How Did Obi-Wan Manage to Defeat Darth Vader?

vader vs kenobi

We have seen a lot of different battles between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, but one of the things that we saw during ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series was the fact that he defeated his former apprentice decisively. These weren’t even flukes on the part of Obi-Wan because he simply defeated Vader in two of their four duels. His most impressive win was in the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series. So, how did Obi-Wan defeat Darth Vader?

In all of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s wins against Darth Vader, he used the biggest advantages that a Jedi has over a Sith Lord. He first defeated Anakin using his discipline and fundamentals against him. In ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ he defeated Vader by tapping into his inner harmony with the Force.

Even though we often see Darth Vader as an unstoppable force, it is important to note that the Sith Lords aren’t invincible, especially when the Jedi use their biggest weaknesses against them. In that regard, Kenobi’s wins against his former apprentice indicate how a true Jedi was always stronger than a Sith Lord. So, with that said, let’s look at how Obi-Wan Kenobi defeated Darth Vader. 

Could Obi-Wan have beaten Darth Vader?

If there was something that we know about Darth Vader, it’s that he has always been a feared presence that no one during the reign of the Empire would dare to cross. That’s because he was always shown as an unstoppable machine that no other Force user in the galaxy except for Emperor Palpatine could easily outclass. But that wasn’t always the case because he had his biggest rival in Obi-Wan Kenobi.


During the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan was revered as a Jedi Master who could outclass many different Jedi in a fight. He wasn’t the most powerful in his Force abilities or swordsmanship. But he was a true Jedi in every sense of the word. And he always fought like a true Jedi.

Of course, Anakin Skywalker was supposed to be the strongest Force user in the entire history of the galaxy before he lost his limbs and got burned to a crisp.

As Darth Vader, he was still a force to be reckoned with, even though he could no longer reach his full potential. And he was still stronger than Obi-Wan Kenobi when you only look at their abilities on paper.

In that regard, Obi-Wan shouldn’t have been able to defeat Darth Vader because the latter was always a lot stronger than him. But the thing about the Star Wars world is that power isn’t everything regarding a fight between two Force users. And that was why Obi-Wan was able to defeat Vader numerous times.

Kenobi’s first victory against Darth Vader was on Mustafar when Anakin had just turned to the dark side. Obi-Wan confronted him on that volcanic planet to find out what led him to fall to the dark side and why he had to betray the Jedi. Eventually, the two dueled. Anakin had the upper hand the entire fight because he was always the more skilled duelist and the stronger Force user.


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But Obi-Wan’s knowledge of Anakin’s style and tendencies allowed him to defend all of his former apprentice’s attacks successfully while he was biding his time for an opening.

Eventually, Kenobi got to the high ground first and already had the advantage in that duel. But Anakin thought he was powerful enough to negate Kenobi’s advantage, which led Obi-Wan to a victory when he sliced all of Anakin’s limbs midair.

In that win, Kenobi used his superior discipline against Anakin. He also used Vader’s hubris against him. So, while Vader was clearly stronger than Kenobi, the latter won that fight because he stuck to his discipline and fundamentals.

Then, in the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series, we once again saw just how much stronger Darth Vader was than Obi-Wan Kenobi. In episode 6 of that series, Obi-Wan’s skills and powers returned. But he was still no match for the sheer might of Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan, however, got strength in a manner that was always taboo to the Jedi. He had grown attached to Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa. Obi-Wan wanted to stay alive to protect the children, which could very well be the hope of the entire galaxy against the might of the Empire. As such, he used his attachments to Anakin’s children as his source of strength and inspiration to become stronger in the Force.

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In most cases, the Jedi are prohibited from having attachments because it is a gateway to the dark side. Attachments can lead to a Jedi doing unthinkable things out of fear of losing someone they loved, as happened to Anakin when he fell to the dark side.

But Obi-Wan’s attachment to Luke and Leia was unselfish because he only wanted to stay alive and become stronger so that he could protect the children, that ended up becoming the heroes of the galaxy.


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As such, Obi-Wan’s newfound power allowed him to overpower and defeat Darth Vader. Normally, he should have been weaker than his former apprentice. But his desire to protect Anakin’s children made him stronger in the right way. And that was why Kenobi is often regarded as the one true example of what a Jedi should be.

What form did Obi-Wan use against Vader?

Another reason Obi-Wan was always so successful against Darth Vader was because he used a lightsaber combat form suitable for such fights. Kenobi specialized in Form III: Soresu, the most defensive lightsaber combat form. This form allowed him to stay on the defensive throughout most of his fights until he found the right opening for a counterattack.

Kenobi’s Soresu was on full display against Anakin in the Battle on Mustafar when he stayed on the defensive most of the entire fight until he got the high ground. Because Anakin’s Form V: Djem So is a physically demanding style, he wouldn’t last too long in a fight against Obi-Wan, whose style allowed him to conserve his stamina. So, when the time was right, Obi-Wan capitalized.

In the fight in the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ season finale, it was clear that Kenobi started the fight off using his signature Form III stance. He was mostly on the defensive in that fight but was smart enough to switch on the offensive during certain stretches. 


Then, in the final part of that fight, he may have switched to the classic Form VI: Niman style that is most popular with the Jedi Order because it combines offense, defense, and the use of Force powers in a balanced way. Obi-Wan’s use of the Force in that battle and his more offense-oriented approach suggest that he may have switched things up by using Niman instead of Soresu.

Why was Vader so weak in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi?’

Many people think that Darth Vader was weak in that battle against Obi-Wan in the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series just because he lost to his former master in a proper fight. But let’s not forget that he was winning that battle before Kenobi had a moment of inspiration when he found himself in harmony with the Force.


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That means that it was not that Vader was weak, but it was more of the fact that Kenobi became stronger. On top of that, Obi-Wan also exposed a major flaw in Darth Vader’s armor, which is the armor itself. He targeted Vader’s life-support system in the final stretches of that fight. 

In other words, he didn’t simply overpower Darth Vader. Instead, Kenobi found a weak point that he could take advantage of. This was the same as when he used Anakin’s hubris as the weak point he exploited in their fight on Mustafar.

Obi-Wan Kenobi may have been weaker than Darth Vader on paper, but he always understood that power wasn’t everything. As such, when he found openings in his opponents’ armor, he made sure to take advantage of those. And that was what happened in both of his wins against Darth Vader.

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