Jedi training - A record of progress

Fiach Dubh

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“The Jedi are selfless. They only care about others.”
―Anakin Skywalker to Chancellor Palpatine


JEDI TRAINING DOJO

The darkness was total. Not even a hint of light penetrated the hood she wore over her head. Unlike a blindfold, that allowed for normal hearing, sound was muffled. Fiach balanced on her feet, kept her training lightsaber in a defensive position, and concentrated. Without sight or clear sound, she was obliged to rely entirely on the Force.

She moved to her left, whirled, and struck out with her lightsaber. It passed through empty air. She sensed she’d been close but that counted for little to Fiach.

Off to her left, she heard a buzzing sound, and the clatter of metal hitting the floor.

“Point,” the Master said loudly enough for both Padawans to hear.

Fiach felt a trickle of sweat slide down her back. The hood was hot from her breath and she gripped her lightsaber more firmly. The other Padawan in this training exercise had already destroyed three seeker droids. Fiach hadn’t felled one.

“Remember your purpose,” the Master intoned.

Fiach heard not just what the Master said, but what they meant. She could not speak for the other Padawan but Fiach knew she had lost her focus – and the Master clearly did too. The purpose of the exercise, Fiach knew, was cooperation. It did not matter how many seeker droids she destroyed or how many were taken down by the other Padawan. They would be judged on how they worked together. They would have to read each other’s intentions through movement, instinct, and the Force. They would have to be generous, reaching out to each other to reveal their intentions.

But how could she reach out to someone who fought only for themselves?
 

Fiach Dubh

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Her fellow Padawan focused on the probes and ignored Fiach. A skilled fighter, the other Padawan was single-minded in their purpose. Every particle of their being seemed focused on victory. It made them one of the best lightsaber fighters in the Temple. Far better than Fiach, who was beginning to feel inadequate by comparison.

Faintly, Fiach heard the other Padawan’s footsteps behind her, and heard their foot slide as she lunged. Another buzz, another clatter of metal.

Fiach gritted her teeth. The other Padawan was known to have extraordinary promise. Now they were proving their value and showing up Fiach in the process.

A feeling of inadequacy surged inside Fiach, driving out her connection to the Force. Rather than rely on the Force, Fiach listened intently for the slight stir in the air that the seeker droid caused. She heard the sound, whirled to her right, and collided with the other Padawan.

“Opposite corners,” the Master barked.

Fiach moved back to her corner. She rubbed her palm along her tunic. Her hands were perspiring, and her lightsaber almost slipped from her grasp. Dropping it while fighting alongside the other Padawan would be humiliating.

She wished she had her Master’s patience. She still had so much to learn. Try as she might, she could not penetrate the other Padawan’s devotion to the exercise. It was their battle and therefore their challenge. There was no room for Fiach in the equation, she was surplus to requirement.
 

Fiach Dubh

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“The Jedi are selfless. They only care about others.”
―Anakin Skywalker to Chancellor Palpatine


JEDI TRAINING DOJO

The darkness was total. Not even a hint of light penetrated the hood she wore over her head. Unlike a blindfold, that allowed for normal hearing, sound was muffled. Fiach balanced on her feet, kept her training lightsaber in a defensive position, and concentrated. Without sight or clear sound, she was obliged to rely entirely on the Force.

She moved to her left, whirled, and struck out with her lightsaber. It passed through empty air. She sensed she’d been close but that counted for little to Fiach.

Off to her left, she heard a buzzing sound, and the clatter of metal hitting the floor.

“Point,” the Master said loudly enough for both Padawans to hear.

Fiach felt a trickle of sweat slide down her back. The hood was hot from her breath and she gripped her lightsaber more firmly. The other Padawan in this training exercise had already destroyed three seeker droids. Fiach hadn’t felled one.

“Remember your purpose,” the Master intoned.

