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Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training]

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Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:56 pm

It was still dark with the first signs of daybreak having just appeared at the distant horizon to the east. The rays of light weren’t visible, but the slightly brighter sky was a clear indicator that it would soon ascend higher into the sky welcoming a new day. On this day, like any other day for the man, Ikazuchi found himself in a quiet training ground attached to a residence he was renting in Seven. The walls surrounding the outdoor area prevented anyone from wandering in as he immersed himself in his daily training.

His body flashed across the area displaying extremely rapid acceleration, sometimes even moving through the air as his swords danced. It was a rare display of his full capabilities as he seamlessly swapped swords during his movements. To most, the level of skill and fluidity could only be described as awe-inspiring. Unfortunately, he wasn’t satisfied with the display. He continued to push himself harder as if attempting to cut down some great enemy, but it was to no avail.

As he came to a stop and controlled his breathing, he once more acknowledged the wall that had halted his progress for months. There were many people in the world who stagnated once they reached the level of a Grandmaster like he had. It was to the extent that finding just a handful of swordsmen who reached a higher level than himself would make this age one that could be described as flourishing with talent.

Despite having every right to be proud of his accomplishment, he pushed himself harder than ever before. The wall that blocked him didn’t budge, but he could vaguely feel what lay beyond it. It wasn’t something he could explain, but he was certain that overcoming the wall would allow him to reach higher than anyone else ever expected. There were rare occasions when Ikazuchi entered a trance-like state that allowed him to experience the slightest bit of what awaited him before ultimately losing sight of the enlightenment.

It was as if his awareness expanded and his control reached new heights when it happened. He couldn’t be certain as it hadn’t occurred during battle, but he suspected that it would be a comprehensive transformation to his strength. Even if what he experienced was considered the pinnacle, he believed that it was only by reaching that level that he would truly be able to start achieving what he wished with swordsmanship.

He knew better than anyone else, what he lacked was a decisive battle that would push him past the wall. The sword was a weapon designed for killing, and swordsmanship was a skill developed in order to utilize the tool known as a sword to the limit. It was only natural that battle was necessary to progress.

It was for that reason that Ikazuchi found himself in Seven. The Arena of Champions was a location that would draw the attention of any warrior seeking battle, and it was the perfect place to find skilled opponents. He settled down in a villa near the arena and challenged many individuals while receiving just as many, if not more, challenges. Ikazuchi had spent all of his time here during the last few months as he entered into battle as often as he could. While it hadn’t given him the final push that he needed, it gave him the time and experience needed to polish the neglected aspects of his swordsmanship. Though most people wouldn’t find fault with any of his skills, he was certain that he had many areas requiring improvement. During this time, he went as far as writing in journals about his experiences and noting his various reflections. As these experiences were further refined, guide books to learn Ikazuchi’s Swordsmanship were gradually being born.

Word Count: 630


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:57 pm

It wasn’t long after his morning training that Ikazuchi found himself seated at his desk with an empty book in front of him. Starting now, he intended to create the final copies of each manual beginning with the fundamentals. The first several pages were dedicated to detailed training routines that he had learned since young and further optimized as he progressed. Their focus was on establishing a perfect foundation for martial arts and allowing the body to reach a point where it was optimized for combat. This introductory information was something added specifically with the intention of teaching someone with no experience.

Following that, the most fundamental skill required was the ability to coordinate and move the body. This was also his own first step in training with his father. Something that Ikazuchi only understood after attaining a certain level of skill was the fact that no amount of weapon training would be productive if the user couldn’t skillfully move their body. This manual was something that he intended to fully dedicate to the aspects of swordsmanship that didn’t require a sword. This included how the user could fight if they were disarmed or their sword was damaged beyond repair.

First and foremost, Ikazuchi wrote about the importance of breathing correctly for both training and battle as well as a few different methods that he knew of to correct the body’s habits. By simply breathing correctly, it was possible to bring out more of the user’s potential allowing them to achieve a higher rate of efficiency in both training and battle. He detailed when was the best moment to breathe for both stamina and exertion as he recalled his various experiences. In particular, he shuddered slightly as he recalled the early days of his training when he felt the distinct feeling of suffocation due to the extreme exertion he trained to sustain. While he was certain that he had long surpassed his father’s level of skill, he couldn’t deny the foundation that was established throughout his childhood.

