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Kikuko Hayashi
Kikuko Hayashi
Survived 2021
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Training: The Basics of Mind and Body (Solo) Empty Training: The Basics of Mind and Body (Solo)

Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:43 pm
Love for the earth. Kindness to the sky. Blessings to the people.

It is said in some religious schools of thought that everything and anything is inhabited by spirits that we mortals cannot see- kami, down the the smallest grain of sand or blade of grass. Because these spirits inhabit these places, we must respect them. In turn, they watch over us, and bring good fortune upon us. Sometimes they will act in turn, granting us their blessings. This manifests in may ways. A bountiful harvest to turn away famine. A rainstorm that drives away a terrible forest fire. Even something as simple as a blooming flower in an empty field- all them are gifts from the world to us, who inhabit it.

But mankind has lost interest, it seems. These days they are too preoccupied with the future to live in the present. Their minds are fixated on money, power, prestige. The bounties of nature are squandered in the name of profit. Living in the moment is looked down as the pastime of a fool. The only way for one to succeed in life is to reject the blessings bestowed upon us at birth, and places our noses to the proverbial grindstone until we die. Work, work, work until you die. Succeed, but inherit nothing.

Perhaps, however, there can be a balance. One who strives towards a fruitful future, while simultaneously appreciating the boons of the present. It is a difficult task, fraught with its own unique challenges and desperations. How can one give love to the kami without growing despondent as the world slowly dies around them? And how can one truly devote themselves to betterment in the world of humans without turning their back to the natural world? The balancing act is one set upon a particularly finicky set of scales- and too often, mankind is forced to choose one over the other.

This is the story of a young woman who attempted to walk the middle path.


The path of the Shinobi is one of a vengeful warrior. Weapons of peace inevitably turn against their fellow neighbor in the name of revenge, in the name of expansion, in the name of regimes. Ideals rot on the vine, giving way to a terrible, lonely nihilism. From that pit, a great and awful thing emerges. At least, that is what some say.

And yet, as Kikuko floated on the water, she could only feel a transcendental peace about herself. The gentle wetness of the surface beneath her cooled skin, and yet did not soak through her outfit- protected by a thin yet sturdy layer of chakra that kept her and the liquid. It was not ‘true’ water walking, but it mattered little to her. The fact that a human could do it at all- that humans could break such barriers and perform feats in the real of the supernatural- was enough for stars to shine in her eyes. She was in love with it. Why shouldn’t she be?

The water beneath her swayed ever so slightly, and she was carried along with it. She wouldn’t be able to stay like this for too long- supporting her entire body with chakra was a different sort of intensity than when she was on the soles of her feet. The energy, as opposed to being concentrated within those two points, spread across her backside almost as a blanket. Some might call it akin to armor, but she thought of it as more like a shell. Rather than protecting her separately, her chakra was a part of her. A special piece of her that connected her soul, her very being to the world around her.

Breathe in, breathe out. The air is crisp, clean, and refreshing. Scents land upon her tongue- grass, leaves, water. She knows where she is. What is above her. What is below her. What is within her. And within an inhale, she cuts the flow of chakra around her.

The effect is nigh instant- without the barrier of chakra to act as a flotation device, she slowly begins to sink towards the bottom of the lake. Water soaks through her clothing, the chill seeping from her flesh into her very bones as the light of day filters through the surface. She opens her eyes, and there it is- the world below the surface, hidden from view. While there is no fish, she knows they are somewhere. Likely having hidden after her entrance into their world. Today, however, they were safe. If she had meant to go diving for food, she would have brought her father’s harpoon.

The feet slip away until eventually her bottom is upon the silty floor of the lakebed. The surface is not so far, and yet a considerable distance for an untrained swimmer. Indeed, she would have to swim several feet upwards to reach the surface. Yet, despite this, she felt no rush or fear. That had left her long ago as a child- leaving her with nothing but a calm tranquility down to her very core. The understanding that she, Kikuko, was the only human within these waters. She was alone, and yet very much accompanied. The idea was humbling and yet it made her smile. A few bubbles flew from her mouth, and she suppressed a giggle.

