Character Spotlight: Korra

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Name: Korra

Game(s): The Legend of Korra

Skills/Attributes:

  • Avatar.
  • Skilled in all four elements.
  • Talented fighter.
  • Brash.
  • Rebellious.
  • Rough.

Overview:

Korra’s been one of the most-requested non-video-game characters, and coupled with the lack of female characters on the blog lately, I stuck her in the first official character poll!  While initially behind in votes, she ended up edging out Tifa Lockheart over the weekend, so here we are!  Want to help decide who we cover next?  Go vote in the new character poll!

As the Avatar, Korra is adept in all bending arts (though when we first meet her she has serious issues with air bending, and I would argue she hasn’t truly mastered anything but water bending, yet).  Obviously a member of the Fighter archetype, Korra’s extremely adept at combat, to the point of her having issues with the “softer,” more spiritual side of her avatar duties (as demonstrated also by her initial difficulty with airbending).  While her predecessor, Aang  would definitely fit into the Monk class, I would say that Korra’s rough-and-tumble approach to life would place her more comfortable in the Brawler class.

Korra is a really cool, multi-layered character, and I think we can learn a ton from her.  Let’s lay out our road map for the next two weeks!

THE LEGEND OF KORRA

In The Korra Workout, we’re going to work on building a badass brawler body.  We want explosive strength, LOTS of agility, and super-fast reaction time.  This means plyometrics, solid core conditioning, flexibility, and high intensity cardio.  Korra is the epitome of fighting fit, so that’s what our final goal should be, too!

THE LEGEND OF KORRA

In The Skills of Korra, we’re going to take a look at her combat style, first and foremost.  Korra’s experiences in traditional bending forms vs. sport forms will also give us a reason to look at the difference between traditional martial arts and modern combat sports.  Additionally, we’re going to talk about traditional martial arts conditioning drills and practices, both the pros and the cons.  Finally, we’re going to talk about bending, and how we can draw from the elements to enhance ourselves in various ways.

KorraMind

The Mind of Korra will be an examination into Korra’s thoughts and motivations, and how various hardships have shaped her, for better and for worse.  We’re going to talk about how impulsiveness can be both a strength and a weakness.  We’re also going to talk about rebelliousness, and how to temper your rebellious tendencies, if you find them to be a negative influence on your life, or how to fire them up a bit, if you find yourself to be a bit too by-the-book.  Part of living boldly is having the courage and judgement on when it’s necessary to step out of line.

I love Korra, and the Avatar universe, so I can’t wait to cover her in the coming weeks.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I’m going to =D   Also, don’t forget to go vote in the new character poll over on the forums!

Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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The Mind of Zeratul

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Okay, first thing’s first, we have a character poll up over at the forums!  Go check it out, and vote who I should cover next week!

Also, just another reminder, RPG Fitness is on sale, $5 off, through next week!

Okay, all that said, let’s move on to The Mind of Zeratul.

Zeratul is a rather polarizing character among the Protoss.   He recognizes a loyalty to his own people, but also to the preservation of life in the universe, against massive threats like Amon.  This loyalty to the preservation of other life in the universe sometimes puts him at odds with his own people, especially after learning that Sarah Kerrigan – The Queen of Blades and leader of the Zerg – may be the universe’s only hope in the coming war.

Zeratul carries his own regrets, as well.  He considers himself partially responsible for the fall of Raszagal, the former leader of the Nerazim (The Dark Templar), even though she begged him to kill her by his own hand and take the mantle of leadership.  Though he should be the acting leader of the Nerazim, currently he lives in self-imposed exile, dealing with the guilt he holds for his inability to save Raszagal.

Even in exile, however, Zeratul continues to be a leader of his own people.  He acts as their agent in ways that he could not if they knew of his deeds, such as the guidance and resurrection of The Queen of Blades.  While doing so, he acknowledges what his people would do to him, if they knew, and he admits that he will face their judgement soon enough.  This is the sign of one who is willing to accept the consequences of his actions, recognizing the value of the greater good at the expense of his own personal welfare.

