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The Legend of Kyellan || Book 1: Earth -- Chapter I


Kyellan

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Born in the Earth Kingdoms in a time of peace and prosperity, Avatar Kyellan never had a reason to awaken to his calling and master the four elements. The world seemed to have no need for the Avatar in his time, and the elite of the Earthbending masters did nothing to search for him.

 

In fact, Avatar Kyellan only had the faintest idea that he was even a bender at all until he reached his twenty-ninth birthday. He awoke on that day, and with a strange sense of clarity, suddenly began to understand his role in the world. Still with no idea that he was in fact the Avatar, Kyellan realized--in what he would later understand to be a spiritual vision--that the earth itself was calling him.

 

Now, in his life of peace, Kyellan had never even begun martial training. He was overweight, rather clumsy, and had little to no endurance in any physical task. He did, however, have an indomitable will and a mind bright enough to carry him to understanding of scholarly concepts in a very short amount of time.

 

When he first felt the calling, Kyellan thought to ignore it. After all, most benders discovered their power at a very young age and began training early! Still, despite how much he tried to resist, the earth continued to call him. At last, as the weight of it grew to unbearable within him, Avatar Kyellan sought out his first Sifu.

 

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This challenge marks the beginning of my new Epic Quest. After discovering precisely how perfect martial arts is for my mind, spirit and body, I am setting on the path to become the Avatar, and master the four elements. These are:

 

Earth: Hung Gar Kung Fu

Fire: Northern Shaolin Kung Fu

Water: Tai Chi

Air: Baguazhang

 

My first long-term goal is to learn a traditional form from each of these four martial arts. This may well take years.

 

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As many of you may already know, I have been studying Hung Gar for approximately three months. Sometimes it would be nice if real life were more like TV and I could just do a training montage, but as it turns out, things don't work that way. This is going to be a very long Epic Quest, not something that easily fits into six weeks. I will likely vary my challenge themes along the way for variety, even though my true goal is thematically based on the four elements of A:tLA.

 

My original considerations for this challenge were going to be calisthenic exercises, but I realized after some thought that my Hung Gar fundamentals basically work as calisthenics, so I decided to focus on those fundamentals and build strength and endurance through them.
 

Shaping the Stone

 

Hung Gar--and by extension, earthbending--is all about stance and endurance. It was developed in Southern China, where the uneven ground and high-population cities required its fighters to be able to work their art in close quarters and with the utmost stability.

 

For Goal 1, I will be working on my horse-riding stance twice-daily, five days a week, in addition to anything done in class. Since the time increase method worked so well for my meditation last challenge, I'll be applying a similar principle here.

 

Week 1: 2 minutes

Week 2: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Week 3: 2 minutes 45 seconds

Week 4: 3 minutes

Week 5: 3 minutes 15 seconds

Week 6: 3 minutes 30 seconds

 

These are minimum times in order to count it for the challenge. If I can go longer, I will.

 

A: (60 stance training) +4 STA, +2 CON

B: (50 stance training) +3 STA, +1 CON

C: (45 stance training) +2 STA

 

For Goal 2, I will practice my forms. Right now I have one complete introductory Hung Gar form, and the beginning of a Shaolin Broadsword form (as lightsaber). In order to get any benefit out of this, I will need to do these at least a few times each in order to count them. Again, all of this should be outside of regular scheduled class in order to get benefits out of it.

 

In order to count a success, I will need to do everything I know of a single chosen form three times: once slow, with a focus on perfect form; once fast, with a focus on speed to increase coordination and agility; and finally once with dynamic tension to build strength and power.

 

A: (30 form practice) +3 STR, +3 DEX

B: (25 form practice) +2 STR, +2 DEX

C: (20 form practice) +1 STR, +1 DEX

 

Lastly, my final goal is very simple. I need to wake up before 6AM. Over the past few weeks I have not been exercising my will enough, and have been resetting the alarm for 6:30 or even later sometimes, which needs to stop. This is going to get even harder once we Spring Forward in a couple of weeks, but it is absolutely crucial to my well-being. I need to wake up with my alarm set to anytime prior to 6AM (even 5:59 counts, but only if I put my feet on the floor before 6AM rolls around) seven days a week, and retrain my sleep schedule back to what it should be.

 

A: 42 days up before 6AM (+3 WIS)

B: 36 days up before 6AM (+2 WIS)

C: 30 days up before 6AM (+1 WIS)

 

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This is only the first chapter of what will be a long road, but I'm looking at it with an odd kind of serenity. This is something I want to do, and I don't care how long it takes!

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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Oh man, mastering all the forms of bending sounds awesome.

 

One of the reasons I went for Hung Gar was its kinship with earthbending. I love the show, and my wife and I just finished a rewatch (we're on to Korra now). In a moment of inspiration while watching, I realized that even though I'll never actually be able to move the elements with my chi, there is absolutely nothing (except time) hindering me from learning the principles of all four types of Chinese martial arts!

