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Pushing the Limits [Training/Solo]

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1 Pushing the Limits [Training/Solo] on 15/09/15, 01:53 am


Kioshi took a deep breath as he prepared for the day, performing a shortened version of his usual meditations. He had been keeping up with his training, but he felt like he could push himself further. Normally, he would visit the clan he was trained in to see about advancing his skills, but right now he felt he would only embarrass himself in front of his former teachers. To rectify this, he decided to start a stricter training regimen, wanting to get in better condition before approaching the clan.

All of his work helping out to rebuild and secure Yosiro’s rule had done quite a lot to build up his stamina and build up muscles groups that were typically ignored in sword play. He knew something he needed to work on was his endurance. While he had built up quite a bit of muscles, he needed to make sure they were capable of enduring abuse for long periods of time. Rather than start his day with a sword kata, he decided to begin with a jog every morning. The advantage of being near the mountains was the variety of terrain he could traverse, ensuring that he never became bored with any particular route. There were numerous trails through the edges of the mountains used by the villagers to gather wood, fresh water, and to hunt, so Kioshi took advantage of them.

The first day of jogging had proven to him how much he had let himself slip in his training, he was panting and sweating profusely after taking a rather short route and had been forced to stop more frequently than he would like to admit. The second day was just as painful as the first, his legs reminding him of his neglect as he jogged up the inclined path. The third day was when he began to notice a small change, his lungs not screaming at him nearly as much. By the end of the first week, he was able to push himself to make it around one of the larger paths without taking a break.

As the next week came around, he added to his hikes, often choosing to carry extra weight on him and forcing himself onto the more difficult inclines and areas that were not well-worn. It required that he focus his attention on his foot-work more to maintain his balance without allowing his speed to lag behind. Once his morning hikes were finished, he would take a small break for a snack and to play with Floofy before spending hours with his sword. He had set up a straw dummy in the back yard to act as an opponent as he practiced the art of his katana. There was something calming about the steady, precise movements of the slender blade as it whistled through the air.

He made it a point to slaw his movements to increase his precision with the sharp blade, knowing that while explosive movements would bulk up his movements, by forcing himself to move slowly, he would gain a better range of movement. Just as important as having the strength to wield a weapon was being able to control your actions. It was one of the reasons he preferred the katana over any other weapon, it was light and fast and did not require much bulking. Larger swords like a broadsword or a bastard sword required a great deal more muscle mass to wield effectively and were often quite a bit slower. Kioshi favored maneuverability over pure power so the katana was ideal for him.

By the third week, Kioshi had added an evening swim to his exercise routine, using a nearby lake he had discovered on one of his hikes to do laps around. Swimming required an entirely different set of muscles than jogging or sword play, ensuring that none of his muscle groups were neglected. It also gave him the opportunity to practice breathing exercises, often swimming to the bottom of the clear lake and forcing himself to remain there until it felt like his lungs would explode. This served two purposes, forcing him to manage his breathing while also forcing him to confront his fear of water. While he was unlikely to ever find himself having to fight in a deep body of water, he knew he could not afford to be frozen in fear at such a crucial time, either. The lake provided a relatively safe area for him to confront this phobia, as he could resurface within moments should he panic.

After a month of training himself, he was satisfied that he would not embarrass himself in front of his clan. Packing for the trip was simple enough, he would only need some clothes and Hana. He passed through the village, stopping to ask Misha to care for Floofy in his absence, the girl overjoyed at the chance to play with the kitten. Content that his pet would be well cared for, Kioshi began his trip to the village his clan settled in. It took nearly a week of walking to arrive, he was glad he had been building up his endurance so much or it would likely have taken twice as long. When he arrived in the village, he was greeted with quiet respect and led to a room in their temple. The room was sparse, containing only a mattress on the floor and a single candle. He remembered the simpler life he had created in this place, missing it sometimes. But he also enjoyed the freedom of having his own home outside of the clan, allowing him to explore other facets of himself. The clan was focused on their martial arts, which did not leave much room for finding one’s true purpose, unless you felt that the clan was the only thing that mattered.

