Completed Bladesong I

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 I

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:39 am

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


This was just another of her many visits to Gracelin and The Komorebi Estuary, though this time Tazrae brought baked goods in trade. She had her machete sheathed on her backpack and she was dressed in her jungle leathers. Though it was hot, Taz had compromised with an off-white isuas tank top to keep her cool through what was coming.

Gracelin, who was tending the small garden outside her bungalow, grinned when she saw Tazrae and more importantly the basket of baked goods with her. “I know you can forage and hunt for what you want, but I figured baked goods would be a rarity and not unwelcomed.” The Innkeeper said, reaching up and offering the entire basket to Gracelin. The woman grinned in response, took the basket, and then drew Tazrae with it into a firm hug.

“Gods, it's good to see you. I heard what happened in town. That was bad business. I wish I could have been there.” She added, shaking her head. “It’s just too dangerous these days… even now… even here.” She whispered.

Tazrae pulled away and nodded. “Don’t worry about it. The Settlement handled it. You’d have been proud. And I’m confident it won’t always be like this.” She added, watching Gracelin lay the basket on her porch and turned to Taz. She offered her a smile, the smile of a friend, and it was returned.

“You’re overdue for a lesson…. let’s make that happen,” Gracelin added, grabbing her machete from the porch where she had a number of things at hand in case of emergency, and walked towards a huge bolder that Gracelin liked to use as a sort of Master’s circle for practicing. Tazrae followed her, shedding her pack and drawing her machete out to join Gracelin in the circle.

“What are we going to learn today?” Taz asked, slowly starting to run through the four-step footwork to warm up her body. “Parry? Thrust? Great powerful slashes that will bring down Velispar?” The Innkeeper joked, a smile playing across her face. The Innkeeper was already putting her feet through the paces, keeping her blade forward, the thrusting arm outstretched, her body protected behind it. She moved through each step, each motion, with practiced ease because she had been practicing them diligently, taking Gracelin’s teachings seriously despite the lightness of her words.

It was hot, and in the long isuas jungle pants and tall boots, Taz began to sweat. She kept moving even as Gracelin studied her thoughtfully and began to move through the exercises with her. The two women moved side-by-side, not facing off, not yet, going through the graceful motions of aligning their bodies motions with that of the machete, uniting them.

“I want to talk to you about tactics, first, I think.” She said. “Every weapon has a set of ethics and tactics that we can assign the weapon. Swords and Daggers have similar tactics just manipulated by the length of their blades, but machetes have a unique set all their own. The first one I want to give to you, Tazrae, is to run away. If the fight isn’t necessary, don’t have it. Run away. If you can avoid it, flee immediately, use your footwork ad your movements to get your body to safety. Remember, love, that when you are fighting an opponent or a group of opponents, you don’t actually want to trade blows. You want to maneuver around and past them and then cut off the threat on the other end. Eliminate it. Just expend as little energy as possible doing so.” Gracelin said, shifting into a new position, Tazrae moving with her.
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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 I

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:40 am

The Innkeeper inclined her head, nodding. “That makes sense. I’m not violent by nature. I’m more comfortable as a caregiver, not as a warrior.” She said thoughtfully, even as Gracelin continued.

“Never fight through an obstacle. You want to fight past it and get away, instead. It’s only when you are forced… and I do mean forced… should you stand your ground and fight. You are going to have to be able to manage the bloodlust in your veins, because of the stress and blood pumping in your veins and make sure your head is in charge, not your instincts.” Gracelin said, still moving with Tazrae.

They moved from position four, backward through three and two, sliding into one, keeping their blades moving in synchronicity. “What do I need to do to become adept at machete if all I’m ever trying to do is run away?” Taz said, her brow furrowed in curiosity.

Gracelin smiled. “Just because I advise and teach running first, doesn’t mean you are going to be able to avoid every fight. You won’t be able to do so every time… in fact maybe rarely.” The woman said. “Your footwork, angling your body, blocking, parrying, and even feinting to create an opening are the elements you need… the tactics that are important… to master this weapon,” Gracelin instructed.

