Posted June 8, 2023, 11:30 a.m. by Lieutenant Eulailia Dacascos (Chief Operations Officer) (Mika Jackson)
Posted by Commander Mwezi (Executive Officer) in Side Sim - Training (open!)
Posted by Lieutenant Eulailia Dacascos (Chief Operations Officer) in Side Sim - Training (open!)
Posted by Commander Mwezi (Executive Officer) in Side Sim - Training (open!)
Posted by… suppressed (16) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Mwezi sat cross-legged on the floor, stretching his torso forward, arms extended as far as they would reach, then sat up straight and used his arms to lift the rest of his body up, uncrossing his legs in the air and stretching them upwards in a hand stand. Once that was completed, he allowed his body to fall back onto his back, then kipped up, jumping to a standing position.
That was the end of a round of stretching he always did before the real training began. Mwezi pulled a pair of bladed weapons from a rack. The blades were fairly short, about the length of a human forearm and about as wide as two fingers. The shape of the blade was a slight curve, with the inside of the curve being a blunt edge. The very tip of the blade was slightly serrated. The grip area was long enough for one hand and wrapped in rope. Mwezi began to practice a flowing dance with the weapons, movements punctuated with stabs, slashes, and parries. He treated the blades like an extension of his body, feeling the air around him through them. These might not be the same blades he had learned to use in his younger days, but they were of the same kind. Every Laleri who joined the military service in Galdor in his time had learned to master these blades. It wasn’t a requirement anymore, which Mwezi thought was a shame.
Laila walked in to do her usual yoga exercises when she saw Mwezi in motion with his blades. She flashed the XO a smile and asked, “What you doing?” As her eyes fell on both the blades he was holding. “The movements look flawless like some ancient dance. Is this a fighting style invented by Laleri?” If the XO thought he was going to be able to continue his training with Laila in the room, he might be disappointed. She was going to ask him a million questions about his fighting style.
Mwezi came to a stop in a graceful manner and placed the blades back on the rack before addressing Laila. “It is a form of martial art invented by the Laleri, yes,” he spoke with a nod once the weapons were safely stowed. “The ancient kingdom of Suros, to be specific. Not my homeland, but the Academy I went to was quite insistent on teaching such manners of self defense. I only use it as a practice in self discipline myself, such short-range weapons are rarely useful in a phaser fight.”
“Is it easy to learn,” she asked. In her attempt to become more versed in combat she found it fascinating that everyone had their own version of martial arts and combat techniques. “I mean could someone…” she looked around the room for a moment then continued in a lowered voice, “someone like me, who is not very good at fighting, learn this type of fighting style.”
Mwezi tilted his head slightly in thought, considering it. “It is something that was taught to all students regardless of their future careers. Some did well, others struggled greatly. I expect I could attempt to teach you, but it may take months or even years for you to learn.”
“Months? Years? How come?” Laila asked, “Because you think I can’t do it?”
“I spent ten years learning how to properly wield these blades, and that was with a master who knew how to teach their use.”
He stepped back over to the case and pulled out a pair of wooden replica blades, made specifically for practice strikes against other students. “You must do warm-up exercises first. This is not the kind of activity that should be done with tense muscles.”
Mwezi, XO (and sword teacher?)
Laila looked at the wooden blades, “Okay, sir. Tell me what I need to do.” she took them and first foolishly swung them in the air. “These are kind of heavy. Is this the lightest they come?” then she immediately jumped into her next question, “What if I told you I don’t have years to learn this? What is the fastest I can learn? I need to take someone out.” she said the last part in a mumble under her breath slightly.
Mwezi quickly took the practice blades back from Laila and failed to suppress a small growl. “I said, you need to warm up first. If you are going to lift weights, you must warm up first, and it is the same with these. Do whatever exercises you regularly do before something strenuous, then I will be willing to teach you the use of the Fangs of Il’los.” He let out a small sigh and returned the wooden Fangs to their place on the rack and crouched slightly, getting himself to Laila’s eye level so that she didn’t have to look up to meet his eye. “The Fangs are not merely weapons of force or violence. They are a extension of your being. They are a part of a dance of grace and agility that has been passed through the generations. If you want to kill someone, I would suggest you find a different tool. I will teach you how to use any standard Federation Weapon you think will fulfill that role. If you want to understand your body better and gain proficiency in something that will extend your awareness of the world around you, then come back to me and ask for lessons in the Fangs.”
