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Ekitai-Kenfu (Fluid Fist Style)

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  • Ekitai-Kenfu (Fluid Fist Style)

    Written by Hitoko
    Rewritten 02/02/16
    Peace to Calibur for collaborating with me on the rewrite
    Inspired by Wing Chun and Xingyiquan

    Ekitai Kenfu

    (Fluid Fist Style)

    Ekitai-Kenfu is a very sophisticated weapon;
    it is a science of combat.

    A: Speed
    B: Strength
    C: Stamina
    D: Control
    E: Power
    F: Reserves

    Style Type: Hybrid Taijutsu / Element: Wind

    - History -

    Ekitai-Kenfu is one of the Renchishin Family’s oldest styles of traditional unarmed combat.

    It is a powerful yet responsive style, with strong emphasis placed on the fluid (“Ekitai”) motion of the body which, like water, must also be able to take the shape of its container. In this instance, said container is the mind’s conscious control, thus externalising one’s internal state through expression

    In its infancy, the style was known as the Heart and Mind Six Star Fist, combining the spiritual principles of the Three Internal Harmonies with the corporeal aspects of the Three External Harmonies. Desire harmonises with intent, intent with vital energy, and vital energy with physical strength. Similarly, shoulders coordinate with hips, elbows with knees, and hands with feet. Only by combining these ‘six stars’, can the person be unified as a whole and hope to achieve mastery of their form.

    Renchishin Ratsuichi, of Hidden Sand acclaim, was the first recorded teacher of the style’s hard concepts. The man’s reputedly divine spear fighting skills, which have survived in the Fluid-Fist Style Weapon Form: Tale of the Raving Wind and Water, were exercised throughout an enduring period of conflict. However, in the peace that followed, he found himself faced with a new challenge:

    Originally posted by Renchishin Ratsuichi
    "I have protected myself in violent times with my spear (Name of Spear; Susamajii Ryuu). Now that we are in a time of peace and our weapons have all been destroyed, if I am unarmed and meet the unexpected. . .how shall I defend myself?”
    Beginning work on an unarmed style in order to solve this riddle and protect his people, Ratsuichi drew on his existing spear kata for inspiration. Not only could the hand and foot placements be easily converted, but doing so would better arm future generations should they also wish to take up the spear again.

    - Description -

    The mandate of the Ekitai-Kenfu practitioner is to either subdue their opponent with sharp, disorienting strikes or, failing that, to bury them beneath a relentless stream of combination attacks.

    This highly aggressive style will place them well within their opponent’s range in order to make contact at the earliest opportunity. However, by pairing decisive blows with defensive blocks, the risks inherent to this strategy can be minimised. This practice of simultaneously attacking and defending comes into its own when these movements are then chained, employing the blocking motion as a means of both turning away the enemy’s attacks and opening up their guard. The adept can then press the advantage, their next movement flowing instinctively to fill the gap like water rushing into a container.

    The direction of travel is predominately linear, with users coordinating each and every movement as they progress through a series of forms, both directly and with powerful, swinging motions. The hands, feet and torso all arrive together, while the nose, lead hand and lead foot are aligned on the same vertical axis. The arms are typically held in front of the body, elbows level with the lower rib cage and hands raised slightly, aligned with the heart.

    Unlike most open palmed styles, kicks are used as frequently as punches. These will typically take the shape of direct explosive attacks or nimble, high-kicking aerial maneuvers. Indeed, great emphasis is placed upon the ability to strike effectively with every part of the body, to “generate power with the whole body and focus it into one pulse which is released in a sudden burst”. The body must also be conditioned to receive strikes, particularly if the practitioner hopes to harness and reflect the force of these impacts.

    - Training Methods -

    Seven Star Strikes - By drilling the basic striking motions of the Seven Stars (head, shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees and feet), the Ekitai-Kenfu fighter will develop their null point power, i.e. the strength and stability of standalone blows that will lack the force generated by the body as a whole.

