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Punching Up


TheAbsurdist

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"Right!  Remember, loadin' a punch from the same hand is hard to make sure that it connects with power.  Haveta pull the arm back, and bring your body back to push it out.  But, most fellas ain't gonna see it.  A sucker punch ain't blindsiding them, it's the punch ya shoulda seen comin' but takes you out, 'cause yer a sucka!  We gonna keep bladed up, present as little a target as possible, use your shoulder, your under arm and a lotta head movement to keep a punch from landing.  Keep up the combo, I'll show youself, called the Philly Shell!"

And he did just that, adopting a similar stance as then, it deep put his lead arm out, but he just went about dodging the blows they were throw, instead of having them hit the pads.  Focusing on demonstrating how to slip.  As he shifted himself on his feet, and moved his shoulder and head to deflect, avoid or let the punch just slide along his arm.  When other Ben was up for it, he nodded curtly, and in the middle of doing his defense against the blows, he suddenly pivoted, and did the combo against OctoBen.  Though he still had on the pads, and he wasn't trying to make contact, but he was proving the point of how he throw that combo from anywhere, even in the middle of avoiding an attack.

"Hold up Ben," he moved his leading left hand up towards the other teens face.  "See when ya got a fist in yer face, youse gonna flinch.  Gonna put your defenses up.  And when that's the case ya can't see, and ya rhythm is broken.  Rhythm broken means ya can't push forward.  That's why we do the two jabs.  Then ya pull away, and they open up to go against youse, and then you get them dat hook."  He nodded a little bit, as he grinned at them.

"So let's change this up.  Leading flicker jab."  And he threw the bunch, "Now yer gonna follow this, and step off-line again, moving around...to the back side of their leading hand, and yer gonna do a low hook under their arms.  But I want ya to keep youse hand up towards their face, make 'em try to deal with it... but also youse can slip down to hook their lead hand, but it's like this."  And he demoed it slow, a fast jab, stepping in after it, then stepping to the side, keeping his hand up around head level and ready to tangle up with the shadow opponent's lead hand, and then he dropped his left hand and aimed right around where the floating rib might be. 

 

It was a deceptively simple seeming effort, but it wasn't.  Just straight forward, if advanced thing.  And it got them moving in the other direction, which was more the goal to help encourage not just standing still and trading blows.

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Ashley _did_ sweat, though, and about the time they switched up to the more advanced maneuvers she somewhat disgustedly removed her leather jacket. It wasn't that she objected to fighting in gear that was already dripping with her sweat, but it was getting in the way. Most of what she needed was around her waist, anyway, her belt visibly bulging with utility gear. The only disadvantage to taking off her top was that it exposed the ink on her upper arms - the Sacred Heart of Mary and the name of her first college boyfriend. Oh well, let the little bastards ogle. She took a break to towel off and grab a water, confident enough in her own abilities that she was content to simply keep a close eye on Judy. 

 

For her part, Judy was following along closely with Benny's instructions. Maybe she didn't have a lot of direct experience with hand-to-hand fighting, but she was a quick study - and obviously knew a bit more than the naive princess she sometimes acted like. She was distinctly glowing now, but didn't seem to mind the look one bit. 

 

"

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Claude took the criticism in stride, made some corrections and kept at it. Even if he gave Benny an odd look at saying that he wasn't light on his feet. Granted, the only time he really needed to be punchin' fools is if everything went to hell, but that was a common occurrence as far as he was concerned. Most people who he had to deal with as a Guardian were not the subtle sort. Still, it would be rare that he'd throw down face to face. Usually he'd just ambush or sucker punch his opponents with feints and distractions. 

 

Then a bead of sweat managed to get into his eye, so he decided to take a quick break and grab a water much like Grim was doing. Wiping his face off with a towel, he glanced over at the only person wearing a costume in the gym. Was that a tattoo?

 

The sacred heart? Relatively normal, especially when he considered how much a holy roller Sunshine appeared to be. Waitaminute. Tyler? Hadn't Nick said that Grim was at the LGBT+ club?  

 

The boy from Boston eyes narrowed as he noticed what looked another name in vietnamese inked into her arms as well.  Moments later, the repository confirmed his initial guess. 'Phillip', it read. Huh. Odd.

 

Yet more pieces to try and solve the puzzle that was angry grrl. Still, that was a problem for later. Now, it was back to punching. 

