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SIXTEEN STEPS OF THE EMPEROR'S STYLE

 

Stage 1. Determination of the physical capabilities of a person. Performance of certain breathing forms. Performance of forms of the appropriate level. The practical application of the forms. Ability to wield: spear, knives, short sword, mace. Application of massage. First aid.

 

This level was taught to those entering the Imperial Guard. They performed the role of sentries at the outer observation posts and were the main labor force in the palace.

 

Stage 2. They took exams in the same disciplines as the first level, but in a more complex version. Weapons were added: long sword, all kinds of axes, ropes. The basics of philosophy and medicine were passed: the use of herbs in emergencies.

 

Those who passed all these requirements were considered soldiers of the Guard and could take part in hostilities.

 

Stage 3. A repetition of stages 1 and 2, with the addition of forms (complexes of exercises with bindings). Weapons: ropes with sharp tips on the end, double and triple chains, sabers of different types, regular chain. Medicine: use of acupressure.

 

This is how assistants of tens were trained in wartime.

 

Stage 4. New forms were added to what was passed. Weapons: use of darts, spokes, poisoned arrow tubes, several kinds of "cats", a chain with a sharp tip. Medicine: study of human meridians, acupuncture. These "cadets" were used at the middle observation points as tens.

 

Stage 5. Same with the addition of new complexes. Weapons: archery, horseback riding, jigging. Medicine: noncontact massage.

 

Steps .

 

So trained chiefs of the outer guard, centurions.

 

6th step. The use of weapons of the 1st step on the horse. Used as a cavalry unit.

 

7th step. Use of 2nd and 3rd step weapons on a horse. Posts at internal palace posts.

 

8th step. Training in snake technique. Use of 4th and 5th step weapons on horseback. These were the emperor's junior bodyguards.

 

9th step. Monkey technique. Mountain training. Disguise on the ground. Learning to play musical instruments.

 

10th step. Performance of all types of techniques and forms in the water. Bird technique. Making musical instruments. The ability to get lost in the crowd.

 

11th step. Leopard technique. Learning how to make and eat.

 

12th step. Dragon Technique.

 

13 step. Technique of the tiger.

 

14 step. Technique of the bear.

 

15 step. Technique of the drunk.

 

16 step. The perfection of everything.

 

On the basis of this qualification ladder it was possible to determine the level of any person engaged in the single art. But the basis of everything was philosophy, because if there is no philosophy, then the martial art turns into a scuffle, where everyone thinks he is right.

 

Some time passed. Against the Hindu began to weave conspiracies. Against him and the three monks who helped him create the philosophy of the school. Hindu came to the emperor and, citing his advanced age, asked permission to return home. He offered his disciple in his stead, stressing that he was a native of the area and would find it easier to communicate with the soldiers, military leaders and monks.

 

Three days later the Hindu left for his homeland, where he died some time later.

 

The young man, who had become a teacher, asked the emperor to let him go for two weeks for the purpose of seeking out teenagers to teach the art of warfare. He returned with thirty teenagers, three of whom were round orphans. One of them was very sickly, and the teacher often had to treat him.

 

This boy practiced with all together the general program, but paid special attention to breathing complexes. Complexes were very different from the exercises performed, they resembled the movements of animals, insects, birds, snakes and fish.

 

One morning the boys woke up to a noise. It was the rebellious townspeople coming to storm the palace. The boys joined the retreating band of warriors and left the city with them.

 

The emperor was not with them; he was retreating along a different road with another detachment. A few hours later, the detachment with the teenagers was attacked by the rebels, and during the battle, the boys scattered.

 

The orphan, after a long wander, reached the seashore, where he found a small hut and dwelt in it.

One day, after a storm, he came upon a fisherman lying unconscious on the seashore. The orphan carried him to the house, where he treated him. A month passed and the fisherman was back on his feet.

 

He sincerely thanked the orphan for saving him and went home. In the meantime, the orphan was constantly repeating the exercises the Master had shown him. The years passed.

 

The rebellion had long since been suppressed. The orphan grew up and settled in the outskirts of the capital, where he began to live the life of a simple peasant. The fisherman did not forget about him, and when his children grew up, he sent them to the orphan as apprentices.

 

After the suppression of the revolt, the imperial guard needed a teacher of martial arts. One of the boys who had studied under our young man became one of them. The young men became the founders of the basic styles of Vietnamese martial arts.

 

Coming to the capital, the orphan picked up sick children, treated them, and taught them his system of healing and martial arts.

 

After convalescence, the children, becoming adults and having mastered the orphan's arts, would go to other villages and towns, where they too would begin to heal people.

 

This is how the school spread throughout Vietnam. There are still herbalists who know all the secrets of the school.

 

During the time since its formation, the school has absorbed a large number of techniques from other schools. As it absorbed them, it recycled all the exercises and principles of training based on the art left behind by the orphan.