"Legends don't cut down armies, they shape the beliefs and fears of entire generations"
Real Name: Ishin Keijijo
Alias: Messiah of Martial Artistry, Predatory Prophet, Esoteric Elitist, Keijijo Dragon, Death Dealing Deva, Martial Arts Asura, Keijijo Kami, The Grandmaster, White Lotus
Alignment: Byronic Hero-Antihero Hybrid
Age: 8,001 (Ageless)
Weight: 232 lbs
Hair Colour: Raven
Eye Colour: Varies
Affiliation: The Keijijo Clan
Species: Human (Ascended)
Birthplace: Reisho Monastery, Japan
Marital Status: Married to Fan Song (Madame Blossom)
Messiah of Martial Artistry
--Permanently geared towards the obsessive pursuit of martial arts perfection, the Keijijo Dragon's inherent, prodigious talent coupled with several thousands of years of combat experience have crafted him into a virtually flawless master of every aspect of combat. An insurmountable fighter of nigh-peerless caliber, the Death Dealing Deva is a cerebral battle tactician and strategist often considered to be among the greatest armed and unarmed fighters in the history of man. Gifted with a highly diverse skill-set encompassing his collective knowledge of the globe's modern fighting systems, ancient martial arts, and combat forms of esoteric origin eluding historical documentation, Ishin's repertoire is reputed to boast an endless pool of martial arts variety.
Following a strict combat-based philosophy that stresses constant evolution of one's fighting form, the Predatory Prophet often discards unnecessary elements and aspects from his skill-set, unwilling to retain any component with no discernible use other than the cultivation of aestheticism. This is accomplished in order to further the effectiveness and efficiency of his fighting style, so that it's practicality will be maximum. As a result, attacks such as the Butterfly Kick for example, are no longer constituents of his diverse style given it's ostentatious purpose for cinematic artistry rather than combat-based practicality. With no known limit to the quantity of fighting arts acquired by his overall style, the Martial Arts Messiah's mastery ranges from Shotokan Karate, Muay Thai, American Kickboxing, Judo, Kyokushin, Shorin-ryu Shidokan, Pankration, Capoeira, Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, Savate, Freestyle Wrestling, Catch Wrestling, Shaolin Kung Fu, Gatka, Wing Chun, Bak Mei, Musti-Yuddha, Shurikenjutsu, Ninjutsu, Hung Cha, Hung Fut, Kenjutsu, Pygmachia, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, Boxing etc. to more esoteric, preternatural arts such as blood-bending.
Never truly relying on a solitary style, an occasional amalgamation of several of these styles involving fluid transitions from martial art to martial art, selecting the most appropriate fighting style depending on the opponent and the circumstance is instead exercised. For example, against a shorter adversary, Ishin is likely to abuse his superior reach and height to control the bout's distance and pace with jabs and oblique kicks to the lead leg's knee, preventing the opponent from closing the distance and getting within range. Should an opponent surmount this approach and get within range, Ishin then transitions to lacerating elbow strikes and employs a combination of his Judo and Muay Thai clinch to control the opponent for a potential throw, toss or trip, or a barrage of knees to the body or head. A secondary approach would entail the Keijijo Dragon implementing dexterous counter-striking with crisp footwork, frustrating the adversary with false retreats and intercepting jabs or left straights while nimbly angling out as he peppers them with unorthodox combinations.
Generally, against diminutive adversaries, his stance is upright with both hands somewhat lowered with his chin mildly tucked, his head leaning back along with his body. When facing taller opponents however, he approaches with prowling aggression, making use of the superior striking power afforded by strikes that emerge from a lower position as he swarms the opponent. A fighter capable of switching from orthodox to southpaw and a masterful employer of feints, The Grandmaster is identified as one of the most dexterous, trickiest fighters in history. Against southpaws, Ishin enjoys circling while executing left jabs and feints to lure them into powerful right hooks and crosses. Equally skilled in both armed and unarmed fighting styles, the Predatory Prophet's most defining mastery is over his self-taught esoteric martial arts styles and techniques. His understanding of the nature of chi and the chakras (metaphysical nexuses of biophysical energy/chi in the body) enable him to achieve a variety of effects with his strikes.
