Completed Bladesong II

Tazrae learns the next steps from Gracelin.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:52 am

Timestamp: 15th of Summer, 522 A.V.


It wasn’t easy, learning all one’s weaknesses first hand. She knew she wasn’t the strongest person around. But Gracelin was lithe, quiet, and drove her in circles until both women were drowning in sweat and soaked the skin. Whenever Tazrae got too winded, Gracelin would call for a halt and let her blow a few minutes until she caught her breath. She was an attentive teacher, kind through and through, but she didn’t let Tazrae get away with sloppy technique and would stop her frequently to ask her to adjust her shoulders, elbows, and even the way she stood when she started to forget her stances and the four pattern she’d been taught.

One thing Tazrae did right, that Gracelin nodded in approval, was that she naturally crowded behind her weapon, positioning herself and her body behind the blade. From there, she could move off the attack line, right or left, and get out of the way of the opposing blade. However, it still didn’t matter how graceful she was. Mistakes were made and every time she made one she learned by the flat of Gracelin’s machete and her own fumbling trips or off-balance staggering.

Taz learned quickly that Gracelin didn’t believe in practice weapons – no dull wooden machetes for them – but rather they learned with the dangerous stuff, so its handling could be gotten used to. The blows were with sharpened blades, so though Tazrae had her hand wraps on that blocked her from getting cut on her forearms, almost everything else was in danger.

“One more thing, Taz. Sometimes you can be attacked by someone with a heavy weapon… a broadsword, a quarterstaff, something that packs a big punch. You still must stop them from hitting your body and damaging your blade. This is where your footwork will keep you out of reach, and your quickness with the machete will hopefully keep you alive a lot longer.” Gracelin said, nodding to herself, knowing that it all depended on how much Tazrae learned and how frequently she stuck to it.

Taz was content with how she was learning. It wasn’t easy to have her faults exposed, but she figured she could get stronger. Gracelin even suggested yoga and stretching with the new man in town. The Tranquility Center was one of those places Tazrae could go to help build strength in a way that wasn’t this… trading blows over and over again to the point Tazrae would have trouble walking in the morning. But she was too stubborn to call a halt to the lesson and too stubborn to let Gracelin see how tired she was getting.

“Okay, we need more tools in your fighting toolbox,” Gracelin said thoughtfully, calling yet another halt for Tazrae to blow. As the woman laid down her machete and bent at the waist to catch her breath, the Vantha began to speak. As Taz listened, nodding, she quietly sank down on the big stone and relaxed. Gracelin said nothing about her exhausting sprawl but stepped forward to demonstrate. “I’d like to add a Stab and a Parry into your training.” She said, stepping forward, ready to demonstrate what she meant as she talked.
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
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Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:54 am

“You have a four-step four-count attack which will be the foundation of your fighting style. I want to add an extra strike to that four counts. So after you run through performing angle one, angle two, angle three, and angle four, I want you to add in an overhead shot that comes up from behind your body, over your head, and straight down on the attacker. So that means as you do angle four, instead of swooping up and angling to move back into angle one’s position, I want you to bring your blade back behind you. Keep your profile angled, and low, and be quick about it. This will give your opponent a huge opening to come at you without a blade wall present.” She added, demonstrating.

Taz eagerly scrambled back up to her feet, stretched a moment, snapped up her machete, and tried it. She modified an angle two, moved into an angle three which flowed to angle four, and then she twisted her blade behind her and brought it up and over. It wasn’t a hard move at all, in fact, it was a lot like that natural hacking motion one did with a machete already. It was an empowering move, come to think of it, since it added enormous force to her strike that she didn’t have with horizontal strikes without the absolutely perfect shifting of her balance and her body positioning being above reproach. Both situations were far out of Tazrae’s grasp at the moment, though she would work on it.

“You can use this overhead strike at a long range to cleave someone’s head in half, or it can be done closer to the opponent, in which case you need to reinforce with your off-hand to drive the blade down on the attacker’s body or exposed limb. It’s a good way to chop someone’s arm off or leave a deep cut on their shoulder rendering their arm useless. Be careful about attacking clavicles and large bones like that. Blades can easily get lodged in them. If, however, your attacker has wings, that’s a good safe bet to go for one or both. They will instinctually protect them and possibly run. No one wants a wing cut off.” Gracelin confessed, smiling at Tazrae practicing with her off-hand to reinforce her strike.

Gracelin continued the demo, with Tazrae mimicking her motions, getting a feel for the new move. “You can make this strike from any place at which your machete comes back to reset around the rear of your body. Use the four-step accordingly. You reset all your steps here, and all your strike angles fluidly. The Overhead Strike is no different.” Gracelin said softly.

