Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 141

April 24, 2024 • 11 min read • 193 views

The Disciple Resembles the Master (1)

The wounds had healed. But that didn’t mean his body had fully recovered.

The human body is not a machine connected by gears and various metals.

The brain, limbs, organs and nerves are organically connected and form a complementary system. Therefore, if one part is injured or loses function, the other parts cannot function properly.

Like a machine, you can’t just repair one broken part and expect it to work again.

Especially for martial artists who have trained their bodies to the extreme, their bodies are more delicate and require more time to fully recover.

Lee Gwak was no exception.

Although he owed his life to Gwang Noh Ya, his injuries were not something that could be healed in a short period of time.

The most serious was his physical balance.

The perfect balance his body had achieved through the Eight Snakes Art was devastated. New flesh sprouted from the wound, but the balance between the left and right sides of his body were upset. It was a fatal wound for a martial artist.

However, Lee Gwak did not despair.

He had been paralyzed for a year and still managed to stand up.

No matter how bad his condition was, it was much better than before. Therefore, he could fully recover again.

Having already risen from rock bottom, Lee Gwak was not afraid of falling.

If he fell, he would just stand up again.

It was painful, but he could endure it.

Lee Gwak clenched his teeth.

Breathing was painful, but it was much better than not feeling anything at all.

When he was paralyzed, he couldn’t even feel pain.

Pain was proof that he was alive.

It was an assurance that he could move.

Lee Gwak moved.

He moved with all his might. But his movements were in accordance with the Eight Snakes Art.

First he moved his toes, then his ankles. Next came the knee joints and then he checked the hip joints.

After the feet came the arms. He meticulously examined his fingers and joints, identifying any damaged parts.

Gwang Noh Ya silently watched Lee Gwak’s actions.

‘He has fully internalized it.’

The Yoga Arts, which began in the Western regions, could be considered the best in the world for training the musculoskeletal system. It made the muscles flexible yet tough, and at its peak, one could even control their internal organs at will.

No martial arts in the martial world could make the body as flexible and robust as Yoga Arts. At least, that was what Gwang Noh Ya knew.

Therefore, Gwang Noh Ya left Lee Gwak’s rehabilitation entirely up to him. He judged that there was no one who could match Lee Gwak in knowing how or what techniques to use for his rehabilitation.

After assessing the extent of the damage throughout his body, Lee Gwak stood up straight and relaxed his muscles.

“Huff!”

He took a deep breath.

His lungs expanded, moving his organs.

As expected, the condition of his organs was not good. The wounds had healed, but their function was greatly diminished. In fact, they were in worse shape than his limbs.

Treating his organs was the priority.

Lee Gwak took another deep breath, and his abdomen undulated. The rippling abdomen, moving as if it were a separate living entity, was evidence of Lee Gwak’s deep understanding and mastery of the Yoga Arts.

By tensing or relaxing the abdominal muscles, he massaged his organs to stimulate vitality.
Sweat poured down Lee Gwak’s skin like rain.

Stimulating and treating the abdomen was extremely painful. Especially in his current state, with his body damaged, moving the abdomen felt as if thousands of large needles were being poked into his organs.

Yet, Lee Gwak did not stop moving his abdomen.

He needed to start off on the right foot.

If he stopped now because it was difficult, moving on to the next step would become unattainable. Lee Gwak believed that when pushing forward, it must be done with the force of a storm.

Huff! Huff!

Lee Gwak focused on his breathing with his eyes closed.

***
It took Lee Gwak six months to recover from his injuries. During this long time, Gwang Noh Ya silently supported him.

Gwang Noh Ya provided food while Lee Gwak concentrated on treating his injuries. Thanks to this, Lee Gwak was able to concentrate on his body’s recovery.

As a result, six months later, his physical condition was at its peak. His body was more balanced than before the injury.

“Huu!”

Lee Gwak let out a long sigh.

The lengthy rehabilitation period had ended, but the true challenge was just beginning.

“Now I can finally teach you.”

Gwang Noh Ya was ready to step in officially.

He had waited in silence for Lee Gwak to recover. And now the long wait was over.

During this time, Gwang Noh Ya did not just waste time while supporting Lee Gwak. He observed Lee Gwak’s rehabilitation process, noting his habits and the strengths and weaknesses of his martial arts.

“Your balance is off. It’s because you haven’t learned to move properly.”

“But I have learned footwork…”

Lee Gwak looked puzzled.

He had learned various types of footwork, including the Cloud Stride Art.

Although he hadn’t mastered them completely, he was confident that he had reached a considerable level of proficiency. Naturally, he believed his sense of balance was much better than others.

However, Gwang Noh Ya shattered Lee Gwak’s pride and continued,

“Footwork is not just a foundation for executing moves. All movements start with walking. That’s why you need to walk properly. What does it mean to walk properly? It means to move naturally. What is natural? It’s being able to respond seamlessly to any external stimulus. Therefore, someone who knows how to walk properly doesn’t need to follow the rigid format of footwork. That in itself becomes excellent footwork.”

“…”

Gwang Noh Ya’s words completely contradicted Lee Gwak’s understanding, leaving him unable to argue because of the shock.

“Of course, you can’t walk properly from the start. The saying ‘all streams flow into one’ means that you can’t converge into one without experiencing the ten thousand streams. It emphasizes the need for diverse experiences. Similarly, to achieve proper walking, you must learn proper footwork. The footwork you have learned does not complement your blade techniques.”

Gwang Noh Ya pulled out a long string.

He tied each end of the string around Lee Gwak’s legs. The length of the string was about two and a half ja (approximately 75cm).

“Taking any larger strides than this will not help your martial arts. You must only move within this range. That will become your footwork.”

