Neo League 251 - #265: Noriko vs Chen

Description: Noriko Asakaze wants to attract more attention to her dojo. Destroying half of it might be counterproductive. (Winner: Chen)

Here comes a new challenger!
It had taken some time to locate someone willing to come to the Asakaze main dojo in order to battle in a fully filmed match. There's plenty of room, and the arrived team of Neo League employees has made the central area -- enough for fifteen people to comfortably battle -- into an extraordinarily well-lit room, all of the walls mirrored and the ground padded. It's well made but very worn by time, a factor easily seen. Multiple wooden bokken adorn the walls, with myriad equipment intended to facilitate safe training between those who pursue battojutsu. Some rather innovative camera techniques involving the bolting of an iron rail on the ceiling was done, but Noriko reluctantly gave her consent.
The dojo itself is two hours out of Southtown; Enclosed by tall walls for privacy as opposed to security, there's a central courtyard of plants and gardens, with large sand pit adorned in stones with bamboo rake. In the rear is sections for training and sparring, as well as many tombstones of former masters adjacent to the family shrine. The main building is very large, intended to house multiple live-in instructors as well as an extended family. There is a storage shed adjacent, three stories of residential structures, and both the main dojo -- which is being used -- and a secondary one, the same but smaller. The style is traditional japanese, with sliding doors and few windows, all of it surrounded by an ornamental railing and many chairs. Quiet, peaceful, and isolated, a perfect place for meditation and peace. Despite the many vehicles lounging around inside, with large satellite dish broadcasting...
Noriko herself is dressed in her standard embroidered kimono, settled into a sit with a tray of tea at one corner. It is being slowly sipped, sheathed katana resting beside. Light discussion is offered with the producer of this fight, who is promising proper promotion in exchange for the installations. She can have all her fights here now, he promises, and even keep the spotlights! How very nice.
But where is Chen?

Rugal heads to the Pacific Ocean.

Rugal arrives from Japan.

Chen will be arriving promptly at the time that was agreed to. If nothing else, the Chinese bartender has good manners and a sense of dignity -- showing up on time is a very small part of that.
Arriving a tiny black Hyundai Tiburon is not, but that takes place off-camera, so it's all good.
Nodding a brief greeting to the officials, he squints his eyes as he steps into the main dojo hall, barefoot to honor the sanctity of the dojo, and smiling like an idiot the whole time. He hadn't particularly =wanted= to enter the fighting limelight -- in fact, he finds the whole affair rather distasteful -- but his own personal growth has to take priority over any mild discomfort.
Or so his employer has told him, anyway.
Clasping before him, he bows stiffly at the waist to his fellow combatant, smile still affixed in place as usual. "Good evening, Miss Asakaze. Wonderful place you have here." The sharp-dressed Chinaman certainly seems to have formality comparable to that of the iaijutsu-trained warrior he plans to fight. "It certainly brings back memories of my first master's dojo back home."

Unexpected! After the fiasco with Nanako, which did indeed open Noriko's eyes if nothing else, all hope for a punctual caste of fighters was almost lost. He even has no shoes on! This swordswoman is in love already~ Pushing herself to a stand, one foot lightly nudges her tea well off into the corner, where only the most freak of incident might possibly disturb it. Taking up her katana thereafter, Chen is approached with a subdued stance, shoulders curved down and head lightly inclined forward. She bows rather deeply, holding it for a second before rising back up.
"You... you honor me too much. The reason for such spars here... is how poor the condition happens to be. I wish to stall the deterioration. I am very pleased you took my offer. It was by no means necessary for our fight..."
A small smile lingers, as the distance is widened with a few steps backwards. "The least I can offer is you the honor of beginning." Of course, first the pair have to be introduced. There's a fair amount of dramatics, a small spiel of the dojo's history and situation, and an announcement of both fighters! Noriko got some more recognition, but that at least wasn't intended at all.
With those requisites completed, the que for the fight to begin at the pair's leisure is done! And indeed, Noriko does not so much as lift her katana, remaining vulnerable in order to completely give the first move to Chen opposite. Even if he tried to be nice and give it to her, he'd have to rather blatantly argue further to get her to change her mind.

COMBATSYS: Noriko has started a fight here.

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Noriko           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Noriko takes no action.

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Noriko           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Chen has joined the fight here.

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Chen             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Noriko

"It would be most rude of me to refuse such a request," assents the Chinaman, bowing in exchange to Noriko. "I do have a request of my own, however... I find myself at a bit of a disadvantage against an armed opponent such as yourself." His smile increases pleasantly, as he then nods to the armaments along the wall. "Would you allow me to arm myself, in the near future?"
While the introductions are taking place, Chen calmly walks to an equivalent position opposite her, smiling all the while. And once the introductions conclude, he bows to his opponent once more -- regardless of her response, he won't be charging into battle armed just yet. "Then... Here I come!" Offering a verbal warning is the only courteous thing to do, after all... before breaking into a rather fast dash at the young woman, leaping in with a flying kick. "WATAAAAAH!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko dodges Chen's Light Kick.