Taz nodded, standing beside her now, both their blades pinwheeling as they sought to transition from normal angle strikes to the overhead. It was so fluid, so beautiful, that Tazrae plastered a huge smile on her face as they moved through the motions. “This… is almost like dancing, or like Yoga, doing this all in a slow methodical way.” She added to the instructor, glancing around and being thoughtful. “You said there was more?” She asked, picking up the overhead strike almost immediately.
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
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Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:55 am

Gracelin nodded. “Another technique that actually flows well from the four-count transitions is the thrust. This is a move you might want to change into an assisted move, at least until you get stronger.” Assisted moves, in Tazrae’s world, meant two hands on the hilt. That also meant it wasn’t something she could do with dual-wielding. Two hands on the machete, pushing it forward with more strength, gave her both a more powerful move and allowed her even more control.

“I thought machetes were basically terrible thrusting weapons?” Taz asked, confused a moment.

“If you have a sharpened point on a weapon you can thrust with it. They won’t make clean deep cuts like swords will, nor will they glide in smoothly. What they do instead of wreak havoc on the tissue they invade. It’s not an ideal thrusting weapon. You are right in that, Tazrae, but you can stab with anything pointy, and with an assisted thrust by your off-hand, you are going to do horrible damage to someone’s soft tissue.” Gracelin said.

Taz nodded and tried for a thrust at her hip level, but Gracelin corrected her almost immediately. “No… not like that. Like this….” She demonstrated as she spoke. “Thrust from the side of the body, with your machete at your hip, and assist it as you bring it forward. If you practice like this… over and over, this can be a tremendously powerful attack once you have mastered it.” Gracelin instructed.

The Innkeeper nodded, tried again, and immediately saw the difference. “Wait… this works wonderfully well, but how do you defend against it? Can you block it?” She asked, curious, moving through her footwork and attempting more assisted thrusts at her hip level. She liked the power behind it. The motion made her feel stronger, more like a true warrior.

“Sure… your block, this time, is actually a parry. Think of a grandfather clock pendulum. From above, you swing the machete down in an arc from your weak side to your strong side. You can work this from any angle, always stepping to the side to avoid the incoming weapon. Taz, I promise this is not a power move. It’s awkward and you are simply deflecting the offending weapon on its incoming course and simultaneously getting out of the way. Remember, you can parry while sidestepping always.” Gracelin demonstrated, then Taz copied her motion, repeating it over and over until she was sure she had the hang of it. Gracelin was right. The move did feel graceless and heartless, but if it kept her alive she’d use it.

The two women practiced with each other, one thrusting, the other blocking until Taz was ready to cry mercy at the pain her muscles were in both thrusting and defending against the incoming machete Gracelin wielded. She was even more soaked when Gracelin finally called a halt, and couldn’t utter a word she was so breathless.
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
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Medals: 2
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Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:57 am

Gracelin sat down on the huge bolder they were training on and patted the spot at her side. “You’ve earned a break. Grab your waterskin and take a load off.” She said softly and then waited for Tazrae to quench her thirst and join her. The Innkeeper was still panting, but Gracelin didn’t seem winded at all. Instead, she began talking.

“You are going to need a lot of training, Tazrae. You’ve managed to make it a quarter of a century-old without picking up a weapon which means you are going to have to do a lot of catching up. That means you’ll need training drills.” Gracelin said. “When you are training, don’t just pretend someone is there. You’ll need a target to fight against. It’s best to use a training dummy.. a stand or a heavy bag, or even a body opponent bag. Even a vertical pole or tree will work. You could paint a smiley face on it to humanize it. I would also recommend hanging a log from a larger tree outside. It will give you a nice moving vertical target to hit with the machete." Gracelin took a breath then continued.

"And hit it… hard and often. You need to build strength and toughness in your limbs. Always use your sharpened machete… the real thing, not training weapons. They feel and act differently and I want you used to the real thing. What your goal is… Taz… building muscle memory of striking and conditioning yourself to take that punishment. And it is punishment. You want to take it over and over again until it doesn’t hurt so much and your body is used to it… tough. That’s the only way we women survive in this world… even in Syka.” She said, looking thoughtful.

Tazrae, who by now had leaned back on her elbows and was reclining, could breathe easier. “What happens if I just train with air, striking invisible targets that are only in my imagination?” She was curious about Gracelin’s insistence on her having something to hit. The muscle memory and toughness made sense. But surely there was a benefit to the other as well? Couldn’t that be the time she was teaching her body to move more fluidly?