    Basic/Linked Forms - From there, the student will progress to learning the style’s basic forms, repeating single movements while walking forward in various linear patterns. These can then be combined into linked forms, building the student’s ability to generate internal power and better coordinating their application of the Seven Stars.

    Stance Keeping - Most teachers place great importance on this exercise due to the stamina and muscle memory that it can impart, particularly as these static postures will form the base of all subsequent movements within the style.

    Push Hands - This training method can only be attempted with two individuals, but is essential to understanding the finer points of (literal) hand-to-hand contact. These include rooting, stabilising the student’s sense of balance, yielding, their ability to adapt to incoming force from any angle, and releasing, the application of power against an opponent.

    Training Post - The typical wooden training dummy is composed of a sturdy vertical post with three arms and one leg, representing the various positions of an opponent's body and the lines of force that it can give out. Students and masters alike show a fondness for this traditional tool, against which to test the fluidity and power of their strikes.

    Breaking Hand Post - This variation takes matters one step further, featuring a swinging arm at shoulder level, hanging sandbags, and a rotor-like arm at head height. The arms are coordinated so that striking the swinging arm will cause the helicopter arm to rotate, and vice versa, emulating an opponent that can fight back and thus improving reactions for counterattacks.

    - Other Information -

    These are regarded as the most dangerous weapon in the fighter’s arsenal for good reason:

    Fingers (including Knuckles)
    These parts of the hand represent the style’s hard (external) qualities, a vehicle for the user’s brute strength.

    Palms (including Back of Hand)
    These parts of the hand represent the style’s soft (internal) aspects, and are used the most within Ekitai-Kenfu for both offensive and defensive purposes.

    As the secondary foundation of the hand, these direct its movements but can also attack, although, in most instances, this contact will precede and initiate a new chain.
    The open-palm practices of the Ekitai-Kenfu bear a certain similarity to the Jyuuken, the Hyuuga Family’s ‘Gentle Fist’. However, whereas this style emphasises large and extended postures, the forms of the Ekitai-Kenfu require smaller movements, with the arms held closer to the body. The footwork is light and agile, and while the movements still require the strict and precise delivery of powerful palm and fist strikes, emphasis is placed on softer approaches to applying technique. Evasiveness is also more of a priority than in other styles, as techniques must be applied without clashing against the opponent’s force.

    - Attitude -

    In battle, the Fluid-Fist fighter follows a distinct “take no prisoners” attitude, aiming to incapacitate his or her opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thus there are no flashy or overly complicated techniques; the art is a study in practicality. The fact that Ekitai-Kenfu fighters can be counted among the most elite Renchishin clansmen to have ever lived lends credibility to the style’s efficacy in training, strategy and application.

    - Strategy -

    When an opponent closes the distance with a committed attack, the Ekitai fighter will step into their range, stunning them with a simultaneous deflection and counterattack from which they can follow up relentlessly until victory is assured.

    In a “hand-to-hand” instance, the fighter prefers to attack first, thereby pressuring the opponent to react in a way that will place the fighter at an advantage. From here, the fighter continues to press the attack, never allowing the opponent time to regroup.

    In a standing grappling situation, the fighter aims to avoid clinching or wrestling at all costs; holds are preempted or broken by disorienting the opponent from close range with one of the Seven Stars, giving the Ekitai fighter the upper hand once again.

    The overall flow of the Ekitai-Kenfu techniques generally follow the pattern of first making a physical connection with the opponent, then immediately setting up a shocking strike and ending the fight with a flurry of finishing strikes or a fast and hard takedown.

    - Conclusion -

    The aggressive nature of the Ekitai-Kenfu can be summed up in these words:

    Fierce; Sudden; Wicked; Quick; Violent; First; Sharp

    The study of its strategies and techniques provides a fascinating view of the mindset of the warriors of old.

    Stage I - Kihongata “Kata of Basics”
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 5, Strength 3
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    When the student is ready, the master will appear.

    This age-old proverb finds new meaning in the first steps taken by the fledgling Fluid-Fist fighter. Only through proper preparation will the road to mastery reveal itself. The student and master are one and the same, a current that begins at the river’s source and ends at the infinite sea. As such, the focus of this stage is to highlight the principles that will direct progression: precision over power and insight over strength.

