The Undiscovered Country
The Supernatural Martial Arts of the East
Hard vs Soft form:
Martial arts are often broadly categorised as hard, or soft-form… the broad definitions of these are:
A hard technique meets force with force, either with a linear, head-on force-blocking technique, or by diagonally cutting the strike with one’s force. It is an example of the defender using the attacker’s force and momentum against him or her. Although hard techniques require greater strength for successful execution, it is the mechanics of the technique that accomplish the defence. This style tends to be associated with large animals, Fire and Earth elemental powers.
The goal of the soft technique is deflecting the attacker’s force to his or her disadvantage, with the defender exerting minimal force. With a soft technique, the defender uses the attacker’s force and momentum against him or her, by leading the attacker in a direction to where the defender will be advantageously positioned and the attacker off balance; a seamless movement then effects the appropriate soft technique. This style tends to associate fast animals, air and water elements, and arcane arts.
Kiai-Jutsu Officially “the art of the shout” Kiai-Jutsu is known as “spirit meeting” it is the moment the fighter expresses their Ki along with their strike or parry, the effect is both an intimidation and way of directing Ki (which is mostly channelled through breathing) into the desired effect. Kiai-Jutsu is applied equally to striking as well as healing.
Supernatural martial arts: The Martial arts of the monasteries of the far east were derived from the teachings of certain Fae, by humans, to protect themselves from the affairs of less than benign Fae, as well as the defence of one’s-self from attack/robbery by human instigators. As a result there is no distinction between simple fighting forms and physical invocations or physical spell casting. A master of the way of Shadow might deliver a knock out kick to the head at close range using the same technique as a Four Elements master may use to flick a whip of fire 15 feet across, or an arcane master might tear open an eldritch rent in space. All forms assume a natural and supernatural application, with a few specific exceptions.
Dragon Style There are as many variants on this form as there are dragons, but typically this is a form merging hard and soft styles. It focuses on pressure point strikes made with elaborate distracting gestures. In the Dragon Style systems, leg work is characterized by a zig-zag motion that mimics the movements of the majestic dragons
Tiger Style Tiger style is one of Power, Directness and Simplicity. It’s primary target is the opponent’s throat and its primary weapons are its fist and claws. All of its efforts are aimed at this one vulnerable target to the exclusion of anything else. Tiger style is a hard form – often used for fire element powers, but not designed for them.
Snake Style Is style is of a sinuous, fluid motion that prefers to entangle an attacker, make them overextend themselves, then capture, arrest and force submission. Physically, the Snake would seek to be fit, flexible, and enduring. It lends itself to water elemental powers.
Crane Style combines defence and attack and uses both soft and hard power. It also emphasizes firm yet evasive footwork. It is a direct, linear, and deceptive martial art. Crane makes use of both high and low kicks but has a preference for rapid hand techniques. The style’s fierce pressure point attacks combined with rapid footwork. The style lends itself to air elemental powers, but some arcane masters have been known to bend it’s style to their spells
Mantis Style mantis styles use of the mantis hook, the hand being held to resemble a mantis’s talon, and is used for striking, blocking, and parrying. Mantis further employs breaking of joints, particularly at the elbow. Mantis style lends itself to fire elemental powers, but is more often used by assassins of the Shadow way.
Monkey Style Known for its playfulness and cleverness, this style develops flexibility, agility, and an unpredictable fighting style. With the intent of confusing their opponents, it often incorporates rolls, flips, and a broken rhythm when fighting. Monkey kung fu integrates the use of an extensive collection of weapons for use in combat. Practitioners of the Monkey style try to not only take on the movements of the monkey, but also its spirit acting shy and timid to fierce and aggressive with sweeps, kicks, punches, and gauges. It is surprising how well arcane magics fit with this form.
Fae Dragon Forms:
believed to have been taught directly to the original monasteries the Fair Ones of the Spring Court came in contact with, these 4 forms reflect directly the courts of the faerie.
Shunryu Kempo meaning “way of the spring dragon”, Shunryu is a soft-form style
emphasising moving around the incoming attack, like spring it moves and changes. This form involves lots of moving the attacker around with soft form parries and locks. It focuses on fast endings on confrontations and as such is not always considered a ‘noble’ form, as it maximises ‘illegal’ strikes. Fire, air and arcane powers fit this form
Fuyunoryu Kempo meaning “way of the winter dragon” this hard form is generally practiced with twin daggers held blade down in the hand. It specialises in locks and disabling slashes against joints. Most mortals struggle to master this form, as it relies on a Winter Fae’s connection to their harsh domain to fully express.
Natsunoryu Kempo meaning “way of the summer dragon” is the most famous of the fae forms… not because it’s widely practiced, but for its famous form-weapon: The Fae-Blade is a sword forged with its hilt in the mortal world but it’s blade forged in the Faewyld. Only a handful of grandmasters have access to such a weapon so most practice with a quarter staff, but masters of Natsunoryu move with the grace of a soft form master and flawlessly incorporate this with arcane magic like teleportation and etc. Only one human monastery practices this style, but the fae that do tend to dominate their other court brothers. Summer Dragon style taps Fae magic only, no other powers seem to be usable with this form.
