To View The Sky; Empty Hand Part 5

Following on from Empty Hand Part 4, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor presents you the with next mighty Kata in order of advancement through the formal Karate gradings.

Kanku Dai is the longest Kata in the Shotokan syllabus, with 65 movements and is the most complex and demanding Kata thus far.

It is the first of two Kanku katas; they do not follow the Embusen or ‘H’ shaped path, like the Heian Katas. Better start getting used to that, beloved reader, they seldom do from this point on.

That’s right, beloved readers, today we learn one of Shotokan karate’s most symbolic Katas. Ganbatte.

This is a shot of sunset on the South coast of Okinawa. Perhaps the inspiration for the Kata's naming.

This is a shot of sunset on the South coast of Okinawa.
Perhaps the inspiration for the Kata’s naming.

Kata History

Unlike most of the Kata that have Chinese origins, Kanku Dai was created  in Okinawa, rather than adapted and / or modified from the original Kung Fu as some are.

Before being changed to Kanku-dai, the kata was originally called Kushanku, (the Okinawan mis-pronunciation of Kung Siang Chin), the name taken from a Chinese military advisor who visited Okinawa under government orders.

He  resided  in Okinawa from 1756-1761. Kushanku, also called Kosokun in some styles of Karate, was a master of a variety of Chinese Martial Arts. He impressed the natives of Okinawa, by showing off his combat skills by easily dispatching larger opponents.

Sensei Sakugawa. Mighty in Martial skill and radical of beard.

Sensei Sakugawa. Mighty in Martial skill and radical of beard.

Okinawa’s top Martial Artist at that time was Tode Sakugawa. Sakugawa was one of the top students of monk and Astronomer Peichin Takahara. Takahara, sent his student to train under Kushanku as he believed him to be the most skilled Martial Artist to ever to set foot in Okinawa.

Sakugawa studied under Kushanku for 6 years. When Sakugawa was 28 years old, Kushanku passed away and from the teachings left to him devised the Kushanku Kata as a way to honour his instructor and in its own way act as documentation of what he had learned from his teacher.

This illustrates the importance of kata, not only are they the most practical method of Martial practice, but they preserve the knowledge of the techniques.

Although the kata is now named Kanku-dai, it is not an abbreviation of Kushanku. It was when Gichin Funakoshi introduced karate to mainland Japan he gave the Kata a new, Japanese name of Kanku-dai, which means to ‘to view the sky’. He also changed the names of many of the Kata he taught, to have Japanese names, such as the Passai became Bassai.

Once again our instructor will be that 80-year-old guy that can kick seven shades out of all of you

先 生 金 澤 弘 和

Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa 

Sensei Kanazawa showing perfect form as always. And more nice scenery.

Sensei Kanazawa showing perfect form as always.
And more nice scenery.

観空大

Kanku Dai

The Bunkai

As you can see from the Kata, it contains pretty much all the techniques from the Heian Katas. Kanku Dai is where each of the Heian Katas, (Empty Hand Part 2), are derived, so it’s kind of like a compilation-and-then-some-Kata.

The father of the Heian Katas as it were, most Sensei thinking the Kata too complicated to teach to new students broke it down into 5 easier to learn, shorter Katas.

Until next time. Stay tuned for more.

“Help Me, Beloved Reader, You’re My Only Hope.”

A Level Up fan has a plan, an attempt to get an audition for the next Star Wars movie.

Your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor is always willing to assist a L.U.F.A.S fan, but I cannot do this alone.

With your help beloved reader, we can make a difference.

With your help beloved reader, we can make a difference.

Thus beloved reader, I beseech and implore you for help in this matter of epic proportions.

How satisfying would it be to see one of my beloved readers in Star Wars. It would make this larcenous heart proud.

The man in question is Dave Walpole, just watch his promotional video and honestly tell me you wouldn’t want to help this man.

Assisting in his quest is simple just email the video by copying its URL to this email: dave_walpole@yahoo.ca

Please be sure to note the ‘dot,ca’ for Canada.

Until next time. Assist your fellow Star Wars fans.