By striking the body's individual chakras, Ishin can disrupt the flow of chi, causing a variety of effects such as the weakening of an opponent's muscular faculties, inducing temporary paralysis, or otherwise manipulating the nervous system. Ishin's peerless pedigree however, stems not from a superior understanding of the ethereal components of the human body, but his understanding that no single style is greatest. The Keijijo adheres to a mixed martial arts system that dictates that he be skilled in every area of unarmed combat which are: Grappling, Striking, and Ground Fighting--
Tall, powerful in the clinch, and with a penchant for a grappling emphasis on refined technique, few martial arts suit the Death Dealing Deva like Judo. Refusing to craft himself into a crude wrestler-esque incarnation of a judoka whose trump card is physical power, Ishin instead relies on exceptional technique. The mechanics of his throws are superlative and harbor no errors, enabling him to chain his attacks for the consistent targeting and pressuring of his adversaries' 'weak planes'. This best showcased in his ability to consistently employ the uchimata (along with other hip throws) as some of his primary takedowns when in combat. Generally exposing one's back in a bout is dangerous however, because of his combinations, adversaries attempting to grapple him from behind find it a laborious task.
Ishin's uchimata/kouchi/ouchi combination remains one of his most dominant attacks, particularly against those unfamiliar with either Judo or wrestling. His unparalleled prowess is further aggrandized when combined with his awareness of the movement of weak planes all about him which enables him to execute powerful throws to the correct plane when opponents attempt to circle or replant after being locked in a clinch battle with him. With a brand of elusive speed, the Predatory Prophet can jab an adversary with the kouchi/ouchi to probe where the weak plane is moving so that he may commit to the most appropriate throw. Another one of his Judo style's major tools is head control. Should a grappling bout ensue, one of Ishin's priorities is to secure a tie up of the head to mimic his left handed judo grips. Once he grabs the opponent's head, his right hand begins to quickly switch between wrist control, knee picks, or an underhook depending on his adversary's reaction.
His environmental awareness is also complimentary attribute, enabling him to expertly back up a fleeing opponent into a wall or physical barrier from where Ishin can transition into his most potent and appropriate grip. Often when having successfully forced an opponent's back against a wall or some kind of physical structure, he tends to employ a left hand head tie and an underhook on the right which renders a transition into his hip throw/kouchi setup a virtually effortless endeavor. Ishin's repertoire however, is not limited to powerful hip and shoulder throws. A versatile judoka, the sweeps, reaps and trips that serve as his ashi-waza's constituents are also core elements of his Judo form due to the focus on timing and misdirection necessary to master them. Though one can pinpoint to the success of Ishin's takedowns as a function of how exceptionally strong he is, his is a style as mentioned before, that emphasizes refined technique.
Though the amount of raw power he may impart into his attacks do benevolently lend their assistance, they are fundamentally reliant on his unparalleled skill, timing and misdirection.
--Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi (支釣込足)--
One of his most commonly employed throws, the Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi has been crafted into a throw that the Keijijo Dragon utilizes from a variety of different scenarios. Generally, Ishin steps forward and to the right, makes use of his hands to drive the forward momentum of the opponent forward, slightly upwards and to their (the opponent's) right. The Keijijo Dragon's left foot is then used to intercept the adversary's right ankle so their upper body maintains movement while the legs come to a halt. Typically, Ishin enjoys exploiting some form of deception in successfully executing the throw. One of his most preferred methods is by securing a right underhook while his left hand holds either the elbow or triceps of the adversary. Capitalizing on the underhook, Ishin begins turning the opponent into a wall or some form of physical structure.
By perfectly timing the opponent's certain resistance to this movement and misdirecting them into balancing towards his right side, Ishin then does as the opponent desires and alters his direction, using both hands to drive the adversary up and to the right while his right foot blocks the adversary's left foot from moving. With momentum having nowhere to go, the opponent is sent flying in a cleverly executed Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi throw. Another method of executing the throw is when he and his opponent both have right collar ties on one another. In such a scenario, the Death Dealing Deva leans into the adversary and pushes them back. This causes the opponent to lean back into him with their upper body while leaving their hips back in an attempt to either execute a knee or the more likely chance of not wanting to get hip tossed. Ishin exploits this pressure by stepping slightly outside on his left leg and following by using both hands to project his adversary forward, upwards and to the right where his right foot would halt the movements of the opponent's left ankle, causing the momentum to spill his adversary onto the floor.
This mentioned variation is particularly versatile because while it can be used to take the opponent down, it can also be employed as a method of breaking up the adversary's posture and transposing the momentum of a bout into Ishin's hands.
The purpose behind this technique is to enable the thrower to hook their foot behind the adversary's ankle and pull it forward while using both hands to push their upper body bckward. Ishin's intimate comprehension of this technique's mechanics is reliant on his understanding of a fundamental law that applies to most Judo-based throws, which is that in order for a throw to be successful, one first requires a reaction from the opponents. The Keijijo Dragon draws an exploitable reaction from an opponent through a variety of ways, but none more common than by striking. With a right underhook on the opponent and his left hand resting on their shoulder, Ishin first makes use of his left hand to grab the opponent's traps and bend them over into a strong knee to the body.
