Chapter 48: The muscles must loosen, the pores must attack
After another half month, Wang Chao had been treated nicely. Zhang Tong had sent him medicinal cuisine everyday and then helped him practice by using the chopsticks as swords. This had allowed Wang Chao’s wrist to grow even more nimble and avoid from growing sluggish.
After half a month, Wang Chao had gradually learned the 13 powers of the sword. Incorporating the sword techniques within his own Chinese boxing, he treated his finger like a sword and continued to practice every day. Even in his sleep he had continued to practice it subconsciously.
Gradually, Wang Chao’s Bagua, Xingyi, and Taichi had grown and adapted to incorporate Zhang Tong’s 13 sword powers. With this, the three different disciplines were united with each other.
But Wang Chao hadn’t been too surprised by this change. That was because Li Jinglin’s sword style had been created during the Central Guoshi Institute’s time by incorporating the best features of every discipline he had fought against.
During the years of the National Guoshu Institute, Li Jinglin, “Divine Skill” Sun Lu-tang, Yang Luchan, Yang Chengfu, and master Li Shuwen had all researched the sword and was explored by the each of them.
Zhang Tong was only an expert in the art of the sword and not anything else. Although her sword was not complicated, it was more than enough to open up key points for Wang Chao to understand.
Pi Pa! Pi Pa! Wang Chao’s finger continued to mimic a sword and used the burst and stir powers in order to create a crisp sound in the air.
Unknowingly to Wang Chao, his finger had struck against the white porcelain cup on the table.
Bang! The entire white porcelain cope had split up into several pieces, causing the water to splash all over Wang Chao.
“The Clear Jin has been perfected in my hands.”
Wang Chao’s heart lit up with happiness as he saw his finger split apart the cup. But then the next moment he felt pain in his finger only to see a split in his fingernail with blood leaking through. Clearly when he had split apart the cup, the countershock had been enough to injure his finger.
“The external skin and muscles haven’t been perfected yet so having bronze skin and iron bones is a long ways off. Resisting such a force is just as far away; there’s no other choice. I’ve only practiced for two years and am only decent with my fists. Although I’ve practiced every day two or three times more than the regular person, it is only equivalent to a person practicing for four or five years.”
After recuperating for half a month, Wang Chao’s body had already fully recovered to full health. There was only a fierce looking scar on his shoulder and arms that resembled a centipede almost.
Originally Zhang Tong had proposed for him to undergo a skin graft, but Wang Chao was firm in his decision not to. He knew that after he reached the Hidden Jin stage, his skin and muscles would be transformed and completely heal over the scars.
Testing out his entire body, he walked in a circle around the hospital room only to realize that his legs had atrophied by a noticeable amount. He was no longer as nimble as he used to be; showing that after half a month of no practice, he had deteriorated in skill.
“Practicing is like rowing a boat upstream, if you stop moving, you can only flow backwards!” Wang Chao sighed in regret. He knew of the principle of becoming slower after a day, and losing reasoning after two days.
Just as Wang Chao got into the posture for the Assault of Dragon and Snake by straightening his vertebrae, Zhu Jia chose that time to walk in.
“Aiya, you’re up now. How is it, are you fully recovered?”
Wang Chao nodded his head, “My vertebrae is lacking in flexibility, but I should be able to recover that within three days or so without much trouble. We’re leaving today, have you prepared everything for Beijing?”
“Everything is prepared, I’ve already given a call to my grandfather. When I said there was a fellow Bagua disciple, he seemed almost as excited as you were. However, when you two meet, you have to be on your best behavior or else my grandfather will think you’re just filled with hot air.”
“Filled with hot air…” Wang Chao thought back to when he had used Bagua’s knife techniques to slice into someone’s neck, “Sure enough, this is martial arts used to kill!”
“Let’s go then. Change your clothes and let’s get out of the hospital. We’ll be leaving at 3 PM today and reach Beijing by night time.” Zhu Jia spoke.
“That fast?” Hold on, I’ll give Zhang Tong a call and then I’ll go home to change my clothes.” Wang Chao immediately began to call up Zhang Tong’s number. When Zhang Tong picked up, it was as if she knew what was happening. “You don’t need to trouble yourself with the hospital procedures, I’ll have someone cover it for you.”
Wang Chao had been relieved and went back to his villa in the Tianxing district to grab a spare change of clothes.
Zhu Jia had followed him, but when she saw Wang Chao walk into the large villa, she instantly grew shocked, “Just who are you, this type of villa isn’t that easy to get access to!”
Laughing mysteriously, he replied, “This is the house of my sister. She’s currently out abroad, so I’m looking after it for her!”
“Who is your sister?” Zhu Jia couldn’t help but channel her news reporter persona and asked a question.
“I don’t know!” Wang Chao spoke honestly. Unfortunately, Zhu Jia had treated this truth as a lie and said no more.
But she and Wang Chao could be considered good friends by now. She knew that Wang Chao’s personal matters were not something she should gossip or interfere in too much, so she shut her mouth obediently.
Wang Chao hadn’t been in this villa for half a month and so he missed the place. Walking around the room, he began to relish the familiar feeling to it.
Zhu Jia watched his movements with bright eyes as if she was remembering something.
