Solo A Turned Hand

Moritz continues his training in combat

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 15th, 2020, 5:57 pm

Morning 1 Fall 520


It was early in the season, and early in the day, as Moritz made his way once more to Kyra's for a training session. He still had so much to learn, so much to be taught, but felt that each time he was hardened that much more. Like a rock, roughly having its tip scraped and shaped and formed into a mighty point, and shaped into the head of a spear. He felt he had the potential, even if he was not there yet, and could feel each lesson chipping away at the mass of stone to reveal more of the spear head beneath.

His body grew stronger, faster, his reflexes better, and his mind learned more of what to do and when. Of course he still spent most of each lesson getting knocked about, but he felt like each time he got knocked about a bit less. Not much, but a bit, which was enough to give him a feeling of gradual improvement.

This day she had asked him to bring his pack, for something after the lesson, though she had not said what. As it was he was in no rush to find out, knowing his instructor would tell him in time. And first he needed to make it through another lesson.

Once more following the same route, Moritz knocked on Kyra's door and then entered. As always he eyed the training room, considering if one day he would have his own place and such facilities to further train and hone his body. Or perhaps even others.

Kyra was sitting inside, eyes closed, but Moritz knew better than to think that meant he could sneak up on her. She was a skilled warrior, and not easy to deceive or to get around by stealth. In fact Moritz did not think he had managed to land a single blow on her when she did not allow it or plan it, and he could number on one hand the times he had managed to block a blow or stop from being hit when she was truly trying to do so. Sometimes she let him do so as part of the lesson, but he could tell enough from watching her fight when she was holding back and when she was serious.

"Moritz, I see your here. Why don't you do some stretches, then we can get started with some unarmed drills."

Nodding, a bit silly since Kyra had her eyes closed, Moritz went to get ready. He took off his shoes, preferring to fight barefooted. He also set aside the pack she had asked him to bring, not that it mad much in it. Lastly was some padded cloth armor, which helped to soften blows when she invariably struck him in the line of training.

As usual Moritz began with some stretches, working to loosen his body before they started any real stuff. First were the arms, moving one behind his head and using the other limb to stretch and try it. He could feel this in his joints, aching a bit, but not truly hurting. If it did that he knew something was wrong, and he might be overdoing it. Enough to cause a bit of pain, or muscles and parts flexing beyond their normal range, but not so much that something tore or broke.

Next was toe touches, bending at the waist and leaning down to try and touch each foots toes in turn, but without bending his knees. He rarely managed to touch his feet here, and if he did it was never more than a glancing touch as his back and legs protested. And his knees, as they weight shifted from side to side.

Lastly was some leg stretches, sitting on the ground and bending each leg in turn such that his knee pointed outward and his foot was sticking out across his other leg. He worked here, pulling the leg up closer to his torso, bending and feeling the muscles ache, before switching to the other side. And back, and forth, and back again till he had loosened both sides well enough. By then his breathing had picked up a bit, rising to his feet to face Kyra. Not hard breathing, but heavier than when he had come in. It quickly settled down as he focused on his breathing.

With a motion of her hand, though still facing the other way and he assumed with her eyes closed, Kyra got Moritz attention.

"Alright, come at me."

Moritz nodded, feeling silly since she was not looking, and then got into a ready stance. Legs apart, crouched slightly. Arms forward. He did his best to keep quiet, hoping to sneak up on her, and then at once launched himself forward. Then there was no sound but the pad of his feet on the ground and his breath entering and exiting his body.

Semi-silently, Moritz cahrged, growing closer. Ten feet, five, four, two... As he moved to her and was about to make a strike, a fist thrown at the back of her head, Kyra suddenly moved. All at once she popped and dove, which Moritz mind seemed to find conflicting. Her head bent to the side to dodge the blow, while she popped up into a crouched position. Then a hand reached up and grabbed Moritz wrist, and tugged. This made him lose his balance and when she shifted again he smashed into her and was sent flying up and over to land in a heap in front of her.

The next thing he knew he was lying on his back, one of Kyra's feet on his neck.

"Well, I'm warmed up, are you ready to begin?"

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 15th, 2020, 7:23 pm

Moritz tried to respond, but didn't have much luck in talking with a foot on his neck. Once more he was unsure what had just happened, he could not even completely replay it in his mind. He had come at her, and she had... Grabbed his arm and... Pulled him over her? Flipped him? He was unsure how exactly she had done that, but it did not seem to requite a large amount of effort on her part.

Stepping off his neck Kyra smiled down at Moritz. Moritz for his part quickly scurried to his feet, trying to catch his breath again.

