I have mentioned the physical manifestation of energy of Force users in the past, the really neat stuff that gets people’s attention. But that, as with martial arts, is only a small portion of the whole. Another aspect of Force users, something that gives them serious advantages in their dealings with other beings, are their superior senses. And again, the origins of that can be found in the martial arts.
While sparring, a combatant eventually picks up on an opponent’s tendencies – a hitch before a punch, looking where he’s striking, a preference for one technique over others. In time, this can develop into a heightened perception which is applicable to social situations, employment, driving. Occasionally, a student might be blindfolded and asked to spar someone, forcing the student to focus on their own hearing or perhaps their sense of smell.
Advanced students can focus these abilities at will. In Star Wars, the senses of sight, sound, and smell are so highly developed among Force Practitioners that they are able to use Farsight and Force Sight, they can feel what is happening a great distance away and they can tell if a person is good or bad, happy or sad, open or cryptic on sight. Precognizance, the ability to anticipate actions before they occur, is often a final level of achievement for martial artists. Force users have it, too. One could suppose Yoda’s ability to sense future events is a huge extension of that gift.
The ability can be magnified through meditation – the technique of using breathing to focus the mind. Meditation can also be used to slow bodily functions – cardiac and respiratory functions among the basic. For the more dedicated, brainwaves. Martial artists are often able to mask their presence to a limited extent. In the East, the health of the body can also be explored; in sensing disease or other physical flaw, and eventually feeling the health of a patient’s body.
Meditation can similarly be used to improve fluidity through repetition until the transitions of technique and stance become tremendously fast. This can also be applied to other activities. Paul Molitor is perhaps the best example of speed in a technique in baseball; his tight, crisp, hip-rolling swing allowed him to lead the league in several batting categories during his forties. In the Star War universe forms 3 (Shii-Cho) and 7 (Vaapad) allow for dozens of blocks and strikes per second. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu, as masters of both styles, probably would have had nothing to fear from a direct attack by their troops.
It is also believed that focusing the mind on one simple, purely physical goal can also enhance the body’s natural ability. In the Star Wars universe speed, jumping, strength, and scream can all be enhanced with the Force to levels beyond anything the human body could be capable of. Instead of moving slightly faster than normal, they can move several times faster. An enhanced vertical leap becomes the grace to jump stories. Additional pounds become multiples of their body weight. A scream attack changes from something painful to the ears to a gale wind.
George Lucas, it should be remembered, was a student of Japanese film. The genre had a fascination with the samurai. The 1970s are also noteworthy for the Kung Fu films coming out of China, of which he must have been aware and with which much of the U.S. population was fascinated. He would have been a fool not to integrate aspects of both into his Jedi and Sith.