Alright. She had to resurface eventually, as much as the fish here were excellent company. Come on now, you know how. Getting into a crouch, she pushes up from the lakebed. Her body rebelling against gravity, she drifts upwards for a moment- before pulling herself up to the surface with her hands, legs kicking before she finally breaks it. Fresh, sweet oxygen fills her lungs. She blinks as the sun directly hits her eyes, water clinging to her eyelashes. Somewhere nearby, the birds are singing. And of course, she is still utterly soaked.

It is here that she lingers for a moment more, enjoying the moment- lazily doing the backstroke, feeling the strain of her muscles as they rebel against sinking to the bottom once again. Eventually, however, it must come to an end. Pushing herself towards the edge of the lake, she surfaces onto land. Bare feet dig into muddy soil, sinking slightly with her weight. No matter. She steps further onto dry land, still dripping as she stretches out her muscles.

She had chosen this place for two things- its natural beauty, and for its privacy. It wasn’t that she hated the company of others- she enjoyed it, as a matter of fact- but rather that today she would rather be alone with her thoughts. The markets were busy with all sorts of people attempting to live their lives to the fullest, and the parks were filled with children enjoying the first joys of life. On some days, she might join either of the two. But today, it had called her here. And because of that silence, her thoughts turned inwards.
Chakra. The font of life that exists within all humans. When had she first become aware of it? It wasn’t an exact thing, rather- more as a gradual process than a definitive event. But by the end of it, she had her eyes opened. An awareness that there was a tangible ‘something’ within her, something that wanted to be expressed. Something that wished to speak despite possessing no mouth, that wished to touch despite having no hands. It did not care how it did this, or in what form, but only that it could. In some ways, it was like a nascent soul in itself. Begging to be brought into the world, to cross beyond that barrier and become something greater.

And yet, despite its desires and wants, she was only so talented. Only so read. The Academy had sharpened her wit, learned her about the theory, but the difference between theory and application is that of a river and an ocean. Technique could only be learned by doing, and that in itself was an inherently risky proposition. Risk could mean failure- either via rejection, injury, or other consequences. There were those in this world who feared such things. Such paranoia consumed them, until eventually they found themselves to be dead trees in a world where everyone else was blooming. The heart in her chest cried out to be released. For it to be released, she needed to bloom. Step by step, petal by petal.

Her name was Kikuko. The chrysanthemum child. Chrysanthemum’s represented life and rebirth- it was one of the first things her mother had taught her in the language of flowers. If she was to be a person who was full of life, she had to embrace life. Chakra welled within her.

She did not know ‘where’ it was that she had connected to- only that she had once before, earlier in the day. Chakra in itself was a being that defied description and understanding, performing feats in defiance of science and physics of the known world. Or perhaps it didn’t do this in defiance, but in a track separate from the world itself? These sorts of questions always burned in her mind, unanswered. The only way to learn is to explore, to live, to stretch out and touch. And so she stretched out, and touched.

From the fabric of reality, it manifested- a cotton bath towel, pure white in color. An utterly mundane object, meant for drying oneself after becoming wet. And yet, to her, it was something far more important. It was the first jutsu she had learned after leaving the academy. It was physical proof of the miracle that was chakra. And for that, it meant everything.

Of course, the towel was hers. The same towel that, just this morning, had been illuminated with the color of her chakra before vanishing into blue motes of light. Where did it go? How did it vanish? Who was to say that this was the same towel, and not simply an exact copy of the original? It couldn’t be a fake- she knew the stitching of the object, having done it herself. In this sense, she was certain of its authenticity. And yet, despite this, her mind continued to burn with the unanswered questions. For some, it might be maddening. And yet for her, it only further fuelled the content grin upon her face.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Chakra is a part of you- something deeper than muscles and organs. Let it extend as a construct, touch the world around you. Slowly enveloping the towel, in a way not unlike a net. And yet, it is somehow deeper. As though capturing ‘within’ the towel, rather than simply the outside. The white cloth slowly begins to glow until it is a light blue color, and then it is gone- vanished on the wind as motes of shining light. Somehow, she knew that it was in the same place that she had brought it from. And of course, should she have need of it, it would be there as well.

