"There is no such thing as an independent light. It comprises of a million photons or more. Without every single contributor, the light wouldn't flash as bright as it did today. Even the smallest steps have the biggest of impacts; that, is the essence of the Flash Sword Style."
|Flash Sword Style|
The Flash Sword Style (閃剣流, Senken-ryū) is a form of swordsmanship that combines magic within its principles in order to embody the concept of the flash. It is an extremely devastating form that can only be used by certain devoted practitioners, some of the most notable hailing from the Terumi Clan. Among the swathes of practitioners, however, lies a woman who hails the title of Grandmaster of Flash (回転灯の最高位, Kaitentō no Saikōi; Literally meaning "Highest Ranked of the Flashing Lights"), otherwise known by the name Ryūko.
The Flash Sword Style is an extremely dynamic form of combat, as suggested by the name of the style itself. It revolves around the concept of flash, and therefore primarily requires an enormous amount of speed and skill in order to initiate within any combat situation. While the general expression of one's Flash Sword Style is based on their own interpretation of the fighting style, at the core lies a single philosophy: "a flash is not born from a single light, but thousands strung together as bright as the sun." And truthfully, that is how the style functions. Rather than utilizing singular hits to create an enormous amount of damage, the user concentrates their efforts in the build up of damage over an extensive period of time. Therefore, they are able to cause their opponent's stamina to be winded down significantly, while also causing them to be in severe pain from the constant slashes that are placed upon them. The style almost appears sadistic when viewed by other individuals, in that the constant pain brought about through non-fatal slashes would normally be associated with a sociopath, rather ironic considering the noble intentions behind the style, that being to make opponents aware of the futility of their evil deeds.
The style's basis derives from the relatively common Iaidō and Battōjutsu forms of combat. It uses high-speed movements from the drawing of the blade in order to completely eviscerate an enemy's chance of victory. However, rather than being fatal in nature, it is used primarily as a means to deter the enemy from their decisions to engage in combat. This is achieved through the sadistic nature of the combat form, which in turn is supposed to cause a realization in the enemy that they are inevitably going to be overpowered regardless of what they do. In part with this derivation from Iaidō and Battōjutsu, anybody who utilizes this form of combat is generally attuned to the use of high-speed unsheathing and sheathing techniques. Their skills can extend to the point where it appears as if they are using the Style of the Undrawn Long Sword (抜かぬ太刀の型 , Nukanu Tachi no Katana), albeit fundamentally different in its execution.
As one would expect from such a consuming form of combat, the Flash Sword requires extreme dedication and training in order to successfully master its various nuances and individualize it to one's own preference. Unlike the majority of styles that solely require physical training, the Flash Sword also has compulsory mental conditioning as a part of its regime, giving the individuals a mentality in order to sustain and follow the principles of the Flash Sword when it is being executed within combat.
The Mental Training (内的執行, Naiteki Shugyō) is the second aspect that students train in as a means to epitomize their combat abilities instead of simply being physically dominant. The mental faculties advanced are generally relevant to the speed and efficiency of the style.
- Observation (着眼 Chakugan) to observe an enemy's every movement is the core essence of the Flash Sword. For to land a hit one must be be knowledgeable on where his enemy lie. The user gains keen training in observation via the enhancement of their natural Five Senses to the point where they are considered on the verge of "superhuman". This allows them to be able to keep up with virtually any opponent only with their natural abilities, and those that possess the keen Magical Sensory surpass this amazing observational skill by leagues, to the point where nothing can be missed from their six senses.
- Exploitation (開発 Kaihatsu) to exploit an enemy's weakness and take advantage of it. Flash Sword pupils are trained extensively to exploit weaknesses that come to their light, utilizing appropriate and devastating counters to destroy their opponents. However this takes keen sensory along with enhanced feats of physical strength which is the reason why an all-around training is so important.
- Manipulation (操縦 Sōjū) to manipulate one's own strengths and an enemy's weakness is the art that very few are able to achieve. Through keen intellect and subsequent amounts of training, one is able to overwhelm their opponent through simple movements merely by counter-acting every one of their attacks with an appropriate response. An immense amount of focus and sheer experience is needed to master this art.