The two later boarded the airplane, but Zhu Jia had been unnaturally quiet on the way. Wang Chao hadn’t realized this one bit however, as he was preoccupied with Zhu Jia’s words about the elder Bagua member.
Nightfall quickly came as the airplane finally landed back on the ground.
After the two had exited from the airplane, she had neither called for a taxi or had a car waiting for them. Instead, she looked for the metro and bought them both a ticket before boarding it.
Wang Chao had felt this was a tad strange.
Seeing the strange look in Wang Chao’s face, Zhu Jia could only laugh. “Grandfather Li maintains the tradition from the revolution. He doesn’t like a luxurious life, so if we were to call a taxi he would hate that.”
“Oh!” Wang Chao replied with some shock before thinking about the elder with even more respect.
On the subway, Wang Chao had inquired to Zhu Jia about her grandfather without pause, From what she told him, the elder had been a prime minister once before becoming a guard. But now he resided within the Beijing military district for the rest of his years.
Soon enough, the two had reached the destination. Getting off the subway, they began to walk on the road. Not too long later, they had came across the majestic military courtyard with armed soldiers standing guard menacingly.
“This is a part of the military district, inside this place has many retired elderly people.” Zhu Jia explained before giving a phone call.
A moment later, Wang Chao’s eyes began to shine as an elderly person walked out from between the gates.
This elderly person’s steps had been calm but decisive. It was slow, but it was also very fast at the same time. When he saw Zhu Jia and Wang Chao, he waved his hand before walking straight over.
Wang Chao and Zhu Jia both welcomed him by moving closer as well. By the time there was only 10 steps between them, Wang Chao could already see the man’s appearance.
The elder had grizzly hair that was combed nicely. While his skin wrinkles were bulging, he didn’t have the puffiness normally seen in an elder’s face. He wore a regular looking gray robe and had clothe soles on his feet.
This appearance had given him a straightforward and tranquil appearance.
“Grandfather Li!” Zhu Jia cried out enthusiastically.
Wang Chao had called out as well. For a person like him, he had to be courteous and respectful.
“Jia Jia, is this the youngster you’ve told me about?” The elder gave a glance towards Wang Chao.
Starting with a shock, Wang Chao quickened his pace, “Senior, I have been rude.” With that, he extended both hands forever and raised them.
When the elder saw Wang Chao move, his eyes lit up in satisfaction, “Good! What a pure stance!” With that, he brought both of his hands up against Wang Chao’s.
The two men brought their hands together, causing Wang Chao to suddenly feel the elder’s pores straighten up almost as if he was pressed against a thousand iron needles. Each one pointed sharply at his own skin. It was at this moment he had realized the elder’s Chinese boxing had already reached the Hidden Jin stage. Whether or not it was the Transforming Jin stage, he didn’t know, but he did know that it was a far distance away from his own.
“Senior is far too outstanding, I have lost.” Wang Chao spoke honestly.
What Wang Chao had just done was the proper etiquette from the former Wulin circles. In the past, people of the Wulin wouldn’t need to fight each other in order to test their strength; all they needed to do was to press hands against each other.
If they truly wanted to compete, then it would be a battle to the death.
In the past, scholars of martial arts would just need to press hands in order to tell who was weaker or if they shouldn’t act rashly. But this way had caused the foreign martial artist world to say that Chinese Wushu was nothing more than a fake facade.
Only the person who drinks the water would know whether or not it is cold or hot. If one wanted to establish who was superior, then they would use their fists.
Chinese boxing was not meant to see who was stronger than the other or separate life from death. Death was a major thing, and so everyone was cautious regarding it.
“How many years have you practiced?” The elder nodded his head in satisfaction.
“I begun learning the Horse Stance last December. Right now it has been two years and a half month.”
“Two years!” The elder cried out in shock, “Who is your master?”
“My master’s martial arts had reached a level where the water does not reach past the knee. However, after teaching me for a year, even I don’t know where she has gone to. Thus, I have practiced by myself.”
“Not reaching past the knee?! That is the pinnacle of the Transforming Jin stage!” The elder was stupefied. “I had no idea there would actually be such a person like that! Have I aged? I’ve surely aged!” The elder knew of the rules of the Wulin and inquired no more.
“Youngster, your martial arts is quite decent. In just two years, you have reached the Clear Jin stage. Even though your master is extremely talented, it is upon the disciples potential in order for their strength to be brought out.”
Shaking his head, Wang Chao replied, “I am still lacking a lot. Even with the pressing of our hands, I am not yet able to react subconsciously and breakthrough naturally.”
“Break out naturally.” The elder thought for a moment before looking at Wang Chao, “Do you wish to know the cause?”
“Of course!” Wang Chao spoke.
“The classics of martial arts say: The muscles must loosen, the skin and hair must attack. Step by step, the two should string together with an empty spirit.” The elder spoke. “Your pores must be able to become like iron as it attacks while keeping the heat in control. But this is only the “Pores Must Attack” stage. Against an enemy, your muscles must loosen at the same time. When learning the fist, you must maintain a Yin and Yang balance like a copper ball with mercury within it. Hard exterior soft interior, open and close. Burning Yang and Sealed Yin must be cultivated, and in that moment of killing will you breakthrough naturally. Your subconscious movements will then be faster than anyone else by one step.”
“So the mercury and copper balls had that meaning!” Wang Chao realized.