And yet, there were so many ways to fry a duck. Chakra was multifaceted, prone to whimsy, and capable of expressing itself in countless ways. The idea of ‘summoning’ might seem simple at first, and yet the methods one could use to do so were diverse. She wanted to learn them all, to devote herself to the experience of the jutsu itself. Not to learn for the sake of learning, as those academics would do in their palaces of paper and ink- but rather to learn for the sake of experience itself. For the sake of becoming a part of the world.

With those ideals in mind, she unraveled her hitai-ate. The headband’s fabric was still damp, a minor inconvenience- squeezing it out, water dripped gently onto the ground. While still cool to the touch, it would no longer be a problem. Moving a short distance away, she bent down at the roots of the tree before resting it respectfully at its base. Trotting yet another distance away, before placing herself amongst the soil and grass. Here she remained for a moment, in silence. Thinking nothing, doing nothing. Merely flexing her hands from time to time, staring at open palms. Here, energy would gather. Between her palms, she would once again enact impossibility.

Boar. Dog. Bird. Monkey. Ram. And finally, a palm upon the ground- a connection. An opening of the proverbial gate. And in a small puff of smoke, her headband vanished from where it had been previously- just as her own hands were momentarily obscured in a near identical smoke cloud. What was previously dry earth beneath her fingers was something else. A combination of cold metal and damp cloth. Picking up the object between her hands, she stared at it critically. Undoubtedly, it was hers- the Kirigakure headband bearing a subtle stitching she had done herself in the back of its protector. Once again, she had succeeded. The feat left her elated, and yet wanting for more.

Still, she frowned. Why? Slowly, her hands came to her cheeks- rubbing them as she mulled over the feeling she was experiencing. She should feel accomplishment, and she did. Yet, something was bothering her. Something that chastised her behavior in the moment. But why? She had learned not one, but two new techniques. Shouldn’t that be something worthy of praise?

Ah. That’s why.

For that infinitesimally small moment, she had fallen right into the same mentality that the ‘academics’ she found so distasteful worshipped. A personality that celebrates only the end goal of mastery rather than the journey. To them, the time between ‘learning’ and ‘learned’ had to be something as small as possible. The more time spent between the two was one considered to be incompetence, or perhaps lazily. That sort of thinking was antithetical to her, abhorrent. While a slow pace was not always beneficial, a lack of appreciation in ones actions reduces all joy in them to nothing. To truly experience such things meant to give them time to simmer- much like a favorite dish. Life in the present- that was what she strived for. She would prove it, with this last technique.

Bending down from the waist, she picked up a medium sized stone- rounded, save for a somewhat angular edge on the left. Lobbing it underhanded, she watched as it sailed through the air before striking the ground with a dull thud. That was around...ten feet away, perhaps? Not a terrible distance, but for her purposes it wasn’t satisfactory either After a moment’s consideration, she distanced herself an additional stone’s throw away. There was no reason to ‘cheat’, especially considering that she was well within the supposed range.

Come on chakra, you can do it. Just one more time, before we take a break. Or perhaps we’ll do it several times over? It all depends on what you’re willing to put in yourself. The seal of the rat and the seal of the monkey are only the beginnings of it- the first mold from which she casts the art. From there, she envisions it before enacting it- her chakra extending from her body as an invisible hand. From her hand is yet another hand reaching out. Her chakra is like a limb, longer than any she possesses, and wrenches forward. A pause, pregnant with tension and unreleased energy. And then the rock levitates itself, sailing into her hand. She catches it gently. Throws it back.