Secondly, Ikazuchi began to introduce footwork rather than any method to directly engage in combat. Although his techniques were more refined, this was also the same order as what his father taught him. Naturally, Ikazuchi was dissatisfied as a young man who wished to learn to fight. It was only after he matured that he understood the importance of how to properly move.

Contained in these pages were various bits of information about how to carry the weight of the heavy armor he equipped, the methods to move silently while doing so, and even how to perform acrobatic feats without burden. It wasn’t something that everyone would be able to understand, but he believed that there were people who could benefit from these details.

After that, his explanation shifted more towards combat, mixing both his technique and experiences to offer efficient guidance. He stressed the importance of controlling each movement, always ensuring that a second point of contact was available to respond. This meant that the user shouldn’t freely use high kicks or jumps as they would be unable to take another step in that moment. This was a fatal mistake in high-speed combat. At a more advanced level, it was also possible to incorporate the user’s arms, weapon, and even scabbard as the second point of contact in order to move more freely. Still, he continued to stress the importance of maneuverability.

It was at this point that he highlighted the importance of the user’s vision. In order to move properly, it was important to understand what movement was best during any given circumstance. There were countless clues about what the opponent’s next movement would be contained within their stance. Each action would limit their possible actions in one way or another. It was important to develop the experience and understanding that would allow the user to use that information to predict the opponent’s actions and control the battle through skillful movement. Each step would ideally be properly measured with the feet never being too far from the ground in order to maintain maximum mobility while engaging an opponent.

An example Ikazuchi offered was a simple step forward. In that moment when the opponent’s weight rested solely on one leg, their possible movements would become limited. In this example, the opponent’s weight was on their right leg. This instance would greatly increase the difficulty of moving towards the right due to their balance in that moment. This meant that the user would have an opportunity to throw the opponent off balance if they properly grasped that moment by adjusting their position towards the opponent’s left and attacking. From there, it was important to estimate the possible responses. By predicting the opponent’s responses, it would allow the user to attack at the best angle to limit their movements further while also determining the ways that the user could move in response. Ideally, the user would limit the number of actions available to the opponent to less than the number they predicted for themselves.

Despite being a simple example, he didn’t offer a second. Something that he understood during his time writing journals was the fact that there weren’t enough pages in the world to establish the perfect movements for each possible circumstance. He believed that it was better to understand the idea that he offered through that one example and allow the one reading to slowly grasp and apply the technique with their own experiences.

Finally, the last segment of this manual was dedicated to offense, defense, and how to blend them into the user’s movements. Naturally, this wasn’t focused on using a sword but instead on the ways that the user could strike with their body. First, he detailed various stances that were stable and allowed the user to exert their full force. Understanding that feeling was important for gradually teaching the body to exert the maximum amount of force that it could without compromising its other movements. This was something that everyone gradually learned through combat as it was a fundamental skill. After that, the main focus was increasing the fluidity and freedom of the strikes while using the appropriate one based on the distance and positioning of the opponent.

It was only after the user could fully exert their strength that they would begin to understand the methods required to block such attacks from someone else. The simplest and most direct was naturally a direct battle of force between the user and an opponent. If that failed, the next simplest was to dodge the attack. While Ikazuchi did highlight that fact, he didn’t encourage mindlessly clashing or dodging.

He had touched upon it earlier, the fact that moving in particular ways would allow the user to limit the actions of the opponent. Taking that one step further, if you could limit the actions enough then you could spot clear openings. These openings typically followed an action so it was very important to try and ensure that your openings weren’t available to your opponent while you were striking at theirs. At the very least, it was important to ensure that you had options to counter should the opponent capitalize on one of your own openings.

To expand on defense further, it was possible to skillfully block attacks with more than simple force to create openings for attack. Rather than a direct clash, it would be better to use calculated angles to guide incoming strikes away from the user. This could cause the opponent's momentum to put them in a disadvantageous spot. Like the positioning, this was a matter of experience but he believed that the brief explanation would still benefit anyone studying the manual in the future.

Ikazuchi’s final notes in the manual were dedicated to sharing his own experiences with combining the various principles and encouraging each individual to experience combat with a large variety of individuals to find or create the ideal style for themselves. He had refined his skills alone, so he knew the benefits that it had for anyone intending to walk a similar path. Even if he struggled and took detours on his path, it was precisely due to those difficulties that he developed the experience and confidence that he had now. On the final page, Ikazuchi signed his name with the boldness and sharpness that would be expected of a swordsman as he prepared for the next manual that would detail the fundamentals of swordsmanship.