"Don't forget the different ranges of combat. At a distance you have ranged attacks. Bows, crossbows, magic, things. Thrown spears. Next is long weapons. Spears held in hand, things like that with a long reach. If you have something with a shorter range, you need to find a way to get within in. Next in medium ranged weapons. Swords, axes, things like that. And then short ranged weapons which only expand your reach a bit, daggers, knives, things like that. All of those expand your reach beyond your body."

Motioning to Moritz to move over Kyra smiled at Moritz. Moritz in turn took on a ready position, eying Kyra.

"Within that you have the range without a weapon, or say if you had a weapon and lost it, you have unarmed combat. There is the longer striking distance, punches, kicks the like. Boxing even. Then you have close up combat, where there is no room to gather momentum for punches or kicks. That is grabs, grappling, wrestling, and the like. In that range its all about leverage, not brute strength. What I did there was a mix of unarmed combat at grappling range, and wresting. You charged at me, and I redirected that momentum against you. Power does you no good if you aren't the one in control of it. Likewise, if you can take control of your enemies power in combat, you can use it how you like."

Once more Kyra paused, motioning Moritz forward. This time the youth was more cautious, not simply charging at Kyra. Not wanting to give her power to use against him. Instead he edged towards her, coming at her in bits and steps. Watching, waiting for her to move. Looking for an opening. waiting to strike... And then he grew to near, and with a lunge Kyra moved forward and using her leg swept Moritz feet out from under him. Once more he was in a heap on the ground.

"You also don't want to move so slow you give your opponent a giant opening. And don't forget, you are young. And small. Most people you fight will be adults, who will have longer range than you. Which means even if you are out of striking range to hit me, you may be within range for me to hit you. Think of everyone as having a circle around them, the range of their reach. If constantly moves as they do. If they have weapons, that range increases depending on what it is. If you are inside of that range, you are not safe and most be prepared to defend or avoid an attack. If you can get within my range though, and close enough so that I am in your range, then you can attack me. Get it? Now again!"

Back on his feet Moritz nodded, eying Kyra. He understood. He could not just wait and let her pick away at him. He needed to move quickly and get within her range, and consider what all she could be using to extend that range.

Seeing as she expected an attack and knew he was coming there was no point in stealth. So Moritz came at her, yelling as he did. A few steps, and then moving forward to punch at her gut. Kyra in kind moved back and to the side, pushing with a single hand so that his own fist whizzed by out of range. Not even getting close to striking her.

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 15th, 2020, 8:39 pm

Moritz frowned in concentration, wondering at his attacks. It seemed no matter what he did his attacks had no chance. Of course that was due to the vast difference in their abilities, but still... Eying Kyra, Moritz considered her resolutely. Even if he had no change, he was not going to give up. He was stubborn that way. And each failed attack taught him something new, both in how he failed and in how Kyra reacted to it. He would have to try some of the stuff she did sometime...

With another yell he rushed forward, trying to punch her in the chest. He knew that would fail, but he planned that out, and followed it up with a kick. Once more Kyra deflected the attack as he punched at her, feeling it miss entirely. But then there was the kick, aiming at her legs.

This time though Kyra did something he was not expecting, stomping her heel down to land on his foot and effectively pinning it in place. Giving out an involuntary yelp of pain Moritz pulled back, only to have Kyra withdraw her foot pinning his foot. This set him off balance and once more he landed on his rear panting.

"You know, combo attacks are a good idea, but you have to make sure you can back it up. Each failed attack is basically you offering that limb to your foe. If I had wanted to I could have grabbed that hand and used it to get you off balance, before you had a chance to kick. Or I could have done that, and then grabbed the kicked foot and pulled your feet out from under you. Bear that in mind, if your going to use multiple attacks including weak ones. Each failed blow is an offering to your foe. Now, again."

Breathing heavier Moritz got up again, feeling an ache in his rear from landing on it so many times. Possibly a bruise? Kyra seemed to know his attacks before he even made them, predicting and plotting a plan out in response and then acting to tear apart every move he made. He still was not going to give in, but he had to find a way to get around her knowledge. The simplest means seemed to be to move and attack in ways she was not expecting.

Panting Moritz charged, only to peal off before he arrived at her. Kyra seemed to expect this, and did not move to block or attack. Simply watching. Looping back around Moritz came at her from the side, but was forced to loop in his run again as Kyra neatly turned in place to face him. He knew he could not keep that up, a stitch beginning to form in his side from all of the running and other exertions. Finally he looped around once and came at her with a kick, jumping into midair and trying to slam both legs into her torso.

Kyra neatly sidestepped, and then brought an elbow down on his gut. Even padded this hurt, and he struck the ground with the wind knocked out of him. So much so he was left struggling to breath, unable to inhale or exhale or anything. Kyra just watched, not making a move, waiting for him to recover.

