Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 15 Ch. 58

Fragrant Smell of Trees

“Mindless 25 Techniques” was so profound that it was no easier to master than “Pure Yang One Qi”. Li Zizi had a knack for refining pure yang qi; the more he read and studied, the more he grasped it; the more challenging a puzzle was, the more he relished it. Learning Pure Yang One Qi boosted his confidence significantly, and he learnt it with exuberance. Although he learnt it fast, his results came from his start. In contrast, “Mindless 25 Techniques” was extremely difficult.

“Mindless 25 Techniques” didn’t have anything in common with any boxing skills Li Zizi had previously learnt. It was wrong to go light, but it was also wrong to strike heavily. It was wrong to go fast, but it was also wrong to go slow. The discipline seemed unable to make up its mind, and there were parts that were hard for him to confidently claim he understood them, yet there was an indescribable element that drew him to it.

Li Zizi was able to learn Pure Yang One Qi on his own, but he needed to pose questions regarding Mindless 25 Techniques daily. Every day, he’d ask Ming Feizhen for the theory, the names of the techniques, and every detail he could think of. Ming Feizhen tried to avoid the questions as best as he could, but he was intercepted when he just finished stealing food from the kitchen. With no other option left, he had to ask for brush, ink, and paper. After deliberating for a long time, Hanlin Academician Ming wrote the following names:

Point East. Strike West.
Look South. Red.
Summer plant. Autumn Harvest.
Round and Moist Midwinter.
Falling Water.
Foot Bridge.
Success is Emptiness.
Failure is Grogginess.
The World is Vague.
Say Hello to Your Ancestors.

Not a single line made sense to anyone. Unfortunately, the last line “Say Hello to Your Ancestors” was wasted calligraphy skills because the entire text was nonsensical. It was impressive enough for Li Zizi to be distracted for a while.

“Shifu, are there not only twenty-four techniques here? What about the last one?”

“Whatever floats your boat.” Hanlin Academician Ming tossed aside his brush and hurried off to the kitchen.

Hence, the last technique was named, “Whatever Floats Your Boat.”

His shifu put zero effort into the names, yet Li Zizi treated the scroll of text as a treasure. As if the calligraphy had a soul, the combination of text and calligraphy inspired new thoughts, and Li Zizi went on to believe it was not only the technique names, but also the theory of the discipline. He found enlightenment in the text and became intoxicated in practice.

What Li Zizi gleaned was pure coincidence. Besides Ancient King String, Hanlin Academician Ming didn’t create many skills, and he wasn’t a creative genius, either. The boxing techniques were Ming Feizhen’s random creations, but because he was busy speaking to Bai Lian when he came up with them, he took a shortcut and based them off his own martial arts training, essentially teaching Li Zizi the summarised version of his own style of fighting.

The twenty-five techniques weren’t just punching techniques. They also consisted of kicks, palm techniques, claw techniques and finger techniques. On its own, it wasn’t a profound discipline by any mains. Had it not been for his three years living as a recluse, which gave him the time to create Seven King Strings out of all his experiences, Ming Feizhen wouldn’t have been able to create anything nearly as impressive. When he wrote the names, he had specific techniques in mind and summarised his knowledge again, so he essentially upgraded the discipline once again. Otherwise, Li Zizi wouldn’t have been able to derive any real skills from Ming Feizhen’s random hand gestures.

Ming Feizhen was never a stickler for structure in his striking techniques, nor did he ever invest much effort into them, so his basics were never nice on the eyes. Having said that, he was excellent at adapting on the fly, and the twenty-five techniques helped to achieve that. As nothing was set in stone, Li Zizi was free to adapt every technique as he saw fit.

Li Zizi caught the big man on the chest with “Point East”, spun around and beat one opponent with “Strike West,” used “Look South” to take the trio’s balance and draw them in, then tagged the whip user’s left shoulder with “Red”. As awkward and unimpressive in speed as his execution was, he was able to send his target back and with a mouthful of blood. He himself didn’t expect the techniques to be so effective. The more he used it, the more it fitted like a glove to him.

Using “Randomness”, Li Zizi glued his palm to the flat surface of Peng Caiji’s broadsword and redirected the blade, disrupting Peng Caiji’s ability to strike what he wanted to strike. The two techniques of “Randomness” came from Tai Chi. Although it wasn’t as sophisticated, the principle of sticking and redirecting limbs and weapons remained the same across all disciplines.

Aware that he wouldn’t last long against three opponents, Li Zizi thrust his hand forward, palming Peng Caiji’s blade back into his chest. He allowed Peng Caiji to forcibly resist the force whilst adding a horizontal force from right to left, forcing the blade through Peng Caiji’s arm!

Though he managed to amputate Peng Caiji, the side effects of Pure Yang One Qi had Li Zizi’s head spinning again. Ever since he stared combining Mindless 25 Techniques and Pure Yang One Qi together, he didn’t suffer the side effects. He realised too late that, every time he finished executing a technique, the new energy created for the next movement was faster than his imagination. In other words, every strike was 100% power, and 100% speed. He genuinely felt close to invincible.

Li Zizi had defeated three opponents, but one remained. The big man had lost his weapon somewhere in the forest far away. His arm was a reck, and he was hurt badly elsewhere, too, but he was hellbent on killing the young Prince. Despite his rage, however, he didn’t dare to take another step closer to Li Zizi.

All of a sudden, a branch sprouted from the big man’s forehead. Li Zizi thought the branch he stashed in his sash wouldn’t come in handy, yet it really was an effective weapon.

Li Zizi, still holding his throwing pose, heaved heavy breaths. He wanted to turn around and tell his mentor sitting on the wall that he had succeeded, but his body no longer supported his endeavour.

“That took a little too long.”

Li Zizi felt a warmth akin to a father coil around him as his vision blackened.


Mindless 25 Techniques – The text Ming Feizhen wrote actually rhymes, which probably factored in his name choices. I attempted to make it rhyme, but I couldn’t do it while keeping the translation still correct. Maybe there is someone who can, but that person isn’t going to be me.

As for the total number of names not adding up to 25, this is due to them counting two characters as one technique (see Point East. Strike West.). However, some of them are linked, so the only way to do that would be to split words like “Randomness” into “Random” and “Ness”, which… doesn’t quite work in English without turning it into something completely incomprehensible. For this reason, I have to do some rewriting in the text, such as “Randomness” being rewritten as two techniques.


Previous Chapter l   Next Chapter

Liked it? Take a second to support Wu Jizun on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!