    “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”

    By emptying their cup — their preconceived opinions and expectations — the student opens themselves up to the possibilities of the Ekitai-Kenfu, learning the body’s movements and the correct positioning of each part within the whole. Thus, whether striking or defending with hands or feet, the fighter’s motions will follow the line of their intent to the letter, flowing through practiced forms.

    At this stage, strikes are nearly always soft in nature. However, this does not mean that they are slow. Like water, the hands flow but the feet crash; at this early stage, they are the first and thus most developed part of the moving body with which energy can be generated and so possess a heightened natural power, although an overemphasis on kicks at this stage can risk interrupting the student’s rhythm. Hence, balance exercises are also introduced.

    Incapacitating one’s opponent is not a matter of trial and error but of practice. Compared to later stages, the Kata of Basics demands the most from the trainee by offering the greatest wealth of new information in return. For instance, the repetition of linked forms is deemed essential even now as it leads users through the movements necessary to transfer energy from the walking feet to the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and finally the hands.

    Thus, while the fighter’s null point power alone may be weaker than that of novices in other strength-based schools, infusing a standalone blow with the energy travelling through the External Harmonies will create an excess of force. When facing opponents of a similar level, the student may use this disparity to his or her advantage, surprising their adversary with an unanticipated level of power in order to press the attack.

    Ten Ka Hitotsu / Han Ippo (First Under Heaven / Half Step)
    The basis of the style’s footwork is to close the distance as quickly as possible with an economy of movement. This can be achieved with an abrupt shuffle forward into the opponent’s range of attack or, ideally, past their defenses altogether. It’s a simple method where the user can also follow an opponent as if they were their shadow.

    Juuji Gyakushuu (Cross Counterattack)
    With this technique for simultaneous defensive to offensive measures, the Ekitai practitioner can intercept an incoming physical strike by blocking with the back of their leading hand. Stepping in, the user then twists their lead hand to dissolve and deflect the attack downward. This leaves the opponent off balance with their upper body exposed to potential chains of other attacks.

    Kobokushi (Palm Strike)
    A variation on the punch, and the style’s most basic attack, it utilises a ‘soft’ palm rather than the fist’s ‘hard’ knuckles. This broader surface area transfers the force of the blow further across the area of impact and into the opponent, amplifying the chance of a knock-back rather than focusing on damaging a specific point.
    Special Techniques
    Stage II
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 8, Strength 6, Control 6
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “The edge of knowledge - that is the beginning of understanding.”

    By the second stage, the novice has learned how to hold their own in a confrontation, their precision and sense of timing more attuned to the flow of combat than those in other schools, even if their bodies are not. The mind is sharper, and the student can be taught how to select areas of their opponent to exploit as well as how to shave milliseconds off reaction times. A greater emphasis is also placed on the defending hand, in order to better deflect and redirect incoming attacks.

    Conditioning exercises now focus on the upper body in order to bring punches more in line with the speed and power of kicks. Knuckles become noticeably harder, stinging hand strikes now capable of leaving bruises, but the legs have also developed. Students have grown more familiar with the practice of shifting their weight while in motion, allowing them to more readily incorporate kicks into hand combinations and expand their range of movement.

    Instead of a simple straight kick to the shin or stomach, the student will experiment with ways of crippling the opposition, such as kicks to the inside of the knee, crotch or even shoulder, depending on their flexibility at close range. Indeed, many a student will want to use their newfound mobility as a means of invading their opponent’s range as soon as possible, and might develop an over-reliance on techniques like Han Ippo. Instructors would advise against such overconfidence; it breeds over-thinking.

    Deliberation is the undoing of relaxation, a comparative state that the student must eventually achieve if they are to empty their mind, ‘read the flow’ and react naturally, particularly in the event that they must defend themselves. With continued practice of walking forms, as well as frequent sparring, the student will begin to internalise their understanding of range and timing, while flexibility training will be amplified to give the student a greater range of defensive movement on the spot.