To understand the mind of Zeratul, we must understand the mind of the Nerazim – the Dark Templar – and how they survived after their exile to Shakuras.  Though Protoss feed off of sunlight, Shakuras is dark, nearly completely.  Though Protoss gain their psionic energies from the Khala, Nerazim do not, having cut off their own psionic appendages in protest to joining the Khala.  To replenish themselves, physically and mentally, they learned to commune with the Void.

The Void is not giving, or welcoming, or warm, like the Khala.  The Void is cold, powerful, and nearly limitless.  It is indifferent to those who commune with it, and wielding the powers of The Void requires intense training and willpower.  The Nerazim spend countless hours training their bodies through combat practices, and training their minds through meditation, in order to draw their strength from The Void.

Zeratul is an elite among the elites.  Powerful, wise, and old, he has seen and experience much in his many years, and is bound to have a hand in shaping the future of sentient life in the universe.  Zeratul’s communed with the Overmind, sparred with The Queen of Blades, commanded troops in war, appeared before Protoss and Terran leaders to plead his case, and had a hand in multiple galaxy-altering conflicts in all this time.

Experiences build wisdom.  Not all experiences are good, as Zeratul’s example shows us.  We all have our own collection of experiences, both good and bad, and these shape who we are.  Through meditation, and consultation with our own internal Void, we can control how these experiences shape and affect us.  The existence of bad experiences should not turn us off of continuing to seek out new things to try and do.  Fear is one of the greatest limiters, but when you face The Void, like Zeratul, there isn’t much that can actually make you afraid.

If you desire true wisdom, strength, and the ability to lead your people, you need to seek out new challenges every day.  You must cultivate discipline and a calm mind, so you can ride out and weather the bad experiences, and truly savor the good.  Sometimes, you must seek your own time to recharge yourself and reflect upon what you’ve experienced.  Zeratul’s self imposed exile may be his way of dealing with his own guilt, but it’s also allowed him time to meditate on both his failings and successes, and to learn more about the coming conflict which threatens all living things.

I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities…

Zeratul’s words carry both literal and metaphorical meaning, here.  He has seen much, learned much, and gone many places.  Every new thing is observed and interpreted.  If we seek to truly be like Zeratul, we must seek out whatever knowledge we can, take what journeys we have available to us, and keep our eyes and minds open all the while.  We must live boldly, and in doing so we will change the world, and through this, we will become more awesome.

Adun Toridas.

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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The Skills of Zeratul

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Hey all.  First off, I’m sorry this is so late, life’s been a bit hectic lately.  Family issues came up on Monday and I haven’t really been in a place to sit down and finish this post until now.  That said, everything’s pretty well in hand at the moment, so you should have The Mind of Zeratul on its normally scheduled release tomorrow.

Also, for those interested, RPG Fitness is currently $5 off, so you can grab the best gamer fitness system this side of Aiur for just $14 from now through the end of next week.  Enjoy!

Moving on…

Psionic Combat

So, obviously we’re not going to be sprouting psi-blades from our forearms or teleporting around anytime soon (unfortunately).  You can, of course, strap a regular old sword on your forearm and go swing it around for a while (note: I don’t condone this on anything but non-living targets, obviously), but that’s kind of missing the coolest parts of Zeratul’s combat skills.  Sure, forearm blades are cool and all (we’ve covered combat with them before), but in my opinion, the void-based aspects of Zeratul’s combat style are the coolest part.

So, how do we go about emulating them if we can’t Blink, or fade into the shadows at will?  Well, these aspects of Zeratul’s combat are really methods of advantageous positioning.  Attacking from angles the opponent doesn’t see or expect, and removing yourself from the situation before they can strike back.  For this, first we’re going to work on our footwork, much like we did with Riku’s Combat Glide.  We want to “explode” from point to point, and be driving ourselves from one location to another, rather than just stepping.  We may not be able to blink, but by changing our footwork in combat to move more proactively, we can definitely outpace and outposition our opponents.

