Chapter 17 – Inner Strength of the Martial Path
“As everyone knows, the Martial Path is split into nine ranks. The first three ranks are known as the Body ranks and have the title of Martial Learners. The fourth to sixth ranks are known as Martial Artists, and the seventh to ninth ranks are known as Martial Masters. Everyone who is a Martial Master has a high status, even the Zhao Sect does not have many of them,” Coach Chen simply explained about the nine ranks of the Martial Path.
“Every three ranks have a huge gap between them.”
Zhao Feng’s mind drew a simple diagram.
First three ranks: Strengthen the body and set up a good foundation.
Fourth to sixth rank: Form inner strength, or chi. Every move and action far surpasses the power of Martial Learners.
Seventh to ninth ranks: Upgrading Inner Strength to Transformation Strength, which can attack through the air.
There were rumors in Cloud Country of Big Martial Masters, those who had reached the peak of the ninth rank and had the title of Ten Thousand Man Army, who could easily kill their enemies.
In their eyes, normal Martial Artists and deadly beasts were ants.
“First we will talk about the first and second rank of the Martial Path. Through martial art skills, we strengthen our body and blood…” Coach Chen first talked about the foundation of the first two ranks.
Many of the disciples on the field had already reached the third rank, so they did not pay much attention to this. Zhao Feng paid close attention as he had been at the first rank of the Martial Path for a very long time. And the one hundred or so martial art books in his mind were now viewed differently.
He suddenly remembered the first skill he learned, Flaming Metal Fists. Slowly, the moves, experiences, and skills faded out of his memory.
Zhao Feng was shocked as he did not know what this meant. The only thing he knew was that Flaming Metal Fists had reached past the peak level. He did not realize that he had accidentally entered a meditational state. These states were rare, even for geniuses.
“Next we will talk about the skills of the second and third rank, and how to execute them…” Coach Chen didn’t just speak, he also showed how to practise them.
Being a true Martial Artist, any moves Coach Chen showed were all middle ranked martial arts trained to the peak level. Even if Coach Chen used the power of the third rank and middle ranked martial arts, he could still easily beat the top ten disciples.
“Lastly, I will be telling you tricks about Inner Strength. A few of you have already reached the peak of the third rank and are just a bit away from entering the fourth rank.” As Coach Chen spoke up, his lips curled into a smile. The top ten outer disciples had all reached the peak of the third rank.
“Even I cannot fully explain how chi works. The key point is how each of you understands Inner Strength. All I can do is give you some of my experiences…” Coach Chen’s voice turned low. Just as he finished his sentence, he gave off a frightening aura.
At that moment, all the Zhao sect disciples were unable to breathe properly. The unseen pressure flooded over all the Martial Learners.
“What strength! Is this inner strength? If I had that I could try to break through to become a true martial artist…” The crowd held their breaths as they looked on in awe.
“Inner Strength is, after all, a type of power that forms from within one’s body. Thus, strong blood is the key point in forming Inner Strength. And the strength of one’s blood depends on how strong one’s body and bones are. This is also why the first three ranks are known as the Power ranks. They provide a solid foundation to be built on,” Coach Chen said as he demonstrated.
“Rock Breaking Palm!” A faint yellow glow emitted from the center of his palm.
Before the palm even hit the ground, the force from the palm had already arrived.
That palm’s power, filled with Inner Strength, was like a mountain that came crushing towards the disciples. The aura alone could make the Martial Learners yield.
Three disciples of the second rank who stood at the front fell onto the ground.
“Hmph! I can see that your foundation is weak. The wind from my palm has already made you fall. If it was someone of the seventh rank or higher instead of me, you guys would have already been crushed into pieces…” Coach Chen shook his head.
As he was explaining and demonstrating, one youth was like a sculpture that didn’t move. After Coach Chen finished his demonstration, the youth closed his eyes.
“Inner strength is like that…” Zhao Feng closed his eyes. In his mind, the picture of a person’s body once again came up.
At a certain point, a faint yellow glow came from inside the blood. When Coach Chen was demonstrating earlier, Zhao Feng had used his left eye to get a better look…
His eye had caught every subtle change in Coach Chen’s body, including how chi was formed. In his mind, this scene was now being replayed back and forth. Maybe Coach Chen himself could not understand the changes in his body so precisely.
Next, Coach Chen demonstrated some of his own experiences again. Every time he demonstrated, Zhao Feng would use his left eye to observe. While the other disciples could only hear the reasoning, Zhao Feng could fully see how it was formed.
Half an hour later, Coach Chen’s lecture ended.
“You cannot force Inner Strength. To form chi you must have good talent and a solid foundation.” Coach Chen shook his head as he left. It was obvious that he did not have much hope in these outer disciples.
If his explanation could make one or two of them understand inner strength, it would be unexpected…
After Coach Chen departed, most of the disciples were left with questioning faces. After all, Inner Strength could not be described. It was different for everyone.
The disciples that ranked highly had gained some insights. Zhao Yue, who was ranked first, and Zhao Yijian sometimes had expressions of thought and sometimes expressions of happiness…
Zhao Yufei’s eyebrows were slightly fluttering.
As for Zhao Feng, he closed his eyes while standing still. Inside his mind, the memory of Coach Chen performing was replayed over and over…
A while later...
Zhao Feng let out a breath as he hurriedly returned home.
As soon as he got home he closed the room and sat down cross-legged.
“I have finally understood how Inner Strength works…” Inside his mind, the last pages of Lightly Floating Ferry came up once again.
According to the Air Pushing Breathing Technique, if he trained it to the peak of the third level, he would have the foundation to form Inner Strength.
He spent the rest of the day fully absorbing the insights he had gained. At night, Zhao Feng performed the Air Pushing Breathing Technique a few times to confirm that he had reached the peak of the third level.
“It is starting now…” Zhao Feng took a deep breath as he slowly tried to form his chi. Following Lightly Floating Ferry, Zhao Feng slowly pushed his blood together.
Compared to the Air Pushing Breathing Technique, the standards of Lightly Floating Ferry were much higher.
Soon Zhao Feng’s blood passed through his body. Everything went smoothly. However, just at the end, Zhao Feng felt like he had no energy left.
The reason was because, while Zhao Feng’s blood was strong, he was lacking in quantity. In terms of blood strength he could be compared to Zhao Yue, but in terms of quantity, he was still a ways off.
Zhao Feng had not reached the peak of the third rank, and the way in which Lightly Floating Ferry formed Inner Strength was harder than most other skills.
“If I fail, my blood will fall into a period of weakness and it will be harder for me to form it next time…” Zhao Feng grit his teeth as he took out a two hundred year old blood plant.
Zhao Feng sucked in a breath as the energy from the blood plant merged into his bloodstream.
At the last moment Zhao Feng felt the blood rushing within him.
A shout as loud as lightning sounded within the room, causing the windows to rattle. The room went became dark due to the fact that the candle had been blown out.
Under the moonlight there was a youth full of anticipation who slowly opened his palm. A beautiful faint green glow appeared...