After coming to the beautiful conclusion that I haven’t died yet, I head to the courtyard to practice some martial arts and try centering my chi. I think it is a bit weird that I’m simply expected to practice on my own time instead of participating in scheduled training times, but I kind of like this practice. I’m able to come outside and do what I need to do on my own time. I can even practice in my sleep, provided that I enter the Representative.
I walk towards the main courtyard and I move to the rear of it, in front of a small tree (I don’t know what kind it’s since I am not native to the area. I try to think of some major Tai Chi or other practice moves, but I can’t since I haven’t done any martial arts, other than this Karate stuff I did when I was seven. I do remember some of the stretches, so maybe that’s a good place to start.
I begin by bending at the waist trying to touch my toes. There is some tenderness behind my knees, but I imagine that tingling and tenderness is mostly due to the way that I haven’t done much stretching in over 5 years. Next I spread my legs, making a small “V”, then I bend one knee and lean towards the bend knee and then I work the other side. Finally I rotate my arms around my shoulders stretching the cuffs, blades, and the other parts.
Sanji walks by, looks at me,
“I’m glad that you are stretching, but do you know what you are to do next?”
I am a tad ashamed that I don’t know at all.
“Ok. I will help you out as much as I can.”
I look at my feet, but I feel like Sanji has good intentions,
“Ok. What do I need to do?”
“You know how you were meditating earlier? You are going to do that again.”
“Why do we do so much meditation?”
“Meditation is a great way to bring your mind and body closer together, and when you really need to, oh I don’t know, fight in the real world; you will be as ready as you can be.”
I sigh, but begrudging enter the lotus pose, but Sanji shakes his head,
“This time, the meditative state will be entered standing upright.”
“What’s the difference? I ask because I really am curious.”
“Primarily, so that entering a meditative state is that much easier, and when you fight in the real world, it will be helpful to remain as calm as possible, so you will most likely meditate if you can, and fighting while seated is probably pretty difficult.”
“Okay, so how do I do that?”
“Simply follow my actions. First you will need to create a strong foundation, so spread your feet to the equivalent width of your shoulders. Next, stand as straight as you can. Imagine someone tied a string to the top of your head and pulled you so you are perfectly upright. Next is a very important part, begin with both of your hands lowered at your sides, then raise the left arm as far as it can go. Remember to keep your lower hand with the palm facing the thigh, and the upper arm with your palm parallel to your head and then bring the lower one up while simultaneously bringing the top one down, and do that in a circular pattern stopping right around chest-level. Finally, bring the palms together meeting in the center of your chest.”
As I do that final motion, a light erupts from my chest. I almost fall backwards from fright, but Sanji assures me,
“Do not be afraid. My body is doing the same thing. When you are ready, close your eyes and you will be ready.”
Ready for what? I am not sure at all, and I look over and notice that there is a light that has erupted from Sanji’s chest as well. He closes his eyes and the light begins to dim, but it never appears to fade, so I feign indifference, and close my eyelids.
I do not notice everything disappearing as usual, and instead I see the inside of my eyelids absorbing external light. I am afraid to raise my eyelids because I worry that this training has not even worked.
“Tony. You can open your eyes now.”
I open my eyes and everything is more or less the same. The only difference is that Sanji and I are no longer is the meditative positions we once were. We are standing in the same posture, but I am instead raising my right hand while lowering my left hand back to the center.
“Very nice Tony, and those moves are the very basics of Wing Chun.”
“Yeah, I have had you doing those same moves for the last 15 minutes.”
“But I have only been here for like a minute?”
“Not true. Consciously, you have only been here for about a minute, but before that, you were meditating, so you were practicing Wing Chun for a little over 15 minute.”
“Nothing’s impossible here. We thrive on bringing the impossible into the tangible world. If you can imagine it, then it can happen.”
“Ok, so what’s next?”
“Let’s go over what you have learned briefly and then move onto some basic tai chi.”
“I don’t know what I have learned As you said, I was unconscious.”
“You can only imagine what your mind is capable of. Things that are learned in the unconscious while in a meditative state can often be regurgitated in a matter of seconds.”
“That’s awesome, but how can I know what I have learned?”
Then he snaps his fingers and from the ground comes a man made out of stone. The man sprints at me, and swings at my face. My hand wants to simply rise to the side to block the strike, but the feeling is so odd that I let the muddy fist make contact. Blood oozes out of my nose,
“What was that? That actually hurt.”
“Yes, danger is often the best test of learning, so there are elemental monsters here under my control that will test your new knowledge. I can make them extremely fast and intelligent or slow and barely able to function. They can be made to be masters of Krav Maga or beginning fighters that know nothing of fighting but swinging their arms to strike foes.
“So what do I do?”
“Let your instincts take a hold of your body. When your body wants to block an attack, let it. The strike will still hurt, but far less that if you took a blow straight to the face.”
Then again the stone man sprints at me with his fist slightly muddier than the rest of his body. He pulls the fist back to punch me, I feel the urge to raise my hand to meet his arm, so I let the urged do its thing. My arm meets his arm mid-swing and then my other arm extends to meet the stone man’s soft-ish body. I real from pain as my knuckles seem to crunch as the man explodes into dust.
“Very good Tony. Very good indeed.”
I smile but it’s a little hard to stay happy with the pain that is radiating from my hand. I look down and there are pieces of skinning hanging of here and there and the entire thing is red from blood.
“What about my hand?”
“Oh yeah. Luckily we are in The Representative, so the damage will disappear the moment you leave. The pain will stick around for a bit since your mind will think the pain is still real.”
“Now. Conjure up some bandages, wrap you hand and we will move on to Tai Chi. This will hopefully help you keep a level head while you are in some pain.”