Physical Training (物的執行, Butteki Shugyō): A practitioner begins to take their physical training once mental training is complete. It involves an extremely strict resume of exercises that create an overall very well-rounded body, both in physique and subtlety. Ironically, despite Flash Sword being a style of swordsmanship, the practitioner/apprentice's swordsmanship is not trained by another individual, as refining one's own art cannot be done with assistance from another, despite how much one tries, they may not interfere.
- Speed: The most important aspect of one's physical training. Flash Sword emphasizes on immense speeds. As such, the first and foremost training is given to one's speed. Instructors are instructed to give an immense burden to their students, such a burden that plunges all but the strongest of light. Essentially, this "burden" are a pair of extremely dense weights. With these weights, the apprentice must perform daily chores, and various other activities in order for one's lower body to run on willpower alone. Achieving this, the instructor may be able to take these weights on, and immediately gives the apprentice a test. To be able to catch the instructor off-guard, using their newly attained speed to do so. If achieved, the training progresses onto it's next stage. If not, then one must resume this training, once more.
- Stamina: A very important aspect of one's physical training. Due to the immense levels of speed one achieves through speed training, stamina is equally, if not, more important in order to be able to prolong the use of such speed. Done through various light exercises that progressively become heavier in order to achieve the desired effects required for this style.
- Strength and Durability: To inflict damage and take damage. Although important, these aspects can usually be overlooked by most due to the style not relying on individual techniques, but a culmination of multiple strikes. However, increase of strength and durability may be done in many ways, most of which are up to the instructor themselves.
The philosophy of the Flash Sword is one that focuses on principles pertaining to the execution of the Flash Sword at its optimum. Despite being the first aspect that students train in, many don't finish this training to completion because of the patience that it requires to complete it. Nonetheless, those who do finish the entirety of the mental training regime are generally considered a master of the Flash Sword upon finishing the physical training of the art.
"Harmony. A bond, not only with one's blade and oneself. But a connection. An understanding. An understanding that when one's blade is held in hand, it is attached to one's heart. Much more than a weapon. A sword is an extension. No, not even that. A fragment. A fragment of one's being that solely desires to protect your honour. Through any means possible. As such, this simple "tool" gains a resolve. A light that is unlocked from deep within. And it is this light, that begins...a flash!"
Harmony (円満, Enman): Harmony is the concept that individuals do not completely understand, and therefore, do not become masters of the art as a direct result. Harmony, when accounting for Flash Sword's principles, is the understanding of your blade's purpose as a fragment of your very being. Harmony forgoes any superficial connection between blade and man and states that the blade has an individual purpose: to protect its owner's honor within battle. It is this relationship that allows one to entirely understands the humble beginnings of the Flash Sword in its entirety, for this mental relationship reflects the physical state of the blade. Contrary to popular belief, this change of mentality actually unconsciously causes the user to channel hyper-compressed magical energy within the blade whenever it is in use simply because the willpower associated with the blade is present. This willpower translates into the flow of magical power across the body in a different direction, which undoubtedly creates this effect.
"Conviction. A conviction which is for a single ray of hope to forever remain in one's heart, no matter the circumstances. A single light, a single star will flash another new path. A new path to take. A new path, that sends you on another journey."
Conviction (確信 Kakushin): Conviction is a demonstration of an individual's resolve to complete their own goals. It is not simply a reliance upon "winning," for that is nothing more than superficiality. The Conviction of the Flash Sword is simply the resolve that the individual carries when wielding the Flash Sword, the rationale behind their learning of it. It is the most simple, and most expressed of all three aspects of the Flash Sword, and therefore the one that most people gain an affinity to quite easily. Furthermore, the idea of conviction is then expressed within one's own demonstration of the Flash Sword, which evidently is a representation of the user's own values.
"Ascension. To ascend beyond your sight. Beyond what your frail mind believes you to be. To ascend into the very heavens themselves. To leave a flash. A trail for your followers that you shall provide"
Ascension (興起 Kōki): Ascension is essentially to rise beyond one's limits; it is an undisputed and easily recognized philosophy. But to obtain the idea of ascension within oneself is difficult. The idea that one has to ascend not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others, is something most individuals are unable to comprehend. However, it should be noted that the true achievement of Ascension may be achieved through an emotional situation that places an individual to their very limits, which can produce the conviction and harmony needed to achieve this stage. This very prospect causes an individual's movements to appear swifter, to be filled with conviction and yet, a sense of harmony. In essence, it can also be said that the idea of Ascension is the idea of culmination, an aspect of the Flash Sword mastered by very few.