Akinoryu Kempo meaning “way of the autumn dragon” this form is a soft style which favours grips and throws with the motivation to take all combatants to the ground ultimately. This style also places emphasis on Ki techniques that hurts the enemy over a period of time rather with the strike. As this form focuses on corrupting Ki techniques, it cannot be used with elemental powers.
Monastery Specific Forms:
Each monastery of the East is dedicated to finding enlightenment by a different method – the Fae left no best practice, so this lead ever temple to a found a new method. This has resulted in some extremely varied styles of physical arts to compliment the strange philosophies of each school.
Zui quan (Drunken Monk Style) One of the most famous and loved monasteries of the eastern lands believes enlightenment can be achieved via filling the spirit with… spirits. As such their masters were left unusually ‘compromised’ if an unfriendly Fae came to call. Ironically, the drunken monk is almost immune to the glamour of a Fae, and their mind too ‘confused’ for a Fearie to feed on. It is said that a man named Liu Qizan who accidentally killed a person, sought refuge in a temple to avoid trial and to repent. Despite his monastic vows, he still continued drinking wine. This was not tolerable by the monks and they wanted to expel him from the temple. While completely drunk after consuming a huge amount of wine, he defied and beat 30 monks. The Master, after seeing this, praised his skill. This drunken style of combat was adopted from him by the monks. Drunken Monk lends itself to Water elemental arts, but also to fire and air, even earth and arcane powers can match this style. This style can be repeated sober, but can’t be fully utilised until drunk.
Tai-Arcani (flowing magic) Practiced by only one monastery, and mastered only by a handful, the masters of Tai-Arcani can focus their chi to allow them access to ancillary sources of arcane magic, and have hardened their body against the affects of spell casting fatigue. This style focuses on preparing a new spell for each movement, often each arm then each leg. Practitioners move much slower than a normal combat style and resolves around the relentless barrage of magical spells from distance while the zen-art keeps the body at peak casting performance. Legends tell of Tai-Arcani masters who could sling spells at a besieging army for 20+ hours straight without rest.
Falling Wing Crane Style Developed by the monasteries that tap the elemental forces for their combat, Falling Wing Crane adopts the idea of Crane Style animal form, but assumes the need to call on the Spirit of Air to save the crane from falling… This translates as a soft form flowing style that works off broad flowing parries and focused bursts of air as an attack. Falling Wing Crane masters train instinctively to call on the spirit of air to slow their falls.
Crescent Rising Sun style beyond soft form – full of flipping hand over hand and end over end movements, this MA is more like a dance. It is a fire focused MA and overwhelms the opponent in a storm of fire.
Perfect Avalanche Meditation style A straight forward hard form based on manipulation of earth by elemental powers. The style usually involves bringing huge chunks of ground up before the fighter to be punched or kicked at the enemy. There is an unofficial modification of this form know as Subtle Avalanche Meditation which converts it to a soft-form and involves flows of smaller stones or even growing plants – the variation lends itself to Spirit of Life powers.
Tsunami-as-fist Methodology A soft form water elemental power focused style that actually uses soft for techniques in order to pull off hard-form counters with water-or-fluid sources available nearby. Some have modified this style to use magical energies instead of water sources.
Value Oriented Styles
Sacrificial Lamb Form The most compassionate of pacifist monks often cannot bring themselves to do harm to anyone, even their enemies, but at the same time will not stand by and see their friends hurt because of inactivity. As a result the Sacrificial Lamb practitioner devotes their entire art to defending others and taking the damage instead of their fellows. They use Ki powers to heal and transfer damage from others to themselves. This form pulls on not Ki or Elemental power, but the true empathy in the fighters heart.
Inspirational Master Meditation Not all methods of fighting are done on one’s own, some battles require a hero that rallies his fellow warriors behind him and inspires them with their valour. Inspirational masters use their charisma to rally others to his fight, and uses hi Ki abilities for flashy displays that inspire others to join the fight.
Iron Body form Masters of the ultimate hard-form Iron Body, the practitioners invoke their conviction to a cause to bolster their physical ability. Iron Body masters can often survive wounds that should have killed mortal men, and may indeed kill the practitioner, but not before he’s achieved his life’s mission.
Forsaken Zen Abandon Motivation Most monasteries do not talk about this style, mostly because it is an abandonment of style. When a master martial artists is pushed to beyond their ability to transcend events, when their meditation and philosophy fails, some… a shunned few, channel their anger and rage to fule their Ki. The result is a deadly, aggressive hard form style that is very often channels Fire elemental powers, sometimes this style even causes fire elemental powers to manifest.