- "It is required you surpass any previous training, both mentally and physically you will transcend to go above and beyond normal Jedi limits, its capabilities are endless, the possibilities are limitless."
- ―Steffo Rancis discussing Baekjul/Bulgul with Dav Man’Sell
Form VIII: Baekjul/ Bulgul dubbed the “Way of the Voxyn” or the “Indomitable Form” was a Lightsaber form which was developed during the Legacy era. It was created by Master Steffo Rancis. Steffo Rancis came to realise that any form could be defeated, yet if one could arrive at a state of mind where they could not be vanquished than the user would become undefeatable. Therefore Master Rancis sought to create an entirely new form, when he could find no form that fitted or incorporated his unique style and philosophy. He developed a form which offered the user with greater physical flexibility than any form created previously. The focus being that a user of Baekjul/ Bulgul would never give up, even with tremendous odds stacked against them which gave any user a mental advantage over their opponent. It was known that the ideal that a user of Baekjul/ Bulgul would not relent, was enough to provide certain victory, as the opponent would give up before the user did. Fundamentally the principle of indomitable spirit was not difficult to understand, but it was difficult to arrive at, and it was hard maintain such a mental state.
It has become one of, if not the most disciplined of forms, and became the most difficult to Master, despite its physical flexibility some found the moves too complex to follow, thus it was deemed impractical to teach to most Padawan learners. Even after its creation it was not widely taught, since few knew its movemements well enough and others believed that it taught a blurred viewpoint and a hazy aspect of drawing upon neither light nor dark which could lead the user to unknowingly fall to the darkside and was deemed by some too dangerous to be taught. Steffo was the only known Master to have openly taught it, yet even he was selective about whom he taught.
The fundamentals of the form began to take shape around 60 ABY. Steffo Rancis had long searched and experimented to find the perfect form. He adapted several styles in particular he was renowned for furthering the Jar Kai version of Vaapad. However he never discovered a form to which he felt could harness his particular style of fighting. He began research into all seven major forms around 62 ABY, would spend a great deal of time in the archives and piecing together fragments of other fighting styles and forms. 63 ABY would see the beginnings of the development of the moves and strokes involved in Baekjul. Steffo pioneered and created new movements and principles to fit with what the form was required to achieve. A year later Steffo enlisted the help and aid of Jedi Master and Battle Master Dav Man’Sell. Steffo tested the movements and strikes of the form. Master Man’Sell provided a good insight of how to improve or change a strike to maximise its effectiveness. Over the next two years the movements were finalised, work began on testing the form against different weaponry, as well as developing the fluidity of the moves. This would lead to a split, and lead to the creation of the two separate halves of the one form. It was 68 ABY before the form was completed it would remain some time before the form became widely known or taught.
- "Stop trying to hit me, and hit me, it cannot be forced you must be calm, centred and focussed."
- ―Steffo Rancis chiding Emwyn Jayrice
The application of the form was dependent upon the forms main philosophy and focus, this being “Indomitable Spirit.” Indomitable Spirit is the ideal of never giving up, to never relent, to the point where quite possibly the person does not see failure as an option. In this sense form eight is the most philosophical form, relying on a deeply spiritual and concentrated state of mind. It is seen as centring oneself or the equivalent of finding one’s chi, it seems hard to believe that a whole lightsaber form revolves around a philosophical belief, but it was this belief of unrelenting will, that made the form particularly appeal to Jedi. One achieving such an absolute and definitive state of mind could effectively not be overcome.
When combined with the unpredictable nature and the element of control, that the form seemed to give the user, form eight was a daunting form to come up against. The psychological advantage it wielded prior to a duel, and its un-relenting resilience, unpredictability and aggressiveness in a duel would make it a form to be reckoned with. Seemingly gifting the user with an unbreakable will, and then an immense physical flexibility, the form would be known as both deadly and dangerous.
It was conceived it was possibly as dangerous to the user as it was to the opponent, for the form drew close to the dark side, it was even possible it merged the line that was defined between light and dark. Despite the forms capabilities and obvious advantages, although accepted as a form of combat and incorporated into the list of the other existing fighting forms, it was never taught to many individuals.
