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Philosophies, Disciplines and Stances!
Wed May 24, 2006 04:18 (XFF:

Scanning the courtyard, Harin decided that the game had done the job. The trainees looked slightly red faced, and a couple of them were stopping to double over and pant slightly. Yes. He'd let it go long enough. With that in mind, Harin moved himself into a position where he would become a target from the Aethan'Tar holding the ball, taking the chance, the young trainee aimed at Harin, and the Sei'Tar fluidly caught the ball. It made a loud smack as it entered his hand, but the Cairhienin refused to let out so much as a wince. He addressed the Aethan'Tar, summoning them back into a huddle, so he could better talk to them whilst they caught their breath. "There will be no need for a stretch today, since what we are going to do isn't exactly strenuous. But I highly suggest that those of you who didn't make sure you do in future. Other lesson teachers won't be so kind as to provide a game to warm you up, and I assure you from personal experience: demanding swordplay performed without a proper warm-up and stretchÖ it isn't pretty.

"With that out of the way though, I will now talk to you about philosophies. As dull or as pointless as it might sound, these are essential for combat. It gives you your direction and motive. There are two main philosophies: The Void and the other remains without a name. The Void, as I'm sure many of you will know Ė" Harin tried not to let his glance fall to Sirestes; this part was probably going to be hard for him if he didn't chose the nameless way. Harin knew little about it, other than what he could gather from the small talk he seldom had with Novices Accepted and Aes Sedai. His last sentence having unintentionally trailed off, Harin started afresh. "The Void is a state of peace. Utter calm within the mind. Some say they form a flame in their mind and burn away their emotions. This is the most commonly used method, so its best to stick to it." Harin winked.

"It isn't easy, but when fighting, it can control any emotion. You and your sword are one, you fight together." Harin remembered how stupid that had sounded in his own lesson, and so said nothing of the rolling eyes he could see in the crowd before him. "There is no other way to explain it really, just form a flame in your mind and feed your thoughts to it until you have silence. Then you will see what I'm talking about." Harin smiled at them, knowing that when they got the hang of it, they would say the same thing. "The nameless philosophy demands that you utilise your emotions, and fight with them. Some Gaidin look upon this as reckless; that emotion clouds the mind and whatnot. I guess the same could be said for me, but I would argue that perhaps your emotion might run out, and then your stuck. But it suits those people who don't want to ditch all their emotions, and I have seen it work, so don't feel you are hindering yourself by which choice you make.

"Now think about which one of those you would fight with, you will have time to decide later. For now, listen to the disciplines you can follow. In total," he began, now recalling the trouble he'd had, being made to listen to a couple of hundred things in a row, "there are five disciplines." There were a couple of minor sighs. He chuckled inside. "The first of the five is called Scales of Power. As you could probably guess, this discipline requires you to overpower your opponent. It requires strength and is probably better suited to some of you bigger, stockier Aethan'Tar.

"The second I will teach is my own chosen discipline. It has an odd name: "Mo'kai'la but I assure you, that isn't why I picked it." A couple of chuckles from that, at least, even if only half hearted ones. "In order to master this discipline, you must become a master of the forms. I will show you some forms for later, and explain more about them, but know that each form is a specific movement or set of movements to attack with in a fight. To master this form is to know which form counters which, flows into another, and essentially fight with the forms. This is, perhaps, one of the more difficult disciplines, but others argue not.

"The Way of the Wind is the name of the next discipline. It requires that you are nimble and agile. To add to that, you must be relaxed whilst in battle and this will allow you to attack quickly and also permits that you can talk to your opponent, jaunt them and tease them. Another is called The Path of Water, and this discipline follows the laws of water itself. It reacts to its surroundings, as water might change shape to fill a new container. To use this, you must flow, all your movements fluidly striking. This is less about attacking and more about re-directing the attacks of your opponent to make a strike.

