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> The Art of Kicking Ass, Part 2
Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 02:33 AM
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Zau had made a very important revelation while training with Serenity; punching bags don't punch back. That made his training somewhat lacking, since he didn't have to react to what his opponents did. The ability to react would be...well, useful, to say the least.

Zau created a trio of clones. The clones each knew what they were to do. Zau knew what he had to do. Zau charged forward towards the first clone, who reflexively leaped backwards. All four copies of Zau activated their Sharingan, that they might observe the proceedings from as many different viewpoints as possible. Zau would open his charge with a spin, leading into his Jitengeki. Against a normal opponent, that may have been confusing enough to let him score a hit; but this was against Zau's own Sharingan, Zau's own reflexes, and Zau's own instincts. His spinning strike was met by his clone's Uke, dissipating the impact entirely.

Zau hopped backwards, taking note of what went wrong. As with most things, it was speed. He needed to be faster than his clones, but perhaps more importantly, he needed to be unpredictable, even to the Sharingan. Such a thing was...difficult to envision, to say the least, but Zau had studied the techniques of previous masters enough to at least grasp the concept. He loosened his muscles, preparing himself for his next foray into this technique's use.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 02:44 AM
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Zau must have looked outright silly to any onlookers. The Clone he had attacked before stood back and observed while Zau and his clones...started spinning. At first, the spins were slow and unwieldy; Zau had only just learned this technique, after all. However, as the clone shouted corrections to Zau and the others, the rotations steadily got more and more graceful. "Change direction!"

Zau and his clones were dizzy by now; shifting direction had the exact opposite effect on their grace. One even fell down. While the observant clone couldn't help but stifle a chuckle, the failure frustrated Zau. He needed to get this right, and slapstick comedy wouldn't do that for him. He stopped spinning and observed his clones. "Wait, why am I the one spinning? You there, Clone Number One, start spinning and I'LL do the observation."

The clone grumbled and started spinning as instructed. "Don't give me that. I'll disperse you right now." As the clones continued spinning, one shouted back at Zau. "You really should treat your clones better. We have feelings too." Zau rolled his eyes and told the clones to spin the opposite direction again. And then again. And again. And again. It took about a half hour, but the clones finally stopped stumbling when they shifted. Zau nodded and finally dispersed his clones, letting the experience rush back to him. He inhaled deeply, secure in his newfound knowledge, and created a new clone. Time to test what he'd learned.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 02:53 AM
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Zau wasted no time. He charged directly ahead towards his clone. His first strike was only a half-spin as he used Jitengeki once more. The clone, to his credit, saw the attack coming and managed another Uke, again dissipating the force. Zau immediately reversed his rotation, a bit faster than before, but was met again with the clone's Uke. Zau growled something feral and ran around the clone, spinning on the ball of his foot halfway through where he had initially planned on running to. The feint surprised the clone, and it only just managed to block the attack.

Zau hopped backwards, his faith renewed in his attack-if he could surprise his Sharingan wielding clone, he could surprise someone else too. It was still too slow though. Zau breathed out, relaxing his muscles as he prepared his next rush. From what he knew of the anti-prediction techniques, they involved keeping his limbs loose before an attack, only tensing at the end of an attack, once the opponent couldn't do anything to stop it. Zau rushed forward again, his body relaxed, limbs flailing behind him without control on his part.

Zau sent his body into a half-spin; the clone prepared to defend again, but Zau was paying attention this time. He reacted to the reaction, spinning his body quickly in the other direction; so quickly, even his Sharingan had trouble keeping up with the rotation. Zau let one arm flail ahead of the spin, and just before the attack connected, tensed his arm muscles, slamming his backhanded fist hard into the clone's jaw. The clone dispersed, and Zau received the memories of his movement-it had been a blur, catching even the Sharingan off-guard. Zau stood up straight and inhaled deeply. One more technique was mastered.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:08 AM
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The next jutsu in his list was one of the simpler ones in his arsenal. Ashige was simply a kick, delivered while standing, with a slight twist of the hip. Zau again created multiple clones, but this time, he would be the one defending. Two of the clones stood on either side of him, and a third was observing. The clones then began performing Ashige [Kick] against Zau, while the third corrected their form. Zau, for his part, was using Uke to catch their strikes. It was difficult, however; they were both using the style Zau had just created, so his Sharingan was having a hard time tracking them.