There were only a small number of practitioners of the form . However Steffo himself stated that the form mirrored neither light nor dark but the whole spectrum of the force. It relied upon the user to “Live in the moment” allowing their current thoughts, feelings and actions to guide them. The drawing of the power to wield Baekjul/Bulgul was very much centred on the potentium.
Mental and physical requirementsEdit
- "It is not a form of combat, but a state of mind."
- ―Steffo Rancis on Baekjul/Bulgul
Bekujul/Bulgul placed a great degree of both Mental and physical exertion upon the user. As the form required the user to draw upon no single aspect of the force but as a whole, it meant that the user had to be exceptionally disciplined, and not be led or drawn toward the dark side. Not only did the form cut close to the regime of Sith trained duellists, it was also very mentally exhausting, as it involved such a high level of concentration, as it was the form itself did not draw upon or from the dark side.
Baekju/Bulgul harnessed the user’s mental state and used this to focus it into a weapon of the light, however form eight also incorporated the ability to feed of the opponent’s attacks, being capable of not just repelling an attack but returning an exchange with devastating accuracy and power.
Form eight used and relied upon the principle centred upon the inner focus and the inner self in terms of calmness and tranquillity. The focus centred around the belief that to be effective one must first find their inner self and calm their inner turmoil out before looking outwards. The user therefore would clear their mind of all thoughts, arriving at a state of mind where the duellist reacted without thinking giving them self over to the guidance of the force being capable of returning the attacks, the user could also absorb them, and take the energy away and out of the attack. This gave the form greater versatility, but also gave it great defensive capabilities. However there was still a darker side of Baekjul/ Bulgul, and this was that the form was about controlling the fight, almost dictating the duel. It gave the user immense flexibility, allowing them to draw a fight to a close at their discretion. Yet this could tempt the more inexperienced or even the wisest of master to the lure of the dark side. The discipline to not only fight with form eight, but to uphold usage of the form for a long duration, one needed a very strong will, and a great deal of experience. Most who attempted to learn from eight, found the mental strain too great.
The physical requirements of the form were also difficult, the form demanded that the user be in top physical shape and could only be deployed by a being that was not exceedingly large built. Baekjul/Bulgul also incorporated a high level of hand to hand combat and martial arts, therefore a user would have to already have knowledge of the unarmed combat moves or would have to train to learn them. Steffo was very meticulous in stating that the moves could not be emulated. He said that although the moves could be copied they would not be as successful if the user could not draw on the correct focus or did not have the knowledge of the correct move, thus a user could copy a movement from Baekjul/Bulgul, yet if they didn’t know the application of the movement or their mind was not in the correct state, the move was a mere copy or simulation.
Steffo trained in martial arts from the age of six and had therefore been practising Dim Mak, Tae Kwon Do, Teras Kasi, and Tae Jitsu for twenty years, elements of all of these arts can be seen used as individual strikes or chained strikes that melded seamlessly with each other or in conjunction with lightsaber strikes. However it was made clear that a user did not have to have trained or have previous knowledge of any martial art, but they had to understand the move and possess the correct focus.
Some of the moves themselves were not altogether that complex, the difficulty most had, was to seamlessly meld, shift and change between the different moves and change rapidly between defence and attack. Furthermore there was a complexity added by the different possible angles that the blade and arms could be moved at. This meant that the moves themselves were easy, yet to fight with the form was difficult, chaining several moves together or performing single moves at the user’s discretion. It was its versatility that made it a strong form, but it also made it almost as unpredictable to use as it was to fight against. Most who attempted to learn the form found that they could find no rhythm or pattern, and the form seemed not to flow.
However Baekjul/Bulgul in fact flowed very well to a point of seamlessness between moves, stances and strikes, in both attack and defence. It was only seen as having no rhythm or pattern, because Steffo had designed it to be unpredictable, this meant adopting a new style of fighting.
- "This is Baekjul/Bulgul, I would ask you not to see if you can count how many arms you see, but if you can see them at all."
