Franck Herbert‘s Dune the universe as well as Denis VilleneuveThe 2021 adaptation is packed with intense melee combat. Due to the advent of Holtzman shield technology, high speed projectiles are repelled, justifying the need for the return of close range weapons and techniques. This is seen prominently in the fencing of characters like Duncan Idaho (Jason momoa) and Gurney Halleck (Josh brolin), but also during the last moments of the film via the martial arts techniques used by Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and his son Paul AtrÃ©ides (TimothÃ©e Chalamet).
In the film’s final scenes, Paul and Jessica are ambushed by Fremen warriors led by the enigmatic Stilgar (Javier bardem). Although the Fremen are known for their fighting prowess, Paul and Jessica manage to hold back Stilgar and land swift, stunning punches at his comrade Jamis (Babs Olusanmokun). The Fremen are taken by surprise as they find that the tables are quickly reversed, with Stilgar overpowered and Pual towering over the remaining unprotected Fremen with a Maula poison dart pistol. At this point, Stilgar calls Jessica a “strange woman.”
So what exactly is a strange woman?
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The term “Weirding” comes from a martial art in Herbert’s Dune universe known as the “Weirding Way”, a heavy movement fighting technique originally developed by the Bene Gesserit fraternity, requiring exceptional mastery of body and mind (referred to in Herbert’s novels as the control Prana-bindu, which derives from Sanskrit). Without this psychosomatic control, many things wouldn’t be possible for characters like Paul and Jessica, like subduing the Fremen or surviving the ordeal of Gom Jabbar.
As a member of the fraternity, Jessica was trained extensively in the Weirding Way, as are all members of the Bene Gesserit. As part of Paul’s mental and physical conditioning, Jessica taught him as much as she could about the Bene Gesserit techniques, not only in Weirding Way but also in The Voice. We see these masterful tactics in action during tense situations such as the escape of Paul and Jessica from captivity by Harkonnen soldiers inside an airborne ornithopter.
Those who mastered the control of Prana-bindu and the Strange Path could move at blinding speeds in close quarters combat using rapid movements stimulated by an individual’s shift in perception of space-time. This change brings an increased understanding of cause and effect relationships and therefore gives the practitioner the ability to predict the movements and vulnerabilities of his opponent. To the untrained eye, combat using the Strange Path can almost resemble teleportation, although it isn’t. However, the technique has its limits with the human body and mind, so it is only applicable from a distance of a few meters at best.
Paul and Jessica’s mastery of the strange path helped them in the first part of the Villeneuve adaptation. Yes Dune: part two Continuing to closely follow Herbert’s written universe, this fighting technique will become a big part of Paul and Jessica’s future. Paul’s spice-induced visions have already paved the way for an army of strange Fremen, and there is perhaps no more dangerous force in all of the known universe.
Feyd is the nephew of the evil Baron Harkonnen.
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