Jedi Standards. It is an age old debate in the online communities, and it has been rehashed over and over and over again (in fact it was just recently brought up again on Facebook). What makes one a Jedi? In the movies, they are easily identified by their lightsabers, but we do not have that sort of technology. They are chosen to be Jedi based on their Force abilities, but again, we lack use of the Force as it is portrayed in the fiction. So what defines us as Jedi over the many other non-Force/lightsaber wielding Earthlings?
The easiest way to define standards, is to look at what is being tested. Fortunately, thanks to Clone Wars cartoon and The Jedi Path book, we have The Jedi Trials: Skill, Courage, Spirit, Flesh, and Insight. While this IS fiction, thus far it seems the community has largely embraced these, basing their “trials” on them (in varying degrees). I will go more into each of these in later posts, but here are the simple definitions as are in The Jedi Path book.
Trial of Skill
Demonstrates a Jedi’s competence with a lightsaber and the Force principles of Control.
Trial of Courage
Establishes a Jedi’s skill and fortitude in the face of danger and overwhelming odds.
Trial of Spirit
Tests a Jedi’s ability to vanquish inner battles and emerge unscathed.
Trial of the Flesh
Determines a Jedi’s capacity to overcome great pain.
Trial of Insight
Reveals a Jedi’s aptitude for distinguishing reality from illusion through deceptive challenges.
These, while good, are rather limited to Force ability and Combat. However, I do like that there is a lot of emphasis on the physical as being physically fit is extremely important for a Jedi. And more than just knowing how to fight, one should be fit. But where is the knowledge?
At this years Gathering, there was quite a bit of controversy over what knowledge should be required, and I can see the room for argument as the Trial given list nothing about knowledge, other than that which would be implied in other trials. If you go a little further back however, you find that in order to move from Initiate to Padawan, THAT is when the knowledge is required.
The Initiate Trials
You must demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the Jedi Code.
You must also demonstrate self-discipline through meditation and lightsaber combat.
You must prove that the Force flows through you and that you are not a rock stubbornly blocking its current.
Basically, the Three Pillars:
The Three Pillars of the Jedi
While only the Jedi Code is mentioned, we SEE some of the initiates in class during the movies, the are obviously learning more than just five lines of code, especially as they are in the Temple for approximately 10 years (depending on when they are brought to the Temple and when they are accepted as Padawan’s). All that they learn there is crucial to their lives as a Jedi.
So basically, Jedi spend their first thirteen years or less studying at the Temple. In order to progress and be accepted as a Padawan, they need to prove their knowledge and basic skill with the Force and the lightsaber. Once they have proven their knowledge, they go out into the galaxy and practice their skill, courage, spirit, and insight in practical application.
So, what is required of a Jedi?
Knowledge of the Jedi, of their history, of their texts, and of their ways. Jedi should also have basic knowledge of the world and of communication and interaction with others.
Just knowing and understanding is not enough, you need to be able to apply what you know to the world around you and to think on your feet.
Even if a Jedi plans to follow a more scholarly route, they should be able to defend themselves and others, should the need arise.
Knowledge of Combat does little if you are not in proper shape to execute the knowledge. A Jedi should be physically capable to handle whatever comes their way at all times (with consideration to physical limitations).
All the fitness in the world will not help you if you do not take care of yourself. Eat well, stay hydrated, and take care of yourself when ill.
Not that you have to be an absolute picture of mental health, but any major issues that may affect your performance a a Jedi should be properly dealt with in whatever way you need to do so.
“Use of the Force”
More of a loose term here, since, as I have previously stated, we do not have use of the Force as the Jedi in the fiction do, but Jedi should have intimate knowledge of meditation and be in control of their emotion and reactions.
Behavior Befitting a Jedi
While we all have moment of weakness, a Jedi should strive to always be open-minded, respectful of others, and act from a place of peace. Jedi should always think prior to words or actions.