Darth Vader is extremely powerful and skilled. With such a menacing and powerful enemy, it’s no wonder that so many opponents met defeat.
However, it’s important to differentiate Darth Vader’s fighting style as a Sith from Anakin’s fighting style as a Jedi.
I’m sure the latter greatly influenced his way of combat but the dark side of the Force and training under Sidious surely had something to add.
Darth Vader fought using a combination of all the fighting styles he knew, with preference to Form V (Shien and Djem So).
Of course, just like a true prodigy, he actually mastered all seven fighting styles.
In addition, he also got creative with the forms by infusing the dark side of the Force with moves of his own.
Overall, when he was Anakin, he was able to use Form IV but his use of this fighting style dwindled when he became Darth Vader.
Of course, I imagine the lack of limbs and his heavy encasement had something to do with this.
But one thing stays the same, even as Darth Vader, he liked a more direct and offensive approach to fighting.
As Vader, he was also more ruthless and killed with no remorse.
How Many Fighting Styles Did Darth Vader Know?
Even as a Jedi Padawan, Anakin Skywalker was known to be quite a virtuoso. He was talented with technology, the Force, and fighting.
In fact, he impressively used all the seven forms to his advantage.
He defeated Jedi Knights who were masters of different forms, proving again and again that his skills with the different fighting forms were unquestionable.
Forms Favored By Anakin
Anakin preferred straightforward and powerful fighting styles which is why he liked to use Form V. Form V or Shien and Djem So were also known as The Way of the Krayt Dragon or the Perseverence Form.
This form, in general, used powerful offensive moves and counterattacks. Shien, the basic variant of Form V, focused on blocking blasters; on the other hand, Djem So is for lightsaber duels.
When he fought against Count Dooku, we’re able to see how well he used Shien and then he switched to Form IV or Ataru. The flowing movements of Ataru allowed him to land a succession of blows.
He also made use of Jar’kai which is basically a blanket statement for the use of 2 lightsabers, but the form he used with 2 sabers was actually Niman or Form VI.
The different styles of fighting used by Anakin as a Jedi already signified how powerful he was even without the aid of the dark side.
Vader’s Own Moves
As mentioned above, Darth Vader was a master of all the forms and even devised moves of his own using technique and his Force powers. A few of his moves included the lightsaber boomerang, Force choke, and hype.
In fact, the lightsaber boomerang was even shown in the movies when he threw his lightsaber at Luke. The saber’s return to his hands wasn’t particularly shown but we see that he had his saber back again.
He is able to execute this move by making use of his tremendous control of the Force. Watch him use the lightsaber boomerang in the clip below.
Unfortunately, as Darth Vader he could no longer perform the same acrobatic moves he was able to do as Anakin. Of course, by this time he already lost his limbs and was fighting with his new robotic body as Darth Vader.
This caused some handicaps for him but he was actually able to use the Force to aid him. He was so powerful he could use his Force powers to levitate.
Aside from levitation, he was able to create a Force shield, and could even create a barrier to push away the force of the ocean waters around him. This is why his Form VI was so powerful, too.
Form VI or Niman made use of lightsaber fighting skills and the Force together. Aside from slashes and parries, the user can use Force push and lift. Another practitioner of Form VI was Darth Maul.
Still, even as Darth Vader, it looks like he still favored Form V the most. As can be seen in his first battle against Luke.
Vader simply overpowered Luke’s strikes. To Vader, the duel was too easy and he was simply toying around with his son.
We see that with Form V, he was grounded and merely blocked Luke’s strikes and used counter-attacks. I see this as a terrific choice for Vader considering his handicap, a more direct approach would be more efficient.
The Element Of Darkness
Turning to the dark side also meant surrendering to negative emotions such as anger, hate, and greed. Even when he was a Jedi, we already saw a glimpse of his emotional turmoil.
Once he unleashed all these terrible feelings, it actually aided him in battle by making him more powerful. The more anger he felt, the more forceful he was.
This is why Sidious always planted seeds of doubt in him. He wanted Anakin to completely surrender to his emotions by giving him no choice but to turn to the dark side.
The final nail in the coffin was when Sidious maliciously told him that he had killed Padme and their child. As Padme drew her last breath, Darth Vader took in his first sinister breath as a Sith.
With mastery of all fighting styles, precedence to Form V, tremendous Force abilities, and heightened powers due to the dark side, Darth Vader’s fighting style was practically impenetrable.