San Guo watched his students try their best to overwhelm him with their teamwork and surprisingly San Guo managed to keep up with all five of them easily. The difference in their battle experience played a huge part in the spar since San Guo knew how to position himself correctly so that he wouldn't be bombarded with attacks from several people at the same time.
Ye Xiu's question on why teachers cultivation level was stuck was answered during one of their training sessions when San Guo told them that it was simply to not overwhelm the students with their strength. Once you managed to break past the Foundation Establishment Realm, the strength of your Qi can physically affect those around them, thus they must learn how to either suppress their cultivation base or be able to control your aura to the point that it stays inside of your body.
Most people simply choose to suppress their cultivation base since it's an easier method to learn and you also hide your cultivation base from those stronger than you unless they have their own techniques to see past that suppression. Due to this, the majority of the cultivators in the Fourth realm and higher suppress the aura. It serves as a basic training tool as well because you learn to fight with techniques and skill instead of raw power.
San Guo had informed them that it was a shame that most people learnt the suppression method simply because it was easier and never bothered to learn how to control their own aura. The aura is extremely useful for intimidation and in higher stages of cultivation it can be used for numerous other things but that can only happen if their control over their aura was exceptional just as it should be for Qi.
San Guo had his cultivation base suppressed to Ye Xiu's own cultivation level to show the group that having a high cultivation doesn't always assure you victory. He wanted to show them that experience, skills, technique and planning can win a weaker opponent a fight against a stronger opponent. He was beating the lesson into them since their planning skills were extremely linear and any experienced fighter would be able to see the flaws of the plans that they made.
It didn't help the group that their coordination with Yan Guo wasn't smooth and it could be seen when they interrupt each other's attacks by accident due to communicative errors. When it came to paired fights, the teamwork of the four was near flawless since the pairs knew each other extremely well and they were able to perform at a much higher level.
All it meant to San Guo was that he would have to keep fighting the group until they were able to read each other's actions and act accordingly if the situation requires it. San Guo wasn't the only person sparring them, but also had Liu Fan, Jin Yuan and Yan Shen to join in the training sessions so that the group would never be comfortable with fighting only one person.
Progress was much slower than expected since each individual person had to adapt not just a singular person. To speed it up, they had them go off into pairs and have them fight to learn each other's quirks and abilities. This definitely sped up the speed their training went and it slowly improved the relationships and bonds that formed between the friends.
After the sparring session was finished, they left to do their respective training regimes.
Yan Shen had taken the time and opportunity to watch every single training session that Yan Guo attended since San Guo had invited him to join in. Yan Shen jumped at the opportunity since he wanted to assess the friends that Yan Guo had made and whether Yan Guo had lied to him during his report on the four.
Yan Shen wasn't actually this strict when his wife was still alive but after being murdered in cold blood by their enemies, Yan Shen had placed a huge portion of his attention on Yan Guo's training since it was his way of coping with his grief. Eventually, his coping mechanism became a habit and it continued to stick with him for years on end.
Yan Guo always watched Yan Shen carefully himself to make sure that he never stepped on his father's toes. He wanted to find somebody that would be able to lighten the burden in his father's heart because he was able to recognise the same grief that he had experienced when his mother died but on a deeper level.
Yan Guo wasn't afraid of the corporal punishment that his father dished out since it wasn't anything compared to what he faced during his training. Though his body wasn't the strongest for his level, his pain tolerance was one that could only be forged from years of torturous training. Yan Guo took the punishments from his father as if it was simply training to him. He didn't exactly hate his father, he simply wanted to have more freedom in his choices.
As they continued to train by themselves, San Guo walked over to Yan Shen who was actually watching from a distance, standing atop one of the trees that was surrounding the training grounds. "I see that you still have an obsession over your son's life. You should really give him more freedom, he's a cultivator and sooner or later, he's going to go out by his lonesome and he'll want that freedom now so that he gets the experience he needs."
Yan Shen snorted at San Guo's words. "He's not strong enough for me to even let him go out into the world. He's weak and I'll make sure that he's stronger than even your students." San Guo shook his head as he watched his students train.
"I can tell you this much, my students will always be stronger than your son because I've given them so much freedom in their choices. They are independent and don't rely on someone to motivate them properly to become stronger. They help each other and that's what helps them improve so quickly. Let your son have them as friends, and you'll see a faster increase in his progress than your own training."