Rat. Monkey. Reach for the rock with invisible hands. The rock, once again, responds to her will.

Smiling, she gently places it against her legs. The sign of the Rat and the Dog. The rock slowly glows blue, before vanishing into the sky. Somewhere, in that ‘nowhere’ space, was surely her rock and her towel.

A small start to be certain. Some would call it nonsensical, laughable. She would call it a beautiful, shining beginning.


‘The relationship I have with gyms,’ Kikuko decided, ‘Is complicated.’

She had never quite understood the idea of confining oneself to a singular space for the strengthening of the body- to her, the tools that had grown her had been nature itself. Fishing with her father had granted her the stamina to continue swimming for long periods of time, and walks with her mother had given her strong lungs to support such activities. To confine oneself to a singular room, repeating activities over and over solely for the development of physique and brought her complicated feelings. At times, she wasn’t sure whether to compliment or congratulate those around her. Usually, she would settle for simply training in her own methods. 

Such efforts had always done her well, at least. And yet, here she was- the words of her grandfather echoing softly in her mind. 
‘The key to a sound spirit, Kikuko,’ he had once said, ‘Is a mind devoid of troubles and a body that is devoid of weakness. It is in solitude that we grow ourselves, but in the presence of others that our growth is compared and tested.’

She wasn’t sure how much of that was true, in all honesty, but she loved and respected him enough to at least give his words a degree of heeding. Training was something done in everyday life, and days devoted to it should be given a sort of honor in themselves- which was why she had waited several days after her foray at the lake before arriving at the building. That wasn’t to say that in the meantime she had grown indolent; as opposed to indolence, she instead incorporated ‘training’ into her daily life. Every fifth object she wished to grab had to be brought to her hands with chakra. At the beginning of the day, she would bring forth a pre-selected outfit from that unknown space where the rock (but not her towel) still lingered. Perhaps it was unnecessary, but the inclusion of chakra into her daily life brought a small smile into her face- but more importantly, would work to make such things second nature.

Which was why this place was such a divergence from her normal routine- the scent of sweat and iron hanging in the air was enough to make her dizzy. Sensations, compounding over and over. Enough to discourage even the most stalwart heart. Still, she would endure. And perhaps get over herself a bit in the process. Her inner monologue was starting to get in the way of her true purpose here.

Striding past the fancy equipment, eyeing the treadmills with a particular distaste, she eventually stops in front of a hanging sandbag. Perfect, in fact, for her purposes. As much as she loved training her chakra, that didn’t mean she could neglect the rest of her body. The sandbag was worn, a dirty brown color. Lumpy on one side- perhaps from past users. All in all, not the best choice- but it would do her just fine.

She wasn’t strong- not in the way the taijutsu specialists was. Still, she would train. A simple stance, for a simple girl. Strike- with fist extended outwards, fist straight. And she felt...nothing. There was nothing to it. Flesh had struck canvas, and the movement ended. There was no...surge of elation. Another strike. Another. Repetition.

Even to an optimist as herself, this was sinfully boring- and yet in that boredom, there was an odd sense of clarity. Perhaps it was the very nature of repetition that drew people to this sort of activity? Commitment to the same movements, the same exertions, all within a singular location. Through a certain lens, it could be considered a form of meditation. Meditation, even. She punctured her thoughts with a high kick, impacting the sandbag before drawing back. Wincing slightly. She hadn’t meant to kick that high- she needed to stretch a bit more.

Focus on your kicks. Do you feel the weight behind them, compared to your hands? They say that the legs are four times stronger than the human arm- but they also control far more of your balance. Improper usage will simply lead to you hurting yourself, or worse. Take the repetition slowly, if you truly wish to improve. Feel the center of gravity, right there in your core. Feel how it shifts- and maintain yourself, even as it does so. Not like that- lower. There you go.

