"Shi Die, you're up." Ye Xiu poked the daydreaming Shi Die who was lost in his own thoughts.
"Huh? Oh... Is it my turn already? Sorry, I was thinking about something when I watched the fight and it inspired an idea I could possibly try out later." Shi Die apologised for his inattention to the situation.
Shi Die stepped up towards San Guo and bowed in his usual manner. "I wish for a good fight."
"What manners, even in a fighting situation. Be careful that you don't do it to everyone because as you take the time to greet them, they might just use that distraction to attack you." With that, San Guo attacked Shi Die to prove his point. Luckily Shi Die had fast reflexes and was able to dodge out of the way in time.
"Your reflexes are pretty good just like Shang Yang. Who has the better reflexes, you or Shang Yang?" Shang Yang answered for Shi Die who was concentrating on the fight.
"His reflexes are better than mine. He has done more training for his reflexes because he has a more aggressive fighting style than I do. This means that he can react to sudden close-range attacks quickly."
San Guo nodded whilst brandishing his stick and attacked Shi Die with it. "That's good, you've at least thought of the things that might affect you during combat and have trained accordingly to what you have thought that might be useful to you. I expect you to keep up this mindset because it'll help you in the future if I'm not there to provide guidance to you."
Instead of dodging the attacks, Shi Die went for a brute force tactic to try and get rid of San Guo's stick. Every time San Guo swung his stick at Shi Die he tried his best to grab onto it. San Guo noticed and kept the speed of his swing above the speed that Shi Die could react after observing him for a while.
He did this to see if Shi Die would be able to predict where his swings would start or end. If he was able to do this with frequency then it'd be useful because Shi Die could use that knowledge to counter his opponent easily.
It didn't take long for Shi Die to begin to adapt to the speed he was swinging his stick at. His grasps for the stick became closer, and he eventually managed to grab onto the stick and pulled it away from San Guo. "Good job, keep this lesson in mind, everybody. If something is too fast for you to see and react to, then predict where the person is going to strike or move. Do this by watching their body and how it moves."
"These little muscle movements can tell you a lot about how a person moves and how they will next react. If you manage to learn these tells, you'll eventually have an easier time fighting a person. You won't have to worry about what they are going to do next. The only time you'll have to really worry is when your opponent utilises a movement technique that allows them to move in ways that you can't tell what direction they would actually go."
San Guo was dodging Shi Die's attacks now that he no longer had his stick in hand. Shi Die stopped using his aggressive fighting style and changed to a more reserved stance. He attacked the weak spots on San Guo's body everytime he got close. However, San Guo's fortifying technique stopped the damage from going through. San Guo was about to tell the children the counter to fortified objects when Shi Die charged forward with a huge amount of Qi in his hand.
The punch landed on San Guo's stomach and he wheezed as he flew back several metres. "Well done! I was about to tell you the counter to my fortification technique but you managed to find a way to get past it! I commend you for thinking of a method quickly and I have to appreciate the amount of force you put into your attack to manage to push me back so many metres."
San Guo dusted himself off as if he wasn't just hit. "The counter to the fortification technique is simple; all you need to do is to do more force than the fortification technique can handle in a single hit. It's best to apply most of the force into a single point so that it does the maximum damage. It also pierces through the object so that's a bonus."
"Most fortifications can do this but some of the much more advanced techniques are able to stop the piercing from happening and the only way for you to be able to get past is to either exhaust all of the opponent's Qi or barrage the opponent so that they have no time to put any Qi back into the object to fortify it."
San Guo pointed at Shi Die. "Do you have anything else you can show me? Or was that your final attack, similar to what Xiao Tu did? I sincerely doubt it though because Xiao Tu used multiple abilities before exhausting himself, so are you going to continue your engage or stop the fight and tell me what else you know?"
Without responding, Shi Die started to get close and personal with San Guo. San Guo decided to have a close-combat fight with him now and wanted to test how good he was with his styles. He started to use his legs to hook Shi Die's ankles to make him unbalanced, but Shi Die managed to have a firm hold on the ground. only sliding around instead of being tripped.
With San Guo's tripping efforts being futile, he started to strike at joints. He was trying to see how Shi Die protected his body from attacks that would cripple him if they hit it too hard. San Guo wasn't disappointed when Shi Die managed to block most of the attacks and the damage from the attack that had made past his guard was taken by the back. Shi Die turned so that his back took the hand knife attack since it wasn't effective for anything else besides disabling joints.