“My own footwork?”

Lee Gwak’s eyes sparkled.

Although he didn’t quite grasp it yet, he was confident that by following Gwang Noh Ya’s teachings, he would eventually learn the footwork best suited to him.

“Whether you’re sleeping, moving, or practicing martial arts, you must never untie the string. You must not break it. Understand?”

“Yes! I will remember that.”

“Good. Next is your martial arts. Your biggest problem is that your martial arts are too scattered. Do you realize that?”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak nodded without hesitation.

He freely used the blade, flying daggers, and axes depending on the situation. Positively speaking, he was versatile. Critically speaking, he hadn’t mastered any of them.

“At best, your swordsmanship is somewhat useful, but it’s cluttered with unnecessary movements and can’t unleash its full potential.”

He had mixed the Eight Sects Sword Art with the Thunder Blade Arts, added elements of the Moonset Blade Technique and the essence of the Hidden Sword Art. In Lee Gwak’s opinion, he had tried to harmonize them, but to Gwang Noh Ya, it looked like unnecessary excesses had been added.

“Many people mistakenly believe that the more complicated the form, the greater the martial artist, but true strength comes from simplicity.”

Gwang Noh Ya held a sword in his hand.

It was a simple, roughly made wooden sword, commonly found anywhere.

Gwang Noh Ya swung the wooden sword around, saying,

“The sword is the most intuitive and efficient weapon a human can wield. Cutting, chopping, slashing, thrusting, stabbing and pressing- these six actions contain all its secrets. You must forget everything you’ve learned so far and master these six actions perfectly.

“Six actions?”

With these six actions, you can sufficiently subdue an enemy. What more do you need?”
Gwang Noh Ya swung the sword.

Swish!

A simple slice made it seem as if heaven and earth were being split apart. To Lee Gwak, it appeared that way, if only for a moment.

“This is ‘Zhan,’ the act of slicing.”

Gwang Noh Ya’s body moved fluidly.

The crude wooden sword flowed along the trajectory of his fingertips before plunging into the ground.

Bang!

“This is ‘Pi,’ the act of chopping down.”

Then, Gwang Noh Ya’s foot swept across the ground.

Exactly two and a half ja, just the length of the string tied to Lee Gwak’s legs.

Gwang Noh Ya’s sword swished through the air.

“Zhuo.”

The fierce momentum transformed into a gentle force. Then he pushed the sword forward.

“Tui.”

As speed was added to the push, it turned into a stab.

“Zi.”

The final action was a press.

“This is ‘Ya.'”

Whooosh!

Gwang Noh Ya hadn’t used any internal energy, yet a powerful force swept through the area, making the rugged ground as flat as if it had been smoothed by a giant roller. Such was the power of the final press, ‘Ya.’

Lee Gwak trembled.

A shiver ran through his entire body.

Gwang Noh Ya had shown only six actions, but within them were all the things Lee Gwak had longed to understand.

“No martial arts in heaven and earth can escape the principles of these six characters. Master them, and no martial arts will seem mystical before you.”

The six actions Gwang Noh Ya demonstrated contained all that he had pondered and realized over nearly two hundred years.

He had mastered countless martial arts.

He had fought countless warriors.

Through this journey, he had risen to become one of the Four Divine Emperors and earned the title of Iron Blood Martial God.

Everything Gwang Noh Ya had achieved was built on his blood, sweat and tears. It was his study that no one could belittle or take away from him.

At first glance, they might seem simple, but within them were the secrets to constant victory and the principles of invincibility.

Gwang Noh Ya threw the sword to Lee Gwak.

The crude wooden sword stuck into the ground near Lee Gwak’s feet, quivering.

“Pick up the sword. And master it.”

Lee Gwak grabbed the sword.

A gentle warmth was felt from the handle, Gwang Noh Ya’s warmth, which was then overlaid by Lee Gwak’s own.

Strength coursed through Lee Gwak’s hand holding the sword, and thick tendons stood out on the back of his hand.

An unknown exhilaration filled his chest.

He looked at Gwang Noh Ya.

Gwang Noh Ya smiled.

A belligerent delight was embedded in Gwang Noh Ya’s smile.

Lee Gwak had already achieved a certain level with the sword.

For someone like him, the fastest way to elevate his accomplishments was through diverse combat experiences.

“Come at me!”

Gwang Noh Ya was confident.

He might not be able to be a good teacher, but he could be a good opponent.

Lee Gwak charged at Gwang Noh Ya, but the string tying his legs together was a hindrance.

‘The length of the string is two and a half ja, my step should be two and a half ja as well.’

His previous manner of movement didn’t work.

He had to shorten his stride.

Lee Gwak switched to short steps.

The string no longer hindered him, but his speed was reduced.

By the time Lee Gwak reached where Gwang Noh Ya was, it was empty.

“Too slow.”

Gwang Noh Ya had already moved to a spot one zhang (approximately 3.3 meters) away from his original position.

Lee Gwak clenched his teeth, trying to change direction.

At that moment, his body staggered. The string tying his legs had tangled. Lee Gwak nearly fell disgracefully to the ground, losing his balance. He barely managed to regain his balance, but by then, Gwang Noh Ya had moved elsewhere.

Unconsciously following Gwang Noh Ya, Lee Gwak’s steps tangled once more.

Thud!

Eventually, Lee Gwak tumbled to the ground.

He hadn’t even managed to swing the sword yet.

That’s when Lee Gwak realized.

To fight Gwang Noh Ya, he had to become completely accustomed to the string tying his legs.

His enemy was not Gwang Noh Ya but the string restricting his legs.

‘I must find a way.’

Lee Gwak clenched his teeth.