Thursday, 18 August 2016

7. Train Hard - Fight Easy

'This week we have had a guest writer and fight consultant who has very generously offered his skills in writing the fight scenes within this chapter. Randy Williams is an internationally renowned Wing Chun Master and published Author.' 

Raethal was training them hard. Their first week at the temple had been fitness orientated. Seventeen hour days of hand to hand combat, combined with running, crawling, swimming and climbing. Jachin had twisted his ankle on the fourth day but continued to plough through it with only the occasional grimace. The Iron Palm training had been hard on all of them.
“When you are practicing a highly evolved, tried and tested martial art such as this, the end result is that the techniques will work. You're going to hit each other from time to time, maybe even spill a little blood, but if you train hard you will fight easy!” Shouted Raethal across the practicing range.
“As soon as you have an opportunity to strike, take it! If something is coming towards you, bring it in and away from you with your guarding hand as you hit them with your attacking hand! Mind your footwork! If your opponent takes a back step rush him to his core and close the gap with violence!”
The shouts of these training maxims had started ringing in each of the students ears as they bedded down each night.

On the fifth day, the three pairs of students had spent the morning being split up and re-paired over and over again for hundreds of punching and blocking drills. After a short food break they now all faced an afternoon of full contact sparring. They had all been told to dress in their normal single suits and boots and to put away all gloves and head gear. The crash mats that had previously lined the floor had now been removed.
“Here are the rules – and believe me Brothers and Sisters, I hate rules.” Said Raethal as he paced calmly up and down the line of students.
“You will each fight your designated partners in individual rounds of three minutes each. I will step in and stop you only if there is something life threatening happening. The first contender to yield or be knocked out is the loser.”
“Sir?” Shouted Althea from her calm stance of attention. “I thought you said there would be rules?”
“Ha ha! Althea, dear Sister – they ARE the fucking rules!” Said the Master, beaming with delight.
Althea swallowed deeply and replied, “Yes Sir!”
Raethtal stopped and turned to face them all. “We begin in five minutes!” He shouted.

As the Master beat the ceremonial drum to signal the beginning of the match, the first two young men stepped into their respective doors to enter the circular ring, fully enclosed in transparent plasteel, which not only allowed the Master to watch all of the action through its rounded surrounding wall and from every angle above and below via monitors in the floor and ceiling, but also to hear the sound of every blow of the hands, feet, elbows, knees and head landing with bone-crunching thuds as they smashed into their targets.
Jachin, the smaller of the two boys, showed no signs of fear, knowing that he was outweighed and less experienced than his opponent, for he had all the confidence in his own strength, skill and cunning.  He entered the ring and danced lightly upon the balls of his feet, rolling his head from side to side and working his jaw as he flexed his cat-like muscles and threw punches that scudded through the air and snapped like whips.  Ibenjin calmly entered from the other side of the ring, his gaze fixed intently upon his opponent and Brother, his face expressionless and inscrutable.
Although there were to be no rules in this match, the two boys had become accustomed to a certain civility between fighters, and so approached each other, bowed and touched fists. At that exact moment, the cadence of the drum beat accelerated, and Ibenjin stepped back and let fly an angular Serpent’s Tail kick that lightly touched the smaller boy’s nose, but did not follow through.  “Remember, my friend, no rules,” he said quietly.
Having been thus humiliated, the smaller boy launched a blindingly fast chain of six straight vertical punches at the head of Ibenjin, who just as quickly parried each high-speed strike with a stream of slapping, chopping and wing-like deflections.  But as the last two punches extended, Ibenjin used his left to first palm-down parry Jachin’s right Vertical Fist and then used the same hand to whip-grab Jachin’s left punch out of thin air, using that arm to pull him into a devastating right Phoenix-eye Punch to the left temple, then immediately followed up by releasing his left grip on Jachin’s left arm while using his right to trap and hold his opponent’s left shoulder, in effect pulling him forward and into a palm-up Spade Palm attack to the throat, which Ibenjin quickly converted to a neck grab that pulled Jachin forward into a sharp headbutt that landed squarely upon the same left temple that had only just been punched a split-second earlier.  
Jachin crumpled to the floor and Ibenjin leapt upon him, straddling Jachin’s prone form.  Grabbing his opponent by the throat with his left hand, Ibenjin quite theatrically chambered his right elbow high in the air in preparation for a downward-arcing Hacking Elbow Smash that would surely destroy his semi-conscious foe, but he did not bring the blow down, for the Master had ceased to beat the drum, signaling that the match had come to an end.  Ibenjin released his grip on the throat of his defeated opponent and left the ring, his once expressionless face now showing signs of grief and a certain disgust, not for his opponent, but for what he had just been forced to do, knowing full well beforehand that his lesser-experienced adversary was no match for his own natural skills.