This causes the opponent anticipate another knee, and thus they brace themselves and shift their weight onto their left leg in this scenario. Upon sensing this, Ishin takes a step bringing his right leg right next to the adversary's left leg, using his right hand to secure a deep grip around the opponent's back and then drive them further over the leg they are already leaning on by using his left hand while hooking and pulling away the left leg with his right foot. With no posture and balance, the opponent is sent straight into the ground with the throw additionally rendering Ishin ripe for landing in side control, one of the most advantageous ground fighting positions.
Another of the countless throws in Ishin's Judo arsenal, the Tai-Otoshi like the aforementioned throws, is dependent on the forward momentum from his opponent. It is different however, in the sense that the Death Dealing Deva exploits it by stepping outside the adversary's feet, using the opponent's hands to pull them forward and then blocking the forward motion of their legs while his hands pull them over and onto their backs. The throw can be implemented from one of Ishin's most preferred clinch fighting positions. With a right underhook and a left hand on the adversary's triceps, Ishin beguiles the opponent into leaning forward in the clinch. This allows the Keijijo Dragon to spin while using the underhook and his left-handed triceps grip to impart greater momentum in the direction his opponent is already leaning.
The throw is culminated by Ishin stretching his right foot across to block the adversary's movement, successfully enabling him to wheel his opponent over for a superlative throw.
One of the oldest and most universal grappling techniques, the shoulder lock is taught in a variety of disciplines ranging from dagger fighting and modern wrestling systems to traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu styles, and can be applied both from standing and grounded positions. Simple in execution, the shoulder lock can be considered a counter to an underhook. Should an opponent secure an underhook, Ishin brings his arm over and around to lock in an extremely tight overhook. Sliding his grip down to the opponent's elbow, the Keijijo Dragon brings it up and in, torquing on the shoulder. The attack can injure the adversary's shoulder and effectively reduce their power in the targeted arm.
Striking: Shotokan Karate
An undisputed intellectual and master in the art of striking, there is no style more conductive to Ishin's cerebral, tactically sound approach than his personal rendition of Shotokan Karate. Reliant on a harmonious combination of fluid movement, dexterous footwork, timing, rhythm and pinpoint accurate striking, the Predatory Prophet's karate wizardry enables him to gyaku-zuki his way through bouts like none that came before him. Capitalizing on his own intelligence and understanding of the fighting game, Ishin builds his entire style around the subtleties and intangibles that the majority of combatants ignore. His is a style focused on the perfection of the stance, the strategies, and the angles which enables him to intercept and tag his adversaries with blitzing sniper-like strikes of unsettling accuracy and precision.
There is a discernible uniqueness to the Keijijo Kami's stance in that it is reminiscent of the stance once commonly employed by boxers in the early twentieth century. Centered around distance control and a basic degree of mathematics, Ishin makes use of a rear-weighted stance with his head over his back foot, forcing opponents to cover more distance with their attacks should they wish to connect strikes to his head. The greater distance traveled awards Ishin more time for him to observe the strike and react accordingly. With his body leaning back and turned to the side to minimize exposure, Ishin renders himself a notoriously difficult fighter for strikes to connect with. Additionally, his stance offers him greater safety when entering range. The assumption adheres to basic logic as given his stance, the first thing to enter range is his lead foot, then his hips, and finally his head. This allows the Keijijo Dragon to assess his opponent's attacks with his lower body first while maintaining critical distance between his adversary's attacks and his head when within range.
An evident aspect of Ishin's style of Shotokan Karate or 'Keijijo Karate' as it has been termed by fellow clansmen, is that it revolves around the concept of allowing Ishin to hit his opponents without them being able to hit him back. This lies in the style's use of angles. The Messiah of Martial Artistry's awareness that an exploitable angle is an invaluable advantage is what serves as his incentive to execute subtle positional changes to expertly capitalize on the most beautiful angles. And this is rendered possible by nimble and flawless footwork. By implementing some subtle misdirection, Ishin makes use of angles in a variety of ways. For example, often times he will point his lead side at the center line of his opponent, deceiving them into believing that they have the advantageous angle and luring them into throwing a straight right. Hop-stepping back to his left, Ishin secures an inside angle and throws a left hand that he intends to have blocked and countered.