- ―Steffo Rancis talking to Lord Carnifex
For a style with pattern or rhythm was seen, by Steffo as predictable, moves could be guessed. The idea of form eight was to keep the opponent not knowing of where a strike was coming from. Furthermore Baekjul/Bulgul would sometimes incorporate repetitive strokes; this was to falsely form a pattern of predictability. Making the opponent second guess a strike, only to discover that the blade had been moved to come at an entirely different angle.
Master Rancis told that to perform Baekjul/Bulgul the user had to live in the moment. It is obvious that the form revolved around the philosophy of the living force, which concentrated upon the here and now, those who went on to learn the form, had the capability of going beyond thinking a move ahead, and to achieving the ultimate state of mind. This state of mind as told was the ability to be thinking of nothing, the mind being crystal clear, Steffo remarked that “Rather than trying to second guess, one must either react to what is given, or give, so that you cause a reaction, which in turn you can react to.” It was quite a complex philosophy, but the crux of it was, to either react, or force your opponent to react, the action or reaction performed by ones opponent, could in turn be reacted to. Aside from the split between those who could use the form and those who found they could not. It was agreed that the forms resilience and the required unrelenting, un-breakable will of the user, were indeed powerful tools, and it was said, failure was an impossible outcome for those who could Master the form. Since for failure to occur, the user must admit defeat, or that they are overcome, this however could lead to an arrogance in some. It was said that Steffo was very humble and it appeared that he did not beleive he was indomitable, but it was more the fact, he just was.
This form combines an impenetrable defence with an aggressive attack turning defence into attack very rapidly, combined with its unpredictable nature involving fluid, quick stance changing, movement, speed, interlinking/chained attacks, and changing the blade movement and direction during a move, means it is considered the hardest form to Master. Its potential is that the user would become virtually invincible. It's amazing fluidity from defence to offense and vice versa makes it hard to counter, and the user is forever moving, thus making them hard to hit, it really harnesses the idea of unrelenting fluidity to its full extent and a person watching a user of Baekjul often just sees a blur of continual movement. Jedi Master Steffo Rancis created Baekjul after meditating deeply, after which he began wielding his lightsaber and pushed himself and the weapon to its limits. Baekjul offers the user the best advantage in a saber to saber duel, and is most affective against a singular opponent. The form can be a dangerous draw toward the dark side and involves such flexibility, allowing the user to therefore bring the fight to a close at the user’s discretion. Again this is dangerous and adds to the possible dark side element as it encourages the user to almost control the fight, and the outcome. Baekjul incorporated force assisted and un assisted flips, jumps, rolls, springs, kicks, elbow strikes, leg sweeps and knee strikes, thus using any or some of these to catch the opponent of guard, creating an opening in which to use a force power, and further adding to the unpredictability of the user although the idea was to stay focussed grounded and strong.
Bulgugl was considered the ultimate duelling form, and did not require the high level mental concentration that Baekjul involved; it meant that the user could fight more than one opponent for a greater length of time. Bulgul took the same stance as Baekjul in the sense that the form adhered to the philosophy of indomitable spirit. However it adopted more of a defensive and counteractive technique rather than the ferocity of Baekjul. The user still had the flexibility and could if they wished even shift into Baekjul for a short sustained burst. However Bulgul was more solely centred on defence so was less physically mentally demanding since the user predominantly adhered to a defensive stance. Bulgul was also the better of the forms for deflecting blaster bolts, as it required the user to sit back and counter to the changes brought upon them, rather than bringing about the changes. It was favoured by more Jedi than Baekjul, as it didn’t tempt the user to cut as close to the darkside and was more in line with the Jedi view of being defenders rather than attackers. Bulgul also consumed less force energy in its movements, so instead that same energy could be used in other applications of the force, such as using force powers. It is known that Steffo was a Master of both parts of the form, and that he even incorporated the use of the Saberstaff, Duel phase guard shotos and Jar-Kai, seemingly this form seems to provide the user with endless flexibility. Bulgul was a more solid form and relied on lateral movement rather than acrobatics or complex aerial manoeuvres. Thus it allowed the wielded to concentrate upon applying other applications of the force.
