strength, more dodges could be possible. However, the evasion strategy did require speed as well. If muscles became so strong that speed was lost, the user would lose a vital requirement.
Hayai Oujou did not require any particular lightsaber forms to learn; however, masters often taught their students parts of the common forms before moving on to the more difficult techniques of the style. This training strategy helped students learn the basics of Hayai Oujou and made the master level techniques easier to perfect, as compared to training the form without studying any of the ones it was created from.
Known techniques and maneuvers
Hayai Oujou was typically used with a single hand. Two hands were only used to apply more power at a cost to speed. The uncommon two-handed grip featured the off hand on the top. The dominant hand remained on the bottom to lead the strikes as if only one hand was being used. The secondary hand added strength and precision, but speed and flexibility were lost from this grip. Because speed and flexibility were necessary for the ceaseless motion, the style’s practitioners preferred the single-handed grip.
There was no one single-handed grip that defined Hayai Oujou. The grip on the hilt was variable to the user’s preference. The majority of the users of the form positioned their grip at the top edge of the hilt at the emitter. This location allowed the greatest speed at a cost to strength. Another spot where the grip was commonly found was in the center of the hilt. This was typical of the masters who employed curved hilts in combat.
The actual grip to the weapon was as variable as the location on the hilt. Hayai Oujou used swift transitions between light and powerful grips. Holding the blade lightly allowed the user to execute more flexible strikes against an opponent, while stronger grips were used in defense. A Hayai Oujou master had to move between the firm and light grips quickly; if any mistakes were to occur in the transition, the hilt could easily be removed from the hand. Some users were noted for losing their lightsaber on their own accord by preforming what masters defined as an improper transfer. Practitioners had to take care in how they handled their weapon, because the constant momentum of the user could cause the hilt to be lost if held improperly.
The transitions between grips of different types were a risk to the style, but they allowed for the opportunity for sudden changes of momentum. While the possibility of losing the lightsaber or sword was too high for the comfort of some users, the advantages presented an adaptive ability, which could allow a master to react to changes in battle quickly. A master of the style would rarely err in using and transitioning into proper grips.
The Hayai Oujou stance usually remained completely constant in combat, and an observer would notice that a master would only change body position by moving his legs and rotating his torso. The form typically used a medium stance, in which the user would spread his legs and set his front leg forward at shoulder distance so that the body could pivot to the side and still maintain the same stance without moving any legs. This basic stance equalized balance and maneuverability and allowed the user to move in battle with necessary speed without losing strength. It was not as strong as deeper stances could be and not as swift as lighter stances; instead, it allowed the user to maintain balance and move swiftly.
Practitioners were taught that the stance was the most consistent and important technique in Hayai Oujou. A master had to be very agile with the medium stance. If the stance was not perfectly mastered, the form’s strategy would fail. A number of observers believed that a lighter stance would better fit the maneuverability the style needed, but the practitioners believed that this belief was unfounded. Hayai Oujou needed the equal combination of speed and balance to perform both strikes and defenses.
In order to perfect the Hayai Oujou stance, the trainees of the form practiced walking in patterns for hours a day. These patterns allowed the student to experience the process of moving while in the stance. Muscle memory formed from the repetition and the stance became second nature. After a long period of practicing, the medium stance of the form could be as swift and maneuverable as many lighter stances.
The strategy of Hayai Oujou used multiple series of strikes to overcome an opponent. Users of the form tried to move quickly enough to make three or more strikes in the time it would take the opposition to make one. The types of strikes used in combat were limited only to the imagination of the user. While there was a list of aggressive techniques in the style’s arsenal, the executions and applications were nearly limitless. One strike could be applied to several target areas and even be used for defense.
The main strategy of the offense was to be swift, but that was not the only action of importance within the form. The user also focused on making precise and flexible strikes to break around defenses. The most common application of this strategy was to make a swift strike to lure out defenses and then to rotate the wrist and arm and slice through said defenses. This often did not result in lethal wounds, but it did result in incapacitation and controlling cuts, such as slicing joint tendons and ligaments. Often times, an opponent’s wrists would be knocked out of use by such application; the first strike would be a decoy, while the next movement would pass the defenses and execute what would seem a harmless cut. Such actions were strong when used with a weighted weapon, and a lightsaber would create much more damage. Jedi employing the Hayai Oujou strategy would often slice off hands and limbs before executing a final blow. This is what made a seemingly, highly aggressive form into one usable by even pacifists. Rahl Khan was a known pacifist Jedi who used Hayai Oujou.