Word Count: 1,410
Total Word Count: 2,040


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:57 pm

Ikazuchi didn’t bother to title the manual as it wasn’t something he intended to release to the public, instead he immediately grabbed a second empty book as he prepared the next segment dedicated to the fundamentals of swordsmanship. Despite many people underestimating the fundamental skills, it was precisely due to these that he was able to reach the height that he had. What he would write in the book combined with the first could be described as the culmination of all of his efforts. Each of the fundamental skills played an active role in his specialized dual swordsmanship, and it was only by grasping these that one could truly begin pursuing the path of a swordsman. ‘Chop, Slash, Thrust, Lunge, Sweep, Block, Parry, Counter’ These were the eight major skills that he would introduce and hoped to enlighten others about.

If his teachings were compared to the typically seen ones, his could only be described as complicated. Most would teach calculated forms and stances that would allow others to easily perform each skill before they gradually comprehend the purpose. What he chose to do was define the skills and force anyone follow his guidance to comprehend and apply it based on the principles taught in the first manual. If they were reading this one, they should already have the foundation to coordinate and position their body so a strict form was something he considered counterproductive and restrictive. What he described was only the proper methods to hold the sword itself along with his own understanding of each skill.

Word Count: 258
Total Word Count: 2,298


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:58 pm

First, he simply shared his own opinions, experiences, and various tips to grip a sword and how slight changes could affect the execution of the skills. He naturally shared the most information about how to wield a weapon with a single hand, but he didn’t forget two-handed wielding techniques either. In particular, he made sure to explain the very limited circumstances where he could justify reversing the grip on a sword and how to fluidly transition between the two. After reading it through, he could help but smile and shake his head. ‘This almost looks like a sleight of hand trick…’

Despite mocking it internally, he was satisfied as he expressed the information as concisely and coherently as possible. This was something that could vary greatly between individuals due to slight differences in their hands. In some cases, strictly following someone else could waste the potential of someone that the guidance wasn’t suited for. In fact, Ikazuchi made a point to note that as he deduced and shared slight variations that may be more suitable for others in order to ensure the usefulness of this information. What followed this was the actual description of each skill and how to execute them.

Word Count: 201
Total Word Count: 2,499


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:58 pm

‘A chop is the simplest skill that one can learn as it is the one which requires the least experience to execute proficiently. It is a move that simply leverages the swordsman’s strength and the weapon's sharp edge to produce an aggressive attack intended to split or cut through a target. While it is described as the simplest skill, it shouldn’t be looked down upon. This skill excels at its intended purpose, so it is important to understand when to use this versus a slash.

In my experience, the ideal circumstances to use this skill is when attempting to split the enemy’s armor or in order to push them back due to the way a chop utilizes force. The key to a powerful chop is the commitment to follow through. Even when you know you won’t succeed, you must still commit and apply that pressure. That also means that if you cannot commit to the skill, then you should consider one of the others.’ Following that explanation, Ikazuchi shared experiences from the last few months in the arena about when to use the attack and how he integrated the skill into his movements without any defined form or stances.

Word Count: 199
Total Word Count: 2,698


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:58 pm

‘After a chop, one will naturally learn to slash. It uses the edge of the sword similar to a chop, but it incorporates more rotational principles that drag the sharp edge of the weapon along the target and deal more damage. Based on my own experiences, understanding this skill is the key to connecting each of the skills maximizing the fluidity of your swordsmanship. Unlike a chop, this skill doesn’t require excessive commitment and can even be used during your movements to maximize your damage.

It is precisely due to that movement that your swordsmanship can become more flexible. This is particularly so for those intending to dual wield weapons like myself. The freedom of movement offered by this skill allows me to connect the actions of each sword naturally in order to create a storm. Still, the value of this for a single sword can’t be underestimated as the rotational shift allows you to retreat, advance, and connect with the other available skills. Understanding when to utilize the flexibility of the slash and the domineeringness of a chop will be an important step forward for anyone as a swordsman.’ Naturally, more technical advice on executing the skill followed his explanation. Rather than simply recording the information, it was as if Ikazuchi was speaking directly to someone as he imparted his knowledge.

