If you're a fan of the Star Wars prequels, then you know that Count Dooku is one heck of a lightsaber duelist. He's so skilled, in fact, that he was able to best both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in separate duels.
So what makes Count Dooku such a skilled warrior? For starters, he's incredibly fast and agile owing to his study of Makashi. He's able to move and strike with lightning speed, which makes it very difficult for his opponents to keep up. He's also incredibly precise with his strikes, able to hit his opponents in their weak spots - which explains his unique lightsaber hilt and stance which is more akin to real-world fencing.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about Count Dooku's lightsaber skills is his ability to anticipate his opponents' moves. He seems to always know what they're going to do next, and is able to counter their attacks with ease. This makes him a very dangerous opponent, and someone that should never be underestimated.
Dooku's allegiance was also an interesting departure from the classic evil Sith we'd seen so far on screen. At first, he served as a representative for independent systems before eventually becoming a Sith Lord called Darth Tyrannus.
Who played Count Dooku?
The famed duellist was portrayed on screen by renowned actor Christopher Lee. This stalwart of classical theatre has ventured into many fantastical roles such as Dracula, Saruman and of course, the count. Christopher Lee's experience as an actor actually informed Count Dooku's duelling style: he brought cinematic swordfighting expertise to the movies and helped shape a new presentation of saber combat on screen.
What's more, this agile but refined style was perfectly believable in the hands of the wizened actor. Though the films used CGI and body doubles to replace Christopher Lee in scenes, his influence is still very clear and it comes across as natural that an older duellist could sustain this minimal effort style of fighting.
What made Count Dooku's Lightsaber unique?
Count Dooku's lightsaber is a thing of beauty. The curved hilt is unique and the sleek design is both practical and stylish. The fact that it is red is also important as it portrays visual clues about Dooku's allegiance. Despite his initial comments on the dark and light situation, red is unarguably the the colour of the Sith.
The lightsaber is a powerful weapon and it is clear that Count Dooku is a master of its use. The fact that Count Dooku uses a curved hilt lightsaber is significant.Not only does this design mean he's seperated himself from the traditionalism of the Jedi order, but it also references his poise and refinement, making it easier to catch ripostes against attackers. The design of the hilt is also practical. It is easier to grip and control a curved hilt saber than a traditional straight hilt one.
What lightsaber form did Count Dooku use?
Count Dooku was a master of Form II/Makashi, the second recognised saber style designed to combat other duellists. Unlike Shii-Cho, which had some blade-to-blade considerations, Makashi was specifically designed to overcome other saber wielders and the unique demands the powerful blades placed on users.
Makashi is focused on poise and control, using your attacks sparingly to exploit weaknesses and find opportunities. Duellists versed in this style could appear almost effortless, specialising in using speed to catch foes out and disarm them.
Count Dooku truly exemplifies the style. His saber is built around it and his very physical presence embodies it, standing tall and regal with a side-on fencing stance.
If you'd like to up your own duelling saber game, why not try out some Makashi moves? Use a side-on stance and utilise lots of jabs, feints and parries with a view to catching your opponent's saber and turning it away to reveal an opportunity.
While his curved hilt was instantly recognisable, it's the meaning behind it that really matters. Use our Saber Builder to forge your own saber style and do something different to the Jedi (and Sith!).
(Image from Flickr user Crosa under 2.0 CC license.)