Another Hayai Oujou stratagem commonly used was considered one of the form's most dangerous aspects. A user would strike at various locations on an enemy, including the blade. These attacks meant to force the opponent into a moment of weakness by loosening part of their defense. This part of the form’s strategy was the hardest to master; the technique required the most precision and flexibility out of any other in the style because the strikes had to hit their marks at the right speed and location. The results were often effective, because if a user of Hayai Oujou managed to lead his opponent into opening his defense, he could easily defeat his foe. The difficulty came from successfully leading the opponent into the trap; if the form’s master failed to remain the aggressor and had to defend himself, he could not finish the technique.
Hayai Oujou employed a defense that differed from most combat forms. The user would execute an evasion stratagem against incoming attacks, and blocks were only used to fully defend powerful strikes or to set up for a counterattack. Under the circumstances that the exchange of blows became too swift for successful dodges, the style used varying blocks to throw opponents' blades off course. Often times a weakness would present itself after such blocks and a counterattack could be made.
The goal of the evasion strategy was to defeat an opponent by using their momentum against them. Common dodges included sidestepping a lunge or diagonal blow or lowering one's base to avoid higher strikes. It was not the dodges that made Hayai Oujou’s defense effective, but rather the counterattacks that followed them. A counterattack usually found a way around an opponent's defenses and commonly resulted in wounding the target. Some Hayai Oujou masters would refuse to make the first attack and take a completely counteroffensive strategy. Many of the pacifistic users used this defensive strategy. The goal was to dodge the opponent's strike and finish the battle by bringing the blade through the exposed defenses of the opposition.
While that form of defense could be considered an offense, because it often resulted in damaging the user's foe, it exemplified the fact that the style could use its offense as a defense and vice-versa. It was this resourcefulness that defined the overall defense of the style.
Hayai Oujou did employ a blaster defense, though it was not very effective. The form used a cone motion to scatter incoming weapons fire. The action was imprecise and could not direct attacks back to the source; deflected firepower would fly off in any direction uncontrollably. Because the motion was difficult to sustain for long periods, the users would only use it when they deemed it necessary. Often times the dodge stratagem would be the only defense used against ranged combat. The cone defense did not always work, especially against high rates of incoming fire, and practitioners of the form rarely tried the defense with a weighted sword. Because a metal blade could not refract energy like a laser beam, there was no reason to use such a defense unless there was no other option. However, even a quick non-Force sensitive user could effectively use the cone defense against blaster fire, assuming their blade could withstand the energy.
Hayai Oujou possessed some vital weaknesses that could be dangerous for a user if taken advantage of by an opponent. The weakness that most users encountered was against ranged combat; even a master had trouble against large quantities of distanced warfare. If a user had not studied other styles, the blaster defenses were so weak that a user could be easily defeated. Because masters often found this weakness bothersome, they turned to secondary lightsaber forms to combat ranged weapons.
A second weakness was the use of the form by a non-master. The style was reckless in comparison to other forms until every basic technique was memorized. The grip transition was an example of this problem; initiates would continuously lose their weapons in training while trying to master the transition between grips. Even masters had some difficulties that could only be fixed through experience. The problem with Hayai Oujou was that it was often so challenging in some fields that training in it took longer than other combat forms more commonly used by the Jedi. Students would often be considered incompetent in the form until mastery, and so practitioners declared that the style had two points of mastery: initiate and master.
Hayai Oujou could be used with nearly any type of single-handed lightsaber. However, some types of hilts fit the style better. A plain hilt with almost no protrusions, except at the emitter and base, was best for most users; an excess of buttons or levers on the hilt could interfere with the transition between grips. Some masters of the style would also choose a hilt style that would allow them to rapidly switch between holding the weapon with one and two hands. Such a sword would usually be designed to have limited grip obstacles.
One other common hilt type was the curved hilt. The leverage in the curve gave a master more control over an opponent’s blade. Such a weapon was often chosen to amplify the offensive capabilities within the sword form. A user of the form with a curved blade would be most effective as an aggressive duelist, while one with a one-handed straight hilt would function best using an effective evasion stratagem and counterattacks.
While lightsabers were efficient weapons for the style, it was common for a standard sword to be used. The weighted sword was often used in training and sparring, and some students preferred the heavier weapon and never transfered to lightsaber combat. The metal blade did have some uses the energy blade could not replicate, such as the ability to trip people with the flat part of the blade and to reduce a body's blood pressure swiftly.
Behind the scenes
Hayai Oujou was created by role-player Cyril Khan on TheStarWarsRP.Com, an active Star Wars role-playing website. The form was used during the second timeline of the role-play, the Great Sovereign Crusades, as a lightsaber form for the character Cyril Ahlen Khan. The name of the sword form was never mentioned in the actual story, but the techniques of the form were described in detail in some battles. Hayai Oujou, which means "Quick Death" in Japanese, was developed from a mixture of various Chinese and Japanese martial arts styles. The form was partially put together in a choreography practice for a Star Wars fan film. Although the film was never finished, the style continued to be used in the Khan's Star Wars writings.