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Institute for Jedi Realist Studies - The Jedi Way, Part 6

The Jedi Way, Part 6

The "Jedi Ethics" of Defense

Self-defense according to the Jedi must always comply with certain ethical imperatives. These are many and complex, but for our purposes we have devised situations. In these situations, each situation represents an ethical level of combat. The level rises as we proceed from situation A to situation D. Each situation consists of two men. The man on the left is the Jedi. The man on the right is any other person one might come across.

In situation A, the Jedi on the left, without provocation and on his own initiative, attacks the other man and kills him. Ethically, this is the lowest of the four levels-unprovoked aggression in the form of a direct attack.

In situation B, the Jedi does not directly attack the other man, but provokes the other man to attack him. It may have been an obvious provocation, such as an insulting remark or the more subtle provocation of a contemptuous attitude. In either case, when the other man is invited to attack and does so, he is killed. While the Jedi is not guilty of launching the actual attack, he is responsible for inciting the other man to attack. There is only a shade of difference ethically between situation A and situation B.

In situation C, the Jedi neither attacks nor provokes the other man to attack. But, when attacked he defends himself in a subjective manner, i.e., he takes care of only "number one," and the other man is killed or at least seriously injured. Ethically this is a more defensible action than the other two. The Jedi was in no way responsible for the attack, neither directly nor indirectly. His manner of defense, however, while protecting himself from possible harm, resulted in the destruction of another life form. AS you can see the result in all three situations- A, B, and C- is identical: A MAN IS KILLED.

In situation D, we have the ultimate in ethical self-defense. Neither attacking nor provoking an attack, the Jedi is attacked. Though he defends himself in such a way, with such skill and control that the attacker is not killed. And in this case he is not even seriously injured. Yet the attacker knows that he will get nowhere by attacking except to sooner or later hurt himself.

This last and highest level is the goal of all Jedi self-defense arts. It requires skill: the result of intensive practice of the technical means of defense devised by the Jedi. But it requires more than that! It requires an ethical intention. A Jedi must sincerely desire to defend himself without killing others. A Jedi's goal is to protect life. He must be well on the way toward integration of mind, body, force, of physical means and ethical motives. He will often have practiced various other disciplines. Breathing exercises and mediation are common means employed in the Jedi academy to further this integration? As we see then, at this ethical level, Jedi's emerge as disciples of Coordination, where a Jedi develops his own coordination of mind and body while helping his partner or partners to develop theirs as well. The practice of the Jedi then becomes a harmonious interaction between two or more people, fulfilling all Jedi's intention via translation of the highest ethics into vital and active modes of conduct.


Patience is a virtue all Jedi needs to learn; I cannot stress this enough. It is one of the first things you will learn, and one of the most important. If a Jedi is not patient, with his studies and with others, then the pull of the Dark Side increases. You want things quicker and easier, which is the way of the Dark Side. Many a Jedi have fallen because they believe that their Master is not teaching them as much as they need. They believe they are ready for more knowledge and tests, when in reality they forsake the most important lessons. You must work diligently on the lessons your Master gives you. Explore, learn, and discover every facet of the lesson; master it. Continue to do this through- out your training. You will be presented with more lessons as the time presents itself.

A Jedi must also be patient with others. Let us use an example: You are on a basketball, or football team. The coach is giving you a new play. It seems simple to you; you quickly learn it and perform it well. There is another player on the team who cannot get it. Every time you run through the play he makes a mistake- he just cannot seem to learn it. Now, you have a choice. You may choose to be angry with him and yell at him for not getting it right. Or, you may be patient with him, and try to help him understand it. I suggest you choose the latter. This way he'll probably understand it, you won't be angry, and you will have learned patience. Not to mention that the play will probably work better. You see, if you are patient with others, they will have a higher respect for you and a better opinion of you. You will have more friends, and strong friendships. You will also see things from their point of view, and you can benefit others. They can also help you on troubles you have. This begins to teach other virtues: Unity and teamwork. Be patient in every thing you do.