Coming Soon, DSW Part 3: The Fastest Man Alive

Greetings beloved readers, at the end of the Asgardian Powerhouse workout, the mighty Thor asked you to vote for the next DSW.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

He speaks truthfully. Vote, beloved reader, for the next designer Superhero workout.

Most of the votes of course were for Batman, but as previously mentioned is off the agenda; the point of the Bat’s training article series is a zero to hero guide for those beloved readers whom have never engaged in athletic pursuits, and ease them into things.

As I’m sure you’re aware, a Batman DSW would be a truly brutal routine that would make Bruce Lee’s training look like a stroll in the park. Thus I cannot post the Dark Knight’s ultimate regime yet, however as the series progresses it will become more and more comprehensive. Due this summer, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will take great pleasure in presenting the Batman DSW. Yay.

Hopefully around the same time Level Up gets its own studio.

But fear not, beloved reader, the Asgardian ballot has been counted and the favourite surprised yet pleased my larcenous heart.

The Flash

He actually is the fastest man alive, not even the all powerful Kal-El can catch him.

He actually is the fastest man alive, not even the all-powerful Kal-El can catch him.
The Flash should let him win today though, after all it is Superman’s birthday.
Mean old Flash.

Stay tuned for the Flash DSW.

Until next time. Stay informed.

My First Super Villain

It seems, beloved reader, whilst your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor was thoroughly researching for the next article, I came across the eighth sin of plagiarism! Blogging for mere months and I already have a nemesis, a villain to oppose, an arch-enemy even.

The Audacity of the Cad, Cur and Vagabond 

Some unoriginal mewling quim, has copied and pasted my posts, and declared them to be theirs. There is honour amongst rogues, (I Should know being one), an unbreakable code of behaviour like the Bro-code. Thus, to put a stop to this I present, something I loath to do, a legally binding document.

Yup, fool. That's right. Level Up has been copyrighted since day one.  I could spend a day in court with you, that would have a very satisfactory outcome.

Yup, fool. That’s right. Level Up has been copyrighted since day one.
I could spend a day in court with you, that would have a very satisfactory outcome.

In an uncharacteristic act of mercy, your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will not track you down and get red to the elbow, beating seven shades of s**t out of you, nor will I take legal action. Yet. I won’t even name and shame you.

But you will remove all of the plagiarized posts by the end of today GMT time, so wherever you are on this globe you may have to do some pretty fast math and /or post removal. Consider this an act of kindness on my part, as I’m actually kinda flattered; mimicry is the highest form of it after all.

This is the document I would have prefered to present at the beginning of this post

Nuff said.

Nuff said. Dammit, now my beloved readers know my secret identity. See the trouble you’ve caused.
Put me so out of sorts with rage I scanned my Diploma all wonky.

You know who you are; take my work of your substandard excuse for a blog

Until day’s end. Keep deleting

 

“There can be only one”

On April 1oth your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor set the task to create an awesome character to win a rather humble prize. Using Hero Machine 2.5 you, beloved reader, had the challenge to create a new and awesome character.

The response overwhelming, thus even though the deadline for entries was the 21st, the colossal task of selecting the best from so many awesome characters has taken yours truly until now to decide who will become the proud new owner of a plush Boba Fett.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly.

With HeroMachine 2.5, you can create groovy characters such as this perfectly accurate depiction of yours truly. Protector of London.

It was tough choosing, and believe me beloved reader,I have tried to be as fair as possible in my selection from the 167 entries. Yup. 167. Not bad for a blog that’s been  running for a few months.

Bizarrely only one of my Facebook chums bothered to enter, yet I had 23 entries from beloved readers in the realm known as Canada and 34 from people I have never met in Poland!

Shame be upon thee and thine Facebook ‘chums’

With mild disappointment in the aforementioned, yet overwhelmed by the coolness brought to you today. I present to you in this post of creative glory from around the globe, the best 5 original characters.

But first

The one Facebook chum that bothered to enter, who is more than just some bloke I chat with online, is presented here as a bonus. I’m sorry Double-G, but your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor cannot in good conscience allow favouritism to get the better of me.