That being said, Zau noticed an interesting fact; unpredictable as the kicks may have been, his blocks were incredibly quick; he hadn't noticed it, as it was almost a background action, but when his clones used Uke, it enhanced Zau's understanding of it as well. Zau's Uke was becoming faster and faster, even as the clones increased the speed and ferocity of their attacks. Zau caught the kicks with his shins, with his forearms-no kick made it through. While that was great for Zau, it somewhat made training difficult. If he could perfectly block his own strikes, how was he to improve the strikes themselves?

Zau shifted his tactic then, immediately after blocking a strike, he moved into his own kick, catching the offending clone off-guard. The clone managed the block, but Zau charged ahead, every so often leading with a kick. The clone, so used to using the kicks at this point rather than the blocks, eventually succumbed to the pressure and missed a block, taking a kick to the chest. It burst, granting Zau the experience of the clone's own kicks as well as the observation of Zau attacking back-not to mention of Zau's blocks, allowing Zau to better refine where and when he should have been blocking.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:16 AM
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Zau and the remaining combat clone took opposing stances to one another. They both understood what was to come next; blocking was essential, and so was attacking, but wasn't the benefit of having more than one limb being able to do more at once? Zau and the clone both simultaneously launched their Ashige at each other; both of which were caught by the other's Uke, which was now fully a blur. Zau and the clone each struck again, this time with the opposite legs, and again, each blocked the other.

Zau took a half-step back and kicked; the clone launched its own kick, catching Zau's own Ashige with one of its own. Zau rapidly shifted his footing and kicked from the opposite direction; the clone caught the kick with an Uke before returning the strike at Zau. Zau caught the Ashige with an Uke of his own, and retaliated in kind. This exchange continued for some time before both Zau and the clone, now thoroughly exhausted, backed away from each other, allowing each some time to recover.

The clone dispersed, granting its experience back to Zau. Zau continued resting, as the exhaustion came with the experience, and this time, it wasn't something he could shrug off. In any case, he needed time to evaluate his performance. He called out to the last remaining clone. "How's it look from there?" "Not bad. It was shaky at the beginning, but I think we've got it figured out. I'll give you a few more minutes to rest before I disperse. Combining my observations with your experience just might be enough to push you over that edge."

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:29 AM
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As the clone promised, he waited a few moments before dispersing, his observations rushing back to Zau immediately. As the clone surmised, the observations combined with Zau's experience did indeed make something click. Still, it took several moments to truly study what his Sharingan had recorded. When he was finished reviewing, Zau created another clone to test his attacks against.

This clone wouldn't block as the others had. It was merely there for target practice. Zau stood ready, again slacking his muscles to keep his clone from predicting the movement. Zau kept his eyes, not on his clone, but on a leaf fluttering down to the ground in the distance. He watched the leaf fall, observing its descent with his peripheral vision, while keeping his eyes focused on his clone. When the leaf touched the ground, Zau shifted.

That was all it took; a shift, and his body reacted before his mind had a chance to give the order. His leg raised high as his hips rotated, and his leg slammed into the clone's head. The clone, despite keeping its Sharingan active, didn't register the attack until it was too late. The kick slammed into the clone's neck, dispersing the clone as Zau's shin passed through the space it had been in before. Zau straightened his body and breathed a sigh of pure exhilaration. The sheer speed of that kick had been incredible; if he kept this pace up, no one would be able to compete with him in the exams. Just as he intended.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:07 PM
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Effective as his taijutsu was becoming, Zau wasn't done. An old favorite of his, and according to his research, a favorite of the original Zau as well, Butterfly on the Leaves was a reactionary taijutsu. It involved a flip and was fairly slow. Thankfully though, Zau had used that one so much that he knew he didn't have very far to go to make it reach that sweet spot of speed he loved so much.

Zau created a series of clones, and each one performed the technique in turn. Zau was feeling impatient with this one; he simply had them repeat the movement, over and over and over again, until he was satisfied with the speed they demonstrated. Then he dispersed the clones. As their experience came rushing back to him, Zau knew immediately that he already had the jutsu worked out.