Ideals Of A Jedi:

These are the ideals, I have observed that Jedi should have!
1. Respect yourself. Without self-respect, you will never be able to respect anything.
2. Respect life. Life is what gives a Jedi his/her power, therefore it is to be cherished always.
3. Respect others. Respect all those around you, for they are part of the Force. Even enemies are part of the Force.
4. Respect Nature. "Intelligent life" is not the only life, and through the Force a Jedi may learn sources of wisdom from many places, not all seen as "intelligent" 5. Respect death. Death is part of the Force, since everything happens in cycles. The cycle of one life affects another, that is the way of things. The way of the Force.
6. Respect the Dark Side. He who does not respect his greatest enemy will BECOME his greatest enemy. With respect comes objectivity, insight, seeing how things are done and how to oppose them quickly and decisively.

Rules for Jedi Behavior:

First ask yourself this. Do you really want to be a Jedi? Think about why you want to be a Jedi. What appeals to you about the Jedi? Is it the fighting skills? is it the Force? If so, ask yourself if you could enjoy being a Jedi without either of these things. Does it still appeal to you? If the answer is no, you might prefer a different way of life, because every Jedi's goal is to accomplish things without resorting to violence or even using the Force. Take the combat and Force use away from a Jedi, and what you have left is responsibility, self-discipline, and public service. If you don't think you’d enjoy that. You might want to re-examine your decision to become a Jedi. It may not be what you’re looking for. While the rules here address a number of matters relating to understanding and mastering the Force, it is not entirely about knowing the Force. To know the Force, a Jedi must feel it, and writings are no substitute for personal experience. Conversely, a Jedi cannot learn polite and acceptable social behavior by experiencing the Force. Thus, the Jedi Code is a set of guidelines for understanding the Force without sacrificing good manners.

The majority of the Behavior rules in the Jedi Way are mealy guides to good conduct. Transgressions of these rules, while a cause for concern, should never be confused with with turning to the dark side. The rules contain a number of basic (if somewhat overlooked) instructions on day-to-day life.


One of the keystones of Jedi Behavior is self-discipline, and Jedi Masters should instruct their students in this tenet very early. Most of the lessons are no different from those taught to ordinary children, but as the student progresses, so does the complexity of the lessons. The Jedi student learns that self-discipline is far more important to a person who can wield the Force that it is to those who cannot even feel it's touch.

Conquer Arrogance:

Jedi are special, but their abilities to access the Force does not make them better then other people. A Jedi is a Jedi only because someone else has taken the trouble to teach him. A Jedi Knight is a Jedi Knight only because his Master determines that he cannot teach his student anything further. A Jedi Master is a Master only because he has discarded his own sense of self-importance and embraced the will of the Force. A Jedi is accepted or not based on his behavior. The Jedi who believes that he is more important then others only demonstrates that his opinion is to be ignored.

Conquer Overconfidence:

Many young Jedi students, on learning of the limitless potential of the Force, come to believe that they can accomplish anything. They take on tasks that are too big for them, not realizing that the Force is only truly limitless to those who have a limitless understanding. Scores of Jedi have failed at a great many things as a result of overestimating their control of the Force. Overconfident thinking is flawed because the Jedi does not take all possibilities into account. He may understand the task at hand, the support of his fellows, and the ramifications of his success, and he may have planned for unanticipated factors - but he has failed to understand his own capabilities. He has planned only for success, because he has concluded that there can be no failure. Every Jedi, in every task, should prepare for the possibility of failure.

Conquer Defeatism:

The opposite of overconfidence is defeatism: the belief that no effort, no matter how great, can possibly succeed. Though this may seem contradictory with the goal of conquering overconfidence, it amounts to a question of priorities. A Jedi should plan for success first, and failure second. The Jedi who plans excessively for failure expects to lose. Indeed, the Jedi who approaches each task as though failure is the most likely option puts forth only the minimal effort - enough to say that they tried.

Conquer Stubbornness:

A Jedi should be willing to accept defeat if the cost of winning is greater than the cost of losing. Do not see a fight as a choice between winning and losing. Every fight can have many , many outcomes. When you concentrate solely on winning - in fighting as in everything else - you sully your victory. Winning becomes worse then losing. It is better to lose well then to win badly. And it is always better to end a fight peacefully then to win or lose.

