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2 Chapter Two-The Harmonious Fis

    The news saturated its content confirming that it was a terror attack by the Separatists, as the days went by. But the most important thing to Felix was his training. He had not trained for a day and it felt like a year, his father was busy tending to his businesses and Felix not having a drivers' license nor a car, decided to head to his uncle's kwoon (martial arts school) by ordering a taxi. Fred Sobek was Carl Sobek's oldest brother and a retired Union Guard General. He was also the standard bearer of the family's fighting system, the Harmonious Fist.

    Felix felt an ambience of nostalgia creep in as he entered his uncle's kwoon, it was next to his uncle's house which looked modest in comparison to his father's mansion. It was a late afternoon and a class was in session. Twenty-odd people mostly young men were standing in a stance known as the horse stance. They were squatting at ninety degrees to the ground with their legs spread twice the widths of their shoulders. Their backs were straight, and their knees were bent with their buttocks tucked in. It was an intense exercise mastered only by masochists, however, the students seemed to be able to hold their own, as Felix peered at them.

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    'The waist is the commander, the general of the body!' barked the instructor as he strolled side to side sternly looking at his students. 'The power comes from the feet, travels up the legs and is amplified by the waist. Flowing up the arms and it exits through the fingers. This was well known by our martial forefathers,' he paused and stood still, having already noticed Felix. The instructor ignored his presence for the time being and continued, 'However the message that we send from our lower body sometimes is too strong for the upper body,' now with a sadistic smile he ended with, 'give me fifty push-ups, everybody down! I want you to start the first ten and then the counting moves on to the next person.' His eyes fell on one of the students, who were already in a push-up position like the rest and this student, immediately started to count the first ten repetitions.

    The instructor wandered towards Felix; he was slightly taller than him. He had piercing blue eyes with a lean body and short blonde hair. The instructor was Eddy Sobek.

    'Cousin,' said Felix smiling as they greeted each other, shaking hands and pulling close as their

    shoulders and chest areas touched. 'Wow, you are raising hell! Impressed,' said Felix as he looked at the obedient students counting loudly doing their push-ups. Eddy quickly glimpsed at the students with a sudden glare appearing on his face. His eyes inspecting to see if any of them were slacking, satisfied he turned back to Felix.

    'You do not look too bad,' said Eddy. 'What you mean? I look great in fact last time we sparred...' cutting Felix sharply Eddy said, 'Last time we sparred was a loooong time ago. Yes, you made me kiss this floor, now at this moment in time it will be a different story if we sparred.' Felix chuckled, feeling his adrenalin pump, he did his best to control himself. Not intimidated by his cousin's eyes, he did, however, feel Eddy's air of confidence.

    Eddy was the adoptive son of Fred Sobek, he was adopted when he was only five years old. Fred came across him when he was the appointed commander of Union Guard troops, sent in to quell a rebellion that occurred in the East-South Union. It was during an inspection to an area that had experienced heavy fighting that he found Eddy, who was hiding in an abandoned apartment building still alive and too shocked to cry. Not having any child of his own at that time, Fred decided to adopt Eddy.

    Felix, Unlike Eddy, began his martial arts training under the tutelage of his uncle at the tender age of three years old and showed great natural talent. Eddy only started when he was ten years old, due to him being too sickly and feeble.

    'Where is Uncle?' enquired Felix. 'His with mom and Charlie,' answered Eddy. Felix excited immediately responded, 'Charlie, ** how old is he now?' 'His seven-years-old,' replied Eddy. 'Follow me,' he added. Felix followed Eddy as they made their way to the front of the class. The students were done with the push-ups, each one looking exhausted. 'Everybody this is Felix! He is a senior student of this school and a lineage holder of the Harmonious Fist. I am sure some of you here have heard about him...his quiet a legend.' Felix was trying to hide the shyness that had been evoked from Eddy's last words. Smiling slightly, he nervously waved at the students. 'Anyway, time to close the class! Remember to train hard,' and after saying that Eddy did the martial yin-yang gesture to the class, who did it back to him.

    Once the students had left the kwoon, Eddy and Felix made their way to the altar, which was behind them and in front as one entered the kwoon. The altar was to commemorate the ancestors of the Sobek family martial art. Displaying photos and painted portraits of former masters right up to the founder. With a lineage chart where the names of Felix and Eddy were also written. Even Carl Sobek's name was there. On the top of the altar written in ancient Daoist characters, it said, "Sobek Harmonious Fist School." In the centre of the altar was a small jade statue of an ancient saint, with big eyes and thick eyebrows followed with a thick beard staring with a kind of glare, in standing meditation. The arms and hands of the statue stuck out as if it was holding a big ball. It was a statue of a man who in antiquity, had brought martial arts to the Loham Temple and had even travelled to the Dragon's Lair where he had martial exchanges with the Daoist hermits there. His name was Daruma, and it was said that he inspired some the Daoist hermits to create the Water School, based on Daruma's famed Standing Meditation, known as Zhan Zhuang.