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Chen             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Noriko

"Certainly. You may use whatever tactics you desire, if you can attempt and minimize damage to my dojo." One of the advantages to using a sword, at least, is a relatively small swathe of destruction. Heaven help this girl if Jiro tried to fight /indoors/, after all. She'd be better off selling the lot to a landfill. "...Of course, that is not a requirement. Merely personal request." And then he's rushing towards her, his speed impressive enough to warrant narrowed eyes.
Tensing, she ducks down low as his foot arcs overhead, before swiping out with her free hand and attempting to catch his ankle as he passes. If this is successful, she'll try and whirl him into the mat, and slam him back-first with all the meager might she has! And by no means is that much in all. The cameras begin to whirl, attempting to take it all in. The initial acrobatics are rather nice, after all...

COMBATSYS: Chen blocks Noriko's Quick Throw.

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Chen             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Noriko

"Of course!" Even in the midst of battle, Chen is perfectly jovial. ... Perhaps his perpetual good humor is frightening in itself, but it certainly doesn't seem sarcastic.
Even when he gets snagged out of midair by the young woman, he wears a smile. Partly because he has a predetermined defense -- by extending his legs and arms to either side in a windmill gesture, he's able to curb his momentum, slowing himself in midair so that his landing on the mat is fairly comfortable, considering.
Maybe =that's= why he's smiling.
Or maybe it's the fact that, despite his trapped ankle, his =other= foot is still more or less free for attack -- and that's precisely what the bartender does, snapping it at the young woman's shoulder in an attempt to free himself. "Haaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko dodges Chen's Medium Strike.

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Chen             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Noriko

Well, that's a rather unorthodox defense, but it certainly worked as she feels an attempted impact almost drain away. Pads probably did not help... Noriko is not adept at such melee assaults in the first place, and merely wished to get him out of her proverbial face. A vicious kick for her shoulder does work in driving her off, leaning back in a supreme display of flexibility, spreading her stance and slamming a free hand behind. Backflipping with that as a springboard, she then brings up the sheathed katana before narrowing her eyes and attempting to line him with the raised weapon.
Thereafter she will draw her sword, unleashing a vicious strike that swirls in the room, causing a mildly startled gasp from those watching the fight. A vicious crescent bursts out, of sheer vorpal force. It dissipates a few moments after, before hitting anything but a potential chef. A shink, weapon going home thereafter. It's meant to drive him /further/ away, as she wants some her-time alone for at least a few moments!

COMBATSYS: Chen blocks Noriko's Fall of Dusk.

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Chen             0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0           Noriko

Kipping back to his feet after the clearing kick, Chen seems surprisingly nimble, his movements light and quick.
It ought to be clear that he's not terribly familiar with Noriko's particular set of techniques however. The drawn sword, by itself, is noted with a raised eyebrow from Chen, his smile unaffected. The other eyebrow goes up as the crescent of chi erupts from the blade's tip, though... and to keep up with the joneses, he backflips sharply, approaching the rack of wooden bokken. And then, only then, does he snap up a defense, forearms doubled to absorb the brunt of the blow.
Oh, he stopped smiling for all of an instant; it's hard to keep that up when gritting the teeth after all. The momentary grimace is short-lived however, and the man calmly recovers. "If you'll excuse me..." Equally calmly, he leans back and withdraws a slender blade from the rack. He doesn't hold it in the proper manner, however, pointing the tip towards the ground as he slides his left foot forward. His left hand adopts an open palm defensive stance, his right, sword-bearing arm remaining behind, wooden blade nearly parallel with his forearm. "... I have been wanting to experiment with another style." His smile broadens, for just one moment, as he advances upon the young woman. Perhaps this will give her enough 'me time'?

COMBATSYS: Chen focuses on his next action.

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Chen             0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0           Noriko

Nanako heads to Asia Major.

That is a good piece of information for someone to know. If you wish to get Chen off your back, merely fling a vorpal curved blade of condensed wind bound with chi in his direction. Thoroughly educational. Although he takes one of the choice weapons amongst the bokken, there's more interest then anything else. Does he really know how to use it? ... Yes. If not through specific training, she can see the strength of movements and unhindered poise that only someone dangerous is capable of possessing. If him always smiling is a bad thing, it's hard to tell. "Feel free." is all she offers, as she begins to swirl with condensed wind. It blows amongst the entire room, filling it with the pleasant smell of autumn. Somehow, a few leaves snuck in, dancing majestic through the air. A visible cyclone vanishes as it whirls into the blade itself, sheath glowing a soft brown. She's apparently preparing to unleash further pain, but of what delicious flavor is the present question!

COMBATSYS: Noriko gathers her will.

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Chen             0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Noriko

Kim heads to Asia Major.

It should come as no surprise that Chen's response to Noriko's assent is a smile. Really... it's the universal response for someone conditioned to be a life of dealing with customers.
Approaching with a bokken in retrograde fashion, though... that isn't a standard greeting. The hairs on the back of Chen's neck may be bristling from the chi gathering in the dojo, but his resolve is unquestionable. "Excellent," he states. "Perhaps this will be an enlightening experience!"
And with that in mind, Chen steps forward, his upper torso pitching wildly to the left in a rather unexpected aggression, his bokken lurching high overhead in an extended slash of the reversed blade, aiming to carve a diagonal swath across Noriko's defenses. Most men of his stature would experience serious wrist pain from the attack, would they have attempted it -- but apparently, the man has been practicing.
If that were all, it'd be a rather painful strike in itself -- but he follows it up by reversing direction, his aim to penetrate the remains of the girl's defenses with the tip of the bokken, plunging straight into the relatively soft tissue of her abdomen. "Hiiii-HAAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko blocks Chen's Heavy Strike.