Conquer Recklessness:

Young Jedi in particular are always ready to test themselves and plunge into battle, reach out impulsively with the Force to move objects, or trick the minds of the weak-willed; such Jedi lack self-restraint. They perceive a goal and rush towards it, heedless of unseen dangers or other options. Learn to recognize when speed is NOT important. Race when being first IS important; move at your own pace at all other times. It is not necessary to always strike the first blow, to provide the first solution, or to reach a goal before anyone else does. In fact, it is sometimes vital to strike the last blow, to give the final answer, or to arrive after everyone else.

Conquer Curiosity:

It is unseemly for a Jedi to probe unnecessarily into the business of others. All beings are entitled to their privacy, and intruding gives them the clear message that privacy of others can be sacrificed to satisfy a Jedi's curiosity. Using the Force to discreetly uncover the secrets of others might be occasionally necessary, but it should never be a matter of course, for it causes distrust of the Jedi in general. Use the Force to satisfy the will of the Force - not to satisfy your own curiosity.

Conquer Aggression:

Jedi, especially while they are still training, confuse the meanings of attack, defense, and aggression. A Jedi can attack without aggression, especially if he acts without recklessness, hatred, or anger. A Jedi can even kill in self-defense if his opponent leaves him no choice. However, these occurrences should never become commonplace. To conquer aggression, even in combat, a Jedi must explore every other option - including surrender - before resorting to lethal force. The Jedi who regularly employs lethal force courts the dark side. Many who reach a certain level of expertise in fighting may look forward to an opportunity to use what they have learned. They think: "I'm just waiting for somebody to give me grief, so I can wipe the floor with them." Sometimes they get tired of waiting and actually become more belligerent and aggressive, in hopes of provoking someone into starting a fight. They have forgotten - or never quite accepted - that fighting skills are about self-defense, not about showing off what one has learned.

Conquer External Loyalties:

A Jedi is a Jedi, first, foremost, and only. For a Jedi to divide his attention between the will of the Force and the will of others is to invite disaster. Every Jedi must strive to excise external distractions from his life. For this reason a Jedi's loyalties should be to the Force,to the Jedi Order, to the Government he lives under, and to himself, in that order.

Conquer Materialism:

Jedi keep few personal possessions. Not only are such belongings a distraction from the study of the Force, but a Jedi's life may take them far away on short notice, and numerous possessions become burdensome.


Once a Jedi learns self-discipline, he can begin to accept responsibility for his actions. No Jedi who shuns responsibility should be trained, and no Jedi who embraces responsibility should be denied training.

Practice Honesty:

Honesty is the first responsibility of the Jedi. A Jedi can allow others to believe incorrectly, lead others to incorrect conclusions by playing on their suppositions, or stretch the truth if the situation demands it. A Jedi must always be honest with himself, his master, and the Council. A Jedi who is honest with himself about his beliefs and his motives finds responsibility to be almost second nature.

Honor Your Promises:

A Jedi who makes a promise should always be prepared to keep it or, failing that, to make amends. Thus, a Jedi should never make a promise he is not certain he can keep. Before making a promise, a Student should consult his Teacher, a Teacher should consult the Council, and the Council should meditate on the will of the Force. Deliver more then you promise. The best way to be always certain of this is to deliver much, even when you promise nothing.

Honor your Padawan:

Every Teacher has an awesome responsibility to his padawan learner in bringing him to the end of his training. A Jedi teacher must always remember that a Padawan is an individual who deserves respect. A teacher should not reprimand his Padawan in public, nor punish his Padawan for disagreeing with him. On the other hand, the teacher should praise his apprentice when he does well, especially in the presence of others. Doing this builds the Padawan's confidence and strengthens the bond between teacher and apprentice.

Honor your Teacher:

By the same token, a Padawan should endeavor to show respect to his teacher at all times, especially in the presence of others. A Padawan should not disagree with his teacher to the point of argument. In discussions with others, a Padawan should address only his teacher unless he is directly addressed. In all other ways, the Padawan should defer to the teacher and not invite censure. This spars the teacher the burden of apologizing to others for the students behavior.

