Twice a year myself and Master Po would travel to a haunted field.
A field of broken dirt. Shallow graves. This place was reserved for those warriors which did not deserve rest. Murderers, cowards. Those, who killed without honor.
Eternal peace was stolen from them, and their spirits suffered the eternal damnation of consciousness - upon a muddy field, precisely 1000 footsteps from the Gates of Wudan.
They could not leave. They could not die. They could only live. Mortals did not visit this place. The spirits knew nothing but war their entire lives, they would engage instantly.
They aimed to kill you. Upon haunted ground. To force you to endure their fate alongside them.
However - twice a year, myself and Master Po would walk the 1000 steps and engage in combat. Lethal sparring, with eternal consequences.
They would not die. So the aim was simply to disable them, render them combat ineffective. Leave them in the cold to heal.
Ready for the next massacre. Master Po would disable them at will, abolishing hundreds with fast strikes and unorthodox technique.
I could hold my own against one or two, but my skills had not yet matured.
In the middle of combat, I grew frustrated and how difficult it was for me. Too many close calls. Too many mistakes. It simply took me too long for each victory.
I needed more power.
Hurriedly, as I ripped the throat from a spirit - I shouted: “Master!! Please. I need power. Show me the most devastating move you know!”
Po, while crushing the skull of a downed opponent, replied: “You could never execute it. You’re weak.”
This bothered me. I did not want my Master to think I was weak. As I continued to battle I attempted to show Master that I was strong. That I COULD execute any move he taught me.
Through anger, my Kagi Tsuki grew wild and inaccurate, my Kiai rushed. Suddenly, a Dragon kick knocked me to the ground. I spun and raised my hands to protect my face.
I saw the sword raised, my decapitation imminent. I froze. Masters flawlessly Shuto Uchi ripped the spirits arms from his body before he could take my life.
Armless, the spirit screamed. Feeling real pain. Then Pos fingers ripped his eyes from his skull. Blind and in agony, yet unable to die, he ran screaming into the darkness.
At this, I was dragged to my feet, and we fled the field. Leaving a trail of destruction behind us. The ghosts were in pieces.
The battle was over. The walk back to Wudan was embarrassing. I was adept number 1.
And yet, I failed. I died. And he saved me. To be saved by Po was an honor, he had a habit of simply letting people die for their mistakes, but I didn’t feel honor. I felt shame.
I expected more of myself. I was disappointed. I needed to learn more.
I asked: “Master, if I can not execute your most powerful move, will you at least show it to me?” Staring straight ahead.
He whispered... “I’ve shown you already. Using only my tongue, I broke your Zen.”
Such is the way of Wudan.