: Ki'Enaq (Unarmed Combat)
Origins and Description
Loosely translated from Rakahi as merchant of death
, Ki’Enaq is a brutal but highly tactical martial art that is utilized throughout the majority of Idalos. It was believed to have been initially developed for use in Etzos; first by the military and local law enforcement and then later modified for use by some civilians who began adapting it as a form of self-defense. This martial art quickly gained popularity as its core tenets were adopted by a wide range of individuals, leading Ki’Enaq to spread across Idalos like wildfire. Examples of its use can be seen both in chaotic street fights and also in military combat, leading to multiple different styles of the martial art to have developed over time. Regardless of its application, the core tenets of Ki’Enaq focus specifically on a brutal proficiency in dishing out injuries and damage to one’s opponents. Maiming and crippling is a perfectly acceptable use of this martial art as it is designed to ensure the survival of its practitioner. The use of improvised weaponry is also unique to Ki'Enaq as these martial artists treat their environment as a weapon if it will ensure the defeat of their enemies.
Standards and Cultural Differences
Differences in culture across Idalos have led to markedly different styles developing over time, thought it is believed that the purest and most vicious form of Ki’Enaq is still only taught in Etzos. Additionally, the application of Ki’Enaq by its practitioner greatly affects the style. Whereas a thug on the street may utilize a rougher more brutal form of this martial art, a trained soldier may have a more disciplined and precise style. These variations are most commonly due to the differing levels of armor the foe is anticipated to be wearing, and the necessity of focusing on gaps therein.
The Standards listed below are only the most well known styles. Other, more hybridized and unique styles do indeed exist in Idalos.
Etzori Military Standard:
Perhaps the purest form of Ki'Enaq, the Etzori military standard is an extremely precise and vicious martial style. The military standard relies on powerful targeted strikes that focus on disabling an opponent as quickly as possible. In the case where the practitioner of this standard does not have the time to finish their opponent, they will focus on maiming and crippling them. Joints and gaps in armor are especially targeted as a crippled enemy soldier will not be returning to the battlefield anytime soon. The military standard is about ending conflicts with surgical precision and preventing future conflicts by rendering enemy combatants incapable of continuing the fight. While the victory or loss of a single combatant is rarely of consequence, the steadily spreading demoralization from the witnessing of numerous such triumphs can escalate an enemy's willingness to withdraw or surrender.
The Blackguard standard of Ki'Enaq was initially derived from the military standard although with several notable differences. The Blackguard standard lacks the refined precision of the military style but it more than makes up for this in its inclusion of dirty fighting techniques. These variations stem from the knowledge that few of the guards' targets will be in armor, but may well have numbers on their side. Soft spots are especially targeted as this style focuses on dishing out pain in order to subdue an opponent. Eye gouges, throat punches and savage kicks to very sensitive areas of the male anatomy are perfectly acceptable and very much encouraged by instructors of the Blackguard standard.
The Street standard is by far the most chaotic and brutal style of Ki'Enaq. As it was developed primarily by civilians who utilized it in street brawls, this standard focuses completely on dirty fighting as its core tenet. While this standard does still possess the powerful punches and kicks specific to Ki'Enaq, there is a special emphasis on maiming your opponents and utilizing your environment as a weapon. No matter how ugly and distasteful the techniques used, the practitioner of this standard will do nearly anything to survive.
The Tournament Standard of Ki'Enaq was developed for official and semi-official competition in the fighting pitspits and Crescent Arena of Etzos. Governed by the universally understood Unified Etzori Ten-Trial Game Rules, the common version of Tournament Standard lacks the sheer raw brutality and viciously dirty tactics of Ki'Enaq, although the number of unintended casualties over the arcs have proven that even a blunted form of a martial art meant for showmanship and ‘safe’ competition is still lethal indeed. Adopted even in some Rharnian Quarter pubs, the most common version of a tournament match involves competitors fighting bare knuckled or with simple gloves for an unlimited number of 5 bit rounds till one yields or is unable to continue after a 15 count. More vicious variants within Ki'Enaq matches which are rarely officially endorsed can include doing away with the rounds altogether; knuckle dusters, glass shards taped to combatant’s fists, selected weapons strewn around the chosen arena, and many more delightful ways of inflicting bodily harm are utilized to make the fight all the more interesting.
One of the core components of Ki’Enaq is the practice of strengthening and hardening the muscles, skin and bones of the body in order to render the practitioner more resilient and effective in combat. This is achieved in a number of different ways and is used primarily to strengthen the knuckles, palms, torso and legs of the practitioner.