As the Gobots carried Jachin out of the ring and tended to his injuries, Leon and Welsen were called for their match.  
Leon entered first, and his audible gulp at the sight of Jachin’s blood upon the floor in the centre of the ring was amplified and echoed throughout the chamber.  Sweat was already dripping from his forehead, but it was more from nerves than any pre-fight warming up he had done.  Welsen also looked down at the blood with a sense of foreboding, and his eyes shifted from side to side. He dreaded having to unleash violence upon an ally, but realized it was a necessary evil to prepare him for the evil environment they would soon be thrust into.
To the sound of Master Raethal’s drum beat, the two fighters warily closed upon each other, bowed quickly and assumed their preferred right-lead strong side forward battle stances.  Although the cadence of the drum increased, neither fighter took the initiative immediately.  Instead, they began to circle each other in an anti-clockwise attitude, both having been trained never to walk towards the opponent’s rear hand and leg, which could deliver devastatingly powerful blows that could incapacitate the receiver in an instant.
Leon threw the first punch of the battle, a half-hearted pawing right jab that seemed only to test the water and possibly induce a counterpunch from Welsen, from which he could borrow the power, grab, parry or otherwise trap and use to his own advantage.  But rather than take the bait, Welsen merely leaned back and let fly a vicious Intercepting Side Kick from his leading right leg that sailed in just below Leon’s fully extended right arm and caught him square in the solar plexus, its power magnified by Leon’s oncoming weight and momentum, which was considerable, but could have been much greater had the punch been a fully committed one.  Still, the blow landed with a hard slap, accompanied by Leon’s grunt as most of the air was knocked out of him.
Although there were no rules, Welsen mercifully relented in his attack in order to give his opponent a moment to regain his breath – a violation of one of the basic tenets of his Iron Palm training, which dictated that no quarter be given, nor none expected.  And for that mistake, he paid dearly.  For Leon took full advantage of his opponent’s caring nature, and by way of thanks for the momentary respite from attack, Leon began to sink to his knees as though collapsing, but instead sprang forward to grab Welsen’s leading right leg with both arms, slamming his own right shoulder hard into Welsen’s groin to assist in the push-pull leverage of the takedown, which brought his fitter, more experienced opponent down to the ground with the combined weight and momentum of both boys, which amounted to nearly thirty stone travelling at ten to fifteen knots per hour.  Welsen’s back and head took the brunt of the force, which would have been bad enough had there been a mat beneath them.  But the impact against the plasteel ground sent his head reeling and caused his vision to blur.  He instinctively scissored his long legs around Leon’s waist, and was only just able to lock his ankles to Close the Guard and get his hands up close to his face, palms out to protect against the downward punches that were sure to rain down upon him.  And rain down they did.  But Welsen with his superior ground game was able to avoid most of them by swiveling his upper torso from side to side as he used his hands to slap away and deflect each punch to his opposite flank.  Seeing his straight punches so deflected, Leon changed his attacking method to launch a looping right Hook punch, forcing Welsen to change his blocking method into a spearing left palm-up wedge that made contact at the elbow of the punching arm, causing it to slide off aimlessly to the outside as Welsen converted it to an enveloping wrap that encircled and clamped Leon’s right arm tight to his ribs while releasing his locked ankles and wrapping his own left ankle over Leon’s right calf and round his ankle to lock it in place and prevent him from jumping over and taking the Mounted position.  With no other recourse but to punch, Leon began to swing wildly with his left fist, but Welsen, who had by then began to recover his senses, was easily able to block each punch with his own right hand by chopping it into the crook of Leon’s elbow as the strikes came in.  After the third such attempt had been foiled, Welsen brought his right knee up to blockade any further punching attempt at Leon’s left shoulder then used his right hand as a pincer to trap Leon’s triceps between his raised right knee and his cupped right hand, effectively preventing any action on his opponent’s part.  Then, with snake-like speed, Welsen slid his right hand down along Leon’s left arm and grabbed the wrist.  Pushing Leon’s bent elbow as high as possible in the air behind his back, Welsen brought his right knee up to his own chest and kicked out his right foot into Leon’s elbow, still grasping the wrist fast, and still maintaining the wrapping left arm trap.  The elbow broke with a sickening snap, and just as quickly as the kick had shot out, Welsen brought his right leg over the back of Leon’s neck, then threw his left foot over ankle and hooked it at the hock of his left knee.  Welsen then released Leon’s trapped right arm and arched his back to assist the two-handed grab and swing of that arm over to his own right side.  He then dropped his hips back to the ground and grabbed Leon by the back of his neck with both hands, once again arching his hips upward to create a nearly hydraulic leverage upon his opponent’s neck and throat.  In a normal sparring match, Leon would be expected to signal defeat with a physical or verbal surrender, but Welsen heard the Master continue to drum, and thus did not release his deadly Leg Triangle until he felt Leon’s body go limp, and the drumbeat finally ceased.
“Medibot please!” Shouted Raethal as two Gobots dashed in to assist the two boys.

