Skill Exhibition: Shan Shigetzu feat. Zhuyu
“I’ve seen your kicks before Tomo. They’re decent but I can show you how to make them better. Works well with my powers too,” Shan started off.
“What are we going over first?” I watched Zhuyu stand across from the gravity manipulator.
“Pulling someone in and pushing someone away. Like this,” Shan answered.
Zhuyu, three feet away from Shan, was pulled towards the man. His body slumped downward and Shan demonstrated a potential knee strike. He then repelled the math major away, creating a distance of five feet between them.
“Pretty simple stuff. I’ve seen you do similar things with Zhang’s power. Now some kicks are hard to hit just because of the opponent’s positioning. That’s when you use my power to manipulate positioning,” Shan explained.
“Just like what you did with that knee strike?” I recalled.
“Exactly. Draw your opponent in and then shift their body so you can hit the part you’re aiming for. It’s also useful for grapples too,” Shan replied.
Zhuyu summoned his sword, running towards the man. Shan snapped his fingers, causing the zero vector user to slow down and drop his weapon. The math major stared downward before running at full speed again. His sword came flying back into his hands. Zhuyu decreased his speed, stepping forward with his right foot. In an instant, he pivoted behind Shan, swinging the end of his sheathed weapon into the man’s back. Shan swung his leg backward like a mule, striking his fellow hero’s stomach.
“Tomo, tell me what happened during our exchange,” Shan requested, helping Zhuyu back up to his feet.
“You increased the gravity around Zhuyu and his weapon, forcing him to drop it and move slower. I’m guessing Zhuyu countered with his powers. You then shifted his gravity again, leaving him open for your kick,” I analyzed.
“Good. Now remember there’s limitations to my powers. I can only adjust gravity within a five feet radius. Anything outside of that is no good. Focusing on or changing multiple points of gravity will reduce the effectiveness of the power. There is a time limit on how long something or someone is affected as well. Like Ichaival said, that time limit will probably be higher for you than me. Mine on average is ten seconds,” Shan disclosed.
“I remember you pinning down people longer than that though,” I pointed out.
“Depends on the number of opponents. If there’s no magic involved and you’re focused on just one target, it can last as long as you want. But, add in more people or enemies with resistances, then it’ll be ten seconds like I said,” Shan answered.
The gravity manipulator informed me the back of the head, knees, inner thighs, back, and the solar plexis were all good target points. Since kicks required honing, he suggested applying other powers in addition to his, for easier access to said body parts. This also allowed for cleaner hits instead of strikes which might deflect or only graze.
“If there’s a wall, use it. Trust me, it’ll make things much easier,” Shan said, leading me over to a nearby wall.
Zhuyu stood in front of it, ready for the man’s attack. Shan pivoted on his front leg and then brought his rear leg forward, raising his knee to his waist, and then thrust his foot forward. He hit Zhuyu in the upper part of his stomach. The math major groaned, clutching the area in pain, but recovered after thirty seconds.
“That was a side kick. The wall is useful since your opponent won’t be moving around in open space. Also, you can just pin them there and adjust however you like,” Shan explained.
The gravity manipulator then introduced a hook kick. Since this one involved snapping the foot back and hitting with the heel, he told me to aim left of the target’s head. He demonstrated the move with both his front and back leg.
“I’ll try not to overwhelm you so here are some of the ones I like to do,” Shan said before listing off several kicks and potential scenarios to utilize them in.
Shan showed off a roundhouse kick, pointing out it was versatile in many situations. One could target multiples areas on the body. However, he warned aiming for the head required flexibility and a chance for the opponent to grab my legs.
“Long’s quite familiar with this kick,” Shan said as he aimed at the pads Zhuyu held.
“Yeah, got hit it with a bunch when I first learned from Feng,” Zhuyu revealed.
“Let’s do a push kick next,” Shan decided, moving away from the wall.
This one was excellent for creating space and also useful when I pulled in an opponent. It also served a defensive role since I could block an opponent’s forward momentum.
“Finally, let’s go over an axe kick. Useful for when someone is down or pinned to the ground,” Shan said.
Zhuyu lay on the ground and Shan mentioned to use the heel of my foot. With an opponent in this position, one could also perform a devastating stomp. The math major stood back up and Shan also showed how the axe kick could be used to strike the face or shoulder.
“Be careful when doing this since you leave your groin exposed,” Shan reminded.
I practiced the kicks he showed me, hitting pads Zhuyu held. We also went into variations of the kicks he showed but Shan suggested holding off until I mastered the basics. He also advised me on the positioning of my feet and the positioning depending on how I was facing my opponent. He introduced other kicks as well, mentioning those would be included in a document Tess would write up later.