Besides which, my cowl increases my moralistic logic, thus you have not won the prize my friend. But I will show your creation to the world!

Daichi

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks. That cat looks dodgy though.

How sweet, innocent and virginal she looks.
That cat looks dodgy though.

Double G, being  as awkward as ever, has 2 pictures, thus we will have to rearrange the layout just for him, and cough up the background story first.

Origin: Daichi Me’anor was an innocent Japanese schoolgirl. Her father really wanted a son and was really mean to Daichi, giving her a boy’s name and constantly demeaning her as well as renting her out to her dads evil corporate friends including the head of the Japanese World Police (JWP). She was abused so much that a demon came to her and offered to help free her from her father, in return for her soul. Daichi was so desperate she agreed.

The demon did as he had agreed and freed Daichi, by killing her father and framing her. The JWP arrested, tried and executed her, sending her soul to hell. In hell she was tortured and broken for what felt like an eternity to her. Eventually she grew to like it. (Always time for a little S&M)

Reforming her broken body with scavenged limbs from other broken souls she grew strong. Eventually her evil demeanour and damn craziness drew the eye of a powerful prince of hell; he saw a lot of potential in her and wanted to raise her from her sorry state. He tutored her in demonic powers and dark sorceries and let her gobble down on his evil gargantuan engorged power (or other p word).

Eventually the prince of hell felt that she needed to progress to the next stage in her training. Casting her out from hell with only the few powers that had been taught her the prince demanded that she defeat her own demons from her past before he could bless her with her own proper demonhood; he ordered her to hunt down and get vengeance on the friends of her father, for the abuses they had inflicted on her flesh and for putting her to death and sending her to hell.

But standing outside the gates of hell Daichi is torn. She can see the dark path laid out before her but dare she tread it? Is there another path she can walk? Will she hunt down and brutally murder all those who had raped her as she was supposed to? Perhaps she should go and try to find the one friend she had when she was alive, then she could ask for advice…..

Miss Daemon Meaner

By George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

By: George Douglas Gregory, London, UK.

Powers / Abilities:  When first let loose from hell she does not have a full grasp of her powers, but is able to summon demonfire and befuddle minds, especially of men (Succubus style). She can also conceal her demonic appearance, at least for a short time (but if she gets excited she loses her camouflage).

Skills: She loves Sadomasochism and is obsessed with blades, needles, whips or anything that she can use to inflict or receive pain.

Statistics: Strength-33, Agility-89, Speed – 75, Endurance – 28, Intelligence – 55, Charisma – 87

What can I say? I know you were trying hard to appeal to my nature to win, knowing that I would appreciate the similarities with the Spawn storyline, my affection for Japanese school girls, and you even did a little research  (or maybe a really unlikely fluke), naming her Daichi which roughly translates as first blood. Nothing to do with Rambo though. But now, on with the show.

"There can be only one"

“There can be only one”

As I laboured affectionately through the 167, (I’m still impressed with that number), entries, I had certain criteria to be adhered to, mostly originality and sustainability. The character had to fresh and new, unlike what has gone before but also able to keep readers and /or viewers interested if the character ever got a comic and / or TV show for a long period of time.

As for the 161 characters that didn’t make it to this post; fear not beloved reader, as your friendly neighbourhood Rogue Advisor will be adding a databank of these creative gems to Level Up, thus they will not go unseen by the world. It may take a while, Google translate is pretty good, but I have had to use it on most of the entries. Some things may have been lost in translation.

Boom Daddy

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

By: Alan Myers, Southend-On-Sea, UK

Powers and abilities: Ex-Marines turned nightclub DJ, Danny Greenway, has no powers that could be described as ‘super’. He trains physically to almost Olympic level fitness, and is a peerless marksman.

Skills: He was a bully at school, but also got bullied himself for being so vertically challenged. He is only 5′ 3″, (Rogue Advisor’s note; that’s the same height as Wolverine. Really. Hugh Jackman is way too tall for the role; should have been played by Peter Dinklage), and all the beatings he took and gave made him a well ‘ard brawler.