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Octoman

 

Ben didn't seem tired at all. He was barely sweating as he continued to throw punches into the air. Despite the bags under his red-rimmed eyes that he hadn't bothered to airbrush away with his shapeshifting, the proof that he had indeed been awake all night, his reaction time was still lightning-quick and he didn't seem any more distracted than usual. Apparently superhuman stamina was part of the Octoman package.

 

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"See when ya got a fist in yer face, youse gonna flinch. Gonna put your defenses up. And when that's the case ya can't see, and ya rhythm is broken."

 

"Oh man, no lies detected. Ragin' Bull here givin' you the straight dope. First super-criminal I ever ran into, you know I flinched when the dude started poundin' my head into the pavement like he was tryin' ta hammer a nail through it. Dude broke my rhythm, yeah, and my face. If I had any bones left, woulda broken those too. I mean, I got better, obvs. But ya gotta feel sorry for the guys who hadta hose my blood off the asphalt. That stuff's thick, and I don't mean the fun kind. Man, you ever notice how a lot of my stories end with me lyin' in the middle of the street in a pool of my own blood? What's up with that? Oh hey, sick tats."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof
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"Oh, Benny, that's so sad!" said Judy sympathetically as he told the story of what sounded like a truly disastrous first mission, remembering to stand where he could see her talking even as she wasn't at all sure what he was actually talking about. "You shouldn't worry, though, Ah'm sure you'll be better with a little more training. That's why we're here, right?" She smiled reassuringly. "Ah had quite a time the first time Ah really used my powers like that. The first big fight Ah got into, that was...well that was something," she hedged, looking away for a moment before turning back, "but Ah know it won't happen next time!" 

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Octoman

 

"Sad?" Ben laughed. "You mispronounced AWESOME. You know how many people SAW that fight? MID-DAY LUNCH RUSH. Half the CITY saw me get back up after THAT poundin', saw me out there swingin' up and down the streets kickin' ass and takin' names THE NEXT DAY. That fight MADE my rep, Chica."

 

Jab, jab, punch. Duck. Weave. "'More training?' Girl PLEASE, I been doin' this since I was in SECOND GRADE. Besides, dude had powers. Had ta throw him through a couple'a buildings ta soften him up." His voice dropped to barely above a whisper, though probably still louder than he thought, and he leaned in closer to Judy. "Weird seein' YOU down here, though. I mean, it's not like you need exercise, right? And I'm kinda surprised you didn't know this stuff already. I woulda figured it'd be, y'know, part of the package? They just worried you'd, like, REBEL or something? Someone's seen too many movies, am I right? And that's comin' from ME!"

 

What're they THINKIN'?! I DAMN SURE never woulda built a robot-girl without teachin' her how ta fight. Not in a post-Doc-Otaku world.

 

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He's so weird, but he's trying to be nice, and I don't really want Ashley to shove a bomb in his cloaca! She was pretty sure Ashley wouldn't actually do that to somebody who hadn't actually tried to hurt her or kidnap her if she didn't say the codeword. She smiled nervously at Benny and said, "Ah know how to fight fine, just not hand-to-hand. If we were at my daddy's old target range, Ah could probably show you a thing or two." Why is he so bad at fighting if he's been doing it since he was little? 

 

"Had to learn it, where we're from," growled Watchdog, who had approached with the insolent ease of somebody not bothering to conceal their movements. "Otherwise you get ...soft." She knew that look on Judy's face, when she was holding back discomfort without actually saying it, and drew the attention back her way. "Hey Benny!" she called to their ersatz teacher, "When do we make with the-" she mimed punching her hand with her other fist. 

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"Yeah, Yeah. School o' hard knocks is a brutal teacher." Claude said, actually agreeing with Ashley as he moved back to start shadowboxing again. "Harsh, but better than dyin' in a ditch."  

 

"Really, Inky? You're proud of the ability to take a beatin'? Trained since you were little to do it?" Claude gave the boy from Brooklyn an arched eyebrow. "'Mosta the time that wouldn't be somethin' to crow about. Unless ya like the taste. Sides, people like Sunshine over there could turn you into takoyaki if she felt inclined, no fists needed." 

 

He grinned at everyone. "That bein' said, I'll echo Muttley's sentiment here and quote the Tao of Ed Gruberman: 'I wanna beat people up right now'."

Edited by Semi-Autogyro
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It took the profusely sweating Heroditus a moment to realize Ben was instructing them in another stance, and he paused before starting it to take several sips from his waterskin.  "Ah, of course, a moving target would be more difficult to hit."  He did an awkward half-step to the side between every jab, "easier said than done, of course, until you get all the limbs moving in coordination, and building the muscle memory."  He was huffing and puffing some, but the determined look in his eye showed he was not going to let that stop him.