Marks of contact and manoeuvresEdit
Sun Ma: Sun Ma involves holding the blade horizontally, pointing the tip of the blade towards ones opponent. The blade is then quickly rotated with a circular movement of the arm, either clockwise or anti clockwise. The move allows the user to deflect a vertical, diagonal or horizontal strike away, much similar to a saber barrier. The blade is held horizontally with the tip pointing toward the attacker, this means the user can block and thrust at the same time. The blocking of the opponents blade in this manner, makes countering or blocking the following thrust a lot harder.
Tan So Dun: Tan So Dun is a move which involves the arm being bent at the elbow creating a right angle and the wrist is turned so the thumb points towards the ground. The blade is angled vertically the tip pointing toward the floor. Held in this position the arm is kept fixed but is moved by moving the arm at the shoulder joint. The arm can be moved from left to right or vice versa. The move is used to block a thrust. The second part of the move is a rotation of the wrist and a slight straightening of the arm. This moves the blade around so the blade turns from a blocking move to coming around and down on top of the opponent usually striking the shoulders or can become a straight thrust. This second move follows the first blocking technique seamlessly.
Tok Mak: A rather dangerous and deadly move, Tok mak is an upward Lightsaber thrust aimed at the underneath of the opponents chin. The aim of the move was for the blade to pass through the opponent’s skull pushing up through the chin. The other variation of this move was for the lightsaber to be disengaged, the hilt would be moved upward to strike the same area, and the blade would be ignited as the hilt was thrusted upward. This move was reserved for especially dangerous opponents in whom there was no margin for their survival.
Shiam Jek: A move in which the user would drop low into a balanced crouch position, they would then move their lightsaber to strike at the rear of the opponents thighs, they would first move their Lightsaber to be behind their opponent. Then by dropping low and pulling the blade toward themselves, they would slice at the back of their opponent’s legs. The other variant was for the user to use Trakata whilst crouched low, enabling them to deactivate their lightsaber to bypass and place the hilt behind the legs of their opponent. They would then reactivate the blade drawing the blade toward them. This move could also be combined with a rising motion so as the user drew the blade toward themselves they would stand, thus make the move hard to evade by a simple leap or jump. It was a sudden and quick move, and was most commonly used with a second lightsaber to defend the user from possible overhead attacks due to their crouched and vulnerable position.
Dium Mortomus: The name of this move literally translates as “Strike of Death”. It was seen as the most dangerous move in from VIII, and was frowned upon by many as being too aggressive and cutting to fine a line to transgressing toward the dark side. It was known as a fatality move, a move in which certain death was to be almost guaranteed. The move involved two lightsabers. The first held in the left hand which would strike vertically toward the neck, as soon as the weapon began to move toward the neck, the user would spin to bring their body behind their opponent. In a simultaneous movement, the user would bring their right hand blade and thrust the blade into the back of the opponent. The aim of the move was to bring the first blade to severely cut or slice the neck if not behead the opponent. With the users body behind the opponent the move was difficult to escape from. The other half of the move was to slam the second blade into the back of the opponent and to pierce the opponent’s heart or vital organs. The user would carry this move out with a continuing spin, so the move would take a matter of seconds to perform, the user would spin in, to end up with their chest facing the opponents back, and then they would spin away to their left and withdraw pulling the right hand blade from out of their opponents back, and whip the left hand blade either across the opponents neck, or would pull the blade toward them, thus they would behead them. Lus San: Was carrying out a movement emulating an elbow strike, whilst holding a lightsaber in the same hand. The blade would be held in either hand the tip of the blade pointed toward the ground. With a quick motion the user would raise their elbow and fold their forearm, so the hand clutching the hilt of the Lightsaber would nearly touch the users shoulder. The move was designed to be brought up under either the opponents chin or armpit, the move was reserved for close quarters, and therefore the user would most likely wield a second blade or weapon for defence.
Tsung Tok: A decisive move; Tsung Tok involved a broad sweep of the users arm. The blade held in that arm would travel from being held mid section, with the tip of the blade pointing upward. To the blade being brought across the body of the opponent and upward, the blade would move from a vertical to a horizontal position, by the movement of the arm. The move was generally used for blocking a downward strike or for bringing the blade horizontally upward to strike the underneath of the opponent’s chin.
