Howdy. Seireitou here. I would like to introduce this blog that I am writing, effectively known as the Guide to Training.
Now, as egotistical as it may sound, I do consider myself an expert in how roleplay training should operate. In real life, my martial arts background, spanning nearly eleven years to this date, has enabled me to understand how growth rates can differ, which can carry over to roleplay training as well. In terms of wiki background, I've had a hand in training many characters on both this site and the Naruto Fanon Wiki, and most recently, on Dragon Planet Wiki. Such authors who have underwent my training, typically through my main character Seireitou Kawahiru on this site, and corresponding characters on the other sites, include: Achrones150, Ten Tailed Fox, Nisshou, and other inactive users as well. So you're welcome to talk to them, as I believe they'll vouch for my training expertise.
This blog is meant to put down my thoughts on how training works in roleplays and why it is significant to undergo them, and also to give those of you who do your own personal training roleplays or do so with other users some ideas on how to proceed in doing those aforementioned roleplays. Please note that these are drawn upon years of experience in doing training roleplays, but at the same time, I do not expect everybody to heed my words here. I will be more than satisfied so long as you read it and consider what I have to say, even if you do not take anything from this.
Without further adieu, allow me to begin.
Why is Training needed?
Authors should always have a sense of realism in their works, no matter how "magical" the world, in order for their audience to have something to relate to. Otherwise, the story becomes far too "out-there" to attract attention.
Training is one of these elements.
Sure, you could always do a timeskip. Three years pass from some point, and your character magically becomes ten times stronger, three inches taller, has longer hair, et cetera... But how? Did they learn anything about themselves during the training? What did they train? What did they improve? Did they succeed at improving everything? Or nothing? Or some things?
My point is, sure a timeskip is good and dandy sometimes, but if you do it all the time, your character becomes super strong without you, the author, having any idea of how those skills can be used. Even if you're the one who came up with the new powers, how will you know how effective they can truly be if you haven't had your character practice them? This is even worse if the new abilities they have are from a different character, whether it be yours or another author's, because not everybody can learn everything and use it correctly. Some characters can't do it all, so how will you know if they can while sticking true to their character design? Then it looks silly and lazy, half-assed even... and once again, readers lose touch with your work and subsequently lose interest.
After choosing which character(s) you wish to train first, of course, follow the steps below.
Before anything else, you need to ask yourself one question. What does the character have to learn/improve? Jumping into a training roleplay without the slightest idea of what your character has to learn during this session is pretty silly, and will get you nowhere. You'll be doing small talk and doing random sparring just to make it look like you're doing something, and in reality, you'll accomplish nothing.
There are a few things to consider when deciding what the curriculum of your training session with entail:
- Physical Training: In my opinion, the physical aspects of training are probably the most important. In almost all roleplays that involve training, or rather like... 93% of them, involve the trainee increasing their physical attributes in some way or form. Whether that means their strength is enhanced, speed is enhanced, et cetera, you get the point. Just how strong is too strong, though? You want the character to develop their physical attributes to new heights while steering clear of mary sue-dom. So that means, you cannot have a character who is unable to lift two hundred pounds (set at 9.81 meters per second squared gravitational acceleration), then trains for one year at a human world gym, doing a half hour on the treadmill every other day, then goes to Soul Society and rips off Yamamoto's arm effortlessly. That is a big no-no.
- Growth Rate: Just how fast a learner is your character? You want to be careful here, because not every character can be an Ichigo and master their Bankai in three days. That brings me back to the sense of realism you want to instill in your character and in your story. Characters who take a long time to develop and become stronger are usually more interesting, because you can relate to it. I didn't get my third degree black belt after going to the YMCA Taekwondo center for three weeks. It was nearly eleven years of hard training. Going through trials that I didn't think was possible, but I did so anyways, growing as a person and as a martial artist. The same should apply to a character as well. We all want our characters to be geniuses who can master the entirety of Kidō after doing some light reading on the weekend. But it can't happen. Not that it shouldn't happen, but it just can't happen if you want to avoid your character being seen as some sort of joke. Just like how all people have different rates at which they grasp knowledge, so too do characters.
- New Abilities: After three years of training, most people would want their character to have more going for them than just being able to lift a bigger rock than they could three years past. This is one of those things that you have more freedom with. There is no real limitation to how many new tricks a character can learn, within reason of course. This is important to consider as deciding what new tricks you want your character to learn will play a hand in your decision on the master of that character.
- Realizations: More of a broad category, authors should use training roleplays as a way to have the character go through personal growth as well as power growth. How does that character grow, in terms of personality and insight? If all they gain is some new fire attacks and three times their normal strength, they look rather cookie-cutter if they didn't walk away from their training without at least some sort of personal realizations. There's not much limitations on this one, but rather, I make it known that it is to be expected, especially if an experienced elder is the mentor of your character.