 

 

I'm officially in love with this challenge. I want to marry it and create a family of little challenges with it. 

 

Thank you Dr. Cox =)

 

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Geez, horse stance twice a day? Oh, wow. That's nuts. I like it. :D

 

Aight, then, buddy. Let's go.

 

I started with a time (2 minutes) that I knew I could handle--it's really going to get challenging next week when I bump it by 30 seconds!

 

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Doing well so far, although it's early yet. I've managed to put my feet on the floor before 6AM both yesterday and today, despite it being pretty tough. It's a little easier now that I can see the morning sunlight when I open my eyes, but that's going to change when we spring forward, so yeah.

 

Did my forms practice and my horse stance yesterday, and a horse stance today. It was particularly tough this morning after basically being in stance all through class last night, but I still managed the two minutes.

 

I'll do my forms and my second horse after I get home/before dinner tonight. This evening brings us back to lightsaber class, which is 100% always fun.

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Yeah, that's one of the things that bugs me. You get your own strength training plans, and then the sifu/sensei/coach/whoever decides that people aren't doing enough and just throws random sh!t on top of you. That's kind of why I tend to lean toward minimal extra work in my present philosophy (provided that you can actually attend a class with regularity).

 

Though, now you feel my pain when one of the other GLs assigns extra strength/circuit work and I'm like "But but but I'm already doing that." T_T

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YOU GOT MY DR. COX WINK! 

 

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Great start of challenge! Keep it up!

 

 

Though, now you feel my pain when one of the other GLs assigns extra strength/circuit work and I'm like "But but but I'm already doing that." T_T

 

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Thought I feel the same adding the Hero's Journey to my calisthenics workout. =(

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Wow, that is one impressive long term plan.  Great start!  6 am......

 

Alarm went off at 5:50 this morning as set, and I dragged off my blankets and put my feet on the floor. It was really difficult. x.x

 

Yeah, that's one of the things that bugs me. You get your own strength training plans, and then the sifu/sensei/coach/whoever decides that people aren't doing enough and just throws random sh!t on top of you. That's kind of why I tend to lean toward minimal extra work in my present philosophy (provided that you can actually attend a class with regularity).

 

Though, now you feel my pain when one of the other GLs assigns extra strength/circuit work and I'm like "But but but I'm already doing that." T_T

 

One of the things my Sifu says is to practice the horse stance at home during commercials with whatever TV you're watching. Eventually, he claims, you find that you can switch the time and practice during the show and rest during the commercials. I'm pretty sure that this is only meant to get people (especially the kids from the kids' class) thinking about it, but since I have no cable (and thus no commercials with the things I watch) I figured I could manage this much around class.

 

Interestingly, the stress and weakness of stance training has moved mostly out of my knees and is now centered on my hips. I guess that means progress... although it makes walking kind of tricky. :/

 

 

YOU GOT MY DR. COX WINK! 

 

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Great start of challenge! Keep it up!

 

DUDE! Scrubs is only like, my favorite show ever!!

 

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Had another good day yesterday, with both sets of stance training and then lightsaber class. I did not do forms work yesterday, as my body was already feeling pretty stressed, but I worked on my lightsaber form this morning and did my three passes on it, along with another 2 minutes in stance.

 

Lightsaber was excellent last night--after our usual warmup of blocks and strikes, we set up into pairs and worked on the basic blocks and strikes in increasing complexity. First was one person attack all five zones and the other defend. Next we switched to a high-low/low-high pattern with one person attacking and the other defending. Finally, we added footwork and did a strong advancing high-low-high three-strike combination with two hands that really felt like lightsaber combat. It was starting to feel a bit less like this...

 

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And a little more like this!

 

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Back to Kung Fu tonight, where I will try not to hurt myself too badly...!

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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Dude! That's awesome! Hope you don't break the Earth too badly when you train tonight because you are straight rocking.

 

Ha. Rocking. I like. Let's have Avatar Kyoshi show us how it's done!

 

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Full forms night at Kung Fu yesterday--after our warmup we went straight into forms and worked on them for the rest of the class. I ran through my lightsaber and Arrowhand form several times, working on the transitions, trying to line up my stances and make sure they had power and balance. I'm still finding the switch from horse -> bow tricky, especially in the balance department, but I think it's getting better. There were a few times last night where it felt like it really clicked, and I had strength and balance together, so I've got to keep making that happen.

 

Of course, as I am wont to do, I ended up working a little too hard and tweaked something in my right ankle. Thankfully not much, but just enough that it made walking a bit tricky last night. I took some ibuprofen and pretty much went straight to bed, and it no longer seems to hurt today, so that's good. I was able to do my 2 minute stance without issue and walking on the ankle is fine. My left hip is still really stiff, but I've been working on stretching that out.

