Date: March 18, 2016
More training for Suzu in correcting her Chakra control. Pulse-pounding action and emotional realizations.
"Corrections Pt. 2"
Training Area #26 - Chuunin Training [Konohagakure]
Training, training, training. It seems like all Suzu's been doing lately. Which she isn't necessarily opposed to, especially with her mom helping her. Also, she loves this feeling that she's making progress. It's so much different from when she used to try and try and try and get nowhere at all. And then, once she had support… From Daichi, from Arashi, and from her parents… Her advancement accelerated tremendously. Like a surge of power had just filled her, her skills becoming sharper, her movements quicker, her mind more alert.
Was that really her true potential all along, and she'd just been subconsciously holding back for some reason…? It's something she's considered. And if that's the case… Then maybe if she can find the reason she's been holding back, she can go even further…!
But for now? She's just training with her mom. This time, to avoid any more wardrobe malfunctions, they've agreed that all training in public places will occur in full ninja gear. Her mom has even broached the subject of making the training gear weighted to improve the results.
It's late at night, and they've been working all day. Suzu's stomach is rumbling and she's thinking of dinner. But Tsugumi has shown no signs of them stopping anytime soon… Sweating and wiping her brow, Suzu says, "S-so… …Food?"
Tsugumi has been having Suzu do a variety of physical and mental exercises meant to help her with her Chakra control all throughout the day, demonstrating them herself, and otherwise doing everything she can to squeeze as much out of this training as possible. She feels Suzu has the potential to make Chuunin in terms of ability, but she needs both better judgment and to push just a bit harder… So that she isn't just 'good enough', for Chuunin but legitimately a capable leader and ninja.
Suzu is clearly tired, and Tsugumi isn't at her most energetic either. But her will is far more tempered. She frowns a bit when Suzu asks about food, and says, "Not yet. We can go further than this. You're almost at a good stopping point. Just stick with it a bit more. Now, from the top."
Tsugumi settles into a fighting stance, though she is mostly taking defensive action only. She doesn't know what is holding Suzu back either, but they need to crack it. Together.
B-but…! So hungry! T_T
"Hai…" Suzu replies tearfully as she settles into a stance of her own, her stomach protesting immediately and continuously in distress as it has to continue being empty. Suzu is a growing girl! She needs those nutrients! But she does as she's been doing all day, channeling Chakra to her feet in a manner similar to the Tree Walking method… Actually, it's not even similar, it's exactly the same, since this technique her mother is trying to teach her directly utilizes Tree Walking.
The difference is that rather than trying to stick to things, Suzu is using the Chakra to propel herself, much like she learned to do with kunai. She needs to continuously release Chakra to push herself faster and further, accelerating herself not with pure physical speed, but with her own proficiency with Chakra flow.
Once she has set the Chakra in place… Suzu looks directly at her mother and charges straight at her, tossing out a series of punches, and then doing a mid-height leap and trying to kick Tsugumi in the face by half-inverting her body and lashing out with an upside-down strike, before dropping to the ground and trying to sweep the Chuunin's legs upon landing.
The head-on assault is one that she has warned Suzu against many times, but Suzu is definitely showing signs of improvement. Tsugumi barely manages to counter each of the punches by putting her own forearms inside Suzu's striking circle and pushing the arms off course by impacting her wrists. Suzu's jump-up and kick actually manages to hit Tsugumi in the face and knock her head back. There's going to be a mark there later, for sure.
When Suzu drops to the ground and performs her sweep kick, however, by that time Tsugumi has regained herself and leaped upwards in an aerial version of Suzu's own sweep kick, a crouching position in the air. When she lands again, she says to Suzu, "Good use of attacks on multiple planes, but still too linear! Try different angles as well!"
Seeing Suzu grow like this right before her eyes… Despite her reluctance to allow Suzu to become a ninja, she still feels… Proud of her.
Once she is back in a standing position, she returns to her fighting stance. "Reset and resume."
If Suzuha keeps progressing at this rate, she might have to scale up her level of defensive tactics…
Suzu beams as she not only lands a strike for what might be the first time all day, but also receives praise! It's true, though. She was allowing fatigue to make her movements too linear… And she wasn't making much use of the thing she's supposed to be using in this training. She bows. "Yosh!" Then she backs up several steps, and returns to her fighting stance. Coordinating her Chakra control with physical attacks is a lot harder than she expected it to be. She keeps 'switching off' the part of her brain that is managing Chakra in order to focus on her body's movements. Will practice be enough to change that? To learn to leave her Tree Walking emissions on 'auto-pilot'?
It's going to have to be unless she figures out what her block is. She takes in a breath, and then lets it out as her Chakra flows to her feet again. Then she dashes forwards, seemingly once again going for a straight-line attack, only to release a burst of Chakra from one foot that sends her at double speed for a brief moment, aimed to Tsugumi's right. The moment her other foot touches the ground, she leaps sideways! Is she aiming for a shoulder-tackle!?
