When they found her floating down the river and past their humble farm she was beaten to a pulp- broken bones, her armor shredded... but they knew who she was. Her helmet was removed but her anonymity would be respected. She was the Iron Lady who had torn her way through the tea country, one of the few people fighting for people like the Tsuhakus. Time passed and her wounds healed, yet Rio was still bed-ridden. Defeated.
A shell of her former self, her confidence completely shook and her values destroyed under the might of an opponent. "Wake up!" pa-pa said as he forced Rio from her bed, tossing a winter coat and hakama too her as he called her out to the yard.
She followed him, a bandaid-covered body limping its way along, reminiscent of a mummy as she hobbled her way over. Pa-pa quickly moved his way over to a shed and found some sticks of bamboo, each with a wooden tip similar to a kama extending from it. He too hobbled- a sign of his old age.
Tossing a pair to Rio, he drew his, then stood before her.
His arms opened. Closed. Open. Closed. The rhythmically flapped like the wings of a butterfly. It was so rhythmic. His arms moved gently. The flapping moved more, swaying from open (arms wide) to closed (arms closed) state. Rio's eyes watched. What was this supposed to be? This old geezer could barely move, and this "dance"- men like the one who had broken her would dispatch of him like he was nothing.
Rio watched. Papa snapped at her koi! He said it again, strongly. Koi!
Rio lunged forward swinging her stick only for pa-pa to suddenly clasp his kama on hers. His wrist rolled slightly, elegantly, and the blade of the fake kama reached around and pulled Rio's weapon from her hand, it flinging into the mud to the side. She was unable to fight or do anything. Papa looked at her. He looked to the Kama.
"No one will ever break you again girl" he said in his country-hick accent. He pointed back to the kama. Sickles. Weapons of farmers. Of simpletons.
Rio picked the kama up and hobbled her way back to the side line. She looked at papa.
His feet were squared a shoulders lengths apart, her back curved forward sglightly. His shoulders were loose. Rio did the same. Her shoulders opened wide, he legs a shoulders length a part, he back curved. Papa nodded. He began to open his arms, the blades of the commas pointed up.
Rhymitcally he rotated his arms and shoulders, open, close. The arms moved side to side. The stance focused. Rio continued it. Rio moved her arms. It worked. It was like papa- closer to it anyways. Papa nodded. He moved his legs. Side to side. He moved foot by foot in rhythm with the swinging of his kama. As if flapping open and closed like a butterfly- the movement was even more realistic. More like a butterfly than she had ever seen. Papa nodded.
The two would continue this, for hours. Again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Wings opened, foots forward, diagnol swaying movements. Butterflies. She'd continue to go that way. Continue to move that way. It wasn't half bad of a way. He'd call her again and again to come for him. To strike. And every time she did it once more he would defeat her. But she who was already defeated could not be defeated. That was, of course, the way it worked. Papa knew too she was a warrior. The build was the thrill. And he could see Rio coming to life again- the focused determination in her eyes. The spirit of a warrior.
Rio was not his daughter. Not his wives either. She was just a young girl who was tyring to do right in the world. A young girl that they happened upon in a hurt state. But in the month they had cared for he she was now his daughter. The daughter they never had.
Papa looked to him.
"My boy, he'd be about your age." Papa said as his kama struck Rio's yet again. "Your footwork is important- you need to move the right way." Papa said. Rio's eyes grew as she stumbled backwards, catching her balance. "Your boy?" she asked as she came back into her stanc, and prepared to strike. His kama were ready.
"The blades... and their leader. Killed my boy. He was trying to make it in that city. To be different from a poor farmer and his wife like his parents were." the man said with a resolute, stone face. Rio went to strike, and again, the man knocked her kama away and spun, his wooden blade ending right before her neck. The pair nodded and reset.
"He just couldn't turn the other way... when he saw what Kugawa did he stood up for those people." papa said, as a tear began to roll down his cheek.
"But my boy never knew to fight. He grew up in peace- before the bandits roved farms. After the wars." he said as Rio moved carefuly on her feet. He swung his kama to the side as Rio spun round it. "It's why I'll teach you." he said as yet again he caught Rio. Another nod, another reset.
"The blades... Kugawa... I can't beat him. They already beat me- they broke me." she said as he form became sloppy. Papa lunged at her, tripping her into the mud, only to quickly offer a hand to help her back up. Up off the ground and to make her way back into the fight.
"To defeat the blades- this style is supreme. We fought samurai and war lords for generation with nothing but humble farming tools." he said as he dropped one kama, it landing blade into the mud, perefectly. He waved his hand to bring Rio to him again.
"Now square you shoulders, space your legs, and lean forward. Fight your battle." he said. Moving forward he struck with his weapon as if it was a blade. Rio's arms flapped. Side to side. Her kama swung to the side, her the hook of her blade grabbing onto the bamboo stick of the elderly mans.
"Good- good!" he said as he moved his wrist with the slightest movement, freeing himself and disengaging. Rio made note of that and watched the weapons. The rotations. She realized that the wrist was far more important than in blade usage. Using a wrist when swinging a sword was bad. It got you heart- it was not finese. She could see though with this weapon the flexing of the elderly mans muscles. The way his arms held tight and moved the kama as one, except for brief moments when they needed to do something else. When his kama needed to accomplish something.
"So that's how it works then." Rio said.