It is here where his adversary attempts to counter with a stepping left kick (an appropriate counter), yet Ishin responds with a shift punch, stepping through with his left foot as he throws a right straight with the power to drop the bamboozled opponent. The entirety of such an approach is centered on angles. A mild step to his left with correct timing ensures that Ishin finds himself in an opportune position to strike his opponent without being struck in return. His exploitation of angles however, enable him to make use of superlative foot-sweeps as well. Essential to the success of foot-sweeps, trips, and even blocks, angles enable him to understand when both he and his opponent have either a strong plane or a weak one, respectively. This emphasis on strong and weak planes is a borrowed influence from his Judo style. In the simplest descriptions, a strong plane is when one is difficult to knock over, perhaps because one foot is facing the opponent and the other is supporting one's weight from behind.
A weak plane is when one is easy to knock over. Ishin seizes these concepts with an iron grip and intelligently combines them with his footwork and use of angles. Often, Ishin makes use of false retreats or circling to draw erratic charges from his opponents, either to intercept them with countering combinations, or for other purposes. One of these other purposes is to facilitate the execution of his foot-sweeps. By circling to his left, the Keijijo Dragon draws his opponent into committing to a big forward step as they seek to close the greater distance by charging after him. Ishin follows by responding to the charge with a quick straight left as he steps off-line. Quickly adhering to his Judo philosophy of chaining attacks together, following the strike, Ishin immediately enters the clinch with the stunned adversary, securing a left underhook and a shallow right overhook. Sensing the adversary's weak plane, Ishin follows by a lifting with his underhook while attempting to drive the opponent against this weak plane.
In order for this weak plane to become strong, the opponent has no choice but to step their left foot back and essentially posting on his left leg to maintain balance and prevent themselves from falling backward to the left. It is at this point however, that Ishin hooks his adversary's left leg with his right leg and pulls as he continues to lift and push their upper body, orchestrating a smooth throw as he sends his opponent falling to the ground.
As mentioned before, body movement is imperative to the success of Ishin's style of Shotokan Karate. Generally in the art of karate, most attacks adhere to straight movements. Tai-Sabaki however, essentially means the disregard of this direct line of an attack. It prioritizes executing a direct counterattack as the combatant moves towards the outside. This is the difference between Tai-Sabaki and simply moving from one's left to one's right. It is the delivery of one of karate's linear attacks, from an angle that is off of the opponent's line of attack. Ishin employs it as both an offensive tool as well as a counter to stop the adversary from mounting any significant offense. Additionally, the Keijijo Dragon can rely on this style of body movement to evade the adversary's incipient attack and strike them prior to their second.
Few things in Ishin's arsenal however, are as devastating as his Tai-Sabaki counterattack. The Keijijo Dragon accomplishes this by luring opponents into throwing a right straight. He manages this by switching to a southpaw stance and beguiling the opponent into executing the most reliable offense against a southpaw, the right straight. Should an opponent succumb to the shift in his stance and throw a right straight, Ishin springs offline to his own left, moving behind the elbow side of the opponent's extended right arm, where the adversary can mount no effective offense. From here Ishin immediately pushes off of his left foot with a left straight and steps through with a right straight down the middle, blasting the adversary to the ground as they are on one leg attempting to turn to face his attack. Few attacks land with the thunder of a counterattack against an unprepared opponent.
The beauty of Tai-Sabaki is that it enables Ishin to strike through his adversary's defenses, which are often designed to block attacks from directly in front. If the opponent turns to face him, Ishin who has seized the angle, is capable of facilely landing a strike through the turning opponent's guard as they are focused on turning.
In the diverse art of striking, there is one universal truth that all disciplines embrace, that the jab is the undisputed king of punching. Ishin's style of Shotokan Karate however, disputes this truth by asserting that Gyaku-Zuki or the reverse punch is the king of punching instead. For a southpaw fighter, this reverse punch is the left straight, and a right straight for an orthodox fighter. A combatant capable of switching stances without flaw, Ishin is an employer of both. Gyaku-Zuki rightfully takes it's place as the heart of the Death Dealing Deva's fighting style. The brilliance and wizardry of Ishin's success with the reverse punch however, lies within his timing which adheres to the concepts of the Go-No-Sen-No-Kata. This is the act of taking the initiative following an opponent's attack, blocking the adversary's strike, and striking back as the recover.
Though traditional sources insist that Go-No-Sen is to begin one's attack simultaneously to one's opponent's and landing first, Ishin adopts a more practical approach which is to take his head or body off the adversary's line of attack as he attacks, rendering it impossible for their punch to land after his has landed on them. And true to his pursuit of martial perfection, Ishin's application of the technique with his Go-No-Sen Gyaku-Zuki is the pinnacle of striking refinement. The foundation of this elite brand of striking lies within Ishin's flawless timing and maai (distance). Though blessed with impeccable technique, footwork and natural ability, timing remains the focal point of Ishin's Shotokan Karate style. He generally applies these techniques whenever opponents throw jabs with the intention of setting up follow-up power punches. When an opponent steps in, Ishin quickly moves in as well, throwing and landing his own left straight at the occasional risk of crashing in chest to chest with an adversary.