Additionally, we want to think about attacking from our opponent’s blind side.  This is what I like to call “combat stealth.”  If your opponent can’t see your strikes coming, then you might as well be invisible.  This is done through proper setup, and consideration of angles.  The most simple method of doing this is giving someone something to think about other than your strike.  For instance, if you throw a jab at someone’s face, their options are parry it, slip it, fade away, or get hit.

If they parry, you’re made.  Whichever arm they use to parry with, that’s your angle of attack.  You want their arm to block their vision of your follow-up strike as they’re parrying.  So, if you throw a jab with your left to the face, and they parry you across their body, their hand (and your arm) will be covering their vision to their lower-opposite side.  If they went to their left, you follow up with a right uppercut, they won’t see it.  If they had a non-mirrored stance, then they parried to their right (your left), and you can follow up with a left kick to the kidney/thigh/knee (depending on range).

Of course, this is just a basic example, but when sparring, start to think about distracting with strikes, and attacking from the blind sides and angles you and your opponent’s reactions create.  This works for weapons, as well.  Remember that every weapon (even two-handed ones) has at least two sides to attack with.  Swords have points, blades, cross-guards, and pommels.  Knives have the same (minus the cross-guard).  Staves have two ends and a middle, as do batons and clubs.  Think about how to chain your strikes utilizing these opposing ends and the attack vectors they create.

Walk the Void

We’ve discussed meditation before, and while I highly recommend you check out that starting guide, we’re going to talk about going a different “way” of meditation.  You want to clear your mind, even your breathing, and be still, like in the basic instructions listed in that post, but then it’s a question of where we “go” after that.  Mindfulness meditation, as discussed in the aforementioned post, is being mindful of yourself and everyone around you.  However, we’re going to look inward, and explore our inner “void.”

Self contemplation and exploration is a powerful and scary thing.  Sometimes self-examination while meditating can be unsettling or unpleasant for people, so take it slow and easy when you give it a shot.  If you can ride out the initial bumps, you can begin to learn a lot of things about yourself.  Examine your inner motivations, your darkness, your light.  Think about the decisions you’ve made, examine the reasons for them, learn what you can from the situation, and discard them.  Empty your mind of stress and emotion, and relax into a deeper, more tranquil sense of yourself.

Remember that emptiness and void is not a negative.  We all carry a lot of baggage and stress within us.  Discarding all that, if even for just a few minutes a day, can be a huge blessing.  Drawing within your own mind and exploring all the nooks and crannies can be a strange and wonderful experience.  Remember that in dealing with yourself, you must be completely honest.  Don’t let preconceived notions, fears, or prejudices drive your inner thoughts.  Wipe everything clean, and see yourself as a single whole.

The Void exists within all of us.  If we embrace it, we gain wisdom and knowledge beyond that of mere mortals.

Psionic Focus

Focusing is something a lot of people have a hard time with.  Honing in on one single project or task can be difficult, as can starting something AND seeing it through.  The fact is, however, that monotasking (doing just a single thing at a time, rather than trying to do a whole bunch at once) is much more productive and efficient than multitasking.  So how do we keep ourselves focused on that single project?  How do we keep our minds supernaturally focused on task?

Well, meditation helps, for a start.  Learning to control your brain is a big step.  However, I’ve also got another method I like to use to keep on task.  It’s known as The Pomodoro Technique!  Now, over on the site they’e got a book for you to buy and a timer for you to use and stuff, and you can get totally into that if you want, but I’ll break it down for you here.  Basically, the idea is you work in relatively short bursts, and reward yourself with relatively short breaks.  Typical interval is you focus on something for twenty-five minutes, then take a break for five minutes or so.  Repeat four times, and then take a longer break (15-30 minutes).  In doing this, you keep from burning out, you stay focused, and you stay on point.

Now, sometimes those intervals don’t work well for everyone.  I have some days where I work much better with a 10 focus/2 rest interval, or a longer 30 minute focus, 5 minute rest interval setup.  The basic idea is to just find an interval set that works for you, stick with it, and watch your focus and productivity skyrocket.  Seriously, this is powerful stuff!

 

So, that’s it for The Skills of Zeratul!  Check back tomorrow for The Mind of Zeratul!  Until then, as always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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