She was sweating, she realized. A salty sort of exertion that covered her body, panting quietly as the workout slowly began to tire her muscles. This was good, she reminded herself. While there was not the spiritual connection of a jutsu, there was the much more earthly connection of ones physical body and their soul- lactic acid burning in her muscles as they strain under the duress of exercise. That’s good- don’t forget that.

Of course, she could push herself further. Not simply the ninja in her, but the ‘go-getter’ as well cheering her on to do more. She was wearing sandals, right? Yeah, she was. That was good, considering the technique for this. Squat- do it quickly, now. This technique isn’t meant to be performed in slow, deliberate steps. Rather, it’s one born of spontaneity and quick movement. A lackadaisical pace will be punished.

Push upwards- and flip your lower half upwards. Imagine your legs strike not at, but through your target. Make impact. Do you feel it? The transfer of energy through yourself and into your opponent. That’s it, Kikuko. This is the fundamentals of Taijutsu, flowing through your veins. And its name is effort and repetition. Again. Ten times. Fifty. One hundred. Drill it into your body. Not simply so that your mind will remember, but your body itself.

Back on your feet. Or rather, back on her feet. The adrenaline was getting to her, it seemed. Was she a fitness nut, perhaps. Well...hmm. No, if she was honest with herself. Rather, that sort of third-person interaction with herself was, if not motivating, at least serving to relieve her somewhat of the burden. Even if that was in truth simply a form of placebo, that didn’t make it any less effective. And whoever said that talking to oneself was only for children was a close minded pig who never learned to introspect. So she would continue on. She would finish this routine, and afterwards take a much deserved break. How long had she been there, anyways? That was one of her gripes with places like these- without the light of the sun above her, she lost track of time.

A solid fist struck the bag. Another. Another. A simply straight punch, many might say- and for all intents and purposes, they were right. But it was less about the method for her, and more about something far deeper for her. How much of her soul was she willing to place into her attack? It wasn’t simply kinetic energy she was communicating, but passion. If she was to strike, she needed to strike with all of herself. Devotion to the action, and devotion to the mental state of ‘striking’.

Straight punch. High kick. Straight punch. The jingling of chains as the bag swings. Again. Straight punch. High kick. Stronger. Harder. She needed to do it more times. It was half-hearted before. Put more into it. Surely she could. There’s more inside of her. She knows it! Low kick. High kick! Dig your heels in. The ground isn’t simply leverage- strike with all of the power with the earth itself. Don’t simply be quiet- utter you ‘kiai’!

With a roar, her fist connects. With a final rattle of chains, the sandbag falls from its hook and thuds heavily against the floor. There’s a buzzing in her ears. Silence reigns. Blood slowly begins to bead from her split knuckles. Her lungs are heaving for air, and there’s a queasy sort of feeling deep inside of her.

It hurt. Her entire body hurts. She’s definitely done for the day. But, if she was honest? There was something viscerally satisfying about it. Pushing herself to the very limit, feeling it, and then still resolving to go beyond. Maybe she had misjudged those so called gym nuts after all.

Then again, that could very easily be achieved on her own terms, outside of this building’s confines. The only way to tell which was better would be through her own personal experience. For now, however? It was time for rest, water, and a warm bath.



4080 words total.

+40 Stat Points (actually 51 from the effects of Military Training Facility, I believe. Please correct me if wrong.)

These will be allocated as following:

+20 Vigor
+30 Chakra
+1 Speed

Storage Displacement [375/375, mastery is free with Space/Time Specialization]
Summoning Technique [750/750]
Mass Shift [375/375]
Leaf Rising Wind [750/750]
Body Flicker[375/375]
Leaf Whirlwind [375/375]
Basic Sealing Technique[375/375]
Water Replacement[375/375]
Mark Seal [187/187]
Telepathy Seal [143/2500]

Last edited by Gunbai Yuka <3 on Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
Survived 2021
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Training: The Basics of Mind and Body (Solo) Empty Re: Training: The Basics of Mind and Body (Solo)

Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:28 pm
Training: The Basics of Mind and Body (Solo) Gonkfi24
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