Iron Hand Training Methods
The Iron Hand is a state reached when the Ki’Enaq practitioner has utilized the following or similar techniques to encourage additional bone and callus growth to harden their palms and knuckles against impact. It can take up to an arc of training before the practitioner can reap the rewards of their efforts. The methods detailed below should not be considered comprehensive. There are other methods available; however these are the most commonly used in Idalos.
The Bucket Method
Utilizing a deep container filled with a material such as sand or dried beans, the Iron Hand trainee will thrust their fingers or fists as deeply into the container as possible. At the end of the thrust the trainee will flex or twist their arm in order to develop additional forearm strength before retracting their arm from the container. The impact of hitting the material in the container will aid in thickening bone along the knuckles and at the base of the palm. If the material in the container is abrasive then calluses will begin to form as well. This method can be very harsh on the hands of the trainee so cuts and abrasive wounds can develop as a result of the bucket method. Often herbal medicine mixed in warm water is used to treat the hands after training to ensure that the risk of infection is reduced.
The Striking Post Method
Possibly the most common method, the Striking Post method utilizes a post or tree as a means to generate impact and abrasion against the hands of the trainee. Light strikes are applied across every surface of the hand, concentrating on the knuckles and the palms. It can take dozens of sessions of practice with a striking post before any real progress is seen by the practitioner.
Iron Body Training Methods
The Iron Body is a state reached when the Ki’Enaq practitioner has employed the following methods or similar methods to strengthen their torso to the point that they can better endure bodily impacts in combat. It can take up to an arc of training before the practitioner can reap the rewards of their efforts. The methods detailed below should not be considered comprehensive. There are other methods available; however these are the most commonly used in Idalos.
This method is perhaps the most commonly used among Ki’Enaq practitioners as it can be accomplished with very little equipment if necessary. The Self-Hitting method utilizes hands, wire brushes or wooden clubs to develop harder bones, denser muscles and thicker calluses across the body to render the trainee better suited for combat. Utilizing this method, the trainee is not only able to strengthen their body but also able to become accustomed to taking hits, thus developing greater discipline and endurance.
Partner Striking Method
Another popular method is the use of a partner to deliver targeted punches to the abdomen of the trainee. This method works two-fold as it allows the partner to practice accurate and repeated punches while the trainee is working to thicken the muscle and skin around their torso. This thickened muscle wall and skin aids in warding off strikes in combat that may have otherwise damaged the internal organs.
Accuracy training is most commonly utilized by practitioners of the Etzori Military Standard. The use of accuracy training is employed to train practitioners to accurately strike the small openings between armor along with joints and other sensitive areas of the body. The method detailed below should not be considered comprehensive. There are other methods available; however this is the most commonly used in Idalos.
The most zealous of instructors will utilize brick or wooden walls with labeled, fist sized holes in them to increase the accuracy of their trainees. The wall will contain at least a dozen of these holes. Each hole is clearly labeled or numbered so the trainee can be instructed to strike a particular hole at the command of their instructor. Trainees quickly learn that intense focus is needed in order to correctly strike the precise hole without damaging their hands. There is typically a wooden board behind the holes in the wall that the trainee will impact when they strike true. Impacting the wooden board aids in developing calluses and harder knuckle bones.
It takes longer for the practitioner to tire, or to succumb to their own pains and injuries, allowing them to remain effective in combat for longer than normal. It also greatly aids in the boons gained from Ki'Enaq conditioning regimens.
Techniques have a greater impact and are more often successful because they are executed with strength. This also is applied to the techniques that require the throwing or shoving of an enemy's body, or the head-slamming of one foe into another.
Allows the Ki'Enaq practitioner to utilize more acrobatic attacks. This can be combinations of attacks and defenses in the same move, the throwing of effective, off-balance blows, the locking of limbs to prevent being thrown, the bluff of appearing out-of-position to an enemy, and numerous other applications.
Meditation helps in focusing the practitioner, so they can reflect on the possible outcomes in combat and be better prepared in the future. This encompasses the learning from one's previous mistakes, and the ability to retain and apply those lessons under pressure, as well as the emotional acceptance of the necessity of brutality to bring a swift end.
By being more disciplined, there is a lower chance of being needlessly distracted in combat. Similar to the advantages gained from Endurance, this focuses more on the mental aspect of the fight; the ability to dismiss lures and feints by one's foe, and to control rage and fear, to maintain optimum effective focus for a longer span of combat.
The Ki'Enaq practitioner can better string together techniques in combat due to careful planning. This is both for luring an opponent into an exploitable position, and to recognize when this is being attempted against you.
Understanding how to correctly throw a weapon can aid this practitioner in utilizing items in their environment as weapons.
