Date: November 24, 2015
Jun and Katsumi spar for the first time.
"Jun meets his toughest match yet… The brainy girl?!"
The morning was grey and overcast, although no weather stopped the students at the Academy from going outside for their morning fitness drills. Jun was among them, dressed in his usual shorts and baggy sweatshirt, his breath coming out in visible puffs as he runs around the circular track with the rest of the group. He had barely broken a sweat, not even enough to bother wiping from his brow, so that the only sign of his exertion was the way that the shortest of his golden blonde hairs clung to his forehead. The young Uzumaki kept to himself, paying mind to no one and letting his mind wander. He knew that it was sparring day, and that after their runs they would be paired off to practice their Taijutsu techniques.
'Great,' Jun thought as his legs moved on autopilot, pumping him forward like a machine. He wasn't exactly what one might call technically skilled. He was more of a brawler than anything, but what he lacked in forethought, he made up for in stamina and gung-ho brute force. He didn't care who he got paired up with, so long as he could outlast them. Jun smirked slightly at the thought. That was his one ace in the hole that almost no one could beat.
Dreary days weren't Katsumi's favourite sort, especially when it came to being outside, and having to run around in it. Unfortunately, that was what one had to do, here at the Academy. It didn't matter. She wouldn't let it bring her down. As Katsumi kept her pace around the track, her legs stretched for long strides, she focused on her breathing. That was the key to almost everything - if you kept breathing, you kept moving.
One thing that Katsumi hadn't looked forward to was the training that would follow. While she wasn't horrible in her Taijutsu, she knew that, in the long run, it wouldn't be her strongest trait. Regardless, that was what training was for. At least she would have the opportunity to better herself. If nothing else, Katsumi was a determined girl that would stand her ground for as long as her legs would hold her up. She was fairly certain that that was why she had made it was far as she had.
It wasn't long before the voice of his sensei snapped Jun out of his thoughts. "Alright, that's enough laps! Everyone meet me in the middle of the track!" Conveniently enough, the circular nature of the track made it so that it could also function as a ring of sorts, for days just like today. Jun stopped his run and shoved his hands into his pockets, slowly walking behind the group to await further instruction.
When all the students had gathered, the sensei looked upon them with a small smirk. Jun frowned. What was this guy planning? "Everyone, today we will be practicing out sparring techniques - tournament style! Everyone will be paired up with another student at random, and spar one at a time in the middle of the ring. You will all be showing off yours skills in front of your peers. Don't do anything that will cause you to lose your dignity! Now, the teams have already been picked, so listen up for your name…"
Jun's brow twitched, and he could feel his shoulders sulking. He had to fight.. in front of everyone.. He could already hear the teasing begin, escalating into shouts and slurs, echoing from every direction. 'Boo! Jun, you stink! Just give up, my dog is a better ninja than you!' Jun could feel his face getting hot, and he clenched his fists inside of his sweater pocket. Yeah, it would be just like that.. But he would show them.
Just then, he heard his name come through the crowd. "Uzumaki Jun, versus Yamanaka Katsumi!" Jun's jaw dropped, his eyes wide as he searched the students faces, landing on the one, frail looking blonde girl he had been paired with. This was too easy! The Uzumaki snickered quietly behind his hand, his eyes suddenly turning gleeful. Well, at least he couldn't make a fool of himself with this one.
With her arms crossed over her chest, Katsumi had walked with the rest of the students in her class to listen to whatever it was the Sensei had planned for them this time. The problem was, she hadn't expected it to be anything like what it was set to become. Sparring… in front of everyone..? Katsumi wasn't afraid of sparring; she viewed it was a good learning step, no matter how it was finalised. But usually, when she did spar, it wasn't out in plain view - and it certainly wasn't anywhere near someone that saw her as a beansprout.
Shoulders up to her ears from nerves, Katsumi did her best to give herself a pep talk that she would be paired with someone of her own gender, and no one would be able to talk down to her size. When she heard her name, and who she was paired with? She let her head fall low, a gloom settling over her as sure as the dark clouds overhead. 'Aw, man,' she thought to herself with a slow sigh. If anyone saw her as a beansprout, it was going to be the class clown. She couldn't underestimate him, though. Sure, he goofed off a lot… But when he landed anything, it usually seemed to cause a good amount of pain to the person that received it.
As she stepped forward slowly, Katsumi spotted the boy who was to be her opponent and had to let herself have one final gulp of anxiety. Then, as her hands fell to her sides and her brows furrowed with determination, Katsumi began to mind-chant the mantra she had given herself upon first joining the Academy. 'I have to do my best… I have to do my best.'
As luck would have it, the sensei decided to put Jun and Katsumi into the ring first. This was a good thing, only because now Jun was amped and wouldn't be able to sit still for very long waiting for the whole class to spar before him. When called, the Uzumaki walked confidently into the ring, thumbing his nose a bit and ignoring the few sneers and jests that followed him. I mean, come on, how tough could this be? He faced his opponent, the small and fragile, big brained Katsumi, and smirked as he bowed. She may be a girl, but he wouldn't pull his punches. Shifting into his stance - which was less of a real fighting stance and more just tensing his body in preparation of movement - Jun waited eagerly for the sensei to call the start of the match.
Katsumi stepped forward in casual strides; she didn't have the same level of confidence that the Uzumaki obviously seemed to, but she wasn't going to back down and show nervousness. As he thumbed his nose, the girl felt her brows draw down harder, no doubt the crease that had developed there showing in stark relief. Taking her stance in front of her opponent, she ignored everyone that wasn't the Sensei or the boy in front of her. If she was going to give it her best, she had to keep all of her focus where it needed to be.