"Well that was stupid, don't do that again. Jump kicks look fancy, but they are stupid. They don't work. Kicks get their power from twisting, using the other leg and your body as a fulcrum. If you jump you lose that, and your basically just blindly throwing your body weight at me with little force. Keep on the ground, and no more jump kicks. Punches, kicks, they are all about using the body as a fulcrum, which means you need the rest of your body to use them well. And you definitely need something to push off of, like the ground, to get any force into it. So yeah, jump kicks dumb, no jump kicks, got it? Or yeah catch your breath, but you know what I mean."

While Moritz panted and wheezed and tried to catch his breath, Kyra went off to grab a water skin. Once she returned she took a swig, and then offered some to Moritz. Once that was done and she had returned the water skin she waited some more, giving Moritz time to recover before the next round.

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 16th, 2020, 2:04 am

Once Moritz had caught his breath he slowly regained his feet. Kyra smiled over at him, leaning against a wall while waiting. Once he showed he was up she popped off of the wall and slowly began to trail about the training room.

"Alright, another bout, but this time nothing fancy. I'll come at you, you defend yourself however you want. Alright?"

Moritz paused before nodding, eying his instructor. He did not doubt that if she took things seriously she would tear through him like a hungry Okomo through a patch of flowers, but he also did not think she would take the attack fully seriously.

With this he committed to doing his best, getting himself into a stance to show his readiness for the attack. Legs spread apart. Turned to present his side to Kyra. One arm at his side, covering his chest. His other arm forward, hand held loosely in front of him.

Kyra moved slowly, circling about, forcing Moritz to turn in response to keep himself facing correctly. Then suddenly she turned in her motion, snapping in towards him with an open palm. For her it was moving rather slow, but that meant it was moving slow enough Moritz had a chance. Throwing up his own arm he knocked it aside, stopping it from hitting him.

Before he had a chance to get back into his ready position though Kyra snapped out with her other hand, forcing Moritz to jump backward. Kyra kept going forward, making Moritz continue back a few steps till he had recovered enough to snap out his hand to block a blow. Still moving slowly for Kyra. What followed then was a quick series of strikes from Kyra at Moritz. Left hand, right fist, left leg, right arm. He blocked both of the arm strikes, taking the kick in the shin which smarted but did not knock him down. Lastly was the right fist, which clipped him in his side facing Kyra.

Once more he felt the sting of pain as her blow landed, moving back several paces to get out of her range. Kyra however followed, keeping herself in range, and threw a series of light blows aimed at Moritz. Moritz for his part, unable to escape or block them all, threw up both arms to protect his head, face, and neck, and did his best to absorb the blows.

By the time she was done Moritz arms were aching, and he was breathing hard. Kyra seemed little the worse for wear, still smiling at Moritz.

"Alright, that is a good place to pause. Why don't we switch over to weapons. We can practice some more with the hook swords. You rest for a bit, while I grab them. But remember, you have to keep active. Don't lock up unless you have to, its usually better to do something bad than nothing at all."

Moritz nodded, going near the wall to sit down propped against it, taking some time to catch his breath. Kyra went over to the weapons racks, pulling out a pair of wooden swords with a hook at the end, wooden replicas of tiger hook swords for use in training.

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 23rd, 2020, 1:35 am

Moritz eyed the training weapons, length of wood in the general shape of the tiger hook swords, but different. It had the same hand covering near the hilt, and a hook at the end. However this was made of wood and was blunt, rather than the sharp metal of the real thing. But it was better than nothing, and the only feasible thing to use when training to avoid someone losing a finger. Or worse.

Once he had regained his breath Kyra smiled at Moritz and threw him one of the wooden weapons. Moritz caught it, one of the few successful things he felt he had managed to do so far.

"So far we have been using these simple wooden training weapons. The next step up from that is training weapons with a metal core. Basically wood on the outside, sandwiching a layer of metal on the inside. Its still not the same as a real weapon, but its heavier so its closer to the real thing. Maybe once you get better with these, we'll move up to those. But you aren't there yet. But don't worry, that was to be expected. Your making good progress Moritz."

Moritz forced a smile and nodded in recognition of her words, having trouble fully accepting them based on the number of bruises he was fairly certain he would have the next day.

"Alright, you start. Come at me, and I will defend. Then we will trade off, I'll attack and you'll defend."

Once more nodding Moritz took a moment to consider the situation. She stood there, arms and legs as such. The room as such... Nothing to block her pass, to get in the way, or to serve as an obstacle. Situational awareness was important, as Kyra had said many times before. Unfortunately the training room did not offer much in the way of such things to use. Still, as he had been instructed such basic tactics were a constant thought to keep in mind when fighting. Almost as if knowing what he was doing Kyra smiled at Moritz.

"Sometimes your environment, your footing or lack thereof, can be as deadly, or deadlier, to a skilled mind, than the sharpest sword."