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Chen             0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Noriko

It should be pleasant for someone to always smile. So assured. So comforting. All teeth...
And it is!
It certainly doesn't bother or weird out Noriko. It's a rather pleasant surprise in actuality, compared to emo teacups and... ...Is anyone she knows not an emo teacup? She'll worry about that when not in the midst of an important battle. The search for enlightenment is one she plans to assist in!
Raising her sheathed weapon, the wooden sword is deflected cleanly, although she's hammered by the strength despite such. He surely has incredible physical strength. Comparable to Jiro, at least. Being jabbed in that manner is not preferred though, twisting in a perfect deflection that only jabs her non-existant lovehandles before continuing on.
This leaves Chen open enough for retribution. Forward she rushes, spinning in a motion akin to a dance before slipping out her katana and flashing it out. The blade attempts to lick across his face, and then carve twice more, one from shoulder to hip and then the opposite him right to the shoulder. It's all bolstered by a swirl of chi, ending with an attempted backflip and re-sheath if everything goes according to her plan...

COMBATSYS: Chen counters Midnight Ballet from Noriko with Monkeywrench.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Noriko

Chen's unorthodox style, however, proves to be something of an advantage in this case. For one... his inverted sword is more of a defensive stance than an offensive one -- which led to his rather awkward mode of attack. But in cases such as this, keeping the sword upside-down is of benefit -- for Chen quickly shifts back to his personal style upon noticing the blade lashing out for his smiling face.
That is -- he raises his right arm, blade once more parallel with his forearm. And, like a blur, he spins out of the way.
More directly, there's a distinct clack of metal against wood as the blade does, indeed, contact the vertically-oriented sword. But it's not a =direct= hit, by any means -- for Chen's bokken blade redirects the hit out of harm's way, ensuring he can spin towards Noriko's right side.
Chen's true attack vector, then, wasn't the sword at all, but the left elbow he's driving into the young girl's shoulder as he spins past. Continuing to step around, he lowers the bokken, it having served his purposes, and rams his right elbow into the girl from behind. Another turn brings another elbow slamming into the girl, but the final blow comes from the pommel of the simply-carved wood as he extends it at the Asakaze heiress' right side. None of the hits may have been particularly damaging in themselves, but Chen tends to aim for a greater gestalt.
And the Chinaman's still smiling, though Noriko may have to turn to see it. "Ah, that may have been painful!" he notes.

Well, Noriko is actually not entirely sure what happened. She was in the midst of her dance, and now she's crumpled on the ground in a significant amount of pain amidst Chen apologizing. In retrospect his supernatural movements are realized, teeth gritting as she manages to push back upright with a pained sigh, limping a meter away and then narrowing her eyes in apparent suspicion. So that is the kind of fighter he is. Such information would of been nice before she got whacked in tender locations for such a sustained period of time. "...Ow." is admitted, looking a tad doubtful. He's a lot better then she wondered.
But live and let live! Again she slips intimately close, this time trying to feint him with proximity while the sheathed katana is defensively raised. Apparently not a prude in the slightest, this would end in a vicious upwards swing, trying to literally slug Chen in the side of the face with her weapon before blooming into an onslaught of three sharp strikes after a draw, all three stabbing motions with attention focused like a laser. She had better press the assault! There's still plenty of opportunity to turn this around for herself...!
It would end in a burst of wind, trying to finally knock Chen off-balance... But will it work?!

COMBATSYS: Chen dodges Noriko's Twilight Promenade.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Noriko

Somewhere, quite far outside of the dojo, there was another event of ongoings quite far off from where he was at. A blaze of activity has happened. Some say that the bears exist as well as other sorts of wild animals. But, perhaps that is why Jiro Kasagi went out there.
However, as he arrives once more, he is not alone. For by his side is a dog running along Jiro's side. It's Leo, who Jiro was taken to since his stay from the fight. Get the dog some fresh air while Noriko does what she does.
And of course, once Jiro walks to the dojo, dressed in the usual white shirt and cargo black pants. He could use a grooming and a make over or so. He is about to go until Leo halts him. A sigh escapes from the Stray Dog, "... Right, right..." The young man removes the shoes and enters the main room of the dojo.
....To see a fight.
The young man blinks, "Hrm."