Her eyes widened, “Oh…um…,” she said as he took the wooden blades from her then she reached for them. “I will do the exercises you want me to do, with the blades. I really want to learn....right now. So I will listen to your instruction.”
She clasped her hands together. “So the fangs are only a defensive device? You cannot…kill someone with them?” This was good. Laila was not the type to kill someone, she did prefer to use defensive tactics above all else. Killing was a last resort. “Do you think being trained in defensive tactics are more useful than tactics that are solely for killing? Or would you say it’s a delicate balance of being able to execute both at the appropriate time?”
“The Fangs were once used for violence and for combat. There are techniques that are taught on how to utilize them in combat situations, but those are not the techniques that I was taught. I was taught to use them in the practice of self-discipline and knowing my body,” Mwezi re-iterated, feeling slightly frustrated with her refusal to understand the point he was trying to make. “If you want to ‘take someone out’ as you so inelegantly put it, I suggest you learn how to use a phaser. Or a dagger. Or another weapon. But I cannot teach you how to fight with these blades, because that is not what I am trained to do with the Fangs. And even if I could, I would not teach you how to fight and kill with the Fangs, as they are a weapon that is sacred to my people and are not to be used by others for means of violence.”
“Okay got it. No lethal force with the fangs.”
“I mean it, I will not teach you how to fight with these blades,” He gestured at the Fangs. “I will, however, happily teach you to defend yourself with other weapons.”
“As for your second query, defense is often more important than offense, although there is a time and place for both. It is difficult to defeat an enemy if they have defeated you before you have even begun.”
Laila was confused by what then XO said. She’d not had to fight many battles in her life so the concept of being defeated before the fight even happened evaded her. “So....I am ready to do some warm up exercises. I really would like to know how to use the fangs. Learn to work with the....heaviness of them. I am sorry if I irritated you before. Hopefully you can be patient with me as I learn.”
Her comment on weight made Mwezi pause and glance at the Fangs. He was not quite twice her size, but he was certainly close to it. He pushed the thought away for a moment and turned back to Dacascos. “Warm-ups are your own concern, in most cases. Surely you know how to do those without needing my instruction? It is the thing that is done before any strenuous exercise. Regardless of that, I think any potential lessons will have to wait for another time. These Fangs are sized for a being of my stature, not for one as small as yourself. I will have to replicate wooden practice Fangs that match your size more appropriately.”
“Okay, sir. Um…can you suggest some warm-ups? I have had some training from Rhee. She is this holo.....” She paused, “Nevermind. It’s just that Rhee has her own way of combat and I notice you have your own combat style too. I would like to learn as many combat styles as I can. I think it will make me a more efficient fighter.” Also, Mwezi seemed more tolerant of her than Rhee was. She figured she could train with Mwezi, and when it was time to train again with Rhee, she could try to impress her with the skills Mwezi had taught her.
Mwezi let out a brief breath, then nodded. “Certainly. Generally the purpose of a warm-up is to limber the muscles before strenuous activity, and it lessens the chances of injury through preparing your muscles and joints for the full exercise. It gets the blood flowing and speeds up your heart-rate and breathing. Generally I begin with marching in place and swinging my arms, followed by jumping jacks and arm circles…” he continued from there, listing a fairly comprehensive warm-up routine. Meanwhile, quite different to how he regularly behaved, Mwezi was remaining mobile. He bounced slightly on his toes as he spoke. “While you do your warm-ups, I am going to see if I can replicate a more appropriately sized pair of wooden Fangs for you to swing.” He waited for her to begin her warm up, then settled into a simple jog and left the Training room.
Eulailia listened intently at the instructions for the warm up from Mwezi. After he gave the instructions she nodded confidently, “Okay. I can do that.” She started by stretching her himself over her head then she proceeded to do the arm circle first. Then she would progress into jumping jack’s. The idea of fighting with fangs was exciting. She couldn’t wait until she mastered them and she could show Rhee.