"We'll see if his friends meet up to my expectations. So far, all I can say is that they are definitely good rivals for him and it should spark some motivation in him. I don't know about any of the personalities of your students but I can infer from what I've heard and seen, and all I can say is that only Ye Xiu has displayed anything that I deem him worthy to be my son's friend. I still have no idea what my son sees in the kid to make him act differently around him."
Yan Shen narrowed his eyes as he watched his son joke around with Ye Xiu as they took a break to quench their thirst. "Maybe it's Ye Xiu's charismatic nature that brings people in. I've seen many people hanging around Ye Xiu and they always seem to be much more joyful around him." San Guo stroked his chin whilst smirking because he knew that Yan Shen couldn't say anything back.
"Learn to let go of your grief, Yan Shen. It's been years since that disaster, I suffered losses back then as well and I've learnt to let go of my grief as well. It should be time for you to do the same, there's no need to subject your son to your controlling behaviour." Yan Shen simply listened to his old friend giving him advice, not saying anything on his mind about the matter.
Seeing Yan Shen not reacting to anything he said, he sighed. "I'll see you later." He jumped down from the tree and headed to where his students were. He motioned for them to stop their training so that they could discuss the observations he and his students had during the sparring session.
"Ye Xiu, since your friends seem to defer to you when it comes to plans, you can start off with your observations on the fight we just had." San Guo pointed his cane at Ye Xiu to make him start speaking.
Ye Xiu cleared his throat. "When it comes to our positioning, we positioned ourselves well in the fight since it was against a singular person and we covered the majority of your escape routes however we weren't able to capitalise on the fact that we had you cornered at one point with my whips." Yan Guo and Shi Die both smiled at each other with a matching grin because they managed to run into each other as they were trying to attack San Guo.
"I should've been covering Xiao Tu when he was using his weapon to force you into a corner but when Shang Yang entered from behind you and tried to paralyse your joints, you were able to effectively block her attacks whilst dodging the spear attacks and grabbing ahold of my whip after the fact that I noticed that you had dodged their attacks." San Guo nodded since he wouldn't have had the chance to dodge if Ye Xiu had distracted him with his attacks along with Xiao Tu.
"I think that everyone in the team has to develop a better sense of their surroundings since we can't coordinate that well yet so we need to be aware of what everyone is doing at the same time so that we can work together properly." Ye Xiu addressed the main issue of the team directly since it was very important for them to develop it.
"Very good. There'll be a separate training for that specific purpose so you don't need to worry your heads over it. You have to come up with combination techniques as a team because just having singular attacks may be good but having combination attacks is what makes a team strong in the first place. You add to your individual strengths by supporting each other."
"For instance, Shi Die and Yan Guo have an inkling of what I'm talking about and they tried their best to combine their attacks together but because they ran into together, it ruined it completely. You'll need to come up and practice new moves so that everybody knows what it does, how it works and what to do in order to set up the perfect conditions for those combination attacks to shine to their fullest potential." San Guo was in his lecturing mode.
"I'll show you an example of a combination attack. I can control wire and wind Qi pretty well. wind Qi is not part of the five main elements of Qi but is considered as a subset similar to lightning Qi and ice Qi. This is what happens when I combine two attacks." He first formed a mini flame tornado before adding one of his wind Qi attacks that made the flame tornado much bigger than it was supposed to be whilst slicing any solid object that it touched.
"If you manage to find attacks that work well together, you can combine their strengths. Combination attacks are actually mostly found through experimentation and I'd suggest you experiment together during your free time because they're definitely handy, not just for your team fights but individually as well. The session's over. Get some food before thinking about what I said." San Guo dismissed them as he walked back into the residence.
The group followed him in whilst Yan Shen watched their backs as they entered the house. Yan Shen couldn't deny that San Guo's training was effective because he knew how to cut to important points and fix their strengths and weaknesses easily. When he heard about the training, he was sceptical at first but when he heard that San Guo would help as well... he knew that the training would end excellently no matter what."
He waited for Yan Guo to enter San Guo's residence before jumping off the tree and heading back to his residence before his son made it back from whatever they were going to do next.