The Fremen culture changes
significantly over the course of the Dune books. Given here
is a rough template of the pre-Atreides era Fremen common on
Arrakis during the Harkonnen
occupation. These are essentially the Fremen encountered at
the beginning of the book, Dune, but their culture already has
begun to change by the end of that book -- change in very significant
ways. Fremen Kempo, while not specifically discussed by Frank
can be derived from descriptions of Fremen history in conjunction
with their daily life and activities. The Fremen -- prior to
the arrival of the Atreides -- are a seminomadic people whose
tribal culture is well suited to the hostile planet and its
oppressive Harkonnen governors. Fremen
education consists not of formal schooling in specific subject
areas but of a total life training. A child is trained by all
members of the tribe from his earliest days until maturity.
The life and safety of the tribe depends upon each person's
ability to observe the water discipline of the sietch and to
know how to conduct himself on the dangerous open sands of Dune.
The Fremen are renowned
fighters, and Advantages like Combat Reflexes, Immunity to Pain,
and Toughness are common among their ranks. Because of the harsh
environment of Arrakis, most
Fremen with physical disadvantages do not survive, and even
mental disadvantages can be fatal if they led to acting without
considering the consequences. The Fremen are considered a worthless
race of people by the Harkonnen government.
Duty to the sietch, Intolerance of outsiders, and a lesser Status
are common traits. Most Fremen are vicious in battle and their
duels are to the death, not first blood.
The life of the desert leaves very little time to put on weight.
Many Fremen are Skinny, and none of them are overweight. Due
to life in a stillsuit, most Fremen also have a strong body
odor which is mildly offensive to non-Fremen.
All Fremen are addicted to the drug, melange.
All Fremen possesses a high proficiency in Desert Survival ,
Camouflage, Stealth, Knife Throwing, Sandworm Riding , and the unique Fremen martial arts
style: Fremen Kempo.
Fremen do not use Force Shields, as they a enrage sandworms and are
prone to malfunction in the desert. This skill and its corresponding attack styles are not
normally available to Fremen.
This is the martial art
of the Fremen natives to Arrakis.
Almost unknown to the general population of the Imperium, Fremen
Kempo is a dynamic combat style. Its roots are found in the
ancient teachings of predecessors of the Zensunni wanderers
who first colonized Arrakis. There
are dozens, if not hundreds, of different branches of the style,
from "soft" styles similar to ancient T'ai Chi to
"hard" styles not unlike kickboxing, and numerous
variations in between as the various Fremen sietches personalize
their own style. A mixed bag of the extremes is described here.
There is a considerable body of legend around the Fremen and
their role in the Imperium history. Their ferocity in battle
is unrivaled in the galaxy.
The Fremen weapon of choice is the crysknife,
a knife made from the tooth of a sandworm. It is considered most sacred by the Fremen. The
tip, the hollow once occupied by the tooth's nerve, customarily holds a small amount of
the most deadly poison available, most often a mixed derivative of the native desert
plants. Fremen usually attempted to avoid killing a respected enemy with the tip of the
blade; poison was considered a weapon more suitable for use against animals than humans.
Other weapons included the kindjal, a curved, double-bladed short sword, short sticks,
staffs, weighted chains, and whips. Weaponless combat also plays an important part in this
style, with strikes, locks and throws being used.
Training is very intensive, designed to develop flexibility and
speed more than strength.