But no, she's continuing to spin, over and over, and then unleashing a heel kick at her mom aimed once more at her head! This is only a smoke screen for her next maneuver, but what that maneuver entails depends on how the other ninja reacts…!
Better… Definitely better… But the improvised nature of it doesn't seem to have made it harder to defend against this time around. Tsugumi stops Tsugmi's kick by grabbing her by the ankle, despite the high speed that her daughter is moving at. Still, it's good to see that Suzu is starting to use the Chakra in her feet more. Maintaining it and using it are equally as important. If you aren't using the Burst Method, as Tsugumi calls it, then there's no real reason to have the Chakra emission going in the first place.
Suzu's leg is grabbed, but with her upside-down like that, she plants both hands on the ground and twists to try to spin out of her mother's grasp, likely causing friction burns on her legs, before releasing Chakra from her palms in conjunction with pushing off the ground, trying to nail the other kunoichi with a double back-kick, which transforms into slipping one leg up and around the back of the other ninja's neck and locking there. She has to keep her responses fast, her movements flexible. Not every attack has to be a hit. Some of it can be a smokescreen to achieve the same effect!
Tsugumi whistles a bit at Suzu's maneuver, seeing actual smoke rise from the dark rings of friction-burned flesh on the Genin's legs, and then crosses her arms to block the double-kick successfully despite its force. But one leg performing a lock around her neck and squeezing tightly about her throat is unexpected. She grabs at Suzu's leg, trying to break free with strength alone, and hurl her away, but she knows by now that with how long she's been out of real training and fighting, Suzu is physically stronger than she is now.
As long as Suzu keeps pushing like this, and using the Burst Method, then Tsugumi sees no reason to amp up her defenses. Not only would that be admitting defeat on some level, but it might also curtail Suzu's efforts.
"You're getting much better, Suzuha… However…!" She swings around, attempting her throwing maneuver.
"I'm not done yet!" Suzu calls out, as she sees and feels what her mom's trying to do, and moves to counter it. As her mother tries to spin around and toss her away, Suzu uses the momentum to swing herself up and then grab a handfull of that long, smooth hair, as she blasts Chakra from her other hand aimed at the ground, trying to 'pull' on it. All in order to knock the older kunoichi off balance, using her own top-heaviness as added imbalance as she tries to yank the Chuunin down to the ground and slam her head into the grass and dirt! "YAAAAAH!" she yells out from the effort of maintaining Chakra bursts like this while improvising Taijutsu.
It's way harder than it looks.
Suzu catches Tsugumi by surprise for sure. "Nani!?" she lets out in a choked manner with her throat being crushed, as she feels not only Suzu's weight around her neck, but also some other kind of powerful force drawing her backwards and downwards… And the two 30 lb weights on her torso too, of course.
She falls, hands still gripping Suzu's leg, and gets the shock of pain and disorientation as the back of her head slams into the ground. Her eyes go wide for a moment, before she gasps out, "Enough!"
Suzu was getting way too pumped for the combat. It's only happened a couple times before. Each time, she got really into the fighting, the enjoyment of challenging herself, of trying to defeat her opponent, even if it hurt her. And afterwards, she'd feel bad about it. Now? She feels bad right away as she tries to extricate herself, flipping away, and seeing how she hurt her mother. "M-mom!" she calls out as she rushes forwards to help the other woman up. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to go that far! Are you okay!?"
Once the adrenaline wears off, Suzu will wonder what that delicious smoke smell is and realize it's her own skin where one of her legs now has a ring of burns around her ankle.
The chuunin allows herself to be helped up to a sitting position, rubbing the back of her head, and feeling the soreness and even a bit of blood. She groans slightly in her throat, wincing and says, "I'll be fine." She isn't THAT badly hurt, but Suzu had already far exceeded her expectations. She looks to Suzu, and her worried face, and makes the effort to smile (even if a bit lopsidedly), as she reaches up to ruffle her daughter's hair. "You did well, Suzuha. Very well. Even better than I'd expected you to. At this rate, I might need to use the Sharingan against you to keep up with your Taijutsu." She heaves a sigh. Yes, she's in pain. But she knew Suzu could improve if they kept pushing. Still… She hates to say it, but… This advancement in Taijutsu is secondary to what she wanted Suzu to learn from this.
They're supposed to be working on Chakra control. It's good that Suzu can use it in conjunction with Taijutsu now, but all the more reason she should learn to control it on its own as well.
"Suzuha… I'm proud of your progress. But do you think we could try one last thing before we stop for the evening?"