Chen is enjoying this particular fight, even though it was something his employer put him up to. Truth be told, he had fancied the idea of getting into the public fighting scene on his own volition, several months prior. ... But Saturday Night Fight is =not= the venue he had in mind. Too flashy, too showy. A battle like this, against a young, up-and-coming fighter? Much more his speed.
The fact that she spends a minimum of time recovering, and renewing her assault, is welcomed. With a nod of his head, Chen raises the inverted blade as if to parry it aside.
Apparently, the tinge of chi along the blade gave him second thoughts, for the nimble Chinaman suddenly leaps backwards, allowing the blade to whistle harmlessly past the place where he last stood.
Performing a reverse somersault in mid-air, he lands upon the mat in a low kneel. Looking up to address his opponent, he notes, "... I'd like to note... that I envy you, Miss Asakaze." A faint sigh escapes his lips as he stands, then enters a few sweeping strokes of the blade, acclimating himself further with its weight. "My strength is tied to the bone and flesh, though you command far greater power in your strikes." Nodding in affirmation, he once more adopts his stance, tilting his head. "A most educational battle, this is turning out to be."
Once more, he lunges in with a vicious overhead strike. The blade falls short and wasn't intended to hit -- but rather to pass the sword to his left hand for a rapier-like thrust in proper fencing form. "En garde!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko dodges Chen's Medium Strike.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Noriko

Darnit, he's like a monkey! She's trying her hardest to actually lay her weapon upon him, utilizing every aspect of her style's swiftness. Even though she positioned her weapon to intercept any further assault, this turned out to be less then satisfactory. The bokken is still handled with such ease, and she can tell he's still in the process of attuning with the weight and feel. Yet another supreme talent... How can she be envied, when he can do in moments what takes her years...? Only partially deflated, Jiro's sudden arrival is met with widened eyes. Not distracting, but it would be nice if he would give her some encouragement. Being discouraged in a fight might be her biggest weakness. She needs passion, drive, the soul to continue. That is how she surpassed Jiro, after all.
Slipping back from the overhead, suddenly it's shooting for her stomach. Arcing backwards, hands plant behind, stomach grazed before she attempts to wrap her legs about the extended arm before it can be retracted. And if this hopefully inhibiting maneuver is attempted, improvised though it be, she'll push herself off and attempt to smack Chen right within the face with an elbow while snapping him towards the mat! More then just her sword can be utilized, and on the off-chance this succeeds, she'll try to twist him upon his face and apply something of an arm-lock with no small amount of force!
En-garde indeed!

COMBATSYS: Chen fails to interrupt Quick Punch from Noriko with Light Kick.

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Chen             0/-------/---====|=======\=------\1           Noriko

At first, Jiro does not feel like saying much, but rather watch the fight impassively. Besides, not like people cheer him on, so why should he bother with them? But, for the sake that this woman seem a little outmatched in some aspects by the man, the Stray Dog has a smirk on his face before he responds with a simple phrase that is his own encouragement.
"Kick his ass."
That is Jiro's encouragement.

... Okay, fencing is out.
Truth is, Chen did join up with the fencing club in college for a short time -- so it's actually =more= his forte than the seemingly awkward reverse sword techniques he's been using up to now. ... So shifting style, practically in mid-stroke, may have been Chen's undoing.
More accurately... perhaps it was more that the =last= thing he'd expect a proper Japanese woman to do is wrap her legs about his arm. It's worth mentioning that Chen =does= attempt to bring his leg up in a snap kick once he'd first spotted the motion; however, Noriko's sharp downward pull is enough to throw him off-balance. His attempted counterattack, thus, leaves him in a weakened stance -- and him on the mat with a rather sharp expulsion of breath.
The bokken had been dropped in the confusion, as Chen's got something else to occupy his attention: a young woman attempting to twist his arm off! "... My, my... do you think you can break my arm that way?"
And just afterwards, he looks up to see Jiro standing in the doorway. "Ah, you're the one who wrecked my bar last. Nice to finally meet you in person, Mister Kasagi!"
For a man in such a compromising and painful position, you'd think he'd scream a bit louder. It's not that it doesn't hurt, really -- just that he stopped =caring= about pain.

"Nnngh!" Many people can tell you that Noriko never inherited the physical meekness that a proper Japanese woman should have. She'd wrestle with the best of them, and has probably made Alma more uncomfortable with proximity then he has with her by a longshot. Of course the twist upon arm is really just uncomfortable, and she knows her meager strength and slight weight is not going to suffice to keep him down. He's probably more amused then incapacitated at the present. So she scuttles away, retaining a good grip on her sword and backing off to raise her sheathed katana. That might of bought her some customers, if potential battojutsu practitioners get the chance to duel!
"...Jiro! Language!" is called out, but a new smile is on her face. She's lost the edge of doubt, which is one advantage. Hopefully she can keep it. But without landing a solid strike, she's not sure what best to do. One more try certainly won't hurt.
Ambling forward, Noriko crouches and then unleashes a swift vorpal blow, sweeping in a flowing motion for his throat as if to cut off his head. ...She could probably be more careful, but two more wicked-fast strikes ensue, each causing large cracks of wind that shudder the mirrors. And then she once more jumps away, trying to attain her defensive position. That took a lot out of her... She's not normally so aggressive. Chen should be honored!

Noriko's chastizing earns a snort from the Stray Dog, already seeing the renewed smile on her face before he shakes his head a little more.
"..." The Stray Dog doesn't say too much towards Chen, other than that he lifts an eyebrow with a shrug, "My sarcasm radar is temporary broken, so I am not sure if that's supposed to imply something." He lifts an eyebrow slightly, then he shrugs, "Yeah, sorry about that, but sackbeating Alma took priority over the bar's structure."
Thank goodness Geese did not schedule for Jiro and Alma to fight in a buddhist temple or anything. _A LOT_ of things would had been wrecked, which would had likely resulted in broken stuff.