“I have a question,” Tazrae said, moving forwards in the pattern now, position two to three, back to four. “You say you always want me striking on the same side as your lead foot. Can you tell me why exactly?” She asked, curious about the statement from her last training session.

“I know it seems counterintuitive, but when you strike on the same side as your lead foot, it helps you put the body behind the machete while enabling you to generate more power. That helps you to keep your balance, Taz. Your right foot comes forward with your right arm and the machete in your right hand aligns perfectly.” Then she added. “What does this actually do for you?” Gracelin asked.

Taz pondered for a moment, looking thoughtful. She ran through the motion for a moment, really paying attention to what it did for her. “The four-count work, with my right foot coming forward… machete in that hand… extends my reach, allows me to put my body weight into the blow. It’s just smoother, better… like a drop step in unarmed.” Taz added, having been taking those classes as well.

“The angles are better too,” Gracelin said, demonstrating. “Your angle one cut with your right hand and right foot forward are all lined up perfectly, in a natural way. You don’t have to twist the blade unnaturally which costs you time. When you then take a step that puts your left foot forward, you are making the angle 2 cut with your left side of the body brought into the cut and controlling it. It’s also natural.” She said, demonstrating.
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: 1242
Words: 1804276
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
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Bladesong I

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:42 am

Taz nodded and followed suit. “So how do we start to integrate all of this?” She asked, her eyes following Gracelin as the woman moved opposite of her and they faced off.

“Each of your strikes can create an entry angle that is an opening to attack. That opening can be yours or theirs. Your job is to minimize your openings and maximize theirs. That’s all about what the economy of movement is about.” Gracelin added. “You maintain the flow and momentum of your blade without forcing your arm to stop. Stopping requires energy so you will tire faster. It also causes you to lose velocity, which takes effort to try and build it up again. When you are wielding any weapon, but a machete especially, you want good flow. Jerky motions will be the death of you.” She said softly.

Tazrae nodded. “I can see how hacking, chopping, bringing my arms up, down, stopping, starting, reversing my direction is much less effective than keeping the machete flowing… it’s a lot like dancing.” Tazrae interjected, twirling with the machete in her hands and reversing not by changing the motion of the machete but by adjusting her body to keep the machete moving.

The angles were all over the place, accessible, especially if you had time to plot them out ahead of time and weren’t fighting for your life. Taz could see how body memory came into play here. Gracelin had drilled it into her earlier about the footwork and how important it was to make that part of her routine. She felt the pieces of some long-dormant puzzle coming together in her mind as she listened.

“Always move your machete in a circular motion before it makes its cut. Make your strikes out of your constantly revolving circular patterns. These patterns should move around your body fluidly, and unpredictably. When you make your circular patterns random, you will find your enemy will have a harder time reading the attack. You don’t want to give away what your next move will be and tip off the opposition as to what is going to come next by being predictable. Keep the machete moving. It's easier to defend against a weapon you can see. It’s far harder to defend what you don’t see coming… that’s why speed is a factor with machete patterns.” Gracelin instructed, then tapped at the corner of her eye.

“If your eye cannot track a weapon, you will have trouble countering that weapon every time… that is unless your know your opponent and can predict what they will do.” She said, watching Tazrae move from pattern to pattern, keeping her machete moving, but speeding it up subtly to make it harder for Gracelin’s trained eye to follow.
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: 1242
Words: 1804276
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

Bladesong I

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:44 am

“How do I do that if I’m just spinning? It seems the way you are describing it, my motions will become predictable.” Taz questioned; uncertain she was understanding the point.

“People have a field of vision…. And once you understand where that is, if you drop the blade out of that field of vision or rise above it, you can break up their defenses. A blade in a field of vision is known. One that swings high or low, is not. So for example, bringing the blade around your head in a circle, you take it out of your enemy's vision briefly as it passes behind you. That might make them hesitate, pause, taking a single moment to determine the best course of action. Why is that? Because if they don’t have eyes on the blade the whole time, they will have no idea where the attack will come from.” Gracelin quietly said.