 

He looked aside at OctoBen as he recounted the tale of his first super-battle.  Odd -- he seems so well-adapted to aquatic environments, yet shows no loss of agility or stamina here.  Jab, step, jab.  That probably helps his motormouth, too.  I wonder if he was that talkative before his transformation, or if he was a silent type who is now 'cutting loose'?

 

He nodded to Judy when she offered her condolences, and to Ashley when she mimed punching her hand with her other fist, and to Claude .  "I am in agreement with my fellow students, Mentor Ben."  Jab, step, jab.  "I know we must get the... the basics down," jab, step, jab, "but there is only so... so much we can learn from striking at shadows."

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Benny stopped, and he looked at them.  His face inscrutable for a moment before he slide the target pads off of his hands, and he rolled his his head on his neck, before stretching to the side.  He was wordless as he gestured towards the gloves to the side.  "Put 'em on.  Put 'em up.  These protect youse hands more 'en their face, and if ya ain't used ta it, this will make it easier ta punch."  Then he stepped back and lifted his hands in a slightly bladed stance, his right hand leading, it was more squared off than what he has showed earlier, but if they knew the business that was expected, he straight up said what style he tended to use.

"Watchdog youse first.  If ya can shoot the Raven, I should be a cake walk."  He was light on his feet, already, moving.  Though he looked like a stalking panther, and less the brash kid from the Fens with a stereotypical Joisey accent.  One might have heard the ring of the bell.

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Ashley snorted, giving Benny a level look. "Really? We're not exactly in the same weight class, pally, and I can't take a .38 round to the face." Despite her words, she was putting the gloves on as she spoke. "Guess you want to look big for the other boys, huh?" She took off her utility belt, carefully folding it beneath her jacket so it wouldn't go off. Guess shooting him in the balls at this point wouldn't be fair. Left glove. "Typical." She put on the right glove, contemplating what she knew about Rebound's physical abilities Goddamit and weighing the relative merits of getting herself out of the fight by saying something really cutting about his dead mother. Well that was hardly heroic, now, was it? And it wouldn't do anything to teach Judy what she was supposed to learn. She stood outside the ring for a moment, then put her hands on the ropes and vaulted inside. stay in character. "Still gonna kick your ass," she lied.

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"Ain't ever had to do that.  I learned to not parry wit my face."  He said it simply, and he grinned, as he moved into the ring, stepping through the middle the rope as he moved in close, holding out a hand to touch gloves.  "Ya spoke up, an' youse arms are bigger'n'Claude's ovah there.  But he's next."  When she drew in close, he leaned in to say somethin' softly.

 

Spoiler

"Plus I could see the calluses."  

 

Stepping back from her addressed everyone.  "Everyone 'cept Ben gets to do whatever they want, I'm just gonna touch spar, with just what I was teaching."  And he lifted his hands as he resumed his stance.  He wasn't a show boat, there was no slap'n'giggle to this, he was taking her seriously.  Apart from training in groups, or in a situation like, he didn't brag.  Hell if he had ducked out when he wanted to he'd have avoided this.

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Octoman

 

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"Really, Inky? You're proud of the ability to take a beatin'? Trained since you were little to do it?" Claude gave the boy from Brooklyn an arched eyebrow. "'Mosta the time that wouldn't be somethin' to crow about. Unless ya like the taste."

 

"C'mon, man, y'all are missin' the POINT. Ain'tchu ever seen a boxing movie? I mean, ANY sports movie, really." Ben deepened his voice, clearly imitating an actor but not doing a good enough job for anyone to figure out which one. "'Ain't about how HARD ya can HIT,'" he growled. "'It's about how hard ya can GET hit, and keep GOIN'.'" His voice briefly returned to normal. "Or, like," His voice deepened again. "'DA MEASURE OF A MAN ain't in how he gets KNOCKED DOWN, it's in how he GETS BACK UP aftah.' It's, y'know, a PHILOSOPHY type thing! Fall down seven times, stand up eight, heroic spirit, ya feel me? 'Sides, Rocky Marciano over there'll tell ya, once you start strappin' on the gloves, one a tha things that'll hold ya back the most is bein' AFRAID of gettin' HIT. Ya know what helps ya get over THAT?" He pounded his fist into his hand twice for emphasis. "GETTIN'. HIT."