His goal is not and never has been to spam combinations at an opponent as they move back or are stationary, but to cause collisions by luring them in and then stepping in as they do.
Ishin's karate style is iconic for it's pure counter-striking approach. An approach that is fundamentally reliant on his ability to draw the opponent in and forcing them to create openings through which he lands devastating strikes. However, never to be confused with a passive counter-striker, Ishin can also lead a bout with his striking by seizing the initiative with his rhythm which remains his catalyst in securing the perfect knockout strike. As a counter-fighter, it is important that the Keijijo Dragon be able to draw attacks from opponents. This however, is a not a simple endeavor. Obviously the adversary wants to land a strike or close the distance for some form of attack, and generally save for the rarest of circumstances, it is not strenuously difficult to convince an opponent to execute an attack. What is laborious is the task of deceiving them into throwing the strike that one wants them to throw.
This is the art in which Ishin excels at. He is exceptional at convincing the opponent that they want to execute a particular attack, and even greater at rendering them confused and dazed by the inevitable outcome: a sniper-like counterattack. The process of drawing in the adversary is a lethargic one depending on the opponent's awareness and intelligence. And it is because of this that Ishin's approach to combat has grown scientific. From the very beginning of a bout, the Death Dealing Deva is assessing, calculating, and cataloging the reactions of his opponents. One of the keys to this approach are feints. Every jump, weight shift, pivot, even arm waggle serves a purpose, they are all interrelated components in a process to landing the perfect counter strike. An extensive user of rhythm, Ishin's rhythm is without peer. He moves his hips, dances out of range, cuts tight angles, and troubles opponents with lethal power punches.
His mastery over rhythm lies in his understanding of rhythm's fundamental purpose in fighting, that rhythm is only established in order to be broken. And Ishin punishes his opponent's for maintaining their rhythm. More than anything however, he is fully aware that his opponents are always attempting to time his movements, and he exploits this tendency by allowing them to think they've timed him, only to hesitate at the most critical moment. In a bout, Ishin will disrupt his opponent's movement with a short lead outside low kick that places his foot to the outside of his adversary's foot. He then steps in, but does not execute a punch, at least not immediately. Instead, Ishin takes a beat, moving into position and throwing his opponent off simply by virtue of the fact that he isn't punching as he marches into their space. Instead of simply employing his speed, Ishin's intelligence is his primary tool as he selects the most opportune moments to move slowly, causing opponents to mistime him and incorrectly anticipate a punch. It is in his opponent's fixation with stopping him from doing as he pleases, that Ishin's trump card lies.
Ground Fighting: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Ishin's style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is built around the fact that in a situation where an opponent is armed with a basic understanding of the martial art and ground fighting in general and possesses the ability to throw strikes, the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are more effective than it's elite-level techniques which are generally only efficient against equally skilled combatants in competitive grappling settings. There is a simplistic beauty to the success of Ishin's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. On the ground his tactics are not overtly complex. They entail achieving a dominant position, striking to create openings for a submission, and capitalizing on opportune moments to secure a submission maneuver. Though equally skilled in both his bottom and top game, Ishin is not a dynamic bottom player, not due to a lack of skill on his part, he is exceptional in employing an exotic guard to confound and sweep opponents.
He however, places greater emphasis on a developed top game. This is due to embracing the concept that there are positions on the ground that award fighters advantages through leverage and gravity that negate an untrained adversary's strength. Dominant positions afford these advantages, and dominant positions always precede submissions in most cases. It is for this reason that the Keijijo Dragon always seeks to improve his position to achieve the full mount or full back and then submit. The core of his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style is pressure. Ishin possesses an uncanny ability to exert tremendous amounts of pressure from top position. Good pressure from top position grants him greater freedom to move and advance position while rendering the situation uncomfortable for the bottom fighter as the simple act of breathing becomes an effort. Historically, adversaries have sought to employ the 'lockdown', a type of half-guard in order to counter Ishin's top grappling.