Eventually, Mwezi returned with a pair of wooden blades with about half the mass of the ones he’d originally let Dacascos hold. “How busy is the rest of your day? I don’t want to distract you from more important business,” he spoke as he carefully did a final check on the practice blades, then carefully placed them on the bench. “Are you fully warmed up?”
When Mwezi returned there were little beads of sweat on her forehead. “I think I am all warmed up.” She looked at the wooden blades in his hand and asked, “Are those mine?” She reached for them and then said, “My schedule is pretty open for the rest of the day.”
Mwezi reached for the Laleri-sized practice blades and stood in his regular spot, gesturing with one of them towards another mat nearby. “You can stand there. It should be far enough away from everything that you can’t hit me or the walls with your practice Fangs, unless you manage to throw them somehow. I’ll show you the basic forms, but I have a meeting to get to in a little over an hour so I’ll have to leave you to it eventually. You’ll have to do cool-downs on your own. Look them up in the database. Mostly stretches, it helps your body recover from exercise better.” Things she should know if she’d managed to get through the Academy. Although, he reflected, perhaps Starfleet was lazier with its training.
She did as Mwezi instructed and waited for him to show her how to use the fangs. “Thanks, Commander. I will practice what you show me. We should connect later in the week so I can show you my progress.” she said with a smile.
“I will go through the first lesson a young Laleri learns with the Fangs. This time I will demonstrate. Watch carefully.” Mwezi began to demonstrate the beginner forms, moving at a slow pace and pausing at the extent of each movement. “The first thing a pup must do with the Fangs of Il’los is to get accustomed to their feeling in your hands. Feel your blades not as a thing you are holding, but as an extension of your being,” he spoke, returning to a neutral pose after performing the six basic forms. He repeated the forms twice through, then turned to Dacascos.
“Now. I will do the first movement, and you will copy me.” He repeated the first form, pausing at the extent to wait for Eulailia to copy. For a moment her enthusiasm reminded him of Kula when she had been learning the Fangs. She had been so much clumsier than Mwezi. The memory made him falter briefly, his face falling. He missed her and Shilo so badly. Soon enough though. This mission would end and they could be reunited. He straightened his face and focused on the moment. Training Dacascos.
From Laila’s perspective, Mwezi’s voice resonated with authority as he began to guide her through the first lesson with the Fangs of Il’los. The rhythmic movements seemed to flow effortlessly from his hands, each motion deliberate and precise. As he moved through the beginner forms, his words seemed to carry a deeper meaning, emphasizing the connection between the blades and one’s own being.
Eulailia watched attentively, her eyes fixed on Mwezi’s every move. The anticipation in her expression revealed a burning enthusiasm, mirroring the eagerness of a student eager to absorb the wisdom of their master. When he ordered her to follow his movements, she felt a little intimidated but she did as she absorbed every detail, determined to replicate the master’s technique. Her body mirrored Mwezi’s posture, attempting to capture the essence of each movement. “I am am sure I am going to look very silly trying to mimic your moves, sir. Let me know if I am doing this right.”
Mwezi noted the ways Dacascos moved her body through the cycle, saying nothing until they had completed two full runs of it. “You certainly are in need of improvement, but that can be said of all beginners.” For a few moments, the Laleri stood still, seeming to listen to the air itself, staring at a wall panel. Finally he shifted. “Would you find it discomforting if I were to touch your arms and legs to correct your posture? I can find a way to help you adjust your position without physical contact, but that method would be simplest.”
There was a flat simplicity to the question. Nothing more than what he said, nothing less. Meanwhile, his thoughts were traveling back over twenty years to the days of his youth, to the way he had learned to use the blades and the methods his instructors had used. There was a brief thought of Kula, who had struggled so greatly with the lessons on the blade while simultaneously thriving so greatly in her academic studies. A small twinge of emotional pain crossed his face for a moment before he pushed it away. No use thinking about his love when she was so unreachable as a result of this mission.
Eulailia respected his expertise and trusted his guidance. When he mentioned the possibility of physical contact to correct her posture, immediately, understanding the significance of physical adjustments in perfecting her technique, Eulailia replied with sincerity as she stopped her movements, “I appreciate your offer, sir. If it helps me improve, I have no discomfort with you touching my arms and legs to correct my posture.”
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