Word Count: 222
Total Word Count: 2,920


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:59 pm

‘The thrust is one of the most precise skills in a swordsman’s arsenal. It requires a different kind of commitment compared to the previously mentioned chop. In order to execute a precise attack with the tip of the sword, it’s only natural that gaps in your defense will appear. On the other hand, the precision of this skill could easily reverse the flow of battle by piercing the opponent’s defenses. Depending on your target, you may even end the battle with a single strike.

While it is as risky as I said, you shouldn’t let the awareness you have about the risks prevent you from executing the skill. That warning is only intended to ensure you choose the right moment to do so. In general, it’s possible to minimize the risk by mixing it with your movement and your other skills depending on your own preferences and habits.’ The technical information shared focused more on the ways to protect against a counter due to the trust and minimizing the risk. As long as the foundation from the first manual was applied to produce the proper amount of force, the accuracy and defense were the only concerns.

Word Count: 196
Total Word Count: 3,116


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:59 pm

‘A lunge is a skill closely connected to a thrust as it is also a piercing attack. While you may maintain full control over the attack itself, the strike combines forward movement and extension committed towards the attack. In the simplest of terms, it is combining sudden forward movement with a thrust. While it certainly is possible to mimic a lunge with a thrust, it’s important to note that the intent and commitment are extremely important to this kind of attack. If a thrusts intent was precision, a lunge would be dedicated to penetration.

A lunge is the kind of attack you use to force an opening while accepting the risks associated with the attack. Performing it requires both skill and resolve, and it shouldn’t be done half-heartedly. Personally, I believe that if you can’t commit to a lunge then you will be unleashing an attack that is neither a thrust nor a lunge as the intent of both attacks will be lost due to indecisiveness. While using this attack doesn’t mean that you should give up if it fails, I believe you should only execute a lunging strike with the intention of it being a decisive strike regardless of the result.’ Following his introduction to the attack based on his own thoughts, Ikazuchi continued on to detail the methods that has used to maximize his sudden burst of momentum, how he controls his movements, and ways that he personally connects this attack with the others.

Word Count: 246
Total Word Count: 3362


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:59 pm

‘A sweeping strike generally follows the same principles as a slash, but is executed with the flat of a blade. Naturally, the purpose of this action is also different compared to a slash. Despite using wider arcing swings, the intention of this is in the name. You use this to “sweep” things away whether it be attacks or people. It isn’t an attack you use in pursuit of lethality, rather it is for the sake of making space. The flat of the blade allows the wielder to more efficiently distribute the force of their swing for the sake of pushing.

What a sweeping strike lacks in killing power, it makes up for in the wide range that it covers. Using this fundamental technique for the sake of blocking and pushing is a key method to control space and manage any battlefield.’ Following his introduction to the technique, he detailed the fundamental footwork and coordination needed to fluidly adjust the weapons mid-battle. He paid extra attention to this technique's guidance as it takes a step towards controlling the opponent's actions rather than your own once you actively start employing it.

Word Count: 189
Total Word Count: 3551


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:59 pm

Following the sweep, Ikazuchi proceeded to detail what he described as a bashing strike. ‘A bash is simply an attack made that employs the pommel directly. As a swordsman, it’s important to understand that any part of the weapon can be considered a weapon. Even when you may not be able to use the blade, it may be possible to directly use the pommel to strike the enemy or intercept their attack. By actively utilizing this technique, it broadens the options you have at any given moment.

For example, if you commit to an overhead slash, you will at that point create an opening. If you can recognize someone attempting to take advantage of that opening, you may be able to naturally fill that gap with a pommel strike to intercept as the distance would in most cases be less. It won’t apply in every situation, but being aware of the technique with the understanding to naturally utilize it will further strengthen your control in most circumstances.’ Following that, Ikazuchi detailed several ways that a bash could seamlessly replace other attacks for defensive measures, as well as times when it could be connected with another strike to chain more attacks in a shorter amount of time.

Word Count: 206
Total Word Count: 3757


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 5:59 pm

After covering the fundamentals of offense, it was now time to cover the intricacies of defensive action. ‘Although it is one of the most important fundamental skills you should possess, blocking is something that requires a firm foundation to do correctly. WIthout that foundation, you are only gambling with your own life in hopes that you may stop an incoming attack. To truly block an incoming attack, it’s important to understand each technique mentioned prior to this to not only respond but also understand what is coming your way.

