Fully training a Jedi takes many years, from the first, halting lesson in feeling the Force's power to standing before the council as a Jedi Knight. The journey is sometimes harsh and certainly never easy, since each student learns in his own time, and some lessons can be quite painful. The good teacher adapts to his student's pace and strikes a balance between compassion and discipline.
No two Jedi Teachers train apprentices in precisely the same way, nor does a single Jedi Teacher teach two different students the same lesson the same way, in the same order, and with the same expectations. Jedi Teachers from different areas have radically different approaches, brought about by their circumstances. Some train multiple students, some train only a single student. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses.
The Learning Process
Jedi training has changed and evolved since it first came into existence and will and must continue to do so. Training is at times very formal. There might be large classes of Force sensitive students learning under the tutelage of a single Master before being accepted as a Padawan by a Knight and privately trained. It is at times very informal, with the student being trained privately through his entire learning process by one teacher. At other times it is even haphazard with the student learning much on his own with only brief periods of training under a teacher.
Regardless of how it is done, the first and most critical lesson involves sensing how the Force interacts with the Universe. For most students, this is a question of exploring their sensitivity to the Force, of expanding their awareness to detect more then what their other senses show them.
The next lessons in the Jedi arts are extensions of the first lesson. Every Jedi student needs to learn how to use the Force responsibly and to avoid the temptations of the Dark Side. Putting the Force into the hands of someone with a weak grasp of morality and ethics is a recipe for disaster, and the Jedi have a responsibility to the Universe not to let students stray down the dark path. The Jedi seek to instill a sense of duty and honor in their students by teaching them about the way of the Jedi Knights, through stories of heroic Jedi of the past and through discussion of the Jedi Code. This basic training in Jedi Philosophy allows a Jedi to know what is expected of them and helps steer them from the dark path.
Physical conditioning and self-defense exercises go hand-in-hand with this early training. Using the Force can be physically taxing, and being a Jedi Knight can sometimes be outright exhausting. A Jedi builds up his endurance and coordination through a rigorous physical regimen. Self-Defense lessons are a major part of the exercises, since a Jedi, with or without formal training, frequently comes in conflict with scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells of the world. The self-defense drills begin with simple hand-to-hand techniques and usually culminate in practice with a sword and other weapons. Depending on the Teacher, the interval between stages of training can be brief or lengthy.
Throughout the learning process, a Jedi student learns to cast aside his preconceived notions of how the Universe functions, to see the flow of the Force and understand how it influences everyday life - to "unlearn what he has learned." Jedi Teachers should foster intuitive thinking, since it encourages students to experience the world around them through their feelings rather than through their senses, which can be deceived. The Jedi believe that the entire experience of being a Jedi leads up to the goal of becoming closer to the Force. The sooner a Jedi begins to explore the mysteries of the Force, the more they discover.
Once a Jedi Teacher takes on an Apprentice, or Padawan, the Teacher becomes solely responsible for the student's welfare and education. A Jedi Teacher can never take this decision lightly. He is effectively adopting a child (regardless of the Apprentice's actual age) and must train the Apprentice not only in the mysteries of the Force but also in day-to day life as an adult and a Force user, with training comprising all aspects of what it means to be a Jedi. For this reason, a Jedi without clear sense of self-identity makes a poor Teacher.
Many factors influence the selection of an Apprentice. First, the Teacher needs to be aware of the student's personality. Since the Teacher intends to spend the next several years of his life working closely with the Padawan, radically different personality types could interfere with the training process. The Teacher must be comfortable with the Apprentice's needs. If the Apprentice requires special attention and the Teacher is not willing or able to provide it, both suffer as a result. Conversely, a Teacher should not choose an Apprentice who offers them no challenges at all. The Teacher learns from the experience of teaching an Apprentice. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan had significantly different personalities, but were able to balance them against each other, with Qui-Gon's impulsiveness held in check by Obi-Wan's more measured approach, and Obi-Wan's desire to inflexibly follow rules tempered by Qui-Gon's compassion. Later, Obi-Wan's patience balanced Luke's eagerness, while Luke's excitement reminded Obi-Wan of the wonders of the Force.
A Jedi Apprentice learns the lessons he needs to know to become a Jedi Knight. Obviously, the Teacher must continue the student's training in how to use the Force, a lesson that goes on for the entire duration of the apprenticeship. The Teacher must also teach the apprentice how to wield the Force as a Jedi. Knowing when and how to use the Force is vital to a Jedi's development. The Teacher teaches appropriate use by discussion and demonstration. The Teacher explains the history of the Jedi and its members, supplementing those lessons with examples. Ultimately, the Teacher's job is to prepare the Apprentice for becoming a Jedi Knight able to move in the world independently.
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