 

Tonight I'm going to have to sacrifice my gaming night in exchange for working on the finals for my business class, but that means I might be able to go to Kung Fu tomorrow--we'll see how the schoolwork goes.

 

Waking up today was tough, but something about having the challenge goal means that I sit right up and put my feet on the floor when my alarm goes off, even if I'm barely conscious at the time. Today I'm not even sure I was awake at all, because I don't remember my alarm going off, but it was 5:51 (alarm set for 5:50) and I was sitting up when I finally came to. I'm getting so good that I can wake up in my sleep...?

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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Niiiiice challenge.  I'm really thinking of doing an Avatar challenge next time.  Almost did one this time, but I was too fond of the blah blah blahing.

 

Freaking awesome.

 

Also, for the sleeping, depending on how immediate you need to keep waking up at 6AM, I did a gradual scale down several challenges ago.  It was to start getting up at 0530, I think, but the idea was to drop back my alarm time every other week by 10 minutes, but the first week I allowed the snooze button to be hit once.  It worked pretty well.  Maybe that could help you if you're finding "Just wake up" a bit trickier?

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"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Niiiiice challenge.  I'm really thinking of doing an Avatar challenge next time.  Almost did one this time, but I was too fond of the blah blah blahing.

 

Freaking awesome.

 

Also, for the sleeping, depending on how immediate you need to keep waking up at 6AM, I did a gradual scale down several challenges ago.  It was to start getting up at 0530, I think, but the idea was to drop back my alarm time every other week by 10 minutes, but the first week I allowed the snooze button to be hit once.  It worked pretty well.  Maybe that could help you if you're finding "Just wake up" a bit trickier?

 

Thanks! I'd kind of forgotten just how good the show was until we finished our re-watch. It's not an easy thing to create a show that can truly be enjoyed by both kids and adults, and they did a great job with it.

 

I've mostly been hanging around 6AM for waking up the first time, but I was getting into a bad habit of hitting snooze twice or three times, or resetting the alarm for 6:30 instead. For now the goal is just to make me actually wake up AT 6 instead of going back to sleep, and it seems to be working well. However, in the near future I want to adjust myself back to 5:30 or maybe even 5:00, and I will definitely be doing a staggered timing as you suggest! :D

 

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Not challenge related, but I managed to get about half of my final exam done last night in about two hours. It's actually been a rather interesting class, probably the best one I've done in all of my online schooling. My degree is a hybrid business/IT, since that's what work would pay for, and this class was the "Business Capstone". Basically, they gave us a simulated multi-million dollar company, a bunch of industry information, and said "Go for it--sink or swim as CEO."

 

The final exam is a shortened version, but with complexity intensified. So, stressful, but engaging at least. I seem to be doing fairly well so far.

 

I'm going to go back to Kung Fu tonight, making the first time that I made it to 3 classes in a week. Not sure how often I'll be able to do it, but the week opened up in such a way that I can, so I will. We also have our second Lightsaber Dueling Day tomorrow, which is very exciting! :D

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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Sooooo??? how was the lightsaber dueling!? and the kung fu! you can't do this, man! the suspense is killing us!. =)

 

Okay, so I'd just like to start with:

 

Lightsaber dueling is the freakin' most awesome thing in the world. Seriously. I've never had so much fun, ever. We did an hours' worth of light-contact free sparring and matched just about everyone up with everyone else. I took turns against the kids, the other adults, Sifu and Simo, and did reasonably well against everybody... but I don't even care, because just being in that ring with the helmet on and the visor down is an adrenaline rush like no other.

 

In January the dueling day was a little bit more awkward, but this time I really feel like I found some rhythm and some technique instead of just flailing about. I really am looking forward to the end of March now, because I just want to get back in there!

 

In fact, I am almost certainly going to be spending an absurd amount of money on two Ultrasabers with sound in the next few days--one for me, and one for the wife. If you'd like to know approximately how absurd, feel free to check out Ultrasabers' website and see what sound sabers run for. That's how much fun I'm having.

 

During Kung Fu class on Friday, we did partner technique practice in the form of a running drill, which was a bit unusual, but engaging and kept my heart rate up for pretty much the whole class. Sifu is working everyone to prepare for the tournament on March 22, which I am planning to attend (although I'll just be volunteering and getting the lay of the land this time, rather than actually participating in any events), so we're doing a lot of partner stuff and forms work.

 

I also jumped on the pull-up bar for the first time on Friday--as expected, I still cannot do a pull-up, but I did work those muscles a few times for the first time, like, ever. I'm going to keep working on that a little at every class and see if I can make some progress in that direction.

 

I also finished my class finals and spent 4-ish hours finishing my taxes this weekend, so frankly, I'm exhausted! =)

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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I like everything about this post.  In fact, I wish there was more than one "like" button so I could like it like, 27 times.  Awesome stuff man! 