COMBATSYS: Chen dodges Noriko's Moonlight Waltz.

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Chen             0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1           Noriko

Sarcastic? The only two people who've talked to Chen enough to know for sure aren't around any more. Whether that's a coincidence or not is a judgment left to the reader.
Grinning at Jiro as he's set free, the man shrugs for one instant before leaping back to his feet. "Ah, I see!" He doesn't really care =how= Jiro justifies it -- he'd just wanted to make sure the boy knew he was recognized.
Noriko, on the other hand... well, she's a little dynamo, isn't she? Once more, the hairs on the back of Chen's neck rise, but much like before, his preference is clear: DO NOT WANT.
Which is why he falls to the side, right palm flattening against the mat as the first strike soars over his now-horizontal body. Drawing his arms close, he log-rolls back and away from Noriko, narrowly evading her followup strikes before roll-hopping, Crouching Dragon style, back to his feet with a flourish. Monkey, indeed.
He'd offer comment, but feels a smile should suffice.
That, and a hopping snap kick to the young woman's wrists for her trouble. "Wataaaah!"

COMBATSYS: Chen successfully hits Noriko with Light Kick.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1           Noriko

Having been in the midst of adjusting her stance, it makes her more vulnerable to Chen's assault. She didn't expect to get kicked in the wrist, which actually hurt a surprisingly large amount by the expression and sharp inhale of breath. "Ouch!" It's a tad comical, but she's not really used to intense fights. Her pain threshold is low, but her willpower is high. This tends to be a peculiar circumstance, given how easily such can be eclipsed when the taste of victory is in sight. A determined Noriko is a scary thing, even if she's not quite there yet.
Shaking one hand vigorously, her grip is regained before seeming to draw upon the surrounding wind to rejuvenate herself. She knows very well that this fight might turn into a second Tran if measures are not taken, a merrygoround onslaught that does not end for the foreseeable future. Which is exactly what she's preparing to do; One way or another... In the next two minutes, the eventual winner is going to be decided!
The filming continues, seeming to be intrigued but not exceptionally impressed by the displays so far. Announcing is sparse, mainly due to the speed of weapons and the pauses between. Well, some fights are just not savage beatings!

COMBATSYS: Noriko gains composure.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Noriko

Snort. The Stray Dog looks at Noriko and Chen some more, then he says, "Man... don't let him defeat you. You worked your butt off, show him what you can do to him like you did me." He swings his arm downward, letting a trace of his -scar- escape; violet flames lash in the air before it fades once more, returning to a more whitish color.
Jiro looks at the hand, "...Meh, long recovery at hand."

Chen hardly notices the cameras any more... probably because Noriko is basically demanding his full attention. Just his kind of fight, really!
Though he is a bit confused as to why the young woman is taking a breather here. Perhaps it's a hallmark of her style -- an assessment which Chen still feels it's too early to finalize. Smiling tightly, he nods his head to the young woman. "It's quite refreshing, Miss Asakaze, to fight someone with such skills as yours." Considering he normally roughs it out with uncultured slobs and drunks... yeah.
But he doesn't intend to relent on his attacking... indeed, he intends to hit Noriko with just about everything he's got. And if that means he has to haul out the fists, so be it! Leaping forward with one outstretched fist, he aims to jab Noriko in the jaw... and then follow up with four rapid, shallow punches, his motions resembling the turning tines of a manual push lawnmower. "Haaaaaaa!" This... would be the shift to Wing Chun style, and one intended to wear the young Asakaze heiress down.

COMBATSYS: Chen successfully hits Noriko with Fierce Punch.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1           Noriko

Well, this is a kind of conflict that Noriko can fully appreciate. Chen is a better fighter then her, but not to an alien degree; It's measurable, it's not unreachable, and there's potential for her to at least make a lasting impression. A... reasonable challenge. Yes, that explains it perfectly. "It is training and skill that I devote my time to..." the young woman admits, which is probably why she's not as fast and strong as she could be. Evasion is a realm detached from that entirely. If only her mind and body were in the same gear! "Yet I am very pleased as well. ...You make it seem so easy!"
The attempted facepunch is darted to the side, which is all well and good, but the four-hit combo is another matter. For apparently evading the more painful blow, she still looks to be in somewhat poor condition. Backwards she skids, doubling over and gasping for air, but teeters upright with something of a grim smile. He has no idea what she's doing, mayhaps. But very soon he will. Her sword is positioned to draw, narrowing eyes and seeming to grow detached. Purely analyzing. For she was not quite accurate prior. The one thing she can do which matches the speed of her mind... is the speed of her draw. Come. One opening. For a split second in a single location. That is all she needs!

COMBATSYS: Noriko focuses on her next action.