"The final discipline is called, Thunder on Ocean. This discipline requires a great deal of patience from the user, and a good, strong stamina too, since this discipline can usually see battles going on for long periods of time. Using this discipline you are able to hold off your opponentís attacks. Whilst doing this, you are able to look for a weakness, a flaw in their fight style and then once you have the chance, you utilise this imperfection and strike. Its said that this is similar to Path of Water." Having finished the talking part of the lesson, Harin gave them a while to ponder on which philosophy and discipline they were going to chose. It was important they picked on which suited them, since it would effect the rest of their lives, probably. Harin picked up a set of bundled lathes from the pile which they'd later be using, and tested the shoddy balance on it. Having spent time using a longsword it felt so peculiar using an unbalanced weapon.

"Okay," he shouted after they'd had long enough to ponder it. "Hopefully you've found your philosophy or discipline by now, and you can tell me about them in a minute. If they truly are suited to you, you'll be able to remember and tell me all about which one you picked after I've shown you the basic stances. Now. As with the disciplines, there are five basic stances. To quickly clarify, your Strong side, is literally the same side of the body as which hand you write." Not always true, but it made little difference. Instinct would inform them which their strong sides were. "Similarly, your weak side is the side of your body opposite to which you would write with. And if you don't write, improvise." He grinned at his own amusing comment, a couple of trainees chuckling again. Perhaps even the same one or two. Harin hid his grimace at the thought.

"Now, onto the basic stances. All forms lead from these, and into these. So you must learn them and get them as perfectly performed as possible. The first is called Los'Val, the forward guard. You take hold of the sword in both hands," Harin demonstrated with the lathe he'd picked up, "and hold it on your strong side. The sword is level with your ear, ideally, it has a slight diagonal rise, and is pointing to your opponent." Harin, having adopted the position, stood back to a neutral position, and began to explain the next. "Taer'Val is known as the straight guard and to adopt this stance you simple grip the sword with both hands, and ensure the hilt is level with your waist. The sword is pointed upwards, towards your opponents throat.

"Next is Mosiev'Val," once again, he moved fluidly into the stance, turning himself so that his audience might better see it, "this is the opposite of Taer'Val, really. Your hilt is in the same position but the sword is pointed instead at his feet or ankles. Now," he adopted Rahien'Val, the sword above his head and sloped upwards. "This is a very open stance, so beware. Your arms are slightly bent as you hold the sword overhead, and you must ensure your sword is angled up. If not, you let it fall down your back and risk being disarmed, or not being able to bring it down for a quick enough strike. This slash would be aimed at the gap between an opponents eyes.

"Finally, Ji'Val. The blade is held by both hands on your strong side, as you can see," he'd instantly leapt to take on this stance, "and must be level with your waist. The sword is held low and on the side, and the blade must be pointed backwards and down, this is quite important." Harin threw down the lathes since he'd finished, and addressed the group once more. "Right, now. First things first, you are going to come and grab a set of bundled lathes. Then you are going to come and tell me which form and discipline you have picked, or are torn between. Then you will find yourself a space on the courtyard, and I will shout out all the stances to you, and you will perform them as I did. Okay? Off we go then."

OOC: To clarify, because sometimes I suck at wording these things. Pick a set of lathes, tell Harin about your choice(s), then go and find a space. Once you've done that find yourself a space and perform the stances as Harin shouts them. He will do this for a while, since you all need to get used to them and he will correct any errors he sees. Remember that imperfection and failure is much more interesting than the character who gets it right every time. 'Kay?

With that in mind, I apologise for the belatedness of this post. I was stuck in revision for my English Literature GCSE, along with having to make some last minute changes to the post. So, can I ask for aboutÖ 600 words? And the next part will go up in 6 days time, which I make to be the 30th. Nice to see a good effort on all of your intro posts. ^-^ They were fab guysyouíre youíre a bit confused as to what the stances look like go here for descriptions and shiny pictures.

(Normal word requirement courtesy of Jeremy being boring =P )

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