When he left school he joined the Royal Marines; according to the revised height requirements he only just managed to join. He served for 6 years, becoming a Paratrooper and familiarizing himself with every combat technique and weapon possible. He spent some time as a sniper, now he has the patience of a chopping block.

Statistics: Strength-76, Agility-68, Speed – 64, Endurance – 98, Intelligence – 46, Charisma – 13

Origin: He left the marines in 2012, during the recession and couldn’t find a job, so he ended up sleeping on his mate’s couch. Paul Kenny, his accommodating friend, was a successful DJ at many clubs in the Essex area, (That’s South-East England for our non-British readers info), and in his spare time taught Danny the fine art of being a DJ. Soon enough, Danny was part-time DJ-ing and had another part-time job training Territorial Army recruits.

Unknown to Danny, while he had been gone, a drug war had started in his home town of sunny Southend-On-Sea. Paul had become part of this, allowing the Wickers gang sneaky entry into the clubs he DJ-ed at in return for a cheeky profit. But this backfired when the Cheung triad gang from York Road Chinatown killed most of the Wickers gang in a club called T.O.T.S, (Talk of the South), in a massive bloodbath shootout. Paul, the Cheung gang thinking him one of the Wickers gang, was kidnapped, tortured and mutilated beyond recognition before dying from his severe wounds.

The police couldn’t identify his corpse, because he was discovered naked, with no I.D, all his teeth had been pulled out and all his fingers cut off. The rest of Paul was so horribly burned and mutilated, they actually had trouble figuring out what gender he was.

He found this out from one of the few surviving member of the wickers gang, a 15-year-old burglar called Jamie Witt. Danny swore revenge. He took Paul’s identity, gaining him a lot of money to work on his plan of vengeance. Then he bided his time a little, drank a lot, which gives him his jaundiced appearance caused by liver damage, until the police investigation was over and the building the club was in was back on the market. By this time he was a full-blown alcoholic.

He purchased the nightclub formerly known as T.O.T.S, and refurbished it under the guise of a steel mill. He accomplished this by calling i some favours from his old Marine buddies, and bringing in an unholy amount of weaponry at the same time.

He took Jamie the young burglar under his wing, for scouting purposes, along with the most promising selection of his students at the Territorial Army Base. He wears no disguise, when he kills his enemies, he wants them to know who done it. The war rages still, the Cheungs are many and Boom Daddy’s crew are few, But he will never stop.

The Iron Valkyrie 

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

By: Addi Lund, Denmark.

Powers / Abilities: She has all the battle prowess and fighting skills you would expect from a Valkyrie, one of the greatest warrior maidens of Valhalla. Her real name is Helga Grímnismál; her strength and equestrian abilities are second to none. She is ambidextrous, choosing to dual wield war axes with unerring accuracy. She can communicate with horses and ravens, and these creatures will fearlessly do her bidding,  no matter the task.

Skills: She has been a passionate smith since she was 8-years-old, working the forge everyday. Such dedication to the craft of smithing granted her great strength, endurance and of course remarkable skill.

Any weapon she makes seems to never need to be sharpened, the armour she has forged have saved countless lives. Her dual war axes are virtually indestructible as is her armour. She also carries a selection of differently weighted throwing axes, meant for different ranges of attack and for penetrating different kinds of armour.

Statistics: Strength-98, Agility-88, Speed – 74, Endurance – 89, Intelligence – 62, Charisma – 48

Origin: Helga is a true native of Valhalla, for 33 years her life was nothing more than combat, combat practice and working the forge. One day though she was exiled, given no explanations as to what her crimes were.

She found herself in Romania, minus all her equipment but not her combat skills and stoic resolve. A woman of her abilities found it easy to get things done in such a place, she forged new equipment, disapproving of the weak steel found on Earth.

Now she strives to clear her name and return to Valhalla. Little did she know that it was her jealous ex-lover Zane Jensen, who knew he could never be the warrior nor smith she was, who had set her up. He had ensured that she brought a cowards soul to Valhalla.