Their attempts are characterized by triangulating their legs and hooking the foot of their left leg under Ishin's ankle, trapping it. Fortunately, Ishin's response to the scenario is hooking his left arm under the opponent's head and driving the whole left side of his body, pinning them while his right hand pushes against their knee to break open the half-guard. Should an opponent attempt to roll him in another direction, Ishin simply rides the momentum into a full mount. As mentioned before however, Ishin's guard game is equally as potent. His style however, does not revolve around doing battle off his back unless the situation forces him to do so. In truth, Ishin possesses a very potent half-guard which sports a sweep of genuine genius. This sweep entails controlling the opponent's wrist on the side on which he is trapping their leg in half-guard, then underhooking their other leg with his free arm and simply tipping them over while their trapped hand cannot post to prevent them from rolling.
Additionally, Ishin's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu incorporates a powerful incarnation of ground striking. When striking from inside the opponent's guard, Ishin sits back on his heels, getting high posture and then turns his hips into his punches, generating monstrous power from inside the guard. He awards himself a strong base by maintaining his knees wide and his posture upright, allowing him to turn his entire body into his strikes, putting enormous power into them. His ground striking boasts a repertoire of knees, elbows, hammer-fists etc.
Esoteric Art: Blood-Bending
One of the original masters of the elusive blood-bending art, Ishin is virtually without peer in the hydrokinetic manipulation of a living organism's bodily fluids. Employing rigid gestures not unlike how a puppeteer controls a marionette, in particular the hand shape and movements, usually relying on explosive and abrupt movements to fortify the strength of the technique, Ishin is awarded the ability to forcibly control the physical movements of a target in a manner reminiscent of telekinesis.
Though blood-bending is generally used to violently contort and control the body of an opponent not unlike a puppet-master, Ishin has long expanded his skill with the exotic martial technique beyond this generic application, gifting himself with the ability to manipulate internal bodily fluids for a variety of purposes such as crushing the opponent's organs, and boiling, pressurizing, or cooling these fluids inside their body. Perhaps its most merciless component is the complete extraction of water and moisture from their body, causing immediate dehydration and death. Possessing an intimate understanding of the human body, the Keijijo Dragon has managed to develop a series of highly practical healing abilities as well, allowing him to prevent blood loss, maintain gashes and wounds, alleviate blood clots and internal wounds, prevent cardiac arrest by pumping blood in and out of the body, and otherwise accelerate other healing processes.
Primarily designed as an offensive technique, the esoteric art when combined with his admirable mastery and intellect, enables him to induce cardiac arrest, and strokes by disturbing the blood supply to the heart and the brain respectively. An elite blood-bender nearly without peer, he is further capable of achieving effects which the majority of the globe's scarce blood-benders cannot e.g manipulating red blood cells allowing him to cause hemolytic anemia, jaundice, oxygen decrease in the blood etc., further strengthening his claim as history's greatest blood-bender. A belief supported by his unparalleled ability to expose the adversary's body to the effects of atmospheric pressure by tampering with their natural blood pressure.
Sword Fighting: Nagare
Generally, Japanese Swordsmanship can be broadly categorized into Iaido, the ever popular Kenjutsu, and Kendo. There is a certain overlap between these different styles, and Ishin's personalized gendai budo of Nagare (loosely translated to 'Flow') seeks to bring them all into one fighting system. Understanding that unlike Western Martial Arts, systems of Japanese swordsmanship are a living tradition, Ishin has discarded these deeper ritualized aspects of spiritual and personal refinement in favor of focusing only on the practicality of a combat-realistic sword-fighting style. A style often employed in his use of an uchigatana or katana, Nagare's core is the focus on a combination of the traditional sword-fighting tactics of the samurai and the teachings of European sword-fighting schools as well. Exceptional concentration and personal discipline is required to master Ishin's personal style, a balanced blend of attack and defense characterized by swift, transitionally fluid swordplay.
One of Nagare's defensive principles is never raising one's sword up to strike should the opponent have a weapon pointing at them, especially if said weapon is longer. In truth, this concept is basic in both Japanese and European fencing. The Keijijo Dragon's Nagare style insists that the practitioner move the point of the opponent's weapon off-line prior to attempting a strike, thereby minimizing the probability that they will be attacked by the adversary. The defensive portion of Ishin's swordsmanship makes use of an elegant and focused style that is based on balance and footwork to outmaneuver the opponent. Fluidity and economy of emotion are relied on, as opposed to simply strength. It dares the opponent to strike first, awarding Ishin opportune moments to use jabs and light cuts that punish the adversary for every committed mistake, gradually making them realize that the bout has been slipping through their grip the moment they executed their first attack.
