The Ability to Fight

“A Jedi’s saber is his most precious possession.
He must keep it with him at all times.
This weapon is your life!”
~Obi-Wan Kenobi to Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Attack of the clones

“This weapon is your life, but it is also your responsibility. Don’t let it out of your sight.”
~Ashoka Tanno to Younglings – Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2 Episode 11 “Lightsaber Lost”

“Protect others, how does a Jedi, hmm?”
~Yoda about Lightsabers – Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 5 Episode 6 “The Gathering”

Any time we see any sort of Master/Padawan relationship within the fiction, inevitably there is a lesson at some point about the lightsabers.  Indeed, every single Jedi in fiction carries a lightsaber, they are even shown to by synonymous with them.

Anakin: You’re a Jedi Knight, aren’t you?
Qui-Gon Jinn: What makes you think that?
Anakin: I saw your laser sword. Only Jedi carry that kind of weapon.
~Anakin Skywalker and Qui-Gon Jinn – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Not only does every single Jedi in the fiction carry a lightsaber, but every single Jedi in the fiction is trained to USE their lightsaber.  Sure, they may never see combat for the rest of their lives, but they are trained to fight, and to defend themselves and others.

Imagine meeting a Jedi of the fiction.  While in their company, someone is attacked.  They scream for help, and the Jedi does nothing.  You ask the Jedi why they did not help, they tell you that they do not learn how to fight.

Or, an alternate scenario, the Jedi tries to defend the victim, but are obviously inept at doing so and is quickly and easily defeated.  You ask the Jedi why this happened, and they say they never learned how to fight.

The Jedi Path is very much a spiritual and intellectual path, but it is not ONLY such.  Being a Jedi, means combining that spirituality and intelligence with physical fitness and prowess.  This does not mean a Jedi should jump at every opportunity to fight, no, quite the opposite.  That is where the spiritual and intellectual sides kick in.  But a Jedi should be able to fight and defend themselves and others when it is necessary.  You can use all the diplomacy you want, but some times it just does not work.

Pacifism has its own virtues, and there is nothing inherently wrong with taking that stance.  However, when it boils down to it, pacifism is not the Jedi way.

You want to be a healer?  Great.  What happens when someone walks in on you when you are with a patient with intent to harm them, and there is no security around to stop them?

You want to be a diplomat?  Great.  What happens when you are off on a “mercy mission” and there is an attack?  Hell, look at Leia.  She came from a planet known for being peaceful and having no weapons, but she knew the importance of defending herself when necessary and was as capable as Han when it came to wielding a blaster (yes, I know, not a Jedi, but still a good example).

You want to be a librarian or historian?


Defend those records!  None of that Library of Alexandria business on your watch!  (Yes, I am aware that was not actually Jocasta in that scene, but she still carried a lightsaber…you better bet she had learned how to use it).

Make any argument you want, if you really examine it though, every argument I have ever heard boils down to “I don’t like to fight.  I don’t want to learn how to fight.  So I do not consider fighting important to Jedi.”  The fiction and lore does not support this.

If you want to be a pacifist, if you want a path that focuses entirely on the spiritual and intellectual with no need to learn fighting, those paths exist and you are no better or worse for choosing those paths over Jedi, but learning to fight is part of the Jedi Path, proven again and again through pretty much every single piece of fiction we have been given on them.  Find the path that suits you, do not change the path to suit you.  Once you change it…it is no longer the same path.


Addendum: There is of course the issue of people with physical limitations and whether this means they can be a Jedi or not.  I would say this is to be taken on a case by case basis, and more important than a persons ability to fight in these scenarios, is a persons willingness to fight.  A person in a wheelchair with full use of their arms can still learn striking techniques.  A person missing a limb can still make use of their remaining limbs.  Jedi make due with what IS available to them, and what is possible, rather than focusing on what is not possible.  Someone with a physical disability has an automatic upper hand, in that they are not expected to be able to defend themselves.  Prove people wrong.

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