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Chen             0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1           Noriko

Chen rarely challenges himself outside of the folks who duke it out in the complex beneath his bar. The complex that, if he'd had his way, would =never= be known to the usual riff-raff of Southtown, simply because he prefers the raw intensity of true bloodsports. Perhaps in =that= vein, as the man who keeps it together... he considers himself successful. And if he triumphs... he chalks that up to experience, not raw skill.
Here... against a completely foreign element, he seems to be getting a brand new experience. And it's rather comforting, really.
Not that one can tell by looking at him, as he just shows the same nearly-unyielding smile as ever. But he does offer explanation, in the midst of walking towards his previously-dropped bokken. "I practice a wide variety, rather than fixing my course of study upon any one field. Perhaps it's shallow of me, but I tend to enjoy quantity over quality, I suppose, where martial arts are concerned."
Smiling, he hefts the plucks the bokken up, hefting its weight for a moment. "A little of this, a little of that, and... I pretty much make it up as I go along!"
Which may explain why he suddenly surges forward, slashing low at the back of Noriko's knee. But it's not intended to cut, or do impact damage -- rather, he hopes to sweep her leg out from beneath her and sling her 120 degrees to his left. He'd normally do =more= with the practiced maneuver, but the comparatively short length of the bokken limits his range, here. "Haaaa!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko interrupts Siberian Sleighride from Chen with Total Eclipse.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Chen             1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0           Noriko

"I was brought up by the sword. Even if I cared to, the manner of my training makes it almost impossible to adopt anything else. But... I do not need yo." If she can return the killing aspect to her assaults, bringing it back from the meditative and rigid executions that it evolved to, then just maybe... This is just one of the latest tests of that hypothesis. Chen is her exact opposite. Where she spends hours getting a single step right, the other man probably just wings it all without caring nearly as much about nuances.
And then he's sweeping her off her feet! Only she rushes forward herself just prior to connection, and allowing herself to fall with a heavy thud upon her back. In order to slide just beneath Chen and then deliver a swift kick to his stomach. This is probably unexpected enough to give her that opening she wanted.
And saying it only took a fraction of a second was not a lie!
Suddenly she's on her feet, and then unsheathes the katana. It's bolstered by a crack of wind, and Noriko tries to sink it deep within Chen fast enough that those viewing might not realize what happened until the motion is complete. He wanted blood sports, which might be just what he gets. Focusing on penetration, for just a moment she'd keep it thusly wedged, before turning her back and violently tearing it free. This would coincide with the wind chi summoned to the steel being unleashed. Literally /inside/ the other man.
A cyclone of vorpal cutting wind blooms for the finisher, trying to send him spiraling backwards in the direction of a wall as blood splatters the mat from a flick of the katana. Slowly her weapon is sheathed, breath coming deep. It took this long to set up a heavy impact, but it succeeded. Whether she can now bridge the gap before being defeated, though, is another matter entirely. That was, after all, the Asakaze killing technique. Intended to cause massive bleeding, enough to significantly weaken most any fighter...

Chen is surprised to find himself kicked in the stomach.
He's even more surprised to find a blade embedded in his stomach, his smile actually turning to a pained frown from this. He doesn't make a sound aside from a sharp expulsion of breath, and the sound of his feet stepping backwards into the mat. Hand going to his stomach as the blade is wrenched out of him, he -- as one would likely expect -- flies backwards from the strike, slamming into the wall with enough force to shatter the mirrored wall he flies into.
Surely the Neo League crew will work the image of Chen flying into his mirror-double into one of their promotionals, somehow.
Slumping against what's left of the mirrored wall, Chen clamps his hand to his stomach, cracking one eyelid open to Noriko. "... Please accept my apologies for the damage to your dojo. It was unintentional, I assure you."
And, leaning on the bokken, he pushes himself to his feet, forging another smile -- albeit much shakier than before. "Please, let's continue," he asks, blinking rapidly for a moment before settling his focus on Noriko, readying the blade in a traditional Kendo stance.

COMBATSYS: Chen focuses on his next action.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Chen             1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0           Noriko

"...!" Noriko did not intend to break one of her mirrors! Oh, that will set her back a large amount. She has to buy one able to resist /normal/ impacts, then get it installed, and... Well, no need to get distracted. It was her fault. ...And the dry cleaning of the mats!
A bow is actually offered despite the proximity and how vulnerable that makes her. "It is of no fault of your own!" Once he comes back up, though, a more ruthless side becomes apparent given she doesn't seem apt to let up on her assault, edging closer with weapon poised. But getting close to him doesn't work, that much is certain. Flinging her attacks from a distance has a chance, but she's feeling quite tired. What options do that live her? Almost none. A grim smile echoes on her features, somehow finding the hopeless situation rather interesting. For long moments she just stands there.
"...I'm afraid I have no opening at the moment..." This is genuinely admitted, as she slips backwards defensively instead and continues to compose herself, breath controlled and dismissing the pain in her wrist. He might find out her style now; It's being obscenely careful, very patient, and waiting for a single mistake to massively punish. She is hard to put down, but not very dangerous outside such circumstances... Some people have beat her without any actual attack being done in reciprocation!

COMBATSYS: Noriko gains composure.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Chen             1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0           Noriko

"I'll help out with the repairs, don't worry." Chen is remarkably calm considering the extent of his injuries. ... But he's also not in any great hurry to advance towards the young woman. Much like Noriko is defensive, waiting to exploit openings, Chen is... remarkably resilient when he has a clear goal in front of him. And, against what one might think, he =does= spend a great deal of time practicing, but his diversification is such that re-combining various styles can result in surprising effectiveness.
But with Noriko withholding her attack, Chen has a bit more time to gather his wits. Or more appropriately, he kneels to the side, gathering up the fragments of shattered glass into his palm, while the woman is keeping her distance. "No opening?" He chuckles, nodding slowly. "I hope you won't mind if I present one, then." Gathering the fragments, he tucks the fragments into a pocket of his finely-tailored suit. One that he won't get to wear again due to the blood, but.
But since he's taking his time, and all, he doesn't exactly =rush= over to her. Rising, he approaches with a rather direct, and yet powerful strike with the bokken. "Here I come," he states, as if there were any doubt.