Again and again they pair worked their kata, dancing in their stance as it became more and more clear to her the mechanics of butterfly style. Of the stance- the bare minimum to get started. This was a fighting form worth learning and one more interesting than anything.
Ground. Mud. Fell. Stand. Move. Time and time again everything changed. But the lessons were the same. Diangol moves, sweeping motions, rotations. It all was being trained into Rio's body. Into her mind. And as she did this her soul was being healed. Perhaps, Papa had known exactly what the broken girl had needed. Finally, Papa nodded to her.
The two were standing across from each other, papa holding a stick like a blade. Rio holding her kama, one in either hand. She bit her lip.
"come!" she said as Papa smiled. He stepped forward with a "kiai!" as he brought his stick down, moving from the side and to the top, coming down with an attempt to strike Rio at her side and then head. Rio was ready. She stepped back as she parried with the kama. Forward as she rotated her wrist, then tensed it again to grab at the stick and control it to the side. With that single movemen tthe stick went twirling out of Papa's hands and flew its way into the mud.
Rio spun round with ease as her kama pointed to papa. He put his hands up with a smile.
"Well, you're a little rough around the edges but I think you'r ready to learn the next set of moves." he said as he put his hand to his chins cratching it, and Rio put her hand blades down. Its eemed that she had mastered the entry stance to the butterfly style of combat, and she would be moving onto something better, something greater.
"We'll continue tomorrow. It's getting dark and cold now, you know?" he said. Rio looked to the side. She would need to spend some time learning about the Kama themselves, still. Least that probably seemed like a good idea. Taking a deep breath Rio looked up.
Who would have thought these farmer tools could be such powerful weapons. With shape, sleight of hand, agility, and power. It was very exciting. Rio decided she would learn the butterfly style. She would avenger herself. She would avenge papa. She'd avenge his son. She'd avenge Tea Country. She'd avenge the people of Kamakura town.
1600/1600 for Floating Butterfly
Day two of training. Confident in her ability to use the Butterfly stance, even if not perfect, Papa decided it was time to train Rio to better time her movements. To sync herself in the best possible way. Papa explained that for one to really utilize Butterfly style was to be good at deception. Sleight of hand. Timing. It was important to be able to do this. Because it was a style all about beating out others.
There was really only one way to train this though and that was to put time and time again into moving, with different attacks. Papa would throw stuff. He'd strike at her. He'd try to tackle her. Attack after attack, he launched them with the goal of Rio just blocking them or moving to dodge them while moving in line with the rhyhym.
Bruises or pain were nothing. She'd get over it.
After hours and hours of practice Rio had already started to get much better but it'd never fully come all the way. Timing. Timing.
"Your footwork is as important as the sickle Rio. You need to move in different directions. Rotate. your arms counter to your legs, your momentum building. Step with the rhyhym The open. the close. Flap like the butterfly" he lectured her as Rio focused on her footwork. She tried to move with the flaps. Her foot moved forward when she closed. Forward when she opened. Never inbetween unless absolutely necessary.
And over time it became easier. Each and every step, she found herslef getting better. Moving faster. Reacting faster. She was able to perform more complex movements and even break sync when needed in order to defense or attack. It wasn't quite as simple as papa made it look. but it was definetly the way. If she kept it up she was positive she would be a master in no time.
"Try to time your steps too- to the rythhm of your opponent" papa said as he stepped forward. She understood it. When he strike, she made sure it was the cross over and the closing flap- her own timing and momentum aiding hers and propelling her forward to bettr catch his strikes and stop him.
This was the way she would win. The way she would beat any of the blades and Kugawa who got in her way. That was what syncing was- syncing to the style.
403/400 for Timing
It took days- hours each day, but with every kata training session Rio had become stronger at the butterfly style. She had managed to get her stance down to a tea and her timing, and now it was time to put these together to master the opening block kata of butterfly style. From what she was told by papa, this required her to be in the opening phase of the rhythym. With the right moment, you would use a burst of speed to swat the incoming opponents attack away while stepping back diagnolly with the direction of their attack. This used the haft. When the haft was correctly used their sickle head would be used to control things.
She decided she would master it. Dropping into the core stance of butterfly style she put her feet a shoulders length apart, her back slightly curved forward, and her shoulders loose. She then held her arms out wide with their sickles. From there she got into her sway. Rythym flowed through her body with her sickles held out wide. Stepping forward and back her arms moved, flapping. Flapping to complete the image.
She would then keep an eye on papa as they circled each other. Her footwork and sickle work needed to come to gether. She needed to sync them. To perform complex movements, to rotate, and move correctly. She called koi, asking papa forward. The first time he attacked and struck with his stick, she didn't quite get the timing right. It rolled off her- kama, and though she avoided getting hit, she also avoided controling his stick. He'd try again, and she'd ready herself. This time, she was too quick prempetively swinging and missing- the stick hitting her shoulder as she let out a load groaning "ah". Nodding to each other, they prepared to do it one more time.
She could not make a mistake. She could not mess it up this time. She was certain she'd get the timing, power, and wrist movement right.
As her rhyhym moved and she hit the ope ning phase, papa slapped at her with the stick. She swatted at it with perfect speed as she stepped back then forward into the stick, her haft catching it as she rolled it to the kama blade to catch it. Rolling down and pushing she got his sword to the side, then swung round with her sickle.
"Yup, that's the opening block."
409/400 Kata: Opening Block
Last edited by Taiga
on Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:27 am, edited 3 times in total.