To aid the referee in designing martial arts training programs, we offer these absurd training techniques, drawn from various sources or made up of whole cloth. They will apply both to the maneuvers individually and to style techniques. These are ideas intended to inspire the referee. Please feel free to invent your own; I'll be glad to add particularly interesting ones to the list.
Kick styles need to strengthen the legs and improve their coordination and balance. Techniques include walking on logs in water or learning tightrope skills. Carrying heavy buckets of water up long flights of steps is a popular technique, or maneuvering similar weights across narrow log bridges. Since they also involve bringing the feet up high with great force, it is not uncommon for the character to have to kick a target which is placed at a higher and higher point, such as the type of bar used for limbo, pole vaults, or high jump competition (except that it will move revealingly but not fall so that it is ready to kick again), until it is necessary for the character to kick one foot directly over the other straight above his head in order to reach it.
Grapple styles require strength in muscles closer to the interior of the body, those which squeeze the legs together or draw the arms to the chest. Carrying large heavy sacks in the arms is a start. Kneading huge lumps of bread dough or clay helps further, and riding a horse is good training for the legs, but so is climbing a tree or a rope.
Push styles require great arm strength as well as timing. Heavy sacks of grain hung from ropes which can swing at the character for him to stop and push away repeatedly is a good technique for building such skill.
Punch styles also require strong arms, but require highly developed musculature in the hands themselves to provide solid fists which can strike hard without suffering much injury. Beating on bags of sand or peat can be used to build up this kind of strength. It is also common for masters to expect students to do push-ups or even hand-stand push-ups in incredible numbers.
Throw styles will develop arm strength in various directions. Painting, waxing, polishing, sanding, and other movements which will build arm strength in sweeping motions are good. Other cleaning actions, including mop and broom use, can be considered.
Since the objective of Poke styles is to provide a very focused impact on a sensitive point, these styles require very solid fingers. The student could graduate through a succession of fruits and vegetables, beginning by poking holes in tomatoes and unpeeled bananas, then moving to plums and soft peaches, and on to peaches and tangerines, and finishing with avocados and melons. To develop speed and accuracy, it would be reasonable to have the character pop all of the bubbles from a bubble pipe or bubble wand before they hit the floor.
Weapon styles of course require great training in the weapon. Some masters will require a student to achieve professional status with the weapon in the style before instruction in maneuvers will begin, especially if the style is weapon-dependent; on the other hand, in some weapon-capable styles, masters will not teach the use of a weapon until either it is needed for a specific maneuver or all of the maneuvers have been learned.
The Spinning Kick requires the character to whirl around in place repeatedly, like a ballerina.
The Leaping Kick begins with a run, so students may be taught to hurdle over an increasingly high bar, that is, jumping over the bar feet-first and landing on his feet on the other side.
The Rear Kick requires stretching the hip muscles such that the leg may be extended directly behind with only a slight forward bend of the body. Dancer rail exercises are a possibility, although kicking a selected step on a stairway or ladder has merit.
The Choking Grasp is performed in some styles with the hands and in others with the bent arm. One practice technique is to crush pineapples or small melons. Springs (which push out) may be used.
The Attack Catch is difficult, because it requires clamping arms on an edged weapon such that the weapon is stopped but the blade does not cut. Combinations of metal poles and strips swinging from the ceiling make good practice targets. Students also throw long objects such as poles, corn stalks, loaves of French bread, and catch them between their arms rather than in their hands.
The Limb Twister preparations could include pulling taffy (or working some similar food substance such as dough or tofu) in very large quantities, or twisting rope by hand.
The Immobilizer involves grabbing a substantial part of the opponent to secure him. Grabbing handfuls of ropes, or nuts or marbles or coins from a sack, or possibly fruit off the branches of a tree, are good techniques.
The Fake is a simple pulled punch or kick which causes the opponent to dodge in the direction of the true attack. The student may be asked to practice not hitting a moving punching bag.
Fallen Fighting training techniques might resemble a cross between break dancing and an epileptic fit, lying on the stomach or back spinning, rolling, thrashing.
Immobility skills frequently involve an incredible sense of balance. Weapon or maneuver practice standing on the gunnels of a canoe or a rowboat, or the edge of a heavy vase, is often required.
Missile Escape requires intensive dodging and deflecting. Dodgeball is a good start for this, and then dodging and deflecting other thrown objects.
The Great Jump begins with little jumps. A hole is dug in the ground, and the student spends all day jumping in and out of it; the next day, the hole is deeper. Or the character jumps all the way up stairs, and all the way down.