    Ten Ka Futatsu / Gen’ei Ippo (Second Under Heaven / Phantom Step)
    A foundational technique upon which the Ekitai-Kenfu is built, the Phantom Step is so named for two reasons: the first is the optical distortion of the body achieved through sheer fluidity of motion (where the user’s appearance constantly flickers like a hologram), while the second is the complete lack of sound made by the user’s footsteps. Combined, these characteristics make it difficult for opponents to read incoming attacks, let alone anticipate them.

    Kensei (Feint)
    The practitioner creates the illusion of danger with a convincing strike, although this is merely a distraction. In the same breath that the opponent reacts to the limb in question, which will intentionally fall short, the user retracts it sharply, immediately replacing it with a genuine strike from another direction, a shift in tactics so sudden that it should catch the opponent off guard.

    Zesshou Kobokushi (Lunging Palm Strike)
    This is a palm strike executed while performing a quick lunge. The user dives at the opponent with both their leading palm and foot outstretched, lowering their stance and gaining speed. The force of the impact is therefore stronger than a normal Palm Strike and can cause the opponent to stumble backward if hit.
    Special Techniques
    Control-4, Power-4

    Ten Ka Mittsu / Gen’ei Setsu Ippo (Third Under Heaven / Phantom Interception Step)
    Special Requirement: Can only be activated after practitioner is struck by a Taijutsu or Ninjutsu technique.
    “Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond, like an echo.”
    The Phantom Interception Step is a hair-triggered cross-counter technique thrown immediately after engaging an opponent’s close ranged strike in order to exploit the sudden opening in their position. After being struck, a subtle glint appears in the practitioner’s eye that signifies the execution of the step. The Ekitai user will immediately disperse in a sudden burst of speed, and by fluctuating their velocity combined by the momentum gained by the opponent’s attack, the user can counter by maneuvering their response – whether it be simple palm or elbow strike – to attack the opponent’s blind spot. The counter can arrive at any angle, seemingly at the same time the user was struck.
    Stage 3: When the practitioner disperses, a single after image is left, allowing them to maneuver behind the opponent.
    Stage 4: The technique can be used in junction with an additional special technique (for an extra Jutsu cost)
    Stage III - Heishugata “Kata with Closed Hands”
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 11, Strength 9, Control 8
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “The closer to the true way of Ekitai-Kenfu, the less wastage of expression there is.”

    Only by ‘containing’ the external with the internal, and surrendering to an almost intuitive level of perception, can the student hope to properly master the Ekitai-Kenfu’s basic steps and linked forms. However, they will then gain access to the second kata -- one that, with hands closed, opens new avenues through which to develop into a fully functional fighter.

    The user is now comfortable in their body, able to gather harmonising energy from any position. Their quickness of movement has drastically increased, likened to a whip snapping against a rock. Sharp bursts of speed directed through the feet will result in a more mobile martial artist, whose linear running stance has assumed a compact and aerodynamic form. The most drastic improvement, however, comes in the speed of their hands, which are now capable of moving fluidly in almost any direction.

    This is joined by a heightened ability to intercept incoming attacks with the full extent of the arms; turning blows aside with a greater range of motion that can open up both the opponent’s front and back to reversals. By sparring more frequently with their Ekitai-Kenfu sensei, the student will have begun to explore advanced Push Hands methodology, gaining improved confidence and control in coordinating the forearms and elbows for dynamic entrapments and cross counterattacks.

    As a typically grounded fighter, the student will learn to adopt the ‘Te Tazuneru’ or ‘Asking Hand’ pose in order to better deflect overhead strikes, as well as lifting their leading foot to block some of the opponent’s kicks. What their arms have gained in speed, their legs have gained in stability, and being able to attack and defend with both upper and lower body will significantly aid the student in recouping a lost advantage, allowing them to return with longer and more unpredictable combinations.