Comprehending the path, angle, and even recognizing the strength of an incoming attack are all factors required to accept an attack with your own weapon. Based on the angle of the incoming weapon and nature of the attack, your defense should be made with a clear understanding of what can follow. Mastering defense means that you will intuitively understand what attacks can follow as well as the follow up movement required to both create openings and maintain control of the flow.’ With that introduction, Ikazuchi detailed extensively the various ways to accept incoming attacks with weapons such as utilizing different angles to allow strikes to naturally slide away from the intended target or directly clashing weapons. He also ensured that enough warning was given at managing the state of the weapon and avoiding accidents due to the weapon breaking.

Word Count: 228
Total Word Count: 3985


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:01 pm

‘To parry an attack is to take your defensive measures a step further. Rather than halting an attack or allowing it to naturally redirect, you must intentionally intervene to manipulate the attack. This is something you generally do to create an opening or regain control of the flow in battle. This can be as simple as correctly timing a push of the opponent's weapon resulting in their guard opening up their guard. This could allow you to more successfully land an attack or simply push the enemy to retreat. What’s important during this situation is that you have control, and are actively manipulating the opponent’s flow during the exchange.’

After that introduction, Ikazuchi continued to expand on the information he covered regarding blocking and techniques to shift the force of attacks away, as well as which actions would result in stances crumbling. Compared to the earlier sections which covered defined techniques, the guidance on parrying was closer to a record of personal experience rather than a direct manual for guidance. Ikazuchi had a natural sense for timing after his lifetime of martial arts training, and he could be considered talented to possess his current level of skill. His experiences were valuable for others, but it was a matter of talent for how much each individual could pick up.

Word Count: 218
Total Word Count: 4203


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:01 pm

‘The final technique concept that I will detail here is countering. To counter someone is an advanced application of any martial art, and doing so intentionally requires skill defense and evasion. To summarize it simply, a counter is any attack that targets an opening created due to your own actions. If you avoid attacks that have a certain amount of investment in them, there will be a brief period of time where the enemy’s stance makes it difficult to respond to your attack either as a whole, or towards a specific part of their body. This can also be achieved by parrying attacks in various ways. It’s for that reason that the counter attack is only detailed at this point.’

Following that, like with parrying, Ikazuchi proceeded to detail his experiences targeting weak points and specific types of attacks that are more susceptible to defensive and evasive actions. On the topic, he also expanded on the way he connects and initiates attacks. His goal was to not only provide instruction on how to unleash a counter attack, but also how to prevent one to himself. In these sections where he detailed more of his experiences, he made sure to limit how much of his style was expressed as the ultimate goal at this point was to ensure the foundational aspects were clearly expressed for anything to follow. Like the first manual, Ikazuchi similarly signed his name as the final action before taking a third empty journal.

Word Count: 246
Total Word Count: 4449


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:01 pm

“Haaah… That’s the easy part taken care of…” Ikazuchi’s gaze was fixed on the third empty journal. “...Now for the hard part.” A smile crept across his face revealing his true feelings. WIthout any hesitation, he took to writing with the same bold confidence he displays in combat. ‘Should anyone ever read this, then don’t. If you made it through the first two, you should understand all of the fundamentals. Following further may very well be detrimental to your own growth if you attempt to copy myself.’ He couldn’t help but chuckle slightly as he continued writing the introduction a space lower on the page, as if giving a pause in hopes that anyone that may read would stop there. ‘If you’re still reading, you’re a fool. All this journal shall contain is my personal comprehension and style. If I make a mistake, you may very well do the same. Things that I can do, you may not be able to copy. Read at your own risk.’

With that, Ikazuchi turned the page and started to write. He had no intention of organizing the information and guiding anyone else through it. The first two were written with the intention of creating something educational that anyone could benefit from. That perspective is something that could reinforce his own understanding of techniques. The current journal though, was for him to explore the unknown and define himself.

Word Count: 234
Total Word Count: 4,683


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:02 pm

‘Through battle, I have come to understand that “space” and “time” are the most important concepts on the battlefield. As foreign as that sounds, it’s only by controlling the space around you and what occurs during each second that an individual can reign as a God of War. At times, I feel myself approaching that stage where I have the awareness to truly control those surroundings. The brief glimpses I have experienced have given me the insight to say with certainty that the pinnacle is closer to establishing a domain.

