Ahsoka Is a Better Teacher Than Obi-Wan — There, I Said It

 

  • Ahsoka’s approach as a teacher in Ahsoka Episode 3 differs from the traditional Jedi methods, emphasizing a personal and direct exchange with her apprentice Sabine.
  • The Jedi’s impersonal and superiority-based teaching methods are criticized, with Ahsoka’s approach highlighting the importance of a connected and balanced relationship between master and apprentice.
  • Sabine’s training under Ahsoka benefits from the latter’s open-mindedness and broader understanding of the Force, allowing for a more dynamic and effective learning process.

In “Time to Fly,” the third episode of Ahsoka, Sabine Wren’s (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) Jedi training is already started under the tutelage of Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). The whole thing has been rather controversial up until now, mostly because Sabine isn’t Force-sensitive (or at least she hasn’t displayed any predisposition so far) and Ahsoka also isn’t an actual Jedi, but the pair seems to be on to something, because they have certainly developed good dynamics over the last episode. Though master-and-apprentice dynamics are certainly important, this can mostly be attributed to Ahsoka’s approach as a teacher, which is different from those we’ve seen previously in Star Wars.


Ahsoka Has a More Personal Approach Than the Jedi Ever Did

Rosario Dawson in Ahsoka
Image via Disney+

The Ahsoka we meet on the new series sure feels a lot different from the young Snips from The Clone Wars (voice by Ashley Eckstein), but for all the promise she showe as an apprentice, she is turning out to be just as good a master — even if not a Jedi. Being a teacher isn’t easy (yours truly would know — he’s one, too), but Ahsoka shows a lot of promise in “Time to Fly” for some reasons.

The most important part of the episode sees Ahsoka and Sabine doing an exercise that’s very reminiscent of the one Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) does with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) aboard the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope, but it’s by far an improve version. As we know, Obi-Wan instructs Luke to deflect blasts from a training droid while wearing a helmet with the visor down. Ahsoka tells Sabine to do the same, but, instead of the droid, she takes a striking position herself and challenges Sabine to pay attention to her senses to try and predict the next hit.

The scene in Ahsoka is reproduce almost verbatim (“I can’t even see, how am I suppose to fight?”), but the fact that she’s taking part in the exercise too is extremely important because of the direct exchange with her Padawan. When Han Solo (Harrison Ford) says “Good against the living, that’s something else,” he’s really taunting Obi-Wan and Luke, but he does have a point. Direct exchange between teacher and student is essential to develop the learning dynamics from both sides and create a bond between them. For the Jedi, this should be even easier given that a master only has one apprentice at a time, but they always forbade personal connections to a point in which masters usually only reproduce discourse even when taking direct part in their apprentices’ training.

Part of the struggle is finding the right way to deal with every student, and that’s what the episode is all about. While we may usually think about the process of teaching as a vertical one (in which the teacher speaks and the student listens), it often works best when the relationship between the parts is more linear or horizontal. The student is indee going to learn more, but the teacher is also suppose to come out with something new, usually from observing the student. This is also a learning process for the teacher, and the fact that Ahsoka is willing to take part in it from the start shows she’s already more open than most in the Jedi Order ever were.

Ahsokas Methods Highlight One of the Problems With the Jedi

David Tennant as Huyang and Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka in 'Ahsoka.'
Shortly after the training scene in the common area of Ahsoka’s T-16 Jedi starship, she expresses some frustration to Huyang (David Tennant) in the cockpit, to which he replies that, indeed, Sabine would’ve never been considere a suitable candidate by the Jedi Order, but that Ahsoka does “come from a long line of non-traditional Jedi.”

While the story of her Jedi lineage is something else entirely, it does highlight why Ahsoka has so much potential as a master.

Over the centuries, Jedi training became somewhat impersonal, devoid of connection between master and apprentice. This is for two reasons: First, masters were expected to have multiple apprentices during their lifetimes like Dooku (Christopher Lee/Corey Burton) did with Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Rael Aveross. Second.

the Jedi were just too numerous, and eventually, the need to train this many people resulte in more “artificial” methods. In the Prequel Trilogy, for example, we barely see masters and apprentices training together, but they’re always making snarky comments in missions and battles.

That’s why we see Padawans and Younglings training with droids so often — yes, it’s important that they share time with beings their age, but it’s also essential to establish a connection with one’s master because that is the defining relationship in a Padawan’s path. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) share a sparring session, but even then it’s clear they have a vertical kind of relationship. We can understand Anakin’s frustration because he just isn’t like his master, and nor should he try to be. When he gets his apprentice, Anakin is more worried about making sure Ahsoka can think for herself instead of trying to become a perfect Jedi. He trains Ahsoka to deal with actual living beings despite being in a war against a droid army, and that makes a huge difference when learning. That’s why Ahsoka herself developed her hands-on approach when training Sabine.

What Does All This Mean for Sabine’s Training?

ahsoka-sabine-lightsaber

In the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars, there are multiple times we see Anakin taking action about something and Obi-Wan criticizing it, it doesn’t matter if Anakin was still a Padawan or already a Knight. Of course, students should obey their teachers, but the teachers need to pay attention to students’ input, too. Obi-Wan rarely paid attention to Anakin during training, and Anakin only got through to his master out of sheer spite sometimes, as Obi-Wan was all about “standard Jedi protocol,” as Huyang would say.

Ahsoka resists this notion at first, but she finally gives in and lets Sabine take the lead too (another tip by Huyang,) which is just as important as giving instructions. When Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) arrives with her starfighter squadron to chase them.

Ahsoka allows Sabine to take the lead in the strike and gives her the conditions to hit the enemies.

Anakin provides Ahsoka with openings and opportunities like this many times and even trains her to fight multiple adversaries in Tales of the Jedi, which proves important when Order 66 is issue sometime later.

Sabine is in the hands of a teacher who’s much more open and has a broader understanding of the Force than the Jedi did, despite Ahsoka’s insecurities. It’s normal for a teacher to feel this way because guiding someone else’s learning process is a huge responsibility.

Letting go of their hands is always the hardest part for any master (as Master Yoda wisely puts it in The Last Jedi), but if Ahsoka listens to Sabine as much as Sabine is expecte to listen to Ahsoka, both will be all the better for it.

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