Five Essence Style
Five Essence Style is the collective term for the fighting style of the followers of The Way of Fivefold Essence. They mix physical combat with manipulation of elemental energy. That energy might enhance a practitioner's strikes or movements, or may be manifest as a force which strikes on its own. Any given practitioner, will practice a unique variant based on their own knowledge and experience. Some practitioners focus on perfecting a single element, while others seek to balance all elements.
Students of the Style learn katas which cause them to emulate the elemental forces of the world. These help them channel inner energy into elemental power. Early techniques emulate elemental properties without showing obvious signs of the supernatural. More advanced techniques allow a martial artist to manipulate the elements in the world around them, to create elements at need, or to take on aspects of elements themselves. The most advanced masters are said to become beings of pure elemental energy, striking out with inescapable wrath or melding into the environment to become as forces of nature.
Practitioners of the Five Essence Style always study unarmed combat, but as befits their philosophy they may also learn a variety of weapons. A favored weapon of the Five Essence Style is the Kusarigama. This multi-part weapon is thought to reflect the variable aspects of the five elements themselves, and custom weapons made for Five-Essence fighters are constructed to reflect this:
- The steel blade gleams with the sharp hard nature of metal.
- The bamboo shaft displays the flexibility and lightness of wood.
- The fine-ringed chain is fluid and flexible and makes the sound of running water.
- The weight is frequently a ring of carved quartz, displaying the solidity of earth.
- Fire is sometimes represented symbolically as a red gem in the center of the ring. Some students replace it with a container of burning pitch to create a weapon which threatens more than entanglement. More advanced practitioners of the Style need no pitch to create this effect.