 

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"Watchdog youse first.  If ya can shoot the Raven, I should be a cake walk."

 

Ben beamed with excitement at the idea of Benny versus Ashley in the ring. "YEAH, time ta THROW DOWN!" He whipped out his smartphone and held it up to film as he danced back and forth between the two students. "In DIS cornah, weighin' in at 'FREAKIN' HUGE', tomato, tomah-toh, nah, it's BOUNCIN' BENNNNNYYYYY D'AAAMAAATOHHH! And in DIS cornah, weighin' in at 'Benny's popped ZITS heavier than her, so if he loses it's gonna be REALLY embarrassing, but if he WINS he's kinda just beatin' up a girl half his size, KINDA sucks ta be him right now, what WAS he thinkin'?', it's Claremont Academy's answer to Annie Oakley and also kinda the blond guy from the Cobra Kai Dojo and someone shoulda told her he's the BAD GUY in that movie, ASHHHLEEEYYY IDON'TACTUALLYKNOWHERLASTNAAAME!" He punctuated each fighter's name with a series of rapid-fire airhorn blasts, from an app on his phone which existed solely to provide that sound.

 

Edited by Grumblefloof
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Ashley stepped into the ring and stopped to scratch her nose, stopping to think the situation through. There was no reason to be paranoid. There weren't her enemies; and trash talk or not, she was reasonably sure (especially after their brief conversation) that Benny wasn't out to beat her up. Mostly sure, anyway. That left her with fewer options than she liked - but she was always one to improvise. "Your accent's about fifty years out of date," she said, throwing a jab at Benny's left that she followed up with a block from the right that wasn't exactly regulation. "English not your first language?" she guessed. 

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  He had a more squared off stance as he clapped his hands together, then he stared to move, shifting his weight, and bouncing on his feet, moving like a featherweight, despite his bulk.  And he leaned back, showing off practiced head movement and bobbing and weaving, as he was ducking under the punch, and offline, as he stepped in to her, breaking sharply into an open southpaw stance off line to the side of punching hand, almost flanking her in a smooth motion, with his lead foot shuffling on it, to interrupt her movement.  "Y'see drills sista."  He grinned cheekily, as he flicked two jabs at her, though he wasn't making fists, he was doing precisely what he said, touch sparring.  Though they were clearly more to force her to shell up versus anything further.

 

"Yeah, bad English is my first.  Padre and the English teach wants me ta get better, but I mean, I'm from Joisey.  Unlike the rest'a'ya."  Benny was unambiguous regarding his own stance on these sorts of things, he didn't push any of the other kids, he took pretty much what they said at face value, not that he was hiding his own origin, per say, he just never made it a topic.

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She took the hits on her upper arms, one-two, and stepped up until she was so far within Benny's reach he had to step back himself if he wanted to hit her. "But what if that doesn't work?" She dropped to one knee and struck forward like a snake - and the heel of her hand was perilously close to being somewhere you weren't supposed to punch somebody in a fair fight. "Real fights aren't fair," she said, vocalizing the thought as she rolled backwards and out of Rebound's reach. "Never have been, never will be." She wasn't smiling as she jumped to her feet. "So why bother?" 

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Well, that was what she though, as he hopped, and switched stance like she was trying to trap him on the ropes, and he swung that hook from his now leading left.  Though she was ducking at the time, and he saw the point she was trying to make, and he snorted a bit, and just let it happen.  Enough for him to grunt with the impact, and her to feel fact that she got him, and despite a slight widening of eyes, he didn't sell the blow. Benny projected his voice, over a slight huff, from the continued exertion, though right now it was easy in his routine.  "Y''see toots, I was learnin' ta box before I got powers.  Here's th' thing, y'fight someone who knows what they're doin' why'd'ya think droppin' the rules is gonna hurt them?"  He put emphasis on the word.

 

And then he chased her, weaving and bobbing, and closing the distance with aggressive movement, "An' once the bloods'a'pumpin', a dirty blow ain't gonna stop him enough from hurtin' ya."  Then he surged, the speed he moved could only be described as sudden. Closing as he presented shifting target that wasn't really giving her a clear spot, before he threw another punch, only for it to be a feint, and he twisted about, and threw an overhead type hook, where his hand got a good hold of her hair, before he moved and brought his other hand to his face, and pulled back at the last second to brush fingertips on the point of her chin, "They can fight dirty too, Ashley." 