Precision and efficiency is encouraged over power. Jabs, parries and light cuts are prioritized over power-slashes, blocks and chops. Exceptional refinement of one's blade manipulation is required for Nagare, as well as intense focus for the cultivation of the powerful elegance and dexterous feints that bamboozle adversaries. Footwork, both off-line and direct is employed by Ishin in Nagare. The style's opening stance is a single handed low guard. The sword is held in Ishin's strong hand and at his side, the blade pointed down while both feet are kept a shoulder width apart. Alternatively, he may turn his body to the side while pointing the blade in the opponent's direction, minimizing his own body exposure. The sword's hilt is held with the thumb pointing down the length of the blade to facilitate small, tighter, accurate, and incredibly fast movements of the blade. The rest of the fingers wrap around the hilt holding it tightly, but not so tight that the fluidity of the movements is mitigated.
The Death Dealing Deva - Powers & Abilities
Physical & Mental Perfection
Owing his superlative physical fitness and mental fortitude to a combination of thousands of years of intensive physical conditioning, meditation, and rigorous combat training, the culmination of the White Lotus' efforts is the awakening of the full potential of his mind and body's biophysical faculties. Possessing a balanced repertoire of preternatural physical attributes and impeccable mental abilities, Ishin's primary physical and mental powers are as follows:
--Pink Muscle Fibers & Aggrandized Skeletal Structure--
Generally the human body serves as the domain of two types of muscle fibers. Red muscle fibers, and white muscle fibers. Red muscle fibers differ from white muscle fibers in that they contain a greater quantity of mitochondria, and greater local capillary density. Additionally, they are slowly contracting muscle fibers that are resistant to fatigue due to their implementation of oxidative metabolism to generate adenosine triphosphate. It is because of this that red muscle fibers are reputed for their exceptional endurance, their ability to function without succumbing to sluggishness during physical activity that requires longtime contractions renders them a prized athletic asset. On the other hand, white muscle fibers are less oxidative and contain low quantities of myoglobin, and appear to be reliant on glycolytic enzymes.
They are fast-twitching muscle fibers best suited for activities oriented towards the employment of fast contractions. Pink muscle fibers are a flawless combination of both white and red muscle fibers. Each individual is born with a modest amount of pink muscle fibers. In his relentless training and pursuit of martial perfection, the Keijijo Dragon has cultivated a disturbing quantity of pink muscle fibers, his entire body's muscle fibers nearly composed only of pink muscle fibers. As a result, Ishin is gifted with explosive athleticism, speed, unrelenting stamina, and overall physical excellence. A living equilibrium of power, nigh-instantaneous reflexes, endurance, and toughness, Ishin is afforded tremendous superhuman strength, speed, stamina and durability. Capable of engaging in constant and highly demanding physical activity for an indefinite amount of time, Ishin is additionally capable of lifting a maximum of 50 tons, and withstanding significant physical damage e.g. high caliber bullets, falls from great heights, extreme temperatures etc. due to the cellular density of his muscular tissues.
His toughness and strength however, require the sturdiness of his skeletal structure. The greater percentage of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, and other minerals in his bones render them structurally superior to those of ordinary humans bones. With the addition of a more densely packed molecular structure, his bones are incredibly durable. And though high caliber rounds etc. are still capable of penetrating his flesh, they succeed only in denting his bones.
--Anomalous Mental Faculties--
Adhering to a doctrine of 'mind over matter', the White Lotus, through perfected methods of meditation certain to nurture the latent power of his mind, has awakened a myriad of different yet equally extraordinary abilities. First and foremost, Ishin boasts the mastered ability to consciously control his own autonomic nervous system, sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system and immune response, allowing him to render himself virtually impervious to the effects and sensation of extremely low temperatures, which is why the legendary combatant never appears to be affected by the frigidness and gelid climate of his clan's hazardous geographical confinement. Additionally, Ishin's anomalous mental faculties have made use of his innate biophysical energies to significantly strengthen his mental fortitude.
This affords him with a powerful form of resistance against not only mental assaults, but spiritual ones as well, being that certain eastern philosophies dictate that the body and soul are one. It is for this reason, as well as his indomitable will, that Ishin's psychological disposition an unwavering composure are rarely troubled, his degree of mental stability and strength is nearly without contention.
Often referred to a speculative, invisible faculty that awards one with perception beyond general normality, Ishin's reputed third eye is that and more. Awakened through the most turbulent periods of meditation, the emergence of Ishin's third eye is indicative of achieved spiritual refinement and a perpetual state of enlightenment. Occasionally dubbed as a gate to a higher consciousness, the third eye enables Ishin to project himself from confines of his physical body, beyond the reaches of the physical plane and traverse intangible domains and spiritual realms e.g. the Astral Plane, the afterlife etc. During these out-body-excursions however, while his consciousness or spirit remains free from harm, his body is subjected to a paralyzed state until his return to it, rendering it incredibly vulnerable during this time.