    Ancient myth has it that the martial arts he practised was the Harmonious Fist, the father of all martial art styles. Its focus was based on the essence of the lui he (the six harmonies or combinations).

    'Ah...the boys, you should both light incense and bow to the ancestors and Daruma,' said a deep voice. It came from a bald black man who had thick eyebrows and a thick black beard with a stout physique. He was slightly shorter than Felix and his brown eyes had a hawkish gaze. The man was dressed casually as he wore flip-flops, turquoise shorts and a vest. This man was Fred Sobek.

    'Uncle Fred!' exclaimed Felix feeling a rush of joy. Both nephew and uncle hugged each other and then they greeted each other using the non-martial yin-yang gesture. 'Why did you not come and pick me up?' asked Felix. 'I thought it was more appropriate for you and your dad to spend some quality time...after all he did not visit you when you were in prison,' said Uncle Fred. Felix sighed, 'Oh well...' and then he was interrupted by Uncle Fred as he said, 'Enough! Enough!' He approached Felix, putting his hand around Felix's shoulder, 'You back! Time to step into the platform, hope you warmed up,' once he was done speaking Uncle Fred headed towards a raised platform, which stood in the corner of the kwoon. It was circular with a diameter of about seven meters and was raised a meter and a half off the ground. Felix was aware his uncle wanted to assess his skills by having a sparring session. They had chatted about it through the years during Uncle Fred's visits, while he was in prison. Felix exchanged glances with Eddy and then followed his uncle who had made his way to the platform.

    'Father I think it's unfair, I should challenge him I mean...' Eddy's words were halted as Uncle Fred glared back at him. 'The time will come, however, his still your senior and you need to respect him,' he said, replacing his facial expression with a calmer demeanour. Felix feeling a bit uncomfortable as he looked at both Uncle Fred and Eddy kept his silence. Eddy did not reply, he simply sighed and walked away. 'Where are you going Eddy?' Felix suddenly asked him. 'Ah just heading to work, gonna shower and rush there,' answered Eddy. 'Hope to see you tomorrow, your first day is tomorrow you have not forgotten, right?' he said with a slight smirk on his face. 'Not at all, bro. It's an opportunity I cannot let pass,' said Felix.

    Felix did not even get a chance to stretch, as he stepped in the platform, Uncle Fred made a sudden move. He deflected the attack and then launched his fist forward, however, at that instant in time he flew off the platform and fell on the ground. Uncle Fred had struck him with his right palm. He had just touched him and then a sudden current of electricity surged through his body not hurting him, but it made him lose his balance as he flew off.

    Felix quickly got up; it was not the first time he had experienced his uncle's might. Regardless, just like the first time, he was shaken, and his heart pumped slightly as he looked at his uncle in awe, inspired to train harder.

    'As you already experienced, being issued with power by your opponent with them using a minimum use...or no use of physical strength! You remember don't you!? said Uncle Fred with an austere gaze. Felix answered his uncle, 'Of course.' 'Clearly, you have a lot of training to do,' said Uncle Fred as he hopped off the platform landing lightly on his feet. 'Follow me,' he said.

    They both walked towards the altar, Uncle Fred lit incense and Felix followed suit as they both bowed and placed both incenses into an incense holder. The burning incenses quickly wrapped them in a sweet musk type of odour. 'See Felix,' began Uncle Fred, 'it is a great shame you went to prison very young, we would agree if it was not for your knowledge in the fighting arts that you would have ended up being killed or worse...only the gods know. The point is I know this would hurt but just like your father you did not pay great respect to our family art. Well to Carl it means really nothing, but to you, it was just a way to fight. The Harmonious Fist is about harmony! I will say it again and hope you chant this in your sleep! You know this already, but I will say it again! And again! There are three externals. The pairing of the feet with the hands, knees with the elbows, hips with the shoulders. Then comes the three internals, the pairing of your emotions with your mind, your mind with your energy and your energy with your physical body. You know the rest...However, this is what we call the six harmonies. And the bottom is slightly tucked in, and knees slightly bent.' Despite Uncle's Fred's lecture, Felix had always kept everything his uncle said in mind especially when he met Silver an old friend of Uncle Fred. Remembering a question, he had for his uncle, Felix asked, 'Uncle, Shirfu Silver did not teach me anything of his art, did you have anything to do with it?' 'Of course not,' chuckled Uncle Fred. 'That **er did not even teach me anything! Ha!' he added.

    'Before you leave, stand for an hour in a horse stance!' barked Uncle Fred as he left the kwoon.

    Felix got into the position obeying the order with immediate effect. An hour in the horse stance was a walk in the park for Felix.
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