“If you only practice with air, hitting nothing, without striking a solid target, your machete primary arm will not hold up and carry you through a fight. If it doesn’t hurt, as you broke it… swell up, ache, and need all kinds of ice from that fancy icebox of yours… you aren’t doing it right, Taz. Push through that until it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t make you put your arm in a sling full of ice… that kind of thing. You won’t be sorry.” She added.

Taz nodded. “I’ll remember that. No pain no gain. I’ve heard it before… it seems to always hold true.” Taz interjected
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
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Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:59 am

“Don’t forget to use your four-step movement and four-angle cutting system to strike the target. Gain a rhythm, a balance, and find your coordination. You need help in that department. I suggest Yoga and Unarmed Combat for that. Keep practicing with both your blade and your feet flowing while you strike on the same side as your forward foot. Don’t forget that. This training will change you over time, harden you, and make you more of a warrior. And also… no matter what you need to build stamina. You need to know how long you can last in a fight so you know how long you have to decide whether to kill or not. Stamina is everything. You need to build it as much as you can.” She added, shaking her head.

“Gracelin, this has been amazing,” Taz said, shaking her head softly. “You trained me when you didn’t even know me last season. We traded meals at The Protea for it… that’s why I brought you the baked goods this time. I could tell they were your favorite. Besides, anything you can catch and eat you probably cooks fantastically well. But baked goods are hard to find in the jungle. Come for breakfast any time… as often as you’d like and I’ll take this teaching home and build a dummy and practice until it doesn’t hurt anymore…. then maybe work harder until it does… and practice again.” She added.

Gracelin smiled. “You can bring baked goods to the Estuary any time. I’ll gladly take them. And anytime you need a partner to spar with, let me know.” She added, smiling at Tazrae’s groan. She could tell the girl was sore and that if she steered the course, there would be a lot more pain and aching muscles where these came from.

“I have to get back. I blew my entire nap time visiting you and I have to start dinner soon by the look of the sun’s position in the sky. Thank you again.” Taz said, reaching over to hug the woman and drop a kiss on her cheek. “You are very well appreciated.” She added before rising up, dusting off her pants, and turning to head back to the settlement where she could catch a quick shower before she began dinner preparations. Tazrae had a whole lot to think about on the walk back. She was getting stronger at her machete.

She wondered; ultimately, how Sweet Refrain would turn out now that Tegan had been seeing to her for most of last season. And she wondered what she could do to wake the blade up and be the weapon she was supposed to be. Voril. Powerful. Something to assist Tazrae in keeping the peace. The Innkeeper wasn’t into the weapons for the power they offered. Instead, she was into the weapons for the security they offered. And she wanted this security to be her own, so she could sleep at night and wake to a world she wanted to live in of the morning.

Tazrae had to smile at that. There was more than one way to be a guardian. She was just a simple Innkeeper after all. The rest, for right now, would come later.

Words: 2573
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
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Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

Bladesong II

Postby Tazrae on August 24th, 2022, 2:49 am

Grading


Tazrae -

Endurance +5, Machete +5, Tactics +4, Philosophy +1

Tactics: Crowding Behind The Blade, Machete: Moving Off The Attack Line – R or L, Machete: Practice With Sharp Steel – Not Wooden Dull Weapons, Philosophy: Exposing One’s Flaws/Faults, Machete: Stab, Machete: Parry, Machete: Overhead Strike/Shot, Machete: Overhead Shot – Can Cleave A Head In Half, Machete: Overhead Shot – Remove Limbs, Machete: Avoid Striking Heavy Bones – Large Bones – Can Lodge Machete & Remove Weapon From Your Arsenal, Tactics: Wings Good Targets – Soft Bones Vulnerable, Machete: Reset Behind Oneself, Machete: Thrust, Machete: Thrust Needs Two Hands, Thrusts: Wreck Havok On A Body Done With A Machete – Not A Clean Cut, Thrust: Gut Opponents To Do Huge Damage, Machete: Parry while Sidestepping To Reset Patterns, Endurance: Trading Blows In Machete Practice Until Muscle Fatigue Is Debilitating, Machete: Basic Training Drills, Taz: Old To Pick Up A Weapon, Machete: Train Against Live Target, Machete: Train Using Training Dummy – Techniques In Doing That, Endurance: Repeatedly Hit Dummy To Build Strength And Toughness, Endurance: Build Muscle Memory, Machete: Muscle Memory Needs To Be Ingrained, Machete: Training Against Invisible Enemies Will Cause Primary Arm To Fail And Not Hold Up Through An Entire Fight, Machete: Train Yoga And Unarmed Combat To Supplement Strength
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 2
Mizahar Grader (1) Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)


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