Star Wars’ Yoda mastered a Force power, which was the secret behind his fighting skills. Yet the Jedi often preached against the dangerous ability.
Jedi Master Yoda was as well-known for his battle prowess as he was for his wisdom, but his fighting skills stemmed from a dangerous Force ability: Force vision. Yoda used a fighting form of Force vision called Battle Precognition, a power that was known by a number of Force-sensitive individuals in Star Wars canon and Legends. However, Yoda actually preached against using this power, saying it’s dangerous — yet, he used it, and it was his greatest asset.
Jason Fry’s “Sharing the Same Face” from The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark shows Yoda’s Battle Precognition in action, as he takes down a unit of Separatist droids. This passage described the Force as carrying Yoda’s body “like a rushing river,” while the Jedi Master foretold the droids’ future movements.
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“Yoda let the Force flow through him, asking it to lift him up and give him the speed that age had long since taken away,” the passage reads. “He felt the Force’s energies around him and moving through him, carrying him along like a rushing river. The droids were no threat — he could see their every move before it happened, and there weren’t enough of them to overwhelm his awareness or his reflexes. Chuckling, he ran atop a coral branch above them.”
Although Yoda often used Force visions while engaged in battle, he also warned against relying on these premonitions. The Jedi believed that Force visions were not absolute, and could be interpreted in different ways. They were also wary of the ways emotions often clouded the interpretations and judgments of those experiencing Force visions, as it could easily lead to the Dark Side. Prior to Anakin Skywalker‘s fall in Revenge of The Sith, Yoda forewarned the Jedi Knight about the fear these visions caused him. “Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side,” Yoda explained.
A few individuals in Star Wars canon were capable of using a form of Force visions similar to Yoda’s Battle Precognition. Anakin used Battle Precognition as a way to stay one step ahead of his enemies as a Jedi and Sith. In the novelization of The Phantom Menace, Anakin used this ability while piloting a spacecraft during the Battle of Naboo. “[Anakin] could see what no one else could, what was hidden from all others,” the passage describes. “He reacted without thinking, responding to a voice that spoke to him alone, that whispered always of the future while warding him in the present.”
The Chiss species were also known to use a form of Force precognition to help them navigate space in the Unknown Regions, which helped them find and map temporary hyperlanes. Unfortunately, this skill faded as the Chiss aged, and its strongest users were children.
Several Jedi and Sith in Legends had small scale Force visions in the form of “feelings or senses.” Obi-Wan Kenobi had premonitions from the Force, experiencing them as a “small voice” that helped guide his actions, which was a skill he learned from Qui-Gon Jinn. Luke and Leia also sensed premonitions and warnings of dangers through the Force. A number of Legends‘ expanded universe characters such as the Echani, Darth Revan, Jedi Meetra Surik and Skere Kaan of the Brotherhood of Darkness used a form of Battle Precognition similar to Yoda’s.
Although Force visions were dangerous in the wrong hands, Yoda mastered these abilities by controlling his emotions. By keeping his mind clear, Yoda was able to use his Battle Precognition as an extension of the Force, rather than a path to the Dark Side.
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