 

Lightsaber dueling is the freakin' most awesome thing in the world. Seriously. I've never had so much fun, ever. We did an hours' worth of light-contact free sparring and matched just about everyone up with everyone else. I took turns against the kids, the other adults, Sifu and Simo, and did reasonably well against everybody... but I don't even care, because just being in that ring with the helmet on and the visor down is an adrenaline rush like no other.

 

In January the dueling day was a little bit more awkward, but this time I really feel like I found some rhythm and some technique instead of just flailing about. I really am looking forward to the end of March now, because I just want to get back in there!

 

In fact, I am almost certainly going to be spending an absurd amount of money on two Ultrasabers with sound in the next few days--one for me, and one for the wife. If you'd like to know approximately how absurd, feel free to check out Ultrasabers' website and see what sound sabers run for. That's how much fun I'm having.

 

LIGHTSABERS!!!!!  RAAAAAAA!!!!!  Ok, yea I'm excited for you.  I feel like I'm somewhat living vicariously through you, since I have nobody to spar with here.   :(

 

Also, I totally understand the absurd money that can be spent on sabers. I've bought more than my fair share, and really want to get another.  So, shameless plug: I'm looking to sell my Dark War Glaive if you're interested.  It's got sound, the silver claws, recharge port, and a red blade with silver flash on clash.  There's a tiny knick on the hilt above the pommel, but other than that it's in perfect condition.  I'm looking for $350 for it, shipped, but I'm pretty flexible on it.  The claws are removable too, so you don't have to spar with them there.  

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"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

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Glad to see you are still kicking butt in Kung Fu!  I actually did one of the introductory forms of Hung Gar in class Sunday (I mimicked my Sifu's movements). That dynamic tension stuff is wild.  Really liked it.  Since I am moving in a few months my Sifu is giving me some introductions into other styles so I can make an educated choice in my new home (sadly there is no Northern Shaolin in Philly).  

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Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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I like everything about this post.  In fact, I wish there was more than one "like" button so I could like it like, 27 times.  Awesome stuff man! 

 

LIGHTSABERS!!!!!  RAAAAAAA!!!!!  Ok, yea I'm excited for you.  I feel like I'm somewhat living vicariously through you, since I have nobody to spar with here.   :(

 

Also, I totally understand the absurd money that can be spent on sabers. I've bought more than my fair share, and really want to get another.  So, shameless plug: I'm looking to sell my Dark War Glaive if you're interested.  It's got sound, the silver claws, recharge port, and a red blade with silver flash on clash.  There's a tiny knick on the hilt above the pommel, but other than that it's in perfect condition.  I'm looking for $350 for it, shipped, but I'm pretty flexible on it.  The claws are removable too, so you don't have to spar with them there.  

 

So where's halfway between New Hampshire and Missouri? :D

 

Also, I appreciate the offer on the lightsaber, but I'm so deeply hung up on the Consular hilt that I passed up a $140 discount on the Manticore not too long ago. I'll ask my Sifu, though--he seems to be collecting these things, and I remember him mentioning the War Glaive at one point.

 

 

Glad to see you are still kicking butt in Kung Fu!  I actually did one of the introductory forms of Hung Gar in class Sunday (I mimicked my Sifu's movements). That dynamic tension stuff is wild.  Really liked it.  Since I am moving in a few months my Sifu is giving me some introductions into other styles so I can make an educated choice in my new home (sadly there is no Northern Shaolin in Philly).  

 

Sorry to hear you're going to be losing your school. :( Do you know which Hung Gar form you worked on? I'm guessing it was probably Gung Ji (starts with dynamic presses called Kiu Sao, moves in an I-shaped pattern)? It's also called "Taming the Tiger". That's the traditional first form--I haven't gotten that one yet, although hopefully I'll start it before too long!

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan

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Sorry to hear you're going to be losing your school. :( Do you know which Hung Gar form you worked on? I'm guessing it was probably Gung Ji (starts with dynamic presses called Kiu Sao, moves in an I-shaped pattern)? It's also called "Taming the Tiger". That's the traditional first form--I haven't gotten that one yet, although hopefully I'll start it before too long!

 

Not certain.  Whatever the form in this video is what I did a run of.  I only did about half of it

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Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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So where's halfway between New Hampshire and Missouri? :D

 

Also, I appreciate the offer on the lightsaber, but I'm so deeply hung up on the Consular hilt that I passed up a $140 discount on the Manticore not too long ago. I'll ask my Sifu, though--he seems to be collecting these things, and I remember him mentioning the War Glaive at one point.

 

Looks like it's somewhere around Cleveland....... :)

 

Sure thing man.  Let me know what he says.  The Consular is a fantastic hilt too.  I've held one once, and it felt really good in the hand.  

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"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

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