    Ten Ka Yottsu / Hosoku Ippo (Fourth Under Heaven / Capture Step)
    Should the user come up against an opponent who remains beyond the proximity required for offensive counterattacks, they might employ the Capture Step, the first technique they will learn to actively draw the opponent into their field of decimation. Following a counter or a guard break, the adept will use both hands to grab their foe’s forearms or wrists for a fierce tug that has the power to bring the enemy stumbling into range or, failing that, interrupt their attempt at evasion.

    Juuji Gyakushuu: Tetsu Zankou (Cross Counter Attack: Shoulder Charge)
    Before engaging the opponent’s strike, the user quickly steps in, lowering their stance significantly to dip under the attack before parrying. Shifting their legs in a fluid rotation, followed by their torso and arms, the user picks up momentum, batting the opponent’s arms out of the way as they turn their back to them. Then, in one quick burst, the user lifts themselves, ramming their back into their adversary’s chest to either send them skywards, stumbling or sprawling.

    Juuji Gyakushuu: Te Tazuneru (Cross Counter Attack: Asking Hand)
    Should their opponent lead with an overhead strike, the user will raise their matching arm, deflecting the blow down its outer length until the opponent’s has slid to just below their elbow. By stepping in and forcing this elbow down, the user will add to their adversary’s momentum in order to place them off balance. The practitioner can then grab the back of their opponent’s neck with their free hand and deliver a sharp elbow to the upper spine with their former blocking arm.
    Special Techniques
    Control-7, Power-7, Reserves-6

    Shin’irikugo / Kinryu-no-Mai (Heart & Mind, Six Harmonies / Golden Dragon Dance)
    The Golden Dragon Dance is a technique where the practitioner generates power from their entire body as a whole, focusing it into their striking limb in one explosive burst of economized strength. This sudden shockwave of wind disrupts the internal rhythm of the opponent’s body, making it hard for them to breathe due to the erratic frenzy their heart goes into because of impact force/blunt trauma. This is also known as a Shocking Strike, utilized to stun the opponent for a brief moment (one post) as the practitioner continues their assault.
    Stage 4 (8 Trigram Wind Temple): The shockwave of wind, transferred from the user to opponent, can also damage anything directly behind the target, yielding the same effect
    Stage 5 (17th Variation Piercing Mountain Wind): The generated wind is more grievous, holding the capability of piercing through iron with the softness of a gentle breeze, puncture wound the size of practitioner’s fist
    Stage IV
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 16, Strength 14, Stamina 13, Control 14
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “Adjust to the obstacle and you will find a way through it.”

    With practiced eyes, the Ekitai-fighter has grown proficient in detecting muscular interplay in their opponent’s upper guard, now able to read most transitions between offence and defence. A distinct sure-footedness also facilitates longer combinations with both legs, affording them time to ‘feel out’ potential targets in their adversary’s lower body. The longer the engagement, the sharper these insights become and the easier it will be for the adept to anticipate their enemy, even masters of the art.

    Although defending against such a foe is another matter, the user’s movements have grown increasingly linear, allowing them to verily cut through the air with an economy of movement that improves stamina and reserves the body’s energy for moments of contact. This means that they can also cover distance at greater speeds, and having found the most natural posture for their body to assume in combat, they are now able to move in more efficient and effective patterns.

    The Ekitai-fighter is now noted for the frequency of their interceptions and reversals, snapping back with rapid hand attacks aimed to overpower enemy defences through sheer force of number. These may also be linked with similarly relentless, multi-tiered foot combinations, supported by supple yet sturdy legs, conditioned to resist fatigue during both offence and defence whilst continuing to move through countless linked stances.

    Adding a new strategy to their arsenal, practitioners will now begin to chain disorientation techniques into their combos, aiming to cripple the opponent’s balance with a mixture of open and closed hand strikes to ear, temple or jaw. Furthermore, heightened familiarity with their own body allows the user to test their agility more rigorously and creatively, and they will find that, due to improved reaction and execution times, acrobatic feats of evasion need no longer be restricted to the ground.

