As I spend some time reflecting (ha!) on what direction I want Never Tell Me the Pods to go, I couldn't stop thinking about the different podcasting styles of the various podcasters I have learned from. As with all things, this made me think about Star Wars. What follows is a description of four podcasters I have learned from, as well as an analysis of what styles (imperfectly) map to them.
Form III, or Soresu, sometimes known as the Way of the Mynock (!) is a style that is focused on pure defense. In my time studying with Master D'Amato, I have noted the lengths he goes to in making sure his guests are comfortable and feel included. While he can be quite clever and improvisational, Master D'Amato is actually quite measured in what he chooses to project, and can weather almost anything that guests throw at him. A careful awareness of his own privilege, mixed with his own empathy for guests and listeners, makes Master D'Amato a formidable podcaster indeed.
Darth Kuhl is a devotee of Form II, known to practitioners as Makashi and also referred to as the Way of the Ysalamiri! Form II is an older form that hearkens back to classical radio dramas from before the Clone Wars. Though many see Makashi as reserved and aristocratic, Darth Kuhl's personal equality-focused style of Form II relies on passion and is extremely well-served for one-on-one sparring. Darth Kuhl's techniques privilege self-expression – through this, her chains are broken.
Many podcasters find holding their own against Master Coan to be a formidable task. Brash and unpredictable, Master Coan's Form V excels at both deflection and redirecting the energy of fellow performers in unexpected directions. Unaware opponents can be caught off guard by Djem So's solid verbal blocks and parries, which transition smoothly into overwhelming counterattacks and ripostes. Master Coan's podcasting style enables him to flourish in a variety of situations.
Agile and quick-witted, Darth O'Mara is the epitome of Form IV, or Ataru. Opponents of Darth O'Mara find him absolutely impossible to pin down – he can transition from pathos to comedy in the blink of an eye. Accordingly, Form IV plays to Darth O'Mara's strengths by enabling fast-paced transitions to a variety of topics. Darth O'Mara has possibly the fastest response time of any podcaster I have ever observed, and his style always makes for a dynamic, kinetic experience for the listener.
Though I have yet to master even Form I, I aspire to incorporate aspects of all of the above podcasters into my own podcasting style. When the time is right, I will study Niman, or Form VI. Occasionally derided as the "dilettante's" lightsaber style, the Way of the Diplomat is perfect for someone still learning about his own abilities, and without a great deal of background in performance. And I would be remiss if I didn't admit my own aspirations to master the dual-wielding techniques of Jar'Kai!