Episode #40: Martial Arts
Last week’s episode on the influence of gymnastics on the writing of The Thirteenth Hour leads to today’s episode which focuses more on martial arts. Although I’ve alluded to other martial activities on this blog and in the podcast before (like archery and knife throwing), I figured it was time to devote more time to martial arts itself. My experience since I was about 13 was with Eastern martial arts, so I borrowed elements of those arts in the style of unarmed martial arts Logan and his Imperial Rangers comrades learn and practice in the novel.
Here, he talks about how sparring sessions would typically go for him:
“… at this fledgling state in my career, things would progress something like this. In a somewhat paradoxical concern for safety, the instructors had us tie cloth pads around our shins, feet, hands, and head in an attempt to prevent injuries and simulate body armor but said that donning groin protection was “unrealistic” because no one walked around wearing it in daily life. Well, I’ve never seen anyone walking around boxing gloves or pads on their arms and legs either, but hey, that’s just me.
At any rate, then we’d each take a stance and start beating the living shit out of each other. Our trainers strictly informed us “don’t kill each other” since this was just supposed to be practice. “You have to help each other,” they said. Well, that was a load of bullshit if I ever did step in a pile.
Inevitably, the matches would revert to the following: your opponent, in an effort to impress the instructors, would throw a really hard shot, and if it connected, you would show your manliness by getting pissed and creaming him. Unless, of course, you happened to be me. I generally didn’t stand an ice cube’s chance in hell against those older guys.
Maybe the instructors noticed my incompetence and felt I needed more practice, or maybe it was just a punishment, but it always seemed that I had to spend twice as much time on fighting drills as anyone else, part of which involved more time with the practice dummy …”
Logan may have just been more honest about his shortcomings, but actually his isn’t an uncommon experience for folks. Of course, consistent practice takes care of a lot. Eventually, though, Logan learns enough to defend himself quite well.
Logan kicks! He wouldn’t be doing these kicks prior to his training – guess it paid off. These high kicks make for flashy pictures, but I mostly envisioned he and the other Rangers spending most of their time practicing more utilitarian low and mid range strikes as well as those that utilize the body’s naturally hard spots (like knees and elbows – which he uses in the final fight).
Pixelart animation of Logan doing a sliding side kick. This was from The Thirteenth Hour game that didn’t get finished.
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