    Ten Ka Itsutsu / Zan’ei Ippo (Fifth Under Heaven / Cutting Shadow Step)
    The successor of the Phantom Step, this is a technique where the user is capable of harmonizing their body to move with such fluidity that a single after image of the practitioner is created. An optical illusion achieved through swift movements, the image cannot move on its own nor can the user control it, as it appears as a still position. This tactic is often used to confuse an opponent so the practitioner can get into their blind spot to execute an attack.
    Special Techniques
    Control-10, Power-10, Reserves-8

    Shin’irikugo / Ryu-sha-Sei (Heart & Mind, Six Harmonies / Dragon Chariot Star)
    The principle is to gather energy that reaches straight through the user, extending toward the opponent. By using the Golden Dragon Dance’s principle of economizing strength into one explosive burst to transfer force from entire body to opponent, the Dragon Chariot Star means to transmit the practitioner’s power through the air. This is achieved by collecting the atmospheric force harmonized in the practitioner’s movement, whereas a shockwave of wind develops from the striking limb, barreling toward their adversary. When this is performed, it is as if the space between Ekitai-practitioner and target is nothing, allowing users to strike from a far range, acting as if the opponent were directly in front of them. The shockwave is quick and translucent, making it hard to deal with. This is also known as the Empty Palm technique. Initial impact is equal to half the user’s strength without Taijutsu bonuses
    Stage 5: Impact equal to the user’s strength without Taijutsu bonuses
    Stage 6: Impact equal to the user’s strength, and includes Taijutsu bonuses
    Stage V - Kaishugata “Kata with Open Hands”
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 20, Strength 19, Stamina 17, Control 16
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “The only way to see the current in the river is to become the river itself.”

    The Stage Five practitioner’s hard-won, intuitive grasp of the style’s movements, their quick, discerning eye for spotting exploitable weaknesses, and their ability to execute countless attacks and counters with both power and precision have earned them a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Now with open hands — fists unclenched, connecting harmonies relaxed and fluid — the adept has come into their own, understanding the art; becoming the art.

    Knuckles have become as hard as rock on the riverbed, propelled in unpredictable waves by limbs that are sleek and toned, quick and unyielding like the blade of a jian, but as mobile in their movement range as the lengths of a three section staff. Whether closed or open, hand strikes can be chained together faster than they have at any previous level, literally blurring the lines between student and master in the air before their eyes.

    Meanwhile, switching between combinations of the arms and legs has become an effortless, demise-dealing dance, as the user now possesses the ability to deliver an extreme amount of null point power to movements at a moment’s notice. Their speed has also reached a new high, and whether running to gain distance, dodging with grounded or acrobatic flair, or simply recovering from a knockdown, the Ekitai-fighter is able to tap into their full velocity.

    Coupled with the results of their ongoing training to improve fluidity, spatial awareness and reaction times, the practitioner will now find themselves able to engage up to three opponents simultaneous, evading or defending attacks whilst feeling out the optimal means of removing each adversary from the equation as efficiently as possible.

    Ten Ka Muttsu / Insho Ippo (Sixth Under Heaven / Hidden General Step)
    A variation technique based on a feint, it’s an advanced method of combat designed to distract the opponent for a brief moment. When the Ekitai-practitioner snaps out at their adversary –whether fists or legs – they strike with the façade of a dedicated attack. When the opponent’s gaze is drawn to the false attack, the striking limb isn’t retracted. Instead, the attack is flickered, snapped in a jerking motion that allows the course of the position of the strike to be altered. This allows for various high-speed and unorthodox strikes at various angles, so the user doesn’t have to slow up their chain of attacks.
    Special Techniques
    Control-15, Power-15, Reserves-13

    Ten Ka Nanatsu / Kage no Nai Ippo (Seventh Under Heaven / Shadowless Step)
    A technique rumored to avail assassins; the Shadowless Step is a chakra-enhanced motion that creates an active series of afterimages that may carry out a single action. The false image projected cannot mimic Ninjutsu, but can mimic a single physical action as a means to distract the opponent while the practitioner moves out of sight to attack from a blind spot. There is a total absence of noise during said movement, although wiser adversaries can hear the subtle varying cadence of steps utilized to achieve such fluid motion. Thus, although the Cutting Shadow Step is more a reactionary defensive afterimage tool used to catch opponents off guard, The Shadowless Step has more use as a means to create openings in an opponent’s defense as a prelude to an offensive.
    Stage VI
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 30, Strength 23, Stamina 22, Control 18, Power 18
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “To put the heart of the Ekitai-Kenfu in your own heart and have it be a part of you means total comprehension and the use of a free style. When you have that you will know that there are no limits.”