The next morning, the sound of a gong announced the beginning of the day and Kioshi rose with the rest of the clan to enjoy a quiet meditation and meal before they began their morning kata. As the sun reached high into the sky and their kata came to a close, one of the clan elders came around and began pairing people off. Kioshi stood silently as his opponent approached. He had fought the other warrior before a time or two, but it had been years, so he was shocked when the other man gave a sudden burst of speed towards him and swung his blade. Kioshi raised his own blade to block the attack but was still knocked back a few feet simply from the force of how fast his opponent was moving. It took a moment for Kioshi to realize how the other warrior had managed to move so quickly, some part of his mind recalling that, at a certain point in a warrior’s training, they could begin to grasp how to manipulate the energy traveling through them. By harnessing their Chi, they were able to push their bodies beyond their normal limits to add power to their body.

Kioshi’s pondering cost him as his opponent took advantage of his distracted state and he felt a blade slice across his side. He winced and focused his attention back on the spar, putting more effort into meeting blades with his target. He noticed that while the other man had more power and speed, he also seemed to be tiring more quickly and Kioshi braced himself to try and wear the other man down. By the end of the spar, Kioshi had more cuts than he wanted to acknowledge and his opponent was bleeding from the eyes, the technique he had used had created a serious drain on the man’s Chi. The clan elder overseeing the spars stepped over and declared the fight a draw before dismissing the sparring pairs to dinner.

Over dinner, he and one of the elders spoke about the technique his opponent had used and the elder gave him a more thorough explanation of how it worked. Kioshi listened intently, absorbing all of the knowledge he could. He vowed that he would learn how to harness and channel the chi to improve his abilities. He informed the clan elder that he would be remaining in the temple until he had at least learned the basics of the technique and was able to implement it. The elder nodded in understanding before dismissing himself for the evening. Kioshi followed his example and made his way to his room, collapsing into sleep almost instantly. The past month of training had worn him out, but he was glad he would soon be expanding what he could do with his blade.

[1000+/1000 Strength C -> B]


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The Sakura clan was known for being one of the most specialized clans in the world, their skill with a katana unmatched in all of the continents. Being raised in the clan was a great honor, even those that were born into the clan were not always branded with the five petals of the Sakura blossom. The training process was a lifelong regimen and Kioshi took great pride in his position within the clan. He knew he had reached a plateau in his training and he would need to hone all of his focus to push past the invisible barrier of his abilities. He was finally at point in his training to begin learning to manage his Chi and use it in his combat.

The art of manipulating one’s Chi, or magoi, was something that could take years to master, but was one of the things that set the Sakura clan apart from other clans that specialized in martial arts. Kioshi rose to the chime of the gong echoing through the village, the sun was still only a glimmer of brilliance on the horizon, not yet breaking through the mountains to shed light on the activity in the clan. Kioshi shuffled through his initial waking routine, meditating and offering prayers before joining the rest of the clan for breakfast. With the morning fast broken, Kioshi made his way to one of the large training rooms the temple housed and settled down on the mat. It did not take long for others to wander in, one of the elders entering as well.

“The first step in learning to control your Chi is to be able to identify it. You cannot control what you do not know is there. You will be spending most of your time simply trying to identify the energy flowing through your body. Once you have accomplished this, we will move on.”

Kioshi settled on the mat, balancing his weight on his knees and feet, his hands resting on top of his legs. Every other person in the room was doing the same, their eyes looking towards the front of the room, though there was no apparent focal point. Each person, Kioshi included, were turning their focus to their mental frame of mind. The elder was at the front of the class, guiding them through the meditation with soft words. Breathing was the first thing to focus on and Kioshi inhaled deeply through his nose before exhaling through his mouth, counting along with the elder guiding their efforts. Inhale, hold the breath, release. Inhale, hold the breath, release. As his breathing evened out, he became more aware of his heart thumping in his chest, the beat evening out and syncing up with his breaths. Kioshi did not know how long this continued, losing track of time due to his deep focus.

With each breath, he could feel his body relaxing more and more, the tension starting to bleed from his muscles and his mind quieting. The elder gave everyone the opportunity to achieve the same state of peaceful awareness before his strong but quiet voice filled the room.

“Now that you are centered, it is time to begin the process of finding the very core of your being, the wellspring of your energy, your Chi. Become aware of the way your Chi flows through your body, controls your muscles, entwines with your breathing and heartbeat. Do not try to alter it in any way at this time. You are simply to identify and acknowledge its influence within yourself.”

Kioshi heard the words, though he made no effort to acknowledge them. It was expected of everyone to remain silent and focused, speaking could break a person’s concentration, especially if they were not familiar with how to block out any and all distractions. Kioshi’s focus went from his breathing and heartbeat to a deeper part of himself as he sought to locate the pool of energy that flowed to and from him. It was not something tangible so it was not an easy process. His eyes fell shut as his focus turned completely internal, making sure his breathing was still a steady pattern to keep him grounded. After what felt like only a few minutes, the elder cleared his throat to garner everyone’s attention.

