Xu Jingming could guess what these youngsters were thinking from their faces. He smiled and said, "I've read your information. There are 11 people in the Jiangnan provincial team who use spears, and all of you are here. Three of you are high school students that were specially recruited. You three will start first; suit up."
In a martial arts competition, one had to wear armor, a helmet, and even a neck guard.
In melee combat, even though the weapons were blunt and were coated with cushioning material, the impact delivered remained terrifying. Death was very possible without donning professional equipment.
Xu Jingming also donned his armor and helmet, and he looked at his team members through his meshed helmet.
"Everyone, enter the arena." Xu Jingming held his spear and walked into the arena through the metal gate.
The 11 members and Coach Liu also walked in.
"Everyone else, stand to the side. Feng Yu will go first. Liu Hao, you're up next," Xu Jingming said.
Only two contestants were allowed into the arena in an official match, but this was only a coaching match. With a 20m by 20m arena and Xu Jingming not needing much space to offer the provincial team guidance, he permitted the other members entry to the arena for a better view as there was no barbed wire within.
"Watch carefully. If your spearmanship is half as good as Coach Xu's, you'll be able to make it into the World Martial Arts Tournament," said Liu Chongyuan.
The other team members also held their breaths and watched carefully. It was very rare to see an expert like Spear Demon Xu Jingming in action up close.
A young man wearing armor and holding a spear walked up to Xu Jingming and stood ten meters away from him.
"Referee system, activate," Xu Jingming said.
Light descended from above the arena, condensing into a giant face that looked down from above. It said, "Engage!"
Nowadays, the Martial Arts Tournament used AI referees. AI referee cameras could be slowed down by a thousand-fold and could accurately make judgments. They hadn't made a mistake to this day.
"Come on." Xu Jingming looked at the young man named Feng Yu.
Specially recruited high school students were usually relatively weak. They were only specially recruited because they had great potential—much effort was put into nurturing them.
"Coach, be careful. Many contestants were unable to handle a single strike from me during my competitions." Feng Yu was rather confident.
"Say that again when you touch me," Xu Jingming teased.
Feng Yu confidently strode forward, his speed extremely high and incomparably fierce. In just a few steps, he arrived in front of Xu Jingming. His forward momentum turned into a thrust of his spear, causing the air to whistle.
Feng Yu practiced Forward Pierce 500 times a day, and every strike was executed with full strength. He started spear practice at the age of 12, and in five years, he could produce afterimages when thrusting out his spear. It could even pierce through thick iron armor! Even if he used a spear in a competition where the spearhead was rounded and had a cushioning layer, the impact still exceeded 400 kilograms of force.
The sound of the spear piercing through the wind could be clearly heard, but Xu Jingming only took a step back.
The speartip stopped 20 centimeters away from Xu Jingming and didn't touch him at all.
"Huh?" Feng Yu was slightly stunned, but he immediately spun his spear and thrust it at Xu Jingming repeatedly.
Every thrust of the spear posed a threat, but Xu Jingming was like a leopard cat. With simple footwork, all the strikes missed.
A high school student in the provincial team. Xu Jingming recalled his past self and how young he had been back then.
Isn't his leg seriously injured and his footwork very weak? Why can't I touch him? It's like I'm short by 20 to 30 centimeters every single time. Feng Yu was unwilling to give up and attacked continuously. His spearmanship was dazzling, but he couldn't touch Xu Jingming at all.
After a few dozen thrusts, the constantly moving Xu Jingming made his first move—he raised the spear in his hand and tapped Feng Yu's relentless spear. The former's spear then turned into a blur and suddenly erupted with terrifying explosive power.
A deep, dull collision sound rang out—it was the sound of a spear shaft colliding with something.
The spear in Feng Yu's hand was sent flying.
Feng Yu's eyes were wide open, and his hands were trembling. He stared blankly at the spear on the ground. My grip can handle at least 200 kilograms. How could I lose my grip from a single tap?
He had held his spear with both hands, yet a single collision with the opponent's spear shaft numbed his hands and sent his spear flying.
"You're a bit too flashy. Your footwork is very weak, and your spearmanship is just average," Xu Jingming commented. This kind of opponent wasn't even worthy of him wearing full armor, but he couldn't afford to be careless in a martial arts competition. If he was careless, he might regret it for the rest of his life.
"I don't know much about spearmanship," Liu Chongyuan laughed and said, "but this kid's footwork is weak. In our eyes, it's like slow motion."
Feng Yu looked at Xu Jingming in confusion. "Coach, even though my footwork is weak, I'm holding a two-meter-long spear. Why couldn't I touch you?"
"Your arms and spear are only that long, so your maximum attack range is fixed," Xu Jingming explained. "Based on your footwork, one can determine the maximum range of your spear. As long as one maintains that distance, you won't be able to touch the other party. