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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

 

Quote

"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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