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THE PEOPLE: TRAINING DEVICES
The People are widely regarded throughout the lands as a warrior culture, similar to the Spartans from ancient Greece of Old Earth. Their weapons skills are rarely equaled, and their physical conditioning renders them superhuman by any non-cybernetic measure of the typical Conglomerate citizen. It is true that The People are born of superb genetic stock. The brutal “pruning” of the physically compromised, whether they are an adult or child, has further refined the gene pool over the course of their existence. A member of this society who cannot take up the blade is considered a drain on limited resources.
Like the professional Gridrunner athletes of the Conglomerate, physical exceptionalism does not appear on Anomaly in a vacuum or by accident. This is especially true of The People…and they do not have the benefit of our nutritional or cybernetic enhancements to achieve these same ends.
The People constantly train. As soon as a child can walk, they are taught to run. When they can sprint, to jump. It’s something of an inside joke that they cannot yet fly (though Caderyn comes dangerously close to it sometimes). The People’s ability to battle embarrassingly superior numbers can be credited to their environmental cognizance, their stamina, and their remarkable sense of balance, in addition to strategy and blade skill. They have developed numerous training devices to push themselves to excel in each of these areas. The most abundant apparatus is the seesaw-like “Drunken Step.”
The Drunken Step, often referred to simply as “the Step,” is a wooden platform precariously balanced atop a base (also made of wood or, where unavailable, a large rock formation). The trainees must first get atop the device before they begin their sparring. This is no easy task for the uninitiated. The need for “balance” is not only to prevent a nasty fall. It is also a state of mind The People believe brings them closer to The One. All the training The People undergo is considered a form of meditation.
The merging of physics and philosophy has made for a remarkable fighting system. The parties must almost “read the mind” of the other in order to move toward one another for combat while at the same time staying atop the Step. The effect is, in many ways, like shadow boxing but with a live opponent on a platform tossed about by the swells of an angry ocean. To watch demonstrations by accomplished warriors on the Step is, for younger trainees, like watching the most complicated dance ever conceived, complete with the clanking of battle staffs or the clang of metal… And they are fast… Aodh explained that by being “balanced” and reacting to the movements of the other, it is easier to identify and take advantage of their enemies’ lack of knowledge in either.