Consider the above well in the formation of your curriculum and you will succeed in the training. It helps to have an outline as well, in order to keep track of what the character should be like after the training.
Choosing a Master
One of the most important aspects of doing a training roleplay is to choose who will teach the young grasshopper. Some of you prefer to have the character go through solitary training, and sometimes that is fine, for experienced characters, but if you're looking for the character to learn some new things about themselves and their powers, you'll most definitely need them to undergo training under a master.
First part of this process is to choose what type of master you want. And yes, there are multiple types.
- Experienced Elder: The most common form of a mentor, the elder is someone with vast knowledge and years of experience under their belt. It doesn't need to be a geezer, but most likely someone who is decently aged. In this class, you'd definitely want someone who is a master-class person in the field that you wish your character to become involved in. My Seireitou Kawahiru is a good example of this sort of mentor.
- Big Brother: Someone who is close to the trainee character. Typically similar ages, same past, similar experiences, but one just happens to know something a bit more than the trainee. Using Rocky III, for those of you who saw it, Apollo Creed was this sort of mentor to Rocky Balboa.
- Yourself: Yes, believe it or not, you can be the master of yourself. However, the problem with that is, the character will often not have a sparring partner and will probably not improve as far along as you would want them to. This sort of "master" is best reserved for a character whom has quite an amount of training under their belt.
The next step is determining what sort of master you need, in terms of skills. If you want your character to master Hakuda, then having a Kidō master be the mentor is sort of silly. It'd make more sense to have a Hakuda master teach Hakuda. After all, I would rather not be taught differential equations by a person who went to school for french literature. You want the master to suit the needs of the character. Not just in ability, but in mindset. How did this master end up mentoring this character? You want to also provide some sort of back story or introduction as to how the particular master became the teacher to the character.
During the Training
Enter the Dōjō (or Dojang)
Location, location, location! Believe it or not, it is important to choose a proper setting for training. Location can help in the training itself, as difficult terrains, such as mountains and thick forests, make it more difficult to navigate through the area and helps to use nature itself to train your character further. Giant bears attacking and whatnot. Maybe learning how to fish with your bare hands, to learn to enhance perception. There are many approaches you can go about when using nature as a training tool, so it is best not to overlook it.
You want to start the roleplay either by meeting the master and going to the training location, or starting it in the location itself. However way you wish, but you want to choose a sufficient one. That being said, you don't need to keep to just one location. Multiple locations are good in preparing a trainee to handle the randomness and unpredictability of real combat.
So have some fun with that.
Me and Kenji had a small talk about this. Repetition is a key part of all training roleplays. If your character can master Kurohitsugi after one try, with no background in Kidō whatsoever, just get the fuck out now. I will chase you down with Zanka no Tachi, I swear I will.
As the legendary martial arts master, Bruce Lee, once said: "I don't fear a man who knows 10,000 moves and isn't proficient with them, but I fear the man who has practiced one technique 10,000 times."
Training is a process. It cannot be completed so easily. It takes blood, sweat, tears, and plenty of typing. There's not much else to say about that, as it is self-explanatory. You want your character to fail the first couple of times, to give them motivation to succeed. Make them angry at not being able to grasp something. Make them exhausted to nearly the point of death. Make us appreciate what a character learns, by showing us how hard they worked and how many times they failed at first. Of course, that being said, having a genius who can learn things really quickly isn't always a bad thing, just be careful to not overdo it.
Let's face it. Having someone lift a three-hundred thousand kilogram boulder up a mountain can only be done so many times before it gets old. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to always have a sparring partner for your character; someone who you can fight in order to test out how far along the character has come in their training and what they still need to improve upon.
Sparring is a key component in any successful training session. In fact, if I dare say myself, it is the most crucial element of most training roleplays. Pain is an effective teacher, so expect your character to get their ass handed to them a few times by their mentor before they'll be able to fight back. Remember, as I said before, it is a process.
It also allows you to practice some of the new tricks that your character is now capable of, to see how they pan out and how effectively the character (and you, the author) can use them. It is crucial to include some form of sparring, as it can also count for physical training as well. In a training roleplay I did with Achrones150 a while back, Hanzei Kurosaki trained Kibō Injiki. Kibō had become much stronger through sparring with Hanzei, who was nearly two hundred times stronger by comparison, showing how effective a tool sparring can be, especially when it is a consistent aspect of the training. Even Ichigo, when he learned Fullbring, sparred with Ginjō to advanced his skills with it.
That concludes my Guide to Training. Please be advised that I shall be making additions to this blog whenever there should be a need to add something, and you're all free to ask me questions below, which I can answer in a Q&A section on this very blog.
I will be doing another blog sometime in the future, entitled Guide to Mentoring. This will be for those who wish to learn more about being an effective teacher through your character to other characters of your own or to characters of other authors. Be sure to look out for it.