COMBATSYS: Chen successfully hits Noriko with Heavy Strike.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Chen             1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0           Noriko

"It... it's my obligation." Noriko comments, still preparing herself for an assault from the other man. It would seem that her attempted regaining of wits happened to be a poor choice. There was once more a fair opening, yet she had no ability to capitalize upon it. Interposing her katana, the defense is easily broken and a vicious strike to the collarbone sends her crashing face-first on the ground like a sack of bricks. He might of dislocated it or something. Trembling though, she gets back up, barely able to move the assaulted limb. Yet no exclamation of pain this time, instead managing to grab the sheath with her meager grip. She should of been able to deal with that easily. A shame... Things are going to end here, she's almost certain, but...!
Forward she charges, drawing and slashing at Chen's head once more, attempting to weave as rapidly as she can into another pair of heavy blows, but it's not the most potent of assaults and the additional wind chi is meager at best. Wobbling she tries to extricate herself with a clumsy sheathing, but things are probably going to end rather soon regardless...

COMBATSYS: Chen blocks Noriko's Moonlight Waltz.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Chen             1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Noriko

Chen isn't exactly =happy= to be dealing such potent damage to a young woman of Noriko's stature.
He has plenty of reason to be, considering the gaping wound in his abdomen, but she's a woman just the same.
This =is= a fight, though, and Chen realizes that holding back would be an insult to the young Asakaze heiress.
Stepping back, he nods to the young woman, preparing himself for a counterstrike. And when it comes, he's got the bokken in its path. The blade itself is stopped, for the most part -- Chen may be weak in the torso now, but he's certainly got more strength in his arms than it might seem at first glance, for the sword is only pushed back a little. Mind... he also =steps= backwards, to dull the blow.
The chi, though, is what really stings, forcing his smile to lessen from the stinging wind. He can only attribute her drive to the damage he's dealt to her, really.
As for the young woman, though... she is still standing. "It may be time to finish this, it seems..." he notes, one hand drawing into his pocket.
It's not the pocket that does the damage though -- rather, the hand was a distraction for the sword in his other hand, which lashes out with a series of rapid strikes. If he manages to pierce through Noriko's defenses, he'd smack, repeatedly, with the 'flat' of the bokken blade before delivering one final baseball-bat smash. "Ha-ha-ha-ha-HAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Noriko parries Chen's Rusty Nail!

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Chen             1/----===/=======|=====--\-------\0           Noriko

This is certainly not someone to underestimate. She is having some difficulty dealing with the fact she's one solid jab from defeat, but that doesn't make her less potentially dangerous to deal with, sagging and slowed though she be. Sweat rolls down her features, and somewhat belatedly there's that urge to win. She wants to. She did not invite people over here to watch her lose! People are watching! Reputation and prestige is at stake! As such, a tension is apparent as the first jab of the bokken is done. Shift.
The majority of the bokken now spirals away an inch above the handle, clattering on the mat. This is why it is probably not equal to a katana.
Suffice to say that probably ruined all of his assault, yet it's the best she can manage without flashy movements prone to make her fall over dead. Having already drawn and positioned her sword overhead, the grip reverses before savagely drawing it downwards, aiming to slash into Chen's chest and then twirl twice, the third upwards swipe unleashing a burst of wind initially summoned to power the breaking of the bokken.
Immediately thereafter she hops away, trying to get some distance between herself and the other man. He's still got a trick up his sleeve! And glass, also. Lots of glass. But she will not fall quietly into the night...

COMBATSYS: Chen interrupts Midnight Ballet EX from Noriko with Jericho's Breeze.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Chen             1/---====/=======|=======\=------\1           Noriko

Losing his bokken is... a bad thing. If there's one constant, one overriding principle in the arts Chen has developed as his primary mode of combat, it's his reliance upon weapons. By staying back, remaining defensive, it's difficult for him to mount an offensive without a weapon.
He's pretty alarmed, if his wide eyes and upraised brows are any indication. But he's not going to let it bother him, letting the useless hilt of a practice sword fall where it may, and takes a step back in casual defense.
The hand never really left his pocket, though it did show signs of motion. The effects of that motion become clear as Noriko moves to strike, however -- for the glass shards in his pocket have been crushed and cracked into smaller pieces for ease of throwing. Indeed... with a flick of his wrist, each shard of glass, no bigger than the size of Chen's palm, becomes a lethal weapon; a storm of nearly three dozen improvised shurikens finds its way to intercept Noriko in the midst of her assault, threatening to inflict fresh wounds at various places along her upper torso and face.
Chen raises his other arm, exhaling sharply as the blade digs into his bony forearm as he withdraws backwards. This... would buy him enough time to leap backwards, the followup strikes posing even less of a threat.
The worst part is, he's bleeding all over the mats again, with the new and rather deep cut along his forearm. "Lucky for me..." notes Chen, "the cut was 'across the street' and not 'down the road.'", clamping his now-free hand down onto his arm to stem the bleeding, as he watches Noriko for her reaction.
She could be hurt, after all.