“Now that we’ve gone over kicks that you can do, let’s focus on weapons,” Shan shifted topics, spinning a tennis racquet around in his hand.
“I’m assuming you can do the same with projectiles,” I said, picking up a tennis ball.
“Yep. You remember when Jacque awakened to his powers, right? That’s what I was doing,” Shan responded, swinging the racquet around.
I hurled the tennis ball at him and he smashed it back at me. The ball whizzed past my face and then struck the wall, creating a large dent.
“I use blunt weapons because you can easily change the gravity with them,” Shan said, calling Zhuyu over.
Ichaival handed him a baseball bat. The two men clashed with each other, until Shan exploited an opening. He batted away Zhuyu’s sword, and kicked him, forcing the man to his knees. He entered a batting stance, cocking his bat back. He aimed for Zhuyu’s head and swung, perfect torque on his hip movement, before slowing it down. The man then ended his move with a light tap to Zhuyu’s head.
“You can also use it to defend,” Shan added, raising his bat in a horizontal position.
Zhuyu unsheathed his blade, slashing at the older man’s bat. They were full of power but didn’t budge Shan at all. His bat remained in relatively good condition too, full of small scratches at the end, but wouldn’t snap his weapon anytime soon.
“You know the fancy pivots you learned from Feng? That can be applied too,” Shan said, appearing behind Zhuyu.
He demonstrated a backside strike to the head and also a choke out. He wrapped the bat around the math major’s neck and then increased the gravity around the area. This prevented an escape and ensured the opponent would fall unconscious. When Zhuyu crumpled to the ground, Shan swung his bat downward, aiming for the man’s head.
“Starting to see a pattern yet?” Shan checked in on Zhuyu.
“Aim for the head,” I replied, noticing he favored that area.
“Always a good spot to hit. Now let’s move onto the umbrella,” Shan said, tossing his bat aside and picked up an umbrella.
“Kind of hard to imagine you’re the type of person to use one,” I remarked.
“Damn, what’s that suppose to mean?” Shan opened his umbrella up, waving it around.
“Your personality doesn’t seem like the type,” I answered.
“Huh, never really thought about it like that. Anyways, umbrellas are great because they pair well with my gravity powers,” Shan said.
He drew Zhuyu closer and then wrapped the umbrella handle around the man’s neck. Shan kicked him in the stomach before tossing him to the ground. He then stabbed the umbrella tip downward, missing the zero vector user’s neck by a few centimeters.
“You can also jab at the opponent’s body with the umbrella tip,” Shan informed me, performing rapid strikes on Zhuyu’s stomach.
He finished off his umbrella jabs with one last brutal stab. Shan opened up his umbrella and then swung a baton down onto Zhuyu’s shoulder. He lifted the umbrella over his head and kicked Zhuyu’s knees.
“Like the bat, an umbrella can also be useful for defending,” Shan said before requesting Ichaival’s assistance.
The false archer launched five knife blades at his partner. Shan opened up his umbrella and spun it around, deflecting the projectiles back at Ichaival. Ichaival teleported over, thrusting his blade at Shan. Shan opened up his umbrella again and Ichaival’s blade became embedded in it. Ichaival tried recovering his weapon but couldn’t.
“That’s about it until Tess makes progress with our ultimate weapons. Let’s go over everything,” Shan concluded.
For the next hour, I worked with the man on perfecting my kicking technique and positioning my body. Zhuyu served as a practice dummy, absorbing all of the hits. When it was all over, he was battered, but still in high spirits. His zero vector powers helped minimize any severe damage I inflicted.
“Tess should be satisfied with that,” Shan said, signing his name on a piece of paper before handing it over to Ichaival.
“I thought she did a good job. Keep working at it, Tomo,” Ichaival said, tossing the clipboard over to Zhuyu.
“Tomo is more than ready to handle any big threats after today. Oh, looks like it’s time to switch again,” Zhuyu agreed, signing his name before handing me the paper.
“Well done, Shigetzu and Darryl. Darryl, as you’ve admitted, you’ll need to undergo more one-on-one training with me to recover your bare handed fighting prowess. As for you, Shigetzu, you will not need to face any punishment. However, you will undergo one-on-one training with me as well. I wish to make sure there’s no wasted movement,” Tess informed them.
“You got it, Tess,” Ichaival responded, picking up a tennis racquet.
“I have a bad feeling you’ll end up kicking my ass, Tess,” Shan predicted, catching tennis balls Ichaival tossed over at him.
“Perhaps,” Tess commented with the slightest of smiles.
Lionel and Champ walked in, carrying tennis bags over their shoulders. Tess led Zhuyu and me away to our next destinations. S***, I could feel parts of my body aching already. I wasn’t even halfway done yet!