Suzu was starting to get teary-eyed worrying about her mom, but it looks like everything's okay. She's relieved and smiles as her spikey hair is ruffled. "Hehehe… I'm glad that I'm meeting your standards finally!" She grins. And then she hears about one last training before they go home. "E-eh? Well… I guess so… if you're up to it, I mean." What is it that her mom would want to do after taking a head blow like that? More fighting? She might have to be the responsible one and say no to that if so!
Tsugumi shakes her head. "I won't have to do anything for this. I just want you to try to shroud a hand in Chakra while I watch and tell you how you're doing." She adjusts her sitting position to face Suzu, folding her hands in her lap, and taking calming breaths after the intensity of battle. She closes her eyes. When she opens them again, they bear the Sharingan. "Whenever you're ready." She has been noticing subtle things about Suzu for awhile now. She needs to confirm them now. It might just be the reason behind the problem.
Suzu nods firmly and then sits down across from her mom, cross-legged, holding up one hand and squinting at it. "Right, so I just shroud my hand in Chakra!" She sits there squinting at her hand for awhile. "Hmmmmm…!" =___=
She bashfully looks up at Tsugumi and says, "…And how do I do that exactly?"
Tsugumi resists the urge to let out an exhasparated sigh and says, "Channel Chakra to your hand, like you have been with your feet… Or even your hands like you did earlier. You should already know how to do this. Just let the Chakra flow freely rather than focusing it." Honestly… This girl definely takes after her father more than Tsugumi in some things…
"O-oh, yeah? I'll do my best then!" Suzu focuses her Chakra to her hand as best she can, building it up, but not trying to direct it. Slowly, it gathers and just discharges randomly around her hand. She can feel it, but without her Sharingan active, she can't see it. Even she can tell she isn't doing a great job though. "Hnnnnn…!" she lets out. Then she asks distractedly, "Like this?"
Close enough for someone untrained… But Suzu shouldn't be having that much difficulty at her current level. Tsugumi decides it's time to test her. "You're getting there. Gather it a bit more tightly around your hand." Then, regardless of the results, she says to Suzu, "Try harder, Suzuha! You want to get home before sunrise, don't you?" She's being intentionally harsh with the second comment. Is the real problem actually…?
Her mom encourages her, and gives her some advice. Suzu focuses her mind more, becoming more confident, and tightening the Chakra around her hand in an attempt to create this 'shroud'. "Okay! I think I understand… Discharging the Chakra all around but holding it within a certain range…"
The harsher advice, however, as the exact opposite effect on her concentration and motivation. She starts to panic a little, lines of gloom hanging over her head and face more distinctly than any Chakra hangs around her hand. Her control is better than it was the first time she tried, but it drops significantly after getting pressured like that.
"I-I'm trying!" she responds defensively and a bit desperately.
Tsugumi watches the fluctuations in Chakra. Measures them precisely. Notes when they increase in intensity and control, and when they start to go wild. She still can't be sure, but the evidence points more and more to Suzu having a mental block about receiving approval from others as being instrinsically tied to her performance. "It's fine, Suzuha. We've been at this for awhile, and I know you're hungry. If you can't do it now, we'll try again another time," she says. Final confirmation of her theory. She doesn't want to think it's true, due to the implications… But if it is…
"N-no! I can do it! Really I can!" Suzu insists as she tries even harder, pumping even more Chakra into her hand with even less control and less concentration. She's definitely desperae now. Her mom has given up on her succeeding! After all the progress made today, why does she have to start failing now!? Is she going to be nothing but a garbage ninja for the rest of her life!? She has to get better! She has to become a great ninja like her mom and dad! She has to…!
Tsugumi lets out a slow sigh and closes her eyes as her Sharingan fades back into slumber. She shakes her head. So it's true then. And it's not hard to guess how Suzu developed this mental block of hers. Tsugumi herself is probably mostly or solely responsible. Her failure to support Suzuha in the past, her efforts to block her at every turn on the path to becoming a ninja, her disapproval… Suzu has internalized that. And now she's in this state. For Tsugumi, whose Chakra control came easily to her at a young age, maybe it could be excused a little that she wouldn't understand why her own daughter was having so much trouble.
But the emotional abuse could never be excused. She reaches out towards Suzu, taking her by the shoulders, and pulling her in for a hug. "It's okay, Suzu. You can stop now." Realizing that she's most likely responsible for hurting her child's development like this… And seeing the consequences of that… It's very painful. But Tsugumi imagines her pain must be nothin compared to what Suzu has had to go through.
"I know you can do it. And I know why you're having diffculty. But we'll talk about that after you have a hot meal in your belly, alright?"
Suzu is a pretty surprised as she is pulled into a hug. But she only hesitates a few seconds before allowing the Chakra to disperse from her hand, and returning the embrace. She hears her mom's words, rests her face in the crook of Tsugumi's neck, and closes her eyes. She hadn't realized how tired she was, or how sore, until just now. She just settles against the other kunoichi and relaxes as tears stream down her face without her even knowing why. Then she whispers out, "…Hai."