Well, Noriko made a mistake. She had hoped not having a weapon to deflect with would give her an immediate advantage, yet found the glass to be significantly more dangerous then anticipated. Although she completes the initial motion, she's hit with the entire ensemble, jutting from her kimono in a suitably morbid fashion! She gasps, gripping one with her trembling left arm, dipping down to literally prop up with that sheathed katana. It would seem to be over, most certainly. ...Well, almost.
With her last vestiges of strength, the girl lifts the sword, and grips the end. Suddenly wind bursts into life, filling the entire dojo and seeming to arc directly to her weapon. A low yell flits out from deep in her lungs, growing significantly intense as her weapon suddenly glows bright brown.
And then she draws her weapon, and the world before her is cut to pieces. All of the mirrors on the opposite wall shatter, carving deep into the wood wall behind. It's enough to send the nearby people recoiling away, but the intent was apparently more important then collateral damage. She tried to hit Chen dead on, and strike him with that final onslaught of vorpal wind.
For a few moments she remains standing, and just barely manages to sheath the katana anew before collapsing on her side, curling up slightly amidst panting breath. One of the spotlights slips and crashes on the ground, smoking lightly. This is going to quite literally cost her more then she thought.
...But at least for a moment she showed her full hand, regardless of consequences! That's improvement, isn't it?

COMBATSYS: Noriko can no longer fight.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Chen             1/---====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Chen dodges Noriko's Starlight Cascade.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Chen             1/---====/=======|

If there's one thing Chen learned from battling Noriko, it's that the bartender does =not= want to be in the way of the sword. Chen has kept that in his mind throughout the fight, particularly in the midst of the Asakaze heiress' preceding strokes. The pain in his abdomen and forearm is a constant reminder, after all.
Accordingly, the bartender makes sure he's nowhere near that blade. The instant she begins the draw of her sword, Chen's airborne -- not making any particular motion to attack, just springing rapidly to the ceiling. And vanishing.
One would think he went through the ceiling from how =fast= he moved, but the truth is revealed once one's eyes can acclimate to the changed light levels of the brilliant spotlights -- the Chinaman actually clung =to= the spotlight, legs and back flattened against the ceiling.
The blood dripping from him betrays his motion... in fact, the stream is what =is= cut in twain by Noriko's deadly strikes, split-seconds before the wall of mirrors shatters into a deadly haze, sending people fleeing! That'd make an awesome slo-mo replay, if anyone had a suitably equipped camera in place.
And not long after that spotlight crashes to the floor, Chen follows -- it's the one he'd been holding onto, after all. Landing in a low kneel, panting heavily from his injuries, he flashes his perpetual smile over to the girl.
"Brave, and =very= passionate about your art." Rising to his feet, with one eye again shutting from the pain, he nonetheless clasps his hands before him, and bows formally. "It's been the greatest of honors, Miss Asakaze. I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
It's a good thing medics are on hand.

COMBATSYS: Chen takes no action.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Chen             1/---====/=======|

Noriko is at best scantily conscious, peering up through bleary eyes at the mess. Of course, the people from the Neo League are very happy. Yes, they indeed had the entire shot on the proper film for slow motion, and every aspect of the intense onslaught was captured. It seemed they particularly liked Chen being impaled, even if Noriko herself lost. But she knows that her loss is not major. One mistake she made... one she made might of brought them both down if taken different, or even ended in her victory. Retrospect can be particularly cruel, but she's learning just how to fight in a real battle.
"I... would bow t,to you... but I don't think I should get up..." Despite her condition this is phrased as a joke, but the spasm of laughter seems to have been ill advised. Of course Chen is immediately pronounced the winner, and after only a /small/ panning of the downed Noriko medical teams intervene. It's all rather serious, if not immediately life threatening; Given they cannot remove the glass here, it seems she'll have to get whisked to Southtown via helicopter. A stretcher is already being positioned, carefully eased upon before vitals are taken and she's surrounded by the sea of people.
But despite medical bills, repair costs, and recovery... She still has no regrets! There might still be a sunrise on the Asakaze legacy after all...

Chen smiles, nodding back to his opponent yet again. It's one of the things he does.
"Rest well, Miss Asakaze." He approaches the girl, kneeling beside her as the workers start to prepare her for the transition to a stretcher. "And don't worry about the dojo. It'll be in the same condition as when I got here today, or better, before your return." He glances over to one of his assistants among the onlookers -- indeed, his glance is the only sign that there's any connection between himself and the assistants -- and passes another nod as a signal. It'll be taken care of, most assuredly.
Smiling as he turns back to Noriko, he rises back to his feet. "But first, I think I'll get these treated. I look forward to our next encounter!" Smiling like he hadn't been stabbed, he makes his way for the door of the dojo, being especially careful not to cut his bare feet amongst the scattered glass.

COMBATSYS: Chen has ended the fight here.

Log created by Chen, and last modified on 20:09:13 09/16/2006.