Linfei: Was an acrobatic move, in which the user would crouch low into an almost sitting position. They would then proceed to spin inward above or across the floor in a spinning motion. The move would carry the user quickly into range of their opponent. The spinning about of the user made them a hard target to hit, as the user became a blur of motion. This move was generally followed consecutively by another move.
Lau Mai: Was another aerial move that involved two lightsabers, the user would either leap over and above their opponent whilst turning upside down holding their blades, pointing the tips of both weapons toward the floor. The jump could either be initiated from in front of or from behind the opponent, whilst in the air the user would pull both vertically held blades forward and upward. The move was aimed at both shoulders of the opponent, and was designed to cut off both of the user’s arms at the shoulder joint.
Kyocha San: A move that could endanger the user, and required perfect timing, boldness and great skill. Kyocha San; was used when the user had their back to the opponent. The move involved bending both arms inward towards one self, as if to place your hands upon your hips. In each hand the user would hold a lightsaber, which initially would be held, with the tip pointing away from the opponent, and then the blades would be briefly turned off as the hilts were moved to point behind the user, once the emitters on both hilts pointed behind the user, so the blades were re-ignited. The idea of the move was that as the opponent drew close enough, the user would carry out the move and the blades could be brought to thrust backwards, impaling the opponent. The danger of the move was that the user was left very open, and if they mistimed the attack, would most likely be struck or caught first by their opponents blow or strike.
Marks of ContactEdit
Shao: Is a downward hack, thrust or a slice inflicted upon the collar bone. As it only takes 2.5lbs of pressure to break the collar bone, a lightsaber slice or downward attack to this area would affectively disable the entire arm.
Zun: A sudden swift strike; Zun was a technique used when jumping over the opponents head, the user would jump and in the air and separate their legs apart. This created a gap in which the lightsaber could travel in an arc downward to strike the opponents head, as the user jumped. Zun was usually a counter attacking move, used to evade a strike and whilst in the air capitalize upon the opportunity.
Sang: Involved the user coming from a crouched or squatting position, and suddenly bursting upward to full height. As the user rose, they would bring their weapon upwards striking toward the groin. The other variation of this attack was So Sang, this had the user feint a strike to the groin, swiftly deactivate their blade, then re-ignite it once the weapon was in line with the opponents chest.
Guburio: Was in inward strike at the inside of the thigh of the opponent, the move was carried out often incorporating a spin. The blade would travel from the inside of the opponent’s thigh, through the leg to the outside of the thigh. This move could either be a glancing blow, or be used to take the opponents leg off, above the line of the knee. Tunsut: Is a diagonal thrust aimed at the knee joint, the aim of the move was to pierce the knee joint, and cause the user the loss of that leg.
Hakluw: Was to thrust whilst moving the arm in a circular fashion. The thrust was usually aimed at the chest, the contact left by the blade would usually be a spiral cut upon the chest, caused by the tip of the blade.
Notable Form VIII practitionersEdit
- Steffo Rancis (*Creator)
- Dav Man'Sell (*Familiar)
Behind the scenesEdit
BeakJul/ BulGul; is actually taken from the Korean word Beak Jul Bul Gul, which translates directly as “Indomitable Spirit.” Indomitable Spirit is one of the five tenets of Tae Kwon Do. The example given in the Tae Kwon Do student’s license of indomitable spirit is the story of the three hundred Spartans and how they stand up and fight against the huge army of Xerxes at the battle of Thermopylae.
T.A.G.B Student License
Yavin Lightsaber Research Centre
Notes and referencesEdit
It is interesting to note, that all known practitioners of form Baekjul/Bulgul at some point in their lives belonged to the dark side. Steffo served as an apprentice to Lord Rath whilst a member of the Sith Brotherhood. Dav Man'Sell served as one of the “Emperor’s Hands.”
The wording in the license reads; Indomitable Spirit “Here lie 300 who did their duty” – a simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind. Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopia showed the world the meaning of Indomitable Spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. A serious student of Tae Kwon Do will at all times deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all with Indomitable Spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number be.