The first skill learned in Ki’Enaq is the various ways to dish out punishment to an opponent using the fists and elbows. From the shoulder to their fingertips, the Ki’Enaq practitioner uses their arms as lethal weapons. They are used to bludgeon and pummel their targets into submission. Punches are sharp and aggressive in nature, typically used in quick bursts to disorient the opponent.
Similar to punching, the types of kicking taught in Ki’Enaq instruct the practitioner to utilize their entire leg to dish out damage. Heels and knees are rendered into deadly concussive weapons that often lash out during combat in order to deal out punishing blows. There is a special emphasis placed on kicks in Ki'Enaq as the legs often contain the most powerful muscles in the body. This allows kicking to dish out some of the heaviest blows within this martial art.
Once the practitioner has learned the basics of delivering punches and kicks they can then move toward actively manipulating their opponent in combat. Ki’Enaq grabs are designed for the sole purpose of throwing their target off balance and giving the practitioner the opportunity to begin attacking again.
The Ki'Enaq practitioner understands quite well that targeting the joints of their opponent can quickly lead to victory. Once a practitioner understands this, punches and kicks can now be delivered at the correct angle and strength to do the most damage against joints. This allows the opponent to quickly become disabled if enough joints are damaged.
One of the core tenets of Ki’Enaq relies upon crippling the target in brutal and ugly ways in order to gain the upper hand. This is dirty fighting at its finest, relying upon the gouging of eyes and breaking of bones to disorient and frighten one's opponent.
The Ki'Enaq practitioner often utilizes the entirety of their body in order to deliver powerful concussive blows that are capable of damaging and disorienting their opponents. Elbows, knees, fists and feet are used quite commonly but many practitioners will also utilize headbutting when their opponent is within close proximity in order to induce disorientation. Physical conditioning is typically required in order to utilize headbutting without the practitioner damaging their own body during the maneuver.
Expanding upon techniques used in Crippling Blows, Maiming is the act of permanently damaging an opponent's body or limbs. This technique requires at least a reasonable level of strength in order to be successful. Kicks and punches become deadly if they are used with the intent to permanently disfigure and cripple an opponent. Examples of the results of Maiming can include but are not limited to: permanent nerve damage, loss of limb, and loss of eye function.
As the practitioner develops their skills they will begin to understand their surroundings can be utilized in combat to inflict damage or induce distraction upon their opponents. This is less of a skill set and more of a mindset as expertise in throwing weapons is often required in order to effectively use one's environment as a weapon.
The novice unarmed practitioner of Ki'Enaq is beginning to understand the tactical mindset required to engage in this martial art. While capable of engaging in basic combat, most of the novice practitioner's training is focused on desensitizing them to violence and the use of brutal techniques in combat. While capable of utilizing the various notable techniques of Ki'Enaq, most novices' moves are simple and consisting of only basic punches and kicks. Attacks will only land about half the time. Effectively chaining together attacks into an effective assault is normally beyond this combatant.
At competency the Ki'Enaq practitioner is beginning to learn to apply their attacks with precision and most of their punches and kicks will land with some success. Glancing blows will be common but they are at least learning to calculate the timing and strength required for their attacks. Their style of fighting will begin to become more brutal and decisive. Utilizing their surroundings as a weapon is also becoming more natural, this allows the practitioner to better protect themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. The competent practitioner is capable of chaining together a fairly successful assault, normally consisting of a handful of moves.
Upon reaching expert the Ki'Enaq practitioner has become a brutal force of destruction. Successfully landed kicks and punches are devastating. Accuracy has increased to the point that joints and more vulnerable parts of the opponent's body are consistently being targeted to great effect. Grabs are achieved quickly and with little effort, often being used in conjunction with some form of attack to deal out the most punishment possible. The expert Ki'Enaq martial artist is at home in any environment; utilizing pieces of furniture, clothing, or a handful of dirt as a distracting weapon to be thrown at their enemies. Eyes are readily gouged out and knee caps broken with a brutal kick if it will merit an advantage in combat. This individual is very capable of chaining together an effective assault.
At mastery the Ki'Enaq practitioner has become a force of nature unto themselves. This individual will press any advantage they can in order to win. Kicks and punches are frightfully powerful, to the point that it takes minimal effort to target and damage joints and other sensitive areas of the body. Any environment the master practitioner finds themselves in, instantly becomes their ally. They can utilize nearly anything around them as a means of inflicting damage. Grabs can now evolve into fierce throws that can heavily distract and disable an opponent. Because of the swift pace of attacks and extreme brutality, the master can appear out of control to the onlooker, yet they will be in utter control of their actions. Crippling assaults on limbs and the rest of an opponent's body can now be executed with such power and skill that maiming can be achieved with startling ease. The master can weave their moves together into an incredibly effective assault.