Merpyro

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

By: Albert Slusarczyk, from: Plock, Poland.

Rogue Advisor’s note: Google translate is particularly poor with Polish language, so I have had to assume and / or guess what Merpyro is all about.

Powers /Abilities: At 2.6 metres tall, Merpyro is hard to miss, and with his size comes strength comparable to the Fantastic Four’s Thing. He dubbed himself the King of all the Swamps, as he can teleport from swamp to swamp all over the planet.

His scaly flesh acts similar to scale mail armour, and once again is on par with the Things toughness. He is immune to fire and all related fire-based attacks. If attacked with fire, he will absorb it, store it in his bloodstream and then may later produce an equal amount to that absorbed to be used as he pleases. Also he can control the absorbed fire, as seen in the picture in his left hand, he can convert it to light rays. The absorbed fire can be directed and controlled into columns, pillars, walls, shields, balls and cone-shaped forms of attack; a great method for crowd control. Sometimes he even wears it as a hat.

Of course he is an amphibian, making him capable of breathing both air and water, his gills also function as a filter, making him immune to any airborne toxins. If, somehow he finds himself trapped in a place with the only breathable source being a finite amount of oxygen, he can slow his metabolism to crawl; slowing his breathing to use what is available as efficiently as possible.

No reptilian creature will ever attack Merpyro, and even though he is mute, he can communicate with them emphatically. Reptiles no matter how small will always come to his aid.

Being somewhat reptilian himself he has perfect camouflage abilities, but only if he hasn’t absorbed any fire, it will make him appear as a ghostly outline. He regularly cuts off his own tail, just to let a new one grow back and choose a new colour for it.

Being a lumbering giant of a creature, you’d expect him to make a lot of noise and be clumsy; this is not so when in swamp land. He moves through swampland in complete silence, leaves absolutely no trace of where he has been and can make his presence undetectable even by those with mind reading powers, and is odourless when in that environment.

However, his powers, strength and even cognitive abilities will slowly degrade if he is not in a swamp environment.

Skills: He is master of an unarmed  Martial art as yet unknown to most of the world. The movements are heavy-duty grappling techniques combined with massive strikes, somewhere between wrestling and kick boxing. He can without peer track anyone or anything on swamp territory, even the invisible and silent can be found by him. Below the statistics shown in brackets are when he is away from swamp territory.

Statistics: Strength-100, (57) , Agility-76,(23), Speed – 68, (13), Endurance – 100, (40),, Intelligence – 33, (12), Charisma – 48, (11), always counts as 100 when dealing with reptiles.

Origin: Little is known about Merpyro, because he is mute he is unable to communicate with anyone who is not reptilian. He has never attacked anyone without provocation, unless they are hunting in his swamp. There is a rumour, because of his teleportation ability that  there are more than one of  Merpyro. There have been reports of his sightings for centuries, giving speculation to how old he really is and has been publicised in some media as ‘big foot’.

The Chaplain

By:Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

By: Carter Wilson, New Brunswick. Canada.

Powers /Abilities: Incredible strength, which increases with his ‘Holy rage’. In this state of clearly not normal sanity, he feels no pain, and will attack with his knuckle duster / battle axe combo weapon anyone and everyone, friend or foe.

He is the guy you send in to clear a room full of bad-mofos. Possibly torturing the last survivor for fun. The pages of the strange ‘Holy book’ he carries give him divination powers, such as clairaudience and clairvoyance.

Even without consulting the tome, he can predict events several seconds into the future. it also increases his charisma, so that he may ‘convert’ others to his warped religion. The book is an actual living entity that is symbiotic. It has merged with his mind sending him into the depths of true irreversible madness.

Skills: Real name Javier Ramirez is an expert in Mexican wrestling, and thanks to the book he holds onto so dearly, he can communicate in every dialect of every language. The intelligence in brackets below is his natural score; the book increases his IQ.

