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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“This is a non-profit club, hence the condition of our place.” The girl smiled. “My name is Xu Yi. You can call me Sister Xu. The fact that you found this place shows your immense interest in Naxi swordsmanship.”
“Yes, but I’m a newbie who knows nothing about swordsmanship. I can only learn the most basic moves. Will you teach me?” Lin Sheng asked.
“No problem, as long as you’re willing to learn.” Xu Yi passed Lin Sheng a brochure. “This is the standard fee structure. You can choose the package you want.”
Lin Sheng took the brochure and glanced at it.
Basic Course: 18 Lessons. Two lessons per week. Tuition fee: ¥400.
Advanced Course: 18 Lessons. One lesson per week. Tuition: ¥1,000.
On the lower section of the brochure was an introduction of the club’s two coaches: Chen Huan, a woman, and Du Xinlei, a man; they taught students of the opposite sex, and both possessed Third Grade National Athlete Certificates.
Lin Sheng’s face twitched when he saw the coaches’ qualification; third-grade athletes were worthless. Generally speaking, anyone with slightly above average skills could already pass the certification. In some remote areas of Xilin, there were even cases where people could buy the certificate. Only first and second-grade certificates had value. It looked like this was only a mediocre club. Nonetheless, he would give it a try since it was better than not learning at all.
“Is there a trial lesson? I’m a student. You know, students don’t have much money,” Lin Sheng said.
“Of course, the first lesson is free. What time slot would you prefer? Chen Huan’s mainly in charge of male students while Du Xinlei the female students,” Xu Yi said with a smile.
Lin Sheng looked at the clock on the wall. “It’s two o’clock in the afternoon now. I have no classes this afternoon. Can I start now? How long is a lesson?”
“Forty minutes. Let me take you to Coach Chen Huan to see if she has time.” Xu Yi talked to the other two people, who got up and brought Lin Sheng out of the door.
They turned left and went up one more floor before they stood on the landing. There were two large classrooms on both sides of the stairway, and shouts could be heard coming from the classes. It was mostly female voices on the left and male voices on the right.
“Your class is on the right. Let me ask the coach first.” Xu Yi got Lin Sheng to wait outside the door while she entered the classroom on the right.
The room was as large as four classrooms in his school combined. The floor was covered with thick cushions and surrounded by bare-bone concrete walls. There were also two rows of fluorescent lamps on the ceiling.
A woman wearing tight-fitting gray trousers and a white short-sleeved T-shirt was holding a black wooden stick, demonstrating for three boys.
The long-legged woman with her hair in a ponytail had fair skin and a small waist. Lin Sheng gave her an eight just by looking at her from the side.
The woman noticed Xu Yi and turned to say hello. The two talked in whispers for a while. Then, Xu Yi motioned for Lin Sheng to come in.
“You can take a trial lesson before you sign up.”
“All right.” Lin Sheng nodded and went forward. Looking at the simple stick in her hand, his mouth twitched involuntarily.
“I’m Chen Huan, the swordsmanship coach here. Let’s continue with the lesson.” The woman was comely with a petite mouth and a pair of apricot eyes that were filled with determination. She had to be the stubborn type, Lin Sheng thought.
Standing behind the three students, Lin Sheng listened quietly.
“Once you get your posture right, the next step is your eyes. Pay attention to your opponent’s point of force, which is any muscle and tendon that will trigger motions.”
Chen Huan held the wooden stick upright with both hands beside her right ear. “This is a Roof. Since there’s a new student here today, we’re going to do some revision.
“A posture is a starter move designed for fast attacks that target the opponent’s weak points.
“A Roof is one of them. It’s the most basic swordsmanship posture, which all of you must master.”
Lin Sheng listened attentively and before he knew it, ten minutes had passed. Chen Huan just explained the basics briefly and delved into the more difficult part quickly. Fortunately, she gave the other students free time to practice, and they all moved to the side with wooden sticks in their hands.
Chen Huan then asked Lin Sheng to pick up a stick from the corner of the classroom.
“First time?” Chen Huan asked.
“Yup, I’m a newbie.” Lin Sheng nodded.
“Why do you want to learn Naxi swordsmanship?” Chen Huan swung the thick wooden stick, creating an airburst sound.
Lin Sheng squinted, staring at the movements of her stick. “Because I’m interested.”
“You’re not sincere.” Chen Huan smiled. “Well, since you have no foundation at all, I’ll start with the basics.”
She held the stick and lifted it to the side of her right ear. “The foundation of Naxi swordsmanship is divided into postures, basic moves, and sword skills. Our club mainly teaches basic postures and moves. We won’t talk about sword skills since you’re still a long way from it.”
“Understood.” Lin Sheng nodded.
“Naxi swordsmanship is a delicate sword technique introduced by an ancient foreign kingdom. Many people think that this sword technique is crude and chaotic, but this perception is a big mistake.” Chen Huan raised the stick over her head.
“This is also one of the basic postures. Roof is typically used when not wearing body armor. The sword is above the head so that striking from above is more natural.
“The posture with the sword near the ear is only used when we wear body armor. Since the helmet is tall, we place the long sword next to the ear.”
“Got it.” Lin Sheng raised the stick and made the same posture.
“After the postures, you have the basic moves. The basic moves of Naxi swordsmanship are mainly thrust, strike, and swirl. If you register, you’ll learn these three moves.” Chen Huan began to demonstrate the simple Roof and one of the basic moves—thrust.
Soon, the forty-minute class ended. Lin Sheng had probably just scratched the surface, and the next step—paying the fee—was the most crucial part.
“I don’t have money right now. Can I pay for it partially first?” Lin Sheng asked. He only had over ¥100 in his pocket. His elder sister mentioned that she would send him money, but Lin Sheng did not want to rely on her. As a spacetime traveler, he would be ashamed of himself if he could not even earn some money.
“Partially? How much?” Chen Huan asked haplessly.
“One hundred. I’ll take a quarter of the course first,” Lin Sheng said. “I’ll continue the rest of the course after I pay the balance.”
“All right.” Chen Huan thought for a moment and nodded.
The two discussed the schedule, trying to make lessons on the weekends when Lin Sheng had no school.
After that, Lin Sheng paid the money and got the payment receipt in one hand and a black stick in the other.
Before he left, he had asked and learned that the club would be vacant after four in the afternoon. As such, he could come and interact with the other students, as well as learn how to use the protective body armor and helmets for apparent reasons.
Of course, he would have to pay if he damaged any of them.
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