Tazrae nodded as Gracelin demonstrated. Then she repeated the motion, copying the move, trying to smooth it along and speed it up both at the same time.

“I see what you mean. Fluid motion is efficient motion. And that literally equates to a greater chance of success and ultimately survival, doesn’t it?” Taz asked through the panting of her lungs. Gracelin was a good teacher, but Taz had assumed she was in good shape. The truth was, while thin and lithe, she could use a lot more muscling and a lot more control.

That would take training of other sorts, Tazrae decided. She’d need to learn Unarmed Combat, maybe more dancing, and definitely more energetic ways to move her body. Alric had practiced something called Yoga with her and she suspected that would help a great deal as well. Something had to give. Maybe more parkour in the jungle as an Ixam would help with her stamina. That was lacking, horribly, Tazrae decided.

Gracelin nodded. “Okay take a break. Put that down a minute, shake out, and quench your thirst. We are going to switch topics and take a fork in the training road. Thus far…” The woman talked while Tazrae sheathed her weapon and took a long pull from her waterskin and caught her breath. She was enjoying the training – enormously – and her machete was starting to feel quite comfortable and familiar in her hands. Its hilt was going to give her callouses as badly as her kitchen knives had.

Five chimes… maybe six went by as both women caught their breath and Tazrae got to rest her arm muscles. But finally, Gracelin called them back into order and moved on to her next topic.

“I need to teach you some blocks before we get very far. I like to call my blocking method my ‘Blade Wall’.” Gracelin started out, talking thoughtfully to the younger woman. “Blocking is absolutely essential to prevent you from getting hurt. And by hurt, I mean damaged so badly that you are horribly wounded or dead. To prevent this from happening, I will teach you how to build a Blade Wall.” She instructed.

Taz nodded, listening. “That sounds good. It's nice to fight, but I need to be able to prevent a thrust or slash from hitting me too.”

Gracelin nodded. “I’m going to teach you how to transform your machete into a “Blade Wall” that defends you from attack. To do this, you need to imagine a square in front of you that you make with your blade – tracing it through the air – creating a box that protects your body.” Gracelin gestured out about how big she wanted the square, and Tazrae faced her focused on that imaginary boundary in her mind.
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: 1242
Words: 1804276
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
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Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

Bladesong I

Postby Tazrae on July 8th, 2022, 4:47 am

“I’m going to attack you with a horizontal strike then a vertical strike, twice each, to the four sides of the box. Your job is to practice blocking with the blade up and the blade down… depending upon my attack. Whatever side I come at you with, I want you to orient the blade right to left then reversed meaning left to right to defend these attacks. We’ll drill with this a while, using the four attacks… right-left above and below, and then you can see how you are able to form a blade wall meeting any attack as it comes in to stop your opponent – in this case, me – from hurting you.” She instructed.

Then the girls faced off.

Taz already knew the four different attacks and was clued into the horizontal and vertical ones to come. She simply took her first position stance, held her blade up before her, and did as Gracelin asked. As the woman moved forward, still slow, Taz would counter, using the exact opposite attack to block. She chased Gracelin’s blade with her own, half a hair’s breadth behind her.

It wasn’t perfect though.

The two women were fighting slowly and Gracelin, growing bored, began to speed it up and feign here and there to trick Tazrae up. The Innkeeper fell for it a lot, losing her balance, and over-reaching a time or two. The worst thing she did was anticipate Gracelin’s moves incorrectly and throw up the wrong block. This created an opportunity for Gracelin to slide right in, which she did, and tap Tazrae hard on a body part or two leaving nice well-deserved welts.

The lesson Gracelin was driving home was stunningly powerful. Taz had to get control of her body. She had to move better, fight better, and be more unified. Her head seemed to dwell in a space that was separate from her body, and at Gracelin’s urging, she strained and concentrated and fought to make that awareness of the head become awareness of limbs, heart, hips… shoulders. The awkwardness was appalling and it really stood out with her sparring even as she simply fought to make the blade wall and block slash, parry, thrust after slash parry thrust traded up to jabs and downswings and upswings. Gracelin moved like a dream, well aware of her body, dwelling in her entire space. She was beautiful to fight, absolutely stunning, and something Taz could write ballad after ballad about.