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Ashley was smiling now - not a look Ben had seen on her face very much. Nice nice nice.

 

The smile fell, though, when she heard a faint strangled noise from nearby. She moved her eyes to see Judy looking like she was ready to get into the arena with them, then looked at Ben until he let go of her hair. From there, she shook her head as much as her position allowed. It's fine. "That's not an answer." She grabbed Ben by the shoulders and leaped over him, planting her foot on his upper back enough to bow him for a moment as her full weight came down. Not enough to actually hurt a big guy like him, of course. 

 

"If somebody knows how to fight, you hit them before they know you're there." She didn't bother trying to flip over him again, not wanting to insult him with the same strategy twice. Instead she tried a variant, putting her leg behind his before she shoved herself backwards, keeping away without actually pushing hard enough to trip him. "In the back, in the dark, with your car," she added in a sing-song voice as she feinted to his left with a slide of her feet on the ground that gave her stability against his counter. "Anything to turn those hands into handburger." 

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Benny grinned too, he liked to fight, probably more than he admitted, but he grew up rough.  This was him taking control in his hands.  "Hope y'ain't spectin' me ta argue, toots.  I am teachin' how ta throw a punch ta people who learned from dimestore stories and the pictures."  He let her shift and push away, his balance such that she didn't pull and jerk him off kilter, despite his light step, because he seemed to switch to being fully planted, to have a good sense of leverage, plus she was trying to create space against a guy who was stylistically about eating it up, and getting in close. 

"Y'want ta make 'nother point, then I get to do all my tricks. No powers."  It wasn't an edge, not really, it was a little bit of a reveal, as he showed the proverbial fangs.  "So let's break it down." And then he shifted his weight for another big overhand, it was a heavy swing that evaporate like water under a desert sun, as he changed what he was doing, with an almost impossible, and violent change of his momentum, as that punch dropped, and he switched into a gazelle punch with his other hand, exploding off the tips of his of his toes, and his hand sailed to her face, only to grab her shoulder and top.


That was all the feint, for his leap at her, his legs lifted, and scissoring her, and the hand grabbing at her shoulder was pulling, as he twisted his hips.  His boxing flowed right into the move to jiujitsu takedown and grapple, as he took her off of her feet, using his speed and mass to do that, rolling with her quickly. His hands grabbing at one of legs, as he moved into a grapevine position, tucking her foot under his arm, as he stretched her knee and ankle.  Not applying even full pressure, "Now!  Do I have all youse attentions!  This is a heel hook, the pressure will pop the tendons in her knees like an old balloon.  If she tries to get frisky, even with a utility belt, or whatever, then the dame is walkin' with a limp, if she's lucky.  But, I wasn't showin' off, that combo I showed youse guys? Woulda stopped me in my tracks, everyone's got a plan, till they get a punch to tha face.  And the jabs woulda stopped my plan, or I'da haveta eat a sucker punch.  Theys calls 'em that, cause only a sucker woulda get dropped by them."

And he released her leg, and pushed away from her, rolling back over his shoulders and into a crouch with preternatural smoothness.  "The fundamentals work because people will sleep on them, and then ya put 'em to sleep."  He looked to Claude, "Your turn."
 

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Ashley tapped out at about the moment Benny must have expected, once she was sure he had her solidly. She had ways around situations like this, but certainly none of them she was going to try on a seventeen-year-old boy in the middle of a friendly bout which he'd just won fair and square.  "Could have gotten out of that," she muttered once she was loose in what sounded like an obvious face-saving lie, loud enough for the others to hear. "Whatever." She winked at Benny, though, careful to make sure the others couldn't see it. He was an OK kid - and it wasn't such a bad thing he wasn't ready to fight dirty yet. 

 

Outside of the arena, she took a water bottle and sat down to watch Claude do his thing, an ostentatious scowl on her face that didn't seem to bother Judy at all. 

 

"Are you okay?" 

 

"Fine," she grumped. 

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Claude had been strangely quiet through the whole show electing to watch the pair with a calculating gaze; apparently coming to a decision as Ashley tapped out. The boy from Boston waited until Ashley had cleared off the mat before stepping in, electing to check the springiness of the floor with a few bounces as he moved in front of Benny and dropping into the southpaw hitman stance he had used earlier. 

 

"For the record, lightweight vs. heavyweight ain't exactly a fair cop. David versus Goliath usually winds up with Goliath feedin' Davy boy his teeth." Claude stated as he raised his left glove for the other to tap, his body language taut like a coiled spring. 