“Now Sisters, your turn!” he said as he sat back down and began to pound the beat once more.
Ki’entha and Althea both entered the ring from their respective sides and stood two body lengths apart to face each other.
“Begin!” Shouted the Master.
Immediately, both young women snapped into fighting stances and began to circle the ring, clockwise, each watching the other fervently for the slightest window of opportunity for a first strike.
Althea took the initiative as she threw her left hand side into a cartwheel at Ki’entha and finished with a Crashing Waterfall kick on to her right shoulder with her leading heel. Ki’entha, mewed in pain as she recovered and instantaneously dropped to her left knee to sweep Althea’s supporting ankle and bring her down to the ground next to her. Althea was quick enough to use the majority of her falling energy to strike Ki’entha in her left collar bone with the tip of her elbow as she landed. As the nauseating crunch reverberated around the ring, Ki’entha’s face paled and Althea kick flipped gracefully back onto her feet.
“Do you yield Sister?” Althea said as she rubbed her elbow and looked down at the wounded Ki’entha, “I have no desire to injure you any further and this match is already mine.”
Ki’entha, promptly deposited a small amount of vomit on the ground, cleared her throat and spat what remained of it onto Althea’s Left boot. She then pulled herself into a crossed legged sitting position and took a deep breath as she closed her eyes.
“Well?” Shouted Althea “DO YOU YIELD?”
Ki’entha threw her head up to face her opponent as her eyes flicked open and began to stare coldly into Althea’s face with a certain degree of malevolence.
Althea began to sweat profusely as she suddenly collapsed to her knees and let out a shrill and agonising scream as her nose began gushing with blood.
Ki’entha’s gaze sharpened and her face contorted into an expression of evil satisfaction as her eyes bored deeper and deeper into Althea’s mind.
“I YIELD! I YIELD!” Screamed Althea spluttering and writhing on the ground.
Ki’entha released her opponent from the grip of her mental Deep Sight attack.
“Thank you for going so easy on me Sister.” Ki’entha said as she failed to regain her composure and was flooded with pain from her broken Clavicle. Ultimately, both girls lay broken on the ground as the medical Bots attended to them.
Raethal stood and clapped his hands slowly.
“Harsh but fair Sister!” He said eyeing Ki’entha with a stern grin.
“I think we have a winner!”

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