“We will stop for dinner and resume tomorrow. Do not worry if you were not able to feel your Chi. This is not something simple or quick to learn. Tomorrow morning, we will resume this.”

Kioshi’s eyes came open and he pushed to his feet, following the others to the dining area for a simple dinner of rice, vegetables, and tea. Kioshi enjoyed the quiet solitude of the temple, finding it suited his personality quite well. Unlike other areas he visited, the village always had a calm, serene feel to it and his quiet disposition was not considered odd here. After dinner, Kioshi stopped at the bath house before retiring for the evening, falling into slumber quickly. The next day was nearly identical in practice, though finding a centered state seemed to have went much more quickly. Kioshi immediately began searching for his core once he was centered, seeking out the elusive pool of energy. After what seemed like hours, Kioshi took note of what felt like a ball of heat and energy deep in his core. Exercising his mental control, he made sure his breathing and heartbeat did not change as he metaphorically felt around the ball of energy.

It felt like a core of fire pulsing inside of him and he began paying attention to the ebb and flow of the Chi as it traveled. His focus was so intent, he did not hear the elder call for a break for the evening. No one disturbed him and when he gained awareness again, the room was empty. Kioshi hurried to grab something to eat before retiring for the evening. This pattern continued for nearly a week as Kioshi became more familiar with the flow of his Chi and the elder began guiding them on how to better shape and mold the life force. As everyone reached the same point in their training, the elder began pushing them towards the utilization of the Chi.

“Now that you are able to identify your Chi, it is a simple matter of learning to channel that. Chi can be used to enhance your natural capabilities. Depending on how you choose to utilize the Chi will determine the effects. You can channel it to increase your strength or to give you an incredible amount of speed. If you use it with an attack, you will find your opponent has a much more difficult time to defend themselves. But, such power comes at a price, and you must be careful with it. Your Chi is your life force and when you channel it, it will exhaust you much more quickly than you would expect. If you push yourself too hard, you will find yourself at a disadvantage.”

Kioshi had seen, first hand, just how dangerous it could be to manipulate the Chi. His last sparring opponent had begun bleeding from his eyes and was moving much more slowly. As they moved from meditation to practice, Kioshi decided to put most of his focus on his speed. Hana was a formidable weapon all on its own, but if he could move even faster, it would make it nearly impossible to avoid the strike of the deadly blade. Taking a deep breath, he reached into his core and began forcing the Chi down to his legs, the sensation odd. It was not like when he gave a small burst of speed over a short distance. His legs felt different, like they were practically vibrating with power and with a great Rush, Kioshi broke into a dead run. He could feel the wind whipping by his face at incredible speeds and his feet felt like they were barely touching the ground. He kept pushing, the sheer speed exhilarating.

Around him, he could see the others training, some of them channeling the Chi into their fists and splitting large rocks from a simple punch, some were doing like him and running like mad. A sense of pride filled the swordsman, pleased he had managed to harness such an elusive source of power. He could feel the wall he had been stuck behind slowly crumbling away and he knew he was now better prepared to handle any battles that might come along. It would still take an exceptional amount of training before he could claim to have mastered magoi manipulation, but he had gotten his foot in the door. With dedicated practice, he knew he would be able to continue pushing himself further and improve his abilities.

He had not expected how tired he was by the end of the day and he understood why the elder had cautioned them so much about the technique. While it had the potential to be incredibly helpful, it was quite draining. He could not imagine trying to sustain the technique for very long, but if he utilized it properly, he knew it could mean the difference between life and death in a battle.


Ability Trained: Rush:
Name: Rush
Tier: A
Cost: 40|20 Stamina
Weapon Type: Body
Class: Supplementary [Magoi Manipulation]
Range: Close
Cool-Down: 14 Posts
Description: Kioshi channels the magoi in his body to focus on his speed, allowing him to move at a constant speed of 25 m/s.


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Training was a never ending task when one was part of the Sakura clan, something Kioshi had grown up knowing. Even when he was not staying in the village with the rest of the clan, he was still representing everything the clan stood for when he was out in the world. Because of this, he had always been meticulous to keep up with his training. When he had hit his plateau, he had begun to lose motivation with his martial arts studies, but it seemed like he had managed to push beyond the invisible boundary in his mind and had learned to channel his Chi. While some might assume that would mean they could lessen the amount they trained, Kioshi was motivated to train more, knowing that he could push beyond his former limits.