Even if only very briefly, those moments close to enlightenment were like standing in a different world. At that stage, the five senses become secondary. I could feel my surroundings with a degree of frightening clarity… That level of insight, it was precisely what is needed to truly claim a space as my own and control it. In combat, it has only ever manifested as a fleeting sensation. During my training on the other hand, that’s when I push the boundaries until the blur.’ Ikazuchi’s hand gripped the pen tighter as he continued to think about the pinnacle he had glimpsed.

‘My current swordsmanship pursues freedom and dominance. Each action connects to another without a defined form, all with the goal of dominating and controlling the battlefield. Through continuous connecting strikes, I attempt to push my opponents towards making mistakes. Although my skills are well-rounded, it’s clear that my preferred style is more aggressive and offensive. While I have been very successful in combat until now, the insufficiencies will only truly be made up for once I take the next step… but how?’

Word Count: 273
Total Word Count: 4,956


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:02 pm

‘Fundamentally, my personal skill isn’t lacking. Experience will naturally lead to improvements in application, but those are more quantitative improvements. What I’m seeking is a true qualitative change.’ Ikazuchi tapped the page in contemplation with the pen. ‘For the time being, I will focus on broadening the applications of my skills.’ His eyes turned to a manual he had sitting on his desk with the title “Spirit Formation”. ‘First, I will follow the steps necessary to form my own sword spirit. With that, I will be able to deepen my connection with my swords further and more naturally take the required step.’ He didn’t detail it in the journal, but the technique originating from Sin wasn’t complete. He would later have to explore other avenues to locate the necessary information to complete his spirit. Despite this, he considered this to be a necessary step as only a spirit formed by himself for his swordsmanship would be appropriate to assist him in combat. ‘Second, I will finally develop my own set of armor.’

Word Count: 172
Total Word Count: 5,128


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:02 pm

‘Until now, I have focused on my swords exclusively. Crafting my own, remaking others, and maintaining the ones that I haven’t had the opportunity to do so for. This has allowed my familiarity with my weapons to reach a certain pinnacle, but the same can’t be said for my armor.’ Ikazuchi shook his head at this point and scoffed as he finally realized something so fundamental. ‘Going back to the foundational principles, coordination between the mind, body, and sword are the most fundamental aspects in swordsmanship. I’ve unintentionally been disrupting the balance by not paying enough attention to the body which naturally includes the armor worn in battle.’

For a moment, his thoughts drifted towards the armor that has accompanied him for so long. ‘My current armor set doesn’t accommodate the vision and sense needed to excel as a swordsman and focuses more so on defending from magic than supporting the wielder’s abilities.’ Ikazuchi continued to write and break down his current armor, as well as comparisons on how he could design armor for himself. As the goal of this was to create a set of armor that would express his swordsmanship to the limit, he had already decided to name it the “Sword King” set.

Word Count: 206
Total Word Count: 5,334


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:02 pm

First and foremost, Ikazuchi addressed the helmet. ‘For this, rather than a traditional full helmet, I will design a crown. Using that metal that I had been holding on to, I will be able to craft something with the necessary weight that also conducts mana well.’ It only took a moment for an image to form on the page with countless fainter lines decorating the body of a crown. Those represented various options for mana pathways throughout the item that would support the formations necessary to grant effects to the wearer.

It could be described as somewhat unique due to only wrapping three-quarters of the way around his head with slight branching formations around his temples. Currently, his focus was directed towards this spot in particular. ‘What I want from this is the unique insight into mana and spells. While I can break down and recreate spells given enough time, this is something difficult to do during combat…’ Following this, he devised a unique pattern that served as a processor of sorts for spells to break down the type and effects attached in real time. This information is then relayed to him granting him a unique comprehension towards spells while wearing the crown.

A smile crept onto his face as his pen danced across the paper. While the insight would grant him a new perspective and understanding should he observe the spell being cast, that could only be considered the foundation. What made the crown especially unique was the fact that entering into his battle state would merge his mana and sword intent together to create a defensive sword aura against spells that attack from beyond the scope of reason. He distinctly recalled his encounter with Emil, smirking as he imagined his sword aura directly cutting through the lightning raining from the sky. ‘Perfect.’ As he finalized the form, he became more confident in the creation as it would naturally gather and create a mana barrier around his head for protection due to the formation and material used.