Statistics: Strength-78 , Agility-43, Speed – 39, Endurance – 99, Intelligence – 96, (12), Charisma – 75, (9 without the book, he ain’t pretty and has a very bad attitude as is)

Origin: Ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to dominate the Mexican wrestling scene, which he accomplished, undefeated in over 123 bouts. But his family were poor and his mother dying, she needed treatment he could not afford, and the wrestling prize money just wasn’t enough. He turned to crime and began a racketeering business. until one day, whilst holding aloft a scrawny bookshop proprietor, he was offered the ‘Holy book’ as collateral for the protection money owed.

The book instantly began to take a grip on his weak mind. He snapped the neck of the shop keeper, (the shadowy figure behind The Chaplain in the picture), who had actually planned the whole thing, Thinking nothing more of it The Chaplain went on to his next illicit collection point.

The old shop keeper is the voice of the book, and the targets selected to be killed are all non-Catholics. The Chaplains mind has been warped into that of a religious genocidal maniac.

The Victor!

Larcen Yart

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

By: Hunter Tremblay, from Manitoba, Canada.

Powers and abilities: Larcen was born with ability to absorb and integrate any DNA, picking and choosing what he would like to add, sometimes using DNA coding to remove flaws in himself. This has allowed him to acquire a varied range of strange and unique powers.

This is accomplished by simply touching the living creature with the DNA he desires, but there is a drawback; sometimes he will take on physical characteristics of the creature from the new DNA, changing his appearance on a regular basis. Very useful in his trade as an intergalactic smuggler.

All his attributes have been improved through DNA remodelling, he has heightened senses of smell, vision, (he can now see in all spectrums of vision), and hearing, he changed his sense of touch to make his pain receptors less sensitive and his pleasure receptors more powerful. He increased his bone density to that of steel, and increased the range of his ligaments and tendons to be able to contort into very small spaces. He has boosted his metabolism to an astonishing rate, because of this he heals and recovers from diseases and viruses, (from which he can also utilise the DNA of), but must compensate by taking in a vast amount of calories. He has camouflage abilities, but they’re imperfect, he shimmers as he does. His DNA remodelling is not perfect. He does however have a perfect ‘Spidey sense’, that warns him of imminent danger. DNA remodelling has allowed him to breath in various environments, including underwater. He cannot absorb any knowledge with this power though.

Skills: He is a tech genius, but not with weaponry. He wears on his left hand a force field generator, it has 2 projection point to be able to project 2 different kinds of field at the same time if required. The force fields produced can take the form of shields that protect from physical, energy, nuclear, gaseous and explosive attacks.

Attached to his right wrist is a scanning device, that can detect any life form and analyse it from a distance of up to 12 kilometers. The collar he wears acts as a translating device and also allows him to survive in environments he hasn’t absorbed the DNA for.

Statistics: Strength-65, Agility-92, Speed – 92, Endurance – 72, Intelligence – 88, Charisma – 79

Origin: He was raised as an only child by his father who was the man that taught him all his tech knowledge. As  a child though, when running a simple errand he was kidnapped by slavers, to be sold for sordid tasks.

Being unaware of his power, each of the 7 men who took him had manhandled him at various points, unknowingly giving him their DNA. The DNA remodelling takes days, sometimes even weeks, so he was trapped on the slavers ship for some time with other slaves, whose DNA he made sure to absorb also. After the remodelling was complete, he was the fastest, strongest and toughest on the ship.

He freed the other slaves and took the vessel as his own. However after travelling so long and far, he had no idea where he was. Some of the slaves remained with him to crew the vessel, even though none of them knew how to navigate through the stars, but some were pilots. They now spend their days smuggling, Larcen is now notorious with the intergalactic authorities, but extremely hard to identify due to all the DNA remodelling.

Conclusion: A group of original and sustainable characters from the four corners of the Earth, all have their merits. But Larcen Yart, the name alone, get it? Larceny art. Roguish genius.

So if Mr Tremblay will send me via e-mail the postal address he wishes his prize to be sent to, he will soon be the proud new owner of he-who-survived-the-Sarlacc. Yay

Please feel free, beloved reader to submit characters any time you please to augment the database. They will be eligible for future competitions.

Until next time. Keep Creating.