As the clock struck eight, Master Vail bowed respectfully to Jagoan and Jagoan before making his way to the front of the crowd.
The old master stood tall and proud, stroking his long beard with one hand as he addressed the eager students.
“Greetings, everyone! Welcome to the first-ever Martial Arts Training Conference hosted by Master Wade! I am Master Maximo Vail, the thirty-ninth head of Mystic Harmony Sect, and I am humbled to have been invited by Master Wade to impart my knowledge of martial arts to all of you. Over the course of the next few hours, I will be sharing with you everything I have learned in my lifetime, and I hope that together we can all make great strides in our training.”
Master Vail paused briefly, allowing the enthusiastic applause from the students to die down before continuing.
“Today, I will be teaching you all the first chapter of ‘Great Way of Harmonious Unity’ without reservation. This is a highly coveted martial arts mentality, and regardless of your level of experience or expertise, I urge you to approach this training with a steady and humble mindset. Even for those of you who have already mastered the dark realm, there is always something new to be learned.”
Jagoan had long since made it clear to all those attending that “Great Way of Harmonious Unity” was a rare and highly sought-after martial arts mentality, and even Jagoan had taken the time to prepare himself thoroughly for this unique learning opportunity.
With great enthusiasm, Master Vail launched into the first chapter of “Great Way of Harmonious Unity”, taking care to explain the purpose and principles of the martial arts mentality in great detail.
Though the first day of instruction was entirely theoretical, even martial arts masters like Jagoan gained new insights into the art of fighting. Meanwhile, for beginners like Jagoan, Aurora, Isaac Cameron, and Don Albert, the slower pace of instruction gave them ample time to prepare and absorb the new knowledge being presented to them.
By the end of the first day of classes, both seasoned martial artists and newcomers alike expressed their satisfaction with Master Vail’s teachings.
Jagoan, who had been watching from the sidelines, was similarly impressed by the old master’s performance. Given enough time, there was no doubt in Jagoan’s mind that Master Vail could help these students establish or re-establish a rock-solid foundation in martial arts.
Once the class had ended, Jagoan sought out Jagoan and Aurora to gauge their impressions of the day’s teachings.
“So, how did you feel today?” Jagoan asked.
Jagoan smiled thoughtfully before replying, “It felt like my very first English class as a child. Back then, I knew nothing about the language, and had to start by learning the basics of the twenty-six letters. Similarly, I’m not yet familiar with the intricacies of martial arts, but Master Vail’s down-to-earth descriptions make it easier for newcomers like me to understand. While I may not yet fully comprehend the mysteries of martial arts, his explanations have given me more specific impressions of these concepts. It reminds me of my English teacher as a child, who would use creative metaphors to help us remember things. For example, she’d liken A to an iron tower, B to glasses, and C to the moon.”
Aurora sighed in agreement, “Master Vail’s teaching is certainly engaging, and it doesn’t seem so intimidating. However, I don’t dare to claim how much I understand. Luckily, he didn’t jump straight into practical exercises, otherwise, I’d be completely lost.”
Jagoan smiled, having seen Master Vail’s syllabus beforehand. “Don’t worry,” he reassured them. “Master Vail is just giving you an introduction to theoretical knowledge today. It’s perfectly normal if you don’t fully comprehend everything. Over the next few days, he’ll use diagrams of the human body’s meridian system to teach you about the various components and structures of martial arts. It’s similar to how a medical student must first familiarize themselves with the structure of the human body. He won’t rush the pace of instruction, and everything will be taught at a steady pace. Specific practical exercises will only be introduced after you’ve had time to familiarize yourself with the theoretical knowledge over the next few days. By then, you’ll be better equipped to sense the presence of meridians and dantian in your body.”
Aurora couldn’t help but giggle in response. “After hearing Master Wade’s explanation, I definitely feel more at ease,” she said.
Jagoan noticed that Don Albert and Isaac Cameron were whispering to each other not far away, so he turned to Jagoan and Aurora. “Why don’t you take some time to digest the knowledge that Master Vail shared today,” he suggested, “while I go check on Don Albert and Mr. Cameron?”
After bidding the two women farewell, Jagoan made his way over to Don Albert and Isaac Cameron.
Don Albert was speaking in a low voice to Isaac Cameron, asking, “Isaac, did you understand everything?”
Isaac Cameron paused for a moment before replying earnestly, “I think I have a general understanding of the principles of martial arts. Essentially, it’s about opening up your own meridians using true chi while strengthening your body at the same time.”
Don Albert grinned in agreement. “I have a similar impression,” he said. “The basic principles are clear to me, but I wonder when we’ll actually get a chance to practice it?”
Isaac Cameron offered a word of caution, reminding Don Albert that martial arts was not something to be rushed.
“Remember what Master Vail said… You can’t skip ahead in your training. It’s like taking a theoretical course before you learn how to drive. You have to start with the basics and take things step by step,” he advised.
Don Albert laughed heartily. “I can’t wait to make a breakthrough in my personal strength… I want to show my brothers what I am capable of!”
Just then, Jagoan approached them with a smile. “It seems like Isaac has a much better understanding of things than Don Albert.”
The two quickly greeted Jagoan with respect.
“Master Wade,” they said in unison.
Jagoan nodded in acknowledgement. “The journey of martial arts is a long one… So, it’s crucial to lay a strong foundation from the very beginning. Don Albert, you mustn’t rush for success. Think of it like learning to play the piano. Your teacher will start by teaching you the basics of music theory, and you can’t just jump ahead to learning an entire piece of music. Otherwise, you’ll be putting the cart before the horse.”
Don Albert nodded respectfully. “You’re right, Master Wade. I can be impatient like a child sometimes. After listening to Master Vail’s lecture, I feel like I’m back in junior high school biology class learning about physiological structures. I just wish I could find a partner to practice with and speed things up a bit.”
Isaac Cameron couldn’t help but smile at Don Albert’s impatience. “You can’t rush things… It takes a year or two for most people to get started. How can we expect to achieve what others do in a year or two in just one day?”
Don Albert nodded in agreement, conceding the point. “You’re right, Mr. Cameron.”
Jagoan smiled at their banter. “Alright, enough chit-chat for now. You’ll start practicing practical exercises in about a week. Until then, focus on laying a solid foundation and don’t lose sight of your goals.”
The two men nodded in agreement, and with nightfall approaching, Jagoan bid them farewell and drove away from Elys-Champ.
Meanwhile, in New York City, USA…
The Evans family was up early, preparing to head down to the restaurant for breakfast. Due to safety concerns during this time, most of the family members resided within the heavily guarded Anbang Building, including the elderly patriarch and matriarch.
Lately, the patriarch’s health had been unstable, with symptoms of Alzheimer’s coming and going. As a result, many family matters were decided by the matriarch.
Sitting at the table, the matriarch cleared her throat and called for everyone’s attention. “I have an announcement to make…”
All eyes turned to her, and the family members paused their movements, waiting for her to speak.
He then continued, “I’ve already arranged to purchase some real estate in Aurous Hill… So, starting today, the Evans will depart for Aurous Hill one by one. Your grandfather and I plan to leave this afternoon.”
Without giving the family a chance to respond, she turned to Desmond and said, “For safety reasons, everyone will leave within the next three days. Desmond, it’s up to you to decide who goes first.”