Word Count: 338
Total Word Count: 5,672


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:02 pm

Normally, a craftsman would be wary of recording their techniques and item design as their techniques could be stolen. As the one who would wear it, Ikazuchi would have even greater reason to keep it confidential under most circumstances to avoid it being taken advantage of. In his case though, even if someone understood the principles and capabilities of the equipment he possessed, he wouldn’t be at disadvantage regardless. Any technique used to craft would naturally be better used among other craftsmen if they understood how it was made, and he had the confidence to face anyone who learned the information. He didn’t intend to spread or intentionally deliver information to anyone, but he certainly wasn’t scared of it.

There wasn’t any hesitation as he went into the work on the full set of armor. With his aggressive style of combat, what he needed wasn’t something to support his offensive capabilities. Instead, he needed a last line of defense to supplement what wasn’t contained in the essence of his swordsmanship. ‘For the armor, what I need is a firm defense. Something that can withstand anything thrown my way. If the crown is for responding to that which cannot be responded to, then this armor shall be for withstanding anything that must be faced.’ The intricate form of the armor was quickly created on the paper as he simulated the mana pathways and formations necessary for his intentions.

By making an alloy, he would integrate the natural barrier created by the crown into the gaps of his armor to make a fully comprehensive defense. WIth his skills as a blacksmith, he was also able to make a comprehensive set of full-plate armor that wouldn’t impede him during combat. Within the intricate pathways was a special formation to wrap himself in mana that was merged with the unique will developed through his swordsmanship. This bolstered the defensive capabilities within the unique spell pattern. Although he focused primarily on himself in combat, his allies over the years highlighted the importance of versatility. The unique pattern to the formation supported that versatility by allowing him to deploy it as either a barrier around his body, or as a full dome to protect others. It could even expand from the protective aura around his body for that purpose. Due to the nature of the spell, he named it Kingsguard due to the nature and intentions of the spell.

Secondly, he devised a spell that would create a burst of penetrating sword aura around himself to push his enemies away. His intent contained within that burst would then penetrate into the opponent’s psyche and prevent them from moving momentarily. The final benefit he included in the armor allowed for the formation to connect and improve the efficiency of mana flow between the wearer and their equipment. “Like this, the ways that I can express my swordsmanship will evolve…”

Word Count: 482
Total Word Count: 6,154


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:03 pm

‘Finally, once the spirit and set of armor have been created, all that will remain is a truly decisive fight that pushes myself to the limit. As I explore the new options presented by the new equipment and experience the effects of my sword spirit, I will naturally push through the final bottleneck. It is only through battle that one can truly reach the pinnacle…’ With that final sentence, Ikazuchi had nothing left to record. This journal served as a perfect reference to give substance to the thoughts and ideas he had, as well as sort through the vague ideas he had until now.

While he had ensured that there was a forge available in his current residence, he didn’t immediately go to craft the weapons. He had a gut feeling that establishing his sword spirit should take priority. He had established a clear theory for the equipment, but his intuition assured him that it would only be right to do so after the embryonic form of the spirit had been created. The spirit would function as something like a bridge between his intent and willpower and mana to produce the best results from his theory.

Word Count: 196
Total Word Count: 6,350


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:03 pm

Once again, Ikazuchi read through the Spirit Formation technique and marveled at the unique perspective proposed by it. It took one of the most fundamental elements in the world, Mana, and broke it down further. It was separated into positive energy and negative energy referred to as yang and yin respectively. ‘It’s still interesting to see.’ Each within the mana can be categorized into either yin or yang, and the technique guides you to first sense the minute differences. Following that, it naturally progresses to the stage of controlling and harmonizing the mana after gathering it in an area referred to as the lower dantian in the manual.

After initially obtaining the manual, Ikazuchi had been consistently practicing the mana control aspects as it benefited both his understanding of mana, and control to use his equipment and craft items. It wasn’t something that was included, but it was a benefit he took full advantage of. The gathering of the mana was done in a cycle that rotated it through the various pathways of the body to create a heavenly cycle according to the manual.