As she finished speaking Moritz moved to strike, hoping to land a blow while she was distracted by talking. He came in hard, swinging his sword at her chest. Kyra swung upward, hitting the weapon from underneath and sending it flying up and away from her by a good five inches. Not even close to landing a strike. He did not stop there though, reversing and coming down aimed at her shoulder. Kyra came as this blow from the side, smacking the weapon to loosen it in Moritz grip before hooking it with the hook of her sword. With a yank the two hooks connected and Moritz lost his grip. Kyra waited for a moment before pulling Moritz weapon off the end of hers and throwing it back to him.

"Don't forget, on a tiger hook sword each part of the weapon is of use, not just the blade. The hook can grab and hold another weapon, sort of like grappling. This can tangle a foes actions, throw them off when they expect their blade to easily come back or when they want to retreat. The hand guard is a weapon, protecting the hand but also able to be used as a punch blade. The crescent shaped blade isn't for show. And don't forget the blade on the bottom of the hilt, its small but can be deadly if used well. Consider your entire weapon at once, not just one part Moritz. Now, defend."

At this word Moritz held up his weapon horizontally, waiting for the attack. Kyra came at him, swinging her sword at his chest. The two weapons bounced off each other sending Moritz own blade into himself. He knew if the weapon had been real he would have just sliced his own chest open. Active defense, as Kyra had said.

Widening his stance Moritz waited for the next attack, not committing to a single block before he saw what it would be. This time Kyra came with an overhead strike, aiming at his head. Moritz swung his sword around from the side, hitting the weapon and knocking it off its planned path. This time he did not hit himself with his weapon, and he managed to deflect the blow coming at him.

"Better, better. Now another!"

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A Turned Hand

Postby Moritz Craven on November 26th, 2020, 4:47 pm

Kyra was many things, forgiving in training was not one of them. She knew what it took to get the best out of her students, pushing them to that limit without breaking them. That was her trick, and something she was unlikely to change at the current stage of her life.

When she came at Moritz it was not at her fully ability, but neither was it completely pulling her punches so to speak. While she only wielded one weapon, it did more than three in Moritz.

Holding his blade at a standby position Moritz waited for the next attack. Seeing it coming at him in a horizontal slash Moritz swung the sword upward again, only to feel air. Somehow he had... Missed? Kyra in turn sidestepped and spun into Moritz, bumping against him with her shoulder as she did. This put her within Moritz guard, and using the hand not holding a sword grabbed Moritz sword holding wrist. A twist and his hand popped open, dropping the weapon to the ground. Then just for measure she swept around again, using her leg to knock both of Moritz out from under him. Standing over him she smiled down at the youth.

"Now, what did you do wrong?"

Groaning Moritz rolled over onto his back, peering up at the woman who seemed determined to leave every inch of his flesh bruised.

"Lets see... First I dropped my sword... Well before that I committed to your feint, and let you get within the range of my sword. So I couldn't use my sword to attack you then once you were so close. Then I dropped my sword. And then you tripped me, but honestly not sure what I did wrong at that point. Kind of irrelevant after all the others."

"Moritz, combat is all about change. Just because you are using a sword does not mean you cannot use your body as a weapon. Just because you are using your body does not mean you cannot also use a weapon. Or pull out another one. Just because you are fighting with swords at one range, does not mean you need to keep doing so. Do you understand? If one thing is not working, try another. If your opponent is ready for one thing to happen, do something else. Feint. Change tactics. Change styles. Change method. The more you change, the less your opponent can get a track on what you are doing or planning."

Offering a hand Kyra pulled Moritz back to his feet, and Moritz recovered his fallen weapon.

"Skill will come in time and with practice. Each one of those bruises means a new lesson learned. But until then you must stay fluid, you must avoid being predictable, and you must avoid doing what your opponent wants you to do. Tactical thinking, learning to use tactics, its not about memorizing a bunch of patterns or combinations of attacks. Its about seeing you, your opponent, and the world around you. Its about figuring out what your opponent will do, and using that against them. Its about figuring out what your opponent thinks you will do, and doing something else. Its about reacting to what is going on. If you can plan a fight out to your advantage in advance, do so. But if not, then tactics in the moment are your only way forward. Use your mind Moritz. You've got a good one, you just need to use it."

Moritz nodded, panting as he tried to catch his breathing.

"I understand. But... Its hard... Because even when I see what your doing... I just can't react in time."

Kyra smiled once more, eying Moritz.

"Yes, and that is what this is for. Your body does not want to get hurt. If I keep exposing you to things, your reactions will change. You don't fail the same way twice, you keep trying new things. Eventually you'll work out what works and what doesn't, and your thought out plans will become automatic reactions. That is called experience Moritz, and it can only be earned through time, sweet, and blood. But I have faith you will manage to do just that, if you keep at it."

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