    Although the adept is now innately familiar with their body’s movements they are still bound to practice, train, spar and study, for they are on the cusp of mastering their art. At this crucial time, if they are not stepping forward they are falling behind.

    The fighter will sway slightly when moving or striking, forgoing all manner of stiffness and embracing the ever-flow. Like the cup that was first emptied and filled as a student, the warrior of the Six Harmonies can now be represented as a circle of six cups, each filling, pouring and refilling themselves in an endless cycle of fluidity. Quickness of execution and reaction time takes a noted leap, practitioners capably intercepting and/or redirecting incoming attacks with little additional effort.

    When striking with the hands, attacks are even more calculated and debilitating, while kicking effectiveness has been further refined, including power, accuracy and strategic placement. Legs are now moving instinctively to cripple the opponent by ‘feeling out’ weak spots in their form, guided by the same intent behind the arms, the external harmonies linked as a cohesive unit. This is reflected in evasive movements, which could be anything from minute weight transfers to advanced acrobatics.

    However, the aspect of growth most readily referenced (and feared) is the unrelenting manner in which the EK fighter will repeatedly step into their opponent’s sphere of influence to pepper them with frenzied assault of swift, overpowering attacks. Even mid-flurry, they are quick enough to dodge, deflect or redirect most counterattacks without missing a beat.

    Special Techniques
    Control-19, Power-19, Reserves-18

    Shin’irikugo / Issoku Itto no Mai: Shichi Ten Sho (Heart & Mind, Six Harmonies / Distance of One Step – One Strike: Seven Point Palm)
    At the earliest development of the Ekitai-Kenfu, it is said that a Dragon Hermit once dedicated their days to executing ten thousand punches of gratitude to the style. They would calm them self, worship, pray, ready their stance, and then punch. Upon accomplishing this phenomenal feat by completing said routine in under an hour, the Hermit discovered that their fists occupied a space quicker than sound itself. This is where this technique arrives.

    After clasping one’s hands together in a fluid motion, serene in prayer, the practitioner harmonizes their being as a whole to produce a Shocking Strike so devastating that many Taijutsu artist are confounded by its power. The practitioner bursts forward to deliver a straight punch that divides the air around them in two, creating an absence of wind and silence. The strike itself yields a tremendous impact force that elicits a concussive shockwave that ripples through the opponent’s body from the point of contact.

    The shockwave is an instantaneous wind explosion drawn out from thirteen specific points of the adversary’s anatomy: The Seven Stars (the head, the shoulders, the elbows, the hands, the hips, the knees, and the feet). This is the true essence of the Ekitai-Kenfu’s elegance and rhetoric, whereas bones can be fractured and muscles mangled if the technique isn’t avoided. A space of one step, one strike: to incapacitate an opponent as quickly as possible.
    *The user’s senses are heightened; speed increases by two levels for a single post, but decreases by two afterward.
    **The strike emits a copious amount of excessive wind, so if avoided, the wind itself can push objects back two feet as a means to stall a counter attack
    Stage VII - Sanchin “Three Battles”
    Stat Requirements:
    Speed 40, Strength 30, Stamina 29, Control 22, Power 22
    Stage Bonus: +5 Speed, +4 Strength

    “The river originates and finishes as one — a force of nature that is forever at both ends of time. So too is a master of the Fluid Fist. There is no true beginning, for they are already there. Incapacitating the enemy as quickly as possible, the end is just as immediate. And when time runs out, when the water is gone, though it will seem that they were never here, the path they have wrought will remain.”