Fiach heard not just what the Master said, but what they meant. She could not speak for the other Padawan but Fiach knew she had lost her focus – and the Master clearly did too. The purpose of the exercise, Fiach knew, was cooperation. It did not matter how many seeker droids she destroyed or how many were taken down by the other Padawan. They would be judged on how they worked together. They would have to read each other’s intentions through movement, instinct, and the Force. They would have to be generous, reaching out to each other to reveal their intentions.

But how could she reach out to someone who fought only for themselves?
 

Fiach Dubh

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Her fellow Padawan focused on the probes and ignored Fiach. A skilled fighter, the other Padawan was single-minded in their purpose. Every particle of their being seemed focused on victory. It made them one of the best lightsaber fighters in the Temple. Far better than Fiach, who was beginning to feel inadequate by comparison.

Faintly, Fiach heard the other Padawan’s footsteps behind her, and heard their foot slide as she lunged. Another buzz, another clatter of metal.

Fiach gritted her teeth. The other Padawan was known to have extraordinary promise. Now they were proving their value and showing up Fiach in the process.

A feeling of inadequacy surged inside Fiach, driving out her connection to the Force. Rather than rely on the Force, Fiach listened intently for the slight stir in the air that the seeker droid caused. She heard the sound, whirled to her right, and collided with the other Padawan.

“Opposite corners,” the Master barked.

Fiach moved back to her corner. She rubbed her palm along her tunic. Her hands were perspiring, and her lightsaber almost slipped from her grasp. Dropping it while fighting alongside the other Padawan would be humiliating.

She wished she had her Master’s patience in these situations. Her own reserves - which were usually so plentiful - seemed to evaporate like water in the Dune Sea when it came to these exercises. She still had so much to learn. Try as she might, she could not penetrate the other Padawan’s devotion to the exercise. It was their battle and therefore their challenge. There was no room for Fiach in the equation, she was surplus to requirement.
 

Fiach Dubh

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They started forward again. Fiach moved slowly, reaching out to the Force to indicate where the seeker droids were flying. She heard another clang as a further seeker droid hit the floor.

“Trust your partner as well as the Force,” the Master called out. “Aggression and competitiveness have no place in this exercise.”

Fiach felt the other Padawan move slightly nearer to her and wondered if this signalled a change.

Yet she still felt nothing from the Padawan. Another seeker droid hit the floor, and Fiach’s feeling of failure blossomed and drove out her caution. She made the decision to work alone.

Buzz, clang! A seeker droid hit the floor as Fiach dropped to one knee and made a horizontal sweep. She rolled to her left, then swung upward. Clang! Another droid hit the floor. Why should she wait for the other Padawan’s cooperation while they simply destroyed all the droids by themselves? Fiach did not want to look an inadequate fool.

Fiach twisted, lunged, and attacked again. She heard the other Padawan’s breathing and the faint noise of nimble footwork as they did the same.

Within a couple of minutes, the two of them had destroyed every seeker droid in the room.
 

Fiach Dubh

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Fiach felt she atoned for her earlier lack of success as she removed her hood. They had defeated the probes in what must be a new record. The other Padawan looked elated as they removed their own hood. They bowed to each other, then turned to face the Jedi Master.

“You have both failed the exercise. I will see you individually later.” The Master’s tone was stern and they left the room quickly.

An hour or so later, Fiach was just leaving a class when she was summoned to meet the Master back in the dojo.

“I know you can fight,” the Master told her. “You’ve proven yourself time after time. That was not the point of the exercise, was it Padawan?”

“I know,”
Fiach admitted. “But they–”

The Master cut across Fiach’s words. “We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. I am aware of your partner’s. And the exercise was for you to discover them. You merge with their strengths and cover their weakness. And they do the same. Together, the two of you are stronger than as individuals, yes?”

“They did no better than I did,”
Fiach said. She realised instantly she sounded petulant, but she couldn’t help herself. She still blamed the other Padawan for their failure. It was their single-mindedness that meant Fiach could not partner with them.

“We are speaking of you, not them. Remember, Fiach, the fear of looking like a fool is never a reason to do something. Or not do it. It is a fear born in weakness.”

Fiach nodded. She knew better than to continue to challenge the Master and – deep down – she knew they were right.
 
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