Shi Die backed off a couple of steps before bowing towards San Guo. "Thank you for the match, Sir. I have nothing else I can show you because I know that my third style is probably useless against you. If I try to go on the defensive, I'll probably be whittled down until my stamina is gone."
"I'm still improving my reflexes by training with Ye Xiu and his whip and I just started my Qi control training recently. I don't have control anywhere close to my friends but I am improving by doing the exercises that have been set for me. I'm also learning how to be a Spirit Cook. I've picked up a few techniques that I'm still in the process of learning but they are going to help me with my disadvantages."
San Guo nodded at the things Shi Die knew. "I can say that you've covered your basics at least. Your reflexes are relatively good but you need training in predicting attacks and where they will go. You'll need a way for you to get close to long-range combatants because if I was hitting you from afar, it'll be difficult for you to close the distance."
"You might be thinking that to have fast reflexes might help with that but it's always best to be able to close the distance because a long-ranged combatant can slowly wear you down and when you can no longer move, they'll take the chance to take you down. I might teach you a technique that allows you to strike from a far distance but that'll depend on how good your Qi control is."
"Besides that, you have relatively good close-combat skills and you should learn more aggressive Qi techniques to push that advantage even more. Most of the people in the academy don't physically train the body to the extent that the few of you do. They spend most of their time learning their Qi techniques and cultivating to improve the amount of Qi they have. Only those that practice both sides or the singular side of body cultivation could match you in blows."
"With your strong body, you should also be able to outlast your opponents so that can always be the choice for you to take if you do want to go on the defensive. I, however, think that you should learn techniques to reduce the amount of pain dealt and felt by you. This will increase your pain tolerance and it'll also help you prevent lasting injuries that would affect you in the fight."
"Your transition between your different styles were smooth and can definitely lull the opponent into thinking that the styles you use are only one. Other than that, I'll let the others say something at the end of the session. If they aren't able to say anything else about what you can improve, then I'll take over."
San Guo now waited for the last person, Ye Xiu to begin the demonstration of his skills. "It's your turn now Ye Xiu. Hopefully, you'll be able to impress me because those with dragon's blood inside them should be able to achieve a stronger body than those without it. Our blood helps improve our body at a much faster rate than others when you continuously push yourself to your limits."
Ye Xiu was smiling wryly because he knew that his body was definitely not as strong as Xiao Tu's or Shi Die's which made him nervous. What San Guo had said about most academy students focusing on their techniques was ironic because he was one of them which actually did that. He had no idea that having dragon's blood inside him would boost his body improvement at all. No books actually mentioned it to him.
Ye Xiu started to hesitantly speak. "Uh... I haven't trained my body much compared to my techniques. I didn't know that having a dragon's bloodline inside of me would boost the speed of improvement of my body. I've done the bare minimum of two hours of body training compared to the six hours that both Xiao Tu and Shi Die spends every day."
San Guo was listening to Ye Xiu speak and got more and more irritated by the second. "Did you or did you not know about your bloodline from the beginning? If you did then it should've made sense for you to use it to your advantage from the beginning."
Ye Xiu scratched his head. "I knew about it from the very beginning but I never thought it would actually help. Nobody has told me about it until now."
San Guo was curious. "Are there no books that mention bloodlines? That's really interesting because where I'm from there a lot of clans with bloodlines so it's common knowledge that bloodlines give a certain boost to a person. For us, it's our body strength and speed of improvement when it comes to body cultivation. I'll forgive you but in order to make up for it, I'll be pushing your training mainly towards body tempering and you'll focus less on your techniques."
"I might as well take this time before we begin to explain what else the bloodlines do. The purer the bloodline, the benefits become even better. Even though your bloodline is purer you have to put in just as much effort to gain the benefits in the first place because nothing comes for free in the world. People can't tell what your blood purity for a bloodline is until you voluntarily leak your blood essence."
"Never leak your blood essence. It's dangerous and it weakens you for a period of time afterwards. Those with a similar bloodline can sense others with it. Dormant or active it doesn't matter. That reminds me... I need to check whether your bloodline is dormant or not. If it's dormant then I won't blame you for not training too much because you don't actually get the benefits before it's active."
San Guo appeared by Ye Xiu's side within a second and placed both his palms on Ye Xiu's back before activating a technique and observed the situation inside Ye Xiu. After a minute of looking, he removed his palms from Ye Xiu's back and sighed. "It looks like you don't have your bloodline active yet. We'll have to do the activation later after we finish this session. It'll take a while so the others can just rest during that period."
"Now that I've checked that... show me your techniques that you've spent so much time working on! They better impress me otherwise I'll be very disappointed with your efforts!"