They started out standing still trading blows, facing each other. But soon enough Gracelin had them twisting and moving, dancing across the big flat rocks they fought on. It wasn’t bad footing, but it wasn’t easy footing either. The whole exercise taught Tazrae how far she still had to come to be completely familiar with her weapon and how to use it as an extension of her body.

Taz learned more in five minutes trying to manifest that blade wall than she did the whole first year she’d owned a machete in Syka. It drove home to her, also, the importance of the footwork Gracelin was teaching her. That footwork saved her time and time again if she paid attention and minded it… because it automatically drove her out of the way of oncoming attacks and positioned her for follow-ups that allowed her to block (sometimes – she was still slow) the seemingly never-ending rain of blows.

As she took a beating though, she started to spot vulnerable places on Gracelin, the things the woman had called ‘openings’. She also learned that by building the blade wall every time the opponent came for her, the muscles of her arms tensed and released, physically aching after a time from all the stress of being used.

“When you get better at this, Tazrae, be sure you drill these blocks on both sides of your body constantly. It will build up your ambidexterity and help you learn to cover yourself and keep fighting if one of your arms or hands or even wrists is injured. You said you got Sweet Refrain coming back? Keep this machete here and we’ll train dual wield in both." She said, then continued.

"That way, you will be as familiar with both of them in either hand as you will with just one gripped in your right hand. You can also change out your weapon and make your secondary weapon an ax or a dagger. Both are pretty interesting items to fight with and are amazing fits for the jungle.” She said firmly, nodding her satisfaction. So, after that, Taz started fighting with the machete in her left hand, and what did that feel odd to her. She fumbled more, lived less in her body and more in her head, and found out she was a whole lot weaker on that side.

Words: 2968
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: 1242
Words: 1804276
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)

Bladesong I

Postby Tazrae on August 24th, 2022, 1:48 am

Grading


Tazrae -

Bartering +1, Machete +5, Tactics +5, Philosophy +3, Endurance +5, Logic +2

Tactics: Each Weapon Type Has A Set of Ethics And Tactics, Tactics: Fleeing Is A Tactic, Philosophy: If the Fight Isn’t Necessary, Don’t Have It, Tactics: Trading Blows Isn’t The Goal, It’s Elimination That’s The Goal, Tactics: Expend As Little Energy As Possible Fighting, Tactics: Never Fight Through An Obstacle – Fight Past It And Get Away, Tactics: Stand Your Ground Only When Forced, Tactics: Control Your Bloodlust, Tactics: Avoiding Fights Is Rare, Tactics: Strike On the Same Side As Lead Foot – To Put One’s Body Behind The Machete Which Generates More Power, Machete: Techniques To Maintain Balance, Machete: The Four Count Work Gives More Reach, Puts Bodyweight Behind The Blow, Smoother, Better Tactics, Four Count: Generate Better Angles In Attacks, Four-Count Work: Maintains Flow And Momentum Of Blade Without Forcing Arm To Stop, Tactics: Stopping Wastes Energy In A Battle, Tactics: Jerky Motions Equals Death, Machete: Move Machete In A Circular Motion – Forming Patterns That Move Around Your Body Fluidly And Unpredictably, Tactics: Techniques To Make Your Strikes Unpredictable, Logic: Must Follow The Weapon Visually To Predict/Counter Strikes/Attacks, Tactics: Understand Opponent’s Field Of Vision, Tactics: Take The Machete Out Of Opponent’s Field Of Vision During A Swing, Tactics: Fluid Motion Is Efficient Motion, Machete: Blade Wall Block, Tazrae: Needs More Control Of Her Body, Machete: Proper Footwork Saved Her Life – Driving Her Out Of The Line Of Attack, Tactics: Spotting Openings
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: 1242
Words: 1804276
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)


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