Haste is actually a zero-intensity psionic skill, and so concentration is taught, leading to a burst of speed. The character is often given repetitious nonsense tasks with less and less time to complete them--sort all of these coins into piles, divide the cards by number or by suit, build the block stack, put the easy puzzle together.
Resist Slowing is a high-level bod skill. Frequently characters are given a task to perform in a vat of water, then of jelly, then honey or molasses.
The Focused Push is very much like the basic style pushes, and some of the techniques will be the same. Huge bags of dirty laundry make good push targets.
The Following Finger requires range-of-motion exercises to remain limber.
The Untouching Push involves pushing air hard enough that it pushes the opponent. Blowing out candles with such action is the beginning, and then creating ripples on puddles, and then moving feathers and soybean shells and dry leaves, and increasing the size and weight of the targets. It takes a long time.
The Solid Punch combines the hardening of the hand with the velocity of the blow. A frame drops, and the student must knock down the object on the table by striking through the center of the frame without touching the frame.
The Power Punch requires concentration and timing to focus great force into one blow.
The Crushing Grasp, although a punching type maneuver, actually grabs an object or target within the hand and squeezes it. Isometric hand exercises are common (working the muscles against each other), but it is more fun to develop other types of resistance, such as grab sand, or work clay or dough.
Fall Impact Absorption is a tumbling maneuver. The student falls on the floor a lot, but learns to roll with the landing. In training, students practice falling on the floor, falling down stairs, falling off a log, falling off a platform, until it doesn't hurt much. In testing, they are pushed or thrown.
Quick Stand is a tumbling maneuver. The student learns to shift his weight into a roll or spring which will put him on his feet very quickly. Many forward and backward rolls are practiced, building up the momentum to regain footing, and the amount of initial momentum is reduced by going from a falling roll to a crouching roll to a roll out of a handstand to a roll from the back.
The Power Throw picks up the opponent bodily and throws him. It requires tremendous upper body strength, and the lifting of any heavy object such as weights or medicine balls is a possible training scenario, although moving large sacks or jars onto a dock or putting bales of hay into the loft or carrying a small boat from one body of water to another are all possible training techniques.
Momentum Casting converts the opponent's attack run into a throw. Power throw techniques help, but this is more about timing and leverage.
The Pain Inflicter requires lessons in anatomy. Some masters will teach a student what the points are by personal painful introduction (you will not forget). Target dummies with bells inside are also used.
The Stunning Strike disorients the opponent.
The Paralyzing Strike requires specific knowledge of the anatomy of the target.
The Remote Strike is very like the Untouching Push in training techniques; however, where that uses the flat of the hand, this focuses on the tip of the finger. (On the other hand, since these techniques are more based on aim, less force is necessary.) Some speak of ringing a bell without touching it, but knocking over small objects or moving marbles are alternatives.
Seize Weapon requires speed and skill with a weapon to target another weapon. The master will often have the student strike at moving, swinging, or thrown objects, especially to try to skewer rings or (with flex weapons and weapons with built in traps) catch poles.
Break Weapon adds a snap or a twist to the seize weapon techniques; however, knowing this does not always lead to that, since the objective of that maneuver is to contain the opponent's weapon such that he cannot have it, and in this case it only matters that the weapon has passed into the exact right spot in the trap to be vulnerable. Using the weapon to break objects such as poles is a good starting point.
The Improvised Cloth Weapon starts with techniques at snapping towels, and expands to larger pieces of cloth and greater force. Novices undoubtedly begin in towel fights, but using the cloth against soft targets so as to measure the force of the strike in the damage done is a necessary step.
Alert Rest is a very high level bod skill. The student must learn to remain perfectly still, usually sitting upright, and relax every muscle not needed to remain in that position, then to clear every thought from his head such that he is no longer thinking, and while in this extremely restful state he must stay awake.
Panoramic Awareness is a sensory training technique which makes the character more acutely aware of sound, shadow, and the movement of air around him. He is usually required to block swinging bags without taking his eyes off an object directly in front of him.
Control Resistance is a concentration technique. The student learns to remain strongly in control of his mind and body, frequently by recognizing a takeover attempt and inducing pain to create an external focus.
Fighting Blind is sensory training to become more acutely aware especially of sound but also of air currents. It is common for a character to practice blindfolded, trying to catch or hit rings of keys either swinging on strings or thrown by another. As practice intensifies, wind chimes are added to the room.
Muscle Blocking involves learning to tense all of the muscles on the outside of the body so as to increase the effective density and so block blows.
Levitate is a psionic skill. Mental concentration and the release of psionic power make it possible for a character to seem to reduce his own weight to the point that it floats on the air. Think up.
Return to Learning a Style.
Index: The introductory page to the material.