    Only a master of the Ekitai-Kenfu is worthy of teaching disciples, for they have broken through the barrier of comprehension and become the essence and the totality of the art. Their insight over strength is absolute, as is their precision over power. Both the river and the river bed, they can seek out opponent vulnerabilities with deadly perception but also bear the brunt of most assaults, with incredible pain tolerance for the rare strike that will penetrate their field of parries, redirections and counterattacks. Hand movements have become so quick, fluid and exact that the user should be able to effortlessly pierce their opponent’s defences, bombarding them with a storm of strikes, while holding enough control to counter nearly any reprise.

    They are able to gather the required zero point energy to do so at seemingly inhuman levels of speed and power. Enough, even, to shatter wooden beams, crack boulders and even dent steel, the knuckles of their hands and feet extremely hard, like diamonds, almost. Landing critical and decisive blows, there is no wastage of movement. Legs, too, have reached the stage where steps form as flawlessly as strikes. The velocity of kicks, in fact, is such that they can arise entirely unnoticed by an opponent until it is too late to react. With complete control over their impulses and an intuition that is equal parts foresight and insight, they will find that their hands and feet move almost of their own accord, chaining with and transitioning between each other in perfect unison.

    Decisions are now made several steps ahead of one’s adversary. By developing the body to a point where flowing through each and every movement the style has become far more than any taught definition of the word ‘Fluid’, all action is fully innate and the mind is free, a river that can correct its own course. This realm of possibility and impossibility, the ‘totality’ and the ‘void’ as one, must be experienced to be fully understood — a state of bodily motion so like the water’s invisible waves that only a doujutsu user would stand a chance of keeping up. The swaying the Ekitai-fighter’s form, now perfectly attuned to offensive and defensive patterns, will also add further unpredictable undulation to each move through effortless weight transfers.

    This permits a master of the Seven Stars and Six Harmonies to deliver their body’s full destructive force at a moment’s notice.

    Special Techniques
    Control-26, Power-25, Reserves-24

    Ogi: Rei Ippo / Ame no Ukihashi (Secret Technique: Zero Step / Floating Bridge of Heaven)
    Shichi Ten Sho (Seven Point Palm)
    Special Requirement: Shichi Ten Sho is either blocked, or dodged

    Even if you avoid the fangs of the Flying Dragon,
    the gusting winds strip away freedom of movement
    and the claws would rip you apart.

    The Dragon Hermit

    The secret technique of the Ekitai-Kenfu, one so rare that even the most seasoned practitioners of the style may not be aware of its inception. This was developed after the Dragon Hermit who had dedicated their days to ten thousand punches of gratitude had found flaw in the aftermath of the Shichi Ten Sho, for the immense strength behind the strike divided the air in two, but since wind is ever flowing, it’d rush back into the space and uproot the hermit moments after execution—misbalancing his center of gravity. This is where this technique arrives.

    Active only after the Shichi Ten Sho itself is blocked or dodged, the Ame no Ukihashi is a palm-shaped shockwave of atmospheric force harnessed by molding the rushing wind of its predecessor into a devastating counter attack. This is achieved through the once deflected air being drawn toward the practitioner’s dormant hand like a vortex as they reach toward their intended target with a gentle open palm.

    To relate the atmospheric power behind the shockwave to that of a series of explosive notes would be frugal, for the amount of impact force behind the initial attack is dwarfed, affecting the opponent’s body as a whole opposed to being centralized at the Seven Stars. This manifests a ten foot blast of air capable of tearing down trees and shredding through boulders, sending those in the wake of the palm barreling away in a cacophony of screeching wind harmonized to incapacitate even the most stunning warrior as urgently as possible. As such, this is the most profound ability of the Ekitai-Kenfu.
    *Speed boost of Shichi Ten Sho is facilitated for an additional post, speed decreases by an additional level afterward (three in total)
    **The inexorable vortex of wind draws opponents who are three feet away
    ***Shockwave cuts through Stage Six Ninjutsu and lower
    Last edited by Hitoko; 02-15-2016, 09:56 PM.