This cycle quickly became his standard mana flow during this time, and even naturally purified his mana over time. The harmonious aspects didn’t have any impact on combat or potency, but it did allow Ikazuchi to make strides that he didn’t expect. In some ways, it was due to this new state of being that he felt the progress towards the bottleneck. No matter how slow, it gave him hope and motivation. Only now, it was time to take the next step. It could be said that until now, he had been establishing the embryonic form of the spirit that represents himself and his attainments. What would follow is merging the two perfectly balanced energies to create the most primordial form of mana.

Unknown to Ikazuchi at this time, the technique he gained was a heritage technique lost to time originating from Sin. It was at one point spread widely as a means to search for qualified successors, but gradually faded into obscurity due to the rarity of qualified individuals. This was due to the fact that one must pioneer their own path to have the necessary will to support the formation of a spirit. Even the individual he obtained it from didn’t know the true value of it as they couldn’t bring their energy into harmony to create a true spirit. Their results only produced a sub-par amalgamation of unbalanced mana without room for progression. The most surprising part is the fact that this failed attempt was precisely what encouraged Ikazuchi to obtain this technique. Had it not been for his overwhelming confidence causing him to wager his first masterpiece, Breaker, then he likely would have never experienced this fortuitous encounter. Ikazuchi would only come to understand his luck later after venturing to Sin in search of further stages and information about the technique.

At this moment though, Ikazuchi had since moved to an open space and was actively controlling his mana to accelerate along additional paths illustrated by the manual. Something he intuitively understood was that contained in these movements of mana were more profound formation techniques that what he had encountered prior that caused the yin and yang mana to rotate fiercely within his lower dantian. The core rotated and blended the two opposing energies harmoniously with each additional path his mana introduced. The speed of the mana reached a level that it gave the impression of lingering in the passages and external mana seemed to flow towards him.

At that moment, a faint but distinct tearing sensation came from the middle of his forehead with a distinct sensation that gave the impression of originating from somewhere far deeper. After that, in the next moment the core shimmered with a unique prismatic light before it settled into a unique unsettling gray. Only a single word could describe it in the most primordial of senses.


Comfort flooded his body as contained within the distinct gray mass of energy was a floating sword spirit being nurtured. A mirror image of the blade was faintly projected in front of him as he successfully gave birth to what in the future would be a unique identifying feature of himself. On an instinctive level, he was able to understand that what was accomplished today would do far more than simply aid in this single breakthrough in swordsmanship. It would likely guide him towards a new path, but today he was satisfied with his first concrete step forward.

Word Count: 760
Total Word Count: 7,110


Path to the Pinnacle [WM Training] Empty Wed Jun 05, 2024 6:04 pm

The sword nestled deep in his dantian had a profound connection that Ikazuchi hadn’t fully comprehended as it took a position of his own soul and molded it into a second core. Whether by coincidence or fate, he found what would be considered a true path. This path naturally gave him a unique perspective and insight into swordsmanship that greatly bolstered his ability to naturally express his sword aura in the formations established in the Sword King set he immediately started crafting.

During his travel to Seven, he chanced upon a rare material he held onto until today. It was previously this that was used for the crown and integrated into the alloy that allowed him to produce his ideal armor. Time flowed by as he worked for days without rest to produce the two items, almost as if he was possessed. Each strike of the hammer or channel of mana brought him new insights into what his efforts were doing for his combat potential.

His skill had reached a high enough stage, but the lack of harmony between his body, spirit, and energy ultimately hindered him. The creation of a Sword Spirit fulfilled the spirit and energy requirements while the body was naturally being supplemented by the equipment.

Once he completed it, it was donned without hesitation giving birth to the unique feeling of certainty. Through action, he was able to validate his theories and ascertain that one final fight with the right opponent would give him what he needed to ascend. The unique sensation of liberation from the harmony ensured that he understood that, but the stifling feeling of being held back by the bottleneck until then was something that he didn’t expect. It became abundantly clear that with harmony came clarity, and clarity would lead to ease of enlightenment. It was a somewhat bittersweet realization for Ikazuchi who had persistently focused on swordsmanship until now while having the necessary criteria available to him for months.

WIth the newfound sense of familiarity and harmony, Ikazuchi actually found himself more uncomfortable as the change was unknown to him until now. ‘Well, time to get used to this now…’ A sigh escaped his lips before he smiled comfortably and moved to his private training space to train and adjust to his new condition. Little did he know, shortly after this, an invitation to gather in the name of Sleeping Calamity would once more find its way to him.

Word Count: 408
Total Word Count: 7,518

OOC: Topic complete

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