Should he be physically killed or his body destroyed during these ethereal peregrinations, Ishin's consciousness becomes at risk of being forever confined to these higher planes, never to return to the physical world until the restoration or revival of his body. Additionally, his third eye's perception enables to perceive otherworldly phenomena and communicate with spiritual entities, spirits of the deceased, and the like. It's most practical ability however, is that it awards the White Lotus with the ability to detect the presence of others by sensing their distinct biophysical pools or reserves of chi. For this reason, he is incapable of detecting the presence of inanimate objects and nonliving things such as machinery. The third eye also seems to gift the former Impero with some form of succinct precognition.
Something he accomplishes by sensing where his opponent's biophysical energies or chi is concentrated the most seconds prior to an attack e.g. it would be concentrated in one's legs and hips during the execution of a kick.
It was following his past resurrection that the bulk of Ishin's once monstrous power had forsaken him. Having lost his pre-death status as an overwhelmingly powerful manipulator of nature's energies, the former Impero's remaining esoteric attributes less extraordinary yet offer considerable practicality in their combat-based applications. No longer harboring his elemental abilities, and their only remnant being his hydrokinetic ability to manipulate the bodily fluids of his foes i.e. blood-bending, the Death Dealing Deva has managed to retain the following:
In simple terms, Keijijo Geijutsu is an artistic technique involving the creation of aesthetic symbols in a variety of forms such as body tattoos, paintings, engravings etc. and the subsequent imparting of chi either from oneself or from nature into said symbols for the achievement of extraordinary effects. These would be the eastern equivalent of mystical runes that emerge in certain western mythologies. Possessing theoretical expertise and exceptional mastery over the technique, Ishin primarily makes use of his Keijijo Geijutsu prowess for the purposes of enchanting weapons. However, he does sport an enrapturing tattoo of falling lotus petals on his back, creeping slightly to the bottom right side of his neck.
This tattoo serves a purpose. The chi infused into it is designed to transpose itself into Ishin's biophysical faculties should he ever sustain physical and even mental wounds or injury. It functions as the source of an accelerated healing factor that enables the Keijijo Dragon to recover from virtually any injury with given time. Limbs can be regrown in the span of several minutes, and organs (including the brain and the heart) can be replaced in the span of hours as the tattoo's infused chi functions as a form of metaphysical life support in a situation otherwise demanding the intervention of a vital organ. Unfortunately, the chi within the tattoo is limited and should it's use be called upon too often, it's reserves will deplete and will require recharging for future use.
His final Keijijo Geijutsu-related ability stems from a tattoo of a black crescent on his right palm. Like the aforementioned lotus tattoo, it's use is nonexistent should the chi infused into it deplete from overconsumption caused by excessive use. In any case, the tattoo gifts Ishin with the ability to absorb energy in nearly all forms, and to redirect it should he desire. If not, the absorbed energy is transposed to some extra-dimensional domain that he cannot otherwise access should he choose not to use it immediately following absorption. Unfortunately, this ability is limited in that Ishin can only absorb energy with his right palm, and not with any other body part, and unlike his daughter, Shiho's superior parallel of the ability, there is a limit to the quantity of energy he can absorb through the tattoo prior to destroying it from overstretching it's limits, a scenario which demands the reapplication of a new crescent tattoo.
Weapons & Items
Though the reputed owner of a myriad of diverse weapons ranging from esoterically aggrandized katanas to bo staffs, odachis, wakizashis, chokutos, kodachis, tachis, tantos, nagamakis and naginatas, Ishin's prized weapon is an uchigatana christened 'Nanda' by the White Lotus himself. Having seized the place of his now shattered blade Hansha, as his primary weapon, Nanda is in Ishin's person nearly at all times. The former Impero wears it along with an unnamed tanto to complete his daisho set.
The blade length of his uchigatana is sixty five centimeters, with a stout sugata (overall shape of the blade), and a steep saki-zori (curvature of the blade with the center of the curve lying near the point). Because of it's thin kasane (blade thickness measured across the back edge) and short nakago (tang or the back portion of the weapon where it is connected to a handle on the sword), it is relatively light and can be wielded one-handed. The engraved Keijijo Geijutsu symbols on the uchigatana's scintillating, silver blade render it's edge remarkably sharp and the sword nearly unbreakable and capable of cutting through nearly any physical substance.
Nanda's most defining property however, is it's ability to gradually siphon it's targets' biophysical energies after every successful cut or stab, depleting the stamina and overall athleticism of Ishin's adversary.