Honor the Jedi Council:

Although the Jedi Council embodies the ultimate authority in the Jedi Order, it is not currently in existence. But always remember that when a Jedi speaks he speaks for the Council and all Jedi. This is an awesome responsibility, and no Jedi should abuse this trust. The Council and the rest of the Jedi must answer for the Jedi's words and actions, and it shows tremendous disrespect to put the council and other Jedi in an untenable position. When a Jedi makes a decision, the Jedi council must ratify and uphold those decisions. Thus, a Jedi Knight should never make the job more difficult for the council then necessary.

Honor the Jedi Order:

A Jedi's every action reflects on the entire Jedi order/group. Good deeds serve the reputation of the Group/Order. But poor behavior does incalculable damage. Every Jedi should try to remember that each person he meets might never have encountered a Jedi before. How he behaves establishes a first impression of the Jedi, as a whole, in the person's mind. When a Jedi behaves badly in public, an observer might think, 'If this Jedi is a representative of the whole Order, then plainly no Jedi is worthy of respect.' On meeting a second Jedi, who behaves better then the first, that same person might think’ Does this say that half the Jedi are good, and half bad?' On meeting a third Jedi, who behaves as well as the second, the person thinks, 'Was the first Jedi an exception, then?' In this way, only by the good behavior of several Jedi can the public be certain that poor behavior of one Jedi was unusual. Thus, it takes many Jedi to undo the mistakes of one.

Honor the Law:

For the Jedi to protect peace and Justice, they must be bound by those same tenets. No Jedi is above the law. A Jedi may break the law if he feels it is necessary, but he must then be prepared to accept the consequences of his crimes. Because the actions of each Jedi reflects upon the group as a whole. Jedi have a responsibility to the entire Order to avoid situations that leave them no choice but to break the law. Jedi who travel, must be careful. As laws change so to must your actions. There are many governments on this planet. Be mindful of who controls the laws of where you are and obey the laws of the land you are in.

Honor Life:

A Jedi should never commit murder, for any reason. When confronted with a life-or-death struggle, however, a Jedi may have to kill to complete his task. This is always unfortunate, because deliberately ending a life strengthens the dark side. However, if the cause is justified - if the Jedi is protecting others, serving the will of the Force, or even merely acting in self-defense - then the light side is equally strengthened. A Jedi should spend some of his daily meditation reflecting on every life he has taken, until he knows the loss of life was necessary. As always, if a Jedi is unsure of the will of the Force, he should consult his teacher or the Jedi Council. A Jedi never should assume that any sentient life she takes is no cause for concern. When a Jedi finds that he doesn't care that he has killed, then he finds himself on the path to the dark side.

Public Service:

While the Jedi exist to study the ways of the Force, they are allowed to exist because the serve the public interest. Were they unable to use the Force - indeed, if the Force did not exist - the Jedi would go on serving, because this is their mandate. The fact the Force is real, and that the Jedi are it's most devoted practitioners, only strengthens their resolve to use it in the service of common good.

Duty to the Government:

The Government of the country you live in and the Jedi Order are not the same, and the Jedi hold no authority in that government. Nevertheless a Jedi should serve that government. The Jedi should act to preserve a Just Government, to uphold it's laws and ideals and protect it's citizens, but the hold no rank in the Government hierarchy. The Jedi serve when asked and stand aside at all other times.

Render Aid:

A Jedi is obligated to assist those in need of aid whenever possible, and must be able to quickly judge the priority of doing so. Saving one life is important; saving multiple lives more so. This tenet does not require a Jedi to abandon other goals in every circumstance, but the Jedi must do their best to ensure that those in need of aid receive it.

Defend the Weak:

Likewise, a Jedi should strive to defend the weak against those who seek to oppress them, from one person suffering at the hands of another to an entire race held in thrall. A Jedi should always remember, though, that not all might be as it seems. The customs of other cultures should always be respected, even if they offend the Jedi's moral or ethical code. In every case, though, the Jedi should carefully consider the ramifications of his actions.

Provide Support:

At times, a Jedi must stand aside to let others render aid or defend the weak - even though the Jedi could perhaps do a better job. The Jedi should assist by word or by action as required by the situation, offering advice when asked for, warning when necessary and argument only when reason fails. Otherwise, the Jedi must remember that he wields a marvelous and potent tool in the Force, and he should be ready to use it on behalf of a good cause.