"Begin!" At the sensei's command, Jun darts forward and aims a straight punch for Katsumi's face - hey, if she wasn't smart enough to block it, it was her fault if she got hit! But he wouldn't stop there. Jun was never one to stop after just one hit. He brought his knee up in preparation to strike, aiming right for her solar plexus, and then for good measure, dropped and tried to sweep her feet! He wasn't very technical altogether, but he had learned /some/ tricks from all of his taijutsu lessons. And attacking at different levels was one that he utilized often.
When the Sensei uttered the start of their match, Katsumi made sure not to let her eyes falter to the distraction. She had seen people hesitate for a split second, and have everything be lost because of it. She wasn't going to make that mistake. As Uzumaki's fist came straight for her face, Katsumi brought her hand up and across her chest to push the strike away. She wasn't given a chance to breathe, however, and had to quickly jump to the side and out of the way of his knee. She was able to feel the wind from it, and knew that it would have knocked the air free of her lungs easily. When the boy dropped down, Katsumi managed to leap back and out of the stretch of his leg. A brief feeling of pride made a corner of her mouth twitch, but it vanished just as fast. Now she had to put him on the defense.
As Uzumaki rose up from his low kick, Katsumi spun on her front leg and swung the other behind her - hoping to crash into the boy's head as he stood. After, she dropped the leg she had aimed to strike with first and pivoted, sending out another kick to try and land her heel in his belly. As her foot came down, and both settled beneath her, Katsumi brought both of her hands together and thrust them forward with as much strength as she could muster. The most the she could hope for would be to hit the center of his chest, but a part of her prayed that just maybe she could hit a little higher - maybe break his nose.
Jun honestly hadn't expected the girl to react so quickly - not only in evading his attacks, but also in launching out one of her own, and he got caught by a wicked surprise when her foot slammed into the back of his head, making him recoil quickly. But it didn't stop there. Soon she was coming at him even more offensively, and he had to bring himself together fast in order to block her kick to his belly. Thankfully, this gave him a second to breathe, and he was able to read her movements in time to dodge her double palm strike.
'Tch!' Jun's brows furrowed, his head still pounding a little from the girl's assault. No more Mr. Nice Guy. With a startling yell, Jun ran forward and began a series of wild swings, going into full brawl mode. No more tactics, no more strategy - this was personal, now. His fists raged, and he struck for every opening he could see, not caring for where he hit her, so long as he made contact. He had a score to settle.
When Uzumaki furrowed his brow and let out a yell, Katsumi knew that she had surprised him - and that she needed to get her guard up as quickly as possible, if she didn't want to get hurt. Her hands at the ready, Katsumi buckled and stepped back as she watched the boy rushed her. His first swing to fly seemed aimed right for her head, almost like some sort of vendetta. Nerves slowed down her reaction, her arms missing the block, and a fist slammed into her cheek hard enough to make her head spin. She used the momentum, though, bringing her body around and dodging his next swing. It wasn't enough, and another fist met with her shoulder.
Again, Katsumi allowed the momentum to turn her and she dropped her weight low, swinging out her leg to try and knock Uzumaki's out from under him. For good measure she pivoted, stretching her other leg to follow the first in hopes of making sure that he fell. If he managed to dodge, she would be ready to pull out her own gung-ho and launch herself into him. If she managed to land her hits, well… If he was down, why shouldn't she make sure he stayed there, just to show she wasn't the little beansprout everyone thought she was?
What /was/ this girl?! Sure, he had managed to get a good hit on her face, but instead of crying or running away like he had expected her to do, she came right back at him. And sure enough, she beat him with /technique/. He managed to hop over her first sweep kick easily enough, but he didn't even see the second one coming until it was too late, and before he knew it he was on his back and the Yamanaka girl was sitting on his belly, trying to pin him down.
"Rest!" called the sensei, who had been watching the entire time. "Winner, Yamanaka Katsumi!" Jun's eyes burned. Not only had he been knocked flat on his back, but he had been beaten by a /girl/. The snickers from the crowd reached his ears without much difficulty, and he threw the girl off of him before standing quickly onto his feet and disappearing through the swarm of students. Once he had a clear shot, he would run and try to escape behind the Academy building - hell, he might even skip class for the rest of the day, rather than face the mocking stares of his classmates all day. This was /not/ how he wanted to spend his first day of being 11.
When the Sensei had called for the pair of them to rest, Katsumi had allowed her eyes to move from the Uzumaki boy to the instructor. All at once the realisation hit her that she was on top, and that was how the match was called. Before her smile could finish forming, however, Katsumi felt a force beneath her and was shoved up and away as the boy stood up with a rage in his eyes. She bounced on her butt a little as she landed on the ground, watching him for the split-second he was in front of her before he darted off, and for just a moment her brows furrowed angrily.
The anger dissipated, though, as the echoes of jeers and snarky giggles seemed to follow after him. Suddenly Katsumi felt guilty for winning. 'Oh, please,' she thought to herself, soon after the emotion filled her. 'No one wants pity. Especially him.' For now she would take pride in her little win. Maybe next time they met up, she could find a way to make it up to him.
Katsumi rose to her feet, returning to the circle of students still waiting or their chance to spar. At least she had proven her place, in the grand scheme of Academy things. Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't be considered a beansprout, anymore.