 

As soon as their gloves made contact, the Southie threw a feinting jab with his right and followed up with a liver blow with his left to try and take advantage of his opponent focusing on the initial strike. It was clear that Claude was trained primarily as a outboxer, with how he tried to make space by using footwork to try and slip outside Benny's reach immediately after delivering the combo.

Edited by Semi-Autogyro
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As soon as Ashley had gotten into the rung with Benny, Heroditus had stopped shadow-boxing and diverted his full attention to the two.  Like all Atlanteans, he'd had some basic combat training, though he was never that enthusiastic about it and channeled most of his time and energies into his technomagical studies, and had focused more on ranged combat, such as with blaster weapons.  He'd expected to see moves here that he'd not seen before, but what he was seeing here was dizzying!  I never would have guessed Roommate Benny would move that quickly!  I am learning much about my cohorts this day.

 

He studied their moves carefully, trying to commit them to memory, but it was quickly becoming futile.  Right off they'd switched to 'fighting dirty,' abandoning the basic forms Benny had been teaching them.  So instead he tried to remember his own melee combat training, and any similarities it had with what was being taught here.

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Benny snorted a little bit, not showing a hint at the wink Ash gave him, but then he was facing others, but there was a little smirk as he straightened, a flash of knowing when he straightened up. "This ain't 'bout fair. An' I ain't 'bout to take youse down because it wont teach nuffin'.  Certainly wont give me a satisfaction, but y'throwin' sass while askin' for me to teach you, then youse gonna learn.  You wanna roll hard, we roll."

 

He touched gloves, and he seemed to be reacting at the moment of Claude's muscle twitch, and he bladed up orthodox style so the liver shot was the skidding across his stomach, his movement led him dancing backwards into the corner. Once there Benny his arms across the top ropes.  "I got to watch youse all show off in the Tech club, and do a pissin' contest.  Buuuuuuut this is my house, and ya ain't respectin' that.  And that means ya gotta learn."  Then he lifted a hand to beckon Claude.  "Liver shot's too early, Claude, an callin' me Goliath tells me y'lookin' to knock me out wif a stone."

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Claude scoffed at Benny's statement. "Tch. I'd need at least a trebuchet for ya, pally." He approached the corner the Brooklyn bomber was in, most of his weight on his toes so he could potentially weave around what got thrown at him. 

 

He shifted his hands into a peekaboo style, intent on protecting his face and core as he darted forward to throw a furry of strait jabs with his right at Benny's mug, followed by left hook directed at the liver again. Hopefully his opponent would be more concerned more concerned with the jabs to ward against the repeat strike. 

 

The Southie again made to withdraw after the exchange not wanting to be caught and manhandled by the other boy's meathooks. 

Edited by Semi-Autogyro
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"Nah."  Benny was dismissive, as he watched his point sail over Claude, and out of the ring, hitting past Heroditus' shoulder.  With that he smirked widely, as Claude in with his damned style, and he laughed.  "Oh, oh, oooooooooooooh, Boston Bean ova here wanna thrown down with hows I do things!"  

He rolled his head back, and around, with a kind of easy style that he might have picked up from that famous exchange Ali had done before, rolling his hips forward, and then circling them back.  Claude had already telegraphed the liver shot, and without throwing a punch Benny went defensive, just full defensive.  Not occupying the space where Claude was throwing his hand at.  Though he batted at Claude after the liver shot was thrown out, just seeking contact against him, but he kept his hand up in Claude's face.  "Claudey-boy, it's a counter punch style, I said it's what I do.  See, ya shoulda done..."

He pulled his hand back, and threw two hard jabs that were going right were he wanted them to, which was close, but off line enough to not connect to his face, before he was stepping in, and closing the distance to the smaller guy, getting right up with him, before pivoting on his lead foot, and and turning to Claude's non-dominant hand side, and he brought that jabbing hand down and did two quick, sharp uppercutting hooks that he pulled up short on.  One to the square middle, and the other to the floating ribs.

But Benny wasn't trying to hit Claude, he was moving and positioning him, and after this he stepped in and did a cling, putting those big arms over the outside of the other guys as he addressed the assembled teens. "Listen, listen! Shadow boxin' is a good practice, and throwin' wit each other is just showin' off day one.  We gots practice pads, and ya can practice drills with each'other, taking turns who's swingin'.  An' a whole buncha other stuff. Because I swear ta Gawd Almight Hisself, there ain't no shortcuts, just repetition an' hard work."

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