He again created a single clone, and had the clone attack him, leaving himself entirely open. Zau burst into action, flipping high above the clone's head and slamming his heel into the back of the clone's skull. The movement was so rapid that Zau almost couldn't keep track with himself. In any case, his technique was mastered as he had intended. That left only one taijutsu left; Mawashigeri, the roundhouse kick.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:27 PM
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As with Jitengeki, Mawashigeri required a spin, which would provide the momentum Zau needed for the attack. Jitengeri had taught him a few tricks though-he began his training for this technique, immediately, by creating ten clones and having each simply perform the technique, back to back, over and over, alternating attacking legs with each strike. He walked on the outside of the formation of clones, observing their form, offering corrections when appropriate, and essentially just made sure they were getting their form perfect.

It took the better half of an hour til Zau was satisfied that the clones were finally getting it right. He loathed this next part-dispersing the clones would wipe him out, given their obvious exhaustion Zau sat down, just in case, and then dispersed the clones. The experience that came back to him was fantastic-but the exhaustion was severe. If Zau hadn't wisely chosen to sit down before dispersing the clones, he could very well have fallen over.

"Whoa...ok, ten clones training taijutsu is a bit much. Slow down Zau, we're almost at the end of this marathon. No point in burning out right before the finish."

Zau said that, but inside, he didn't believe it. He wanted, no, needed to finish. When he finally finished training these taijutsu, he could feel immeasurably more secure about his placing in the Chuunin exams. He was only one taijutsu away from being able to confidently say he had mastered the essential basics of his taijutsu-so many people neglected the basic stuff. Zau was going to prove to the world that doing so was a very bad idea.

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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:45 PM
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Zau stood shakily and took a deep breath. He could rest once he figured this out. For now, resting was out of the question. Zau put his hands together, creating a pair of clones. Both seemed pretty unhappy about the circumstances-they were just as exhausted as Zau. Still, he needed this done, and they knew that the sooner he finished, the sooner they'd be dispersed. All three Zaus thought back to what they had learned regarding form. The clones practiced some quick roundhouses, and when Zau was satisfied that they had applied the understanding the previous clones had offered, he told them to stop.

Then, they faced him. As with Ashige, Zau was going to have them kick him, and he was going to deflect the attacks. As each clone kicked, Zau blocked the attacks almost effortlessly. "Faster!" He yelled. The clones complied, ramping up the speed of their attacks. Zau still was blocking each one, despite his exhaustion, however. "Faster! C'mon, kick me!" The clones were getting frustrated now as well, and again sped up their kicks. The flaw was again in the spin-the spin telegraphed the attack too well, gave Zau every moment he needed to be able to deflect it.

The next time the clones kicked, Zau blocked both strikes with a pair of simultaneous Uke, then committed to his own Mawashigeri. He caught the left clone off-guard and took it out easily enough. He finished the right clone, not with his Roundhouse, but with his Niji, slamming his elbow across the clone's neck to disperse it. As they were both defeated, Zau recovered their experience of attacking and rotating. And, as all other times before, Zau felt something click at that moment.

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Uchiha, Zau
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Uchiha, Zau
 Posted: Nov 4 2017, 03:51 PM
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Zau formed only a single clone this time. As with a few of the other techniques he had trained, this clone only had one purpose-to be defeated. The clone activated Sharingan, making sure to record this next blow. Zau again assumed the stance of his technique, reducing the tension in his muscles so that he could catch the clone offguard. The sway his body naturally employed in this style helped; when he shifted into his spin, added the speed, and completed the maneuver, his clone was able to track the movement-but only just.

It attempted to block, but at the last second, Zau tensed his leg, suddenly increasing the speed and force of the kick. Zau's leg sped past the clone's rising arm, catching the clone heavily on the face. After a brief moment, the clone dispersed into a cloud of smoke, leaving Zau alone with his thoughts. He let out a breath he felt like he'd been holding for days and fell backwards on his ass.

That was it. That was his last taijutsu. With that technique ready, Zau knew he could handle the Chuunin Exams now. Of course, he still had a few months to go-and there was no kind of preparedness like overpreparedness. Zau would make sure he was ready, if he had to master every jutsu in his arsenal.

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Uchiha, Zau
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