He practiced his magoi manipulation technique every day, hoping to extend his control and stamina. It would do no good to use the ability if his body could not handle the stress. His endurance increased each day, little by little, and he began working on incorporating his basic attacks while he ran around like crazy. He knew he would also need to expand on his repertoire of abilities surrounding Hana. For the most part, he aimed for simple, direct attacks, but a predictable swordsman often became a dead swordsman. He needed to add some versatility to his techniques. He hummed softly as he moved through a basic kata, considering what types of attacks he wanted to focus on. Katana were known for being a fast, light hitter, though the blade was plenty strong enough for harder hitting attacks, the slender blade was designed for speed.

Kioshi made his way to the sparring ring, hoping that inspiration would strike if he was battling against something other than a straw dummy. It did not take long for another swordsman approached the ring and Kioshi gave a bow of respect as they moved into the appropriate positions. His opponent was a bit larger than him but his size did not impede his speed in any way. They exchanged a few test strikes with their blades, metal meeting metal as they got a feel for the fighting styles of the other. The pair circled around each other, exchanging sword strikes. The other man had a slightly longer reach, putting Kioshi at a disadvantage, but he made up for it with speed. Kioshi had always seen swordplay like a dance, a deadly, graceful set of movements that could enthrall or destroy a person.

Kioshi was light on his feet, not allowing himself to get comfortable in one spot as he moved around. By the end of the spar, both of them were panting but no blood had been shed. Kioshi gave his opponent a deep bow before making arrangements to spar again the next day. Dinner was a quiet affair, as was Kioshi’s trip to the bath house. The next morning came with a biting chill, warning of a change of seasons. Autumn was typically a brief affair this close to the mountains, winter chasing quickly on its heels. Kioshi did a quick warm up before meeting his sparring partner in the ring, the other man waiting patiently. They gave each other a bow before immediately launching into the spar, sword meeting sword in a series of clashes that had the sounds of metal scraping echoing across the sparring grounds.

Kioshi was not gaining much ground on his opponent, the other man using his reach to keep Kioshi at a distance. Kioshi knew that if he were to have a hope, he would need to strike quickly. Perhaps he would have better luck with trying to deal less damage per hit in exchange for increased speed. He knew that hits coming from multiple directions were harder to defend against and, with a new plan in place, Kioshi turned his foot to brace himself as his opponent approached. When his target was within range, rather than try to deliver a single jarring blow, Kioshi twisted and swiped the blade in four rapid slashes at his opponent. The angle and height of the slashed came at varying directions, keeping his opponent on his toes as Sakura caused several scratches along the other man’s arms.

Kioshi did not allow himself to celebrate the strike, instead moving back and away from his partner swiftly. The other man gave him a nod of appreciation and the well-executed move before pushing in once more. The battle continued and Kioshi worked on mastering the quick slashes of his new move. It took a great deal of concentration to be able to pull off each of the slashes in quick succession. His partner was patient as he learned to master the move and Kioshi returned the favor when the other man tried to master a move of his own. By the end of the day, both of them had a decent grasp on their individual moves and were able to have an actual fight. It ended in a draw again, but Kioshi felt confident that he was improving.

That night, Kioshi spent longer than usual in the bath house, he had taken a decent beating during the spar and the minerals in the water were revitalizing. It helped to speed along the healing process and Kioshi simply soaked in the nourishing pool, nearly falling asleep as he relaxed. Climbing from the water, Kioshi wrapped himself in a robe and retreated to his room for the evening, casting an appraising look at Hana. While he had been mastering his magoi manipulation, his sword had received its own care. The blade had been sharpened and the wooden portions had been sanded down and repainted. Hana glimmered in all her glory as he pulled the blade free and set about cleaning and caring for the weapon. Just as important as training his mind and body was caring for his weapon and he never neglected the katana. Finally, all of his tasks taken care of, he fell into a deep slumber.


Ability Trained: Sakura:
Name: Sakura
Tier: B
Cost: 30|15 Stamina
Weapon Type: Katana
Class: Offensive
Range: Close
Cool-Down: 5 Posts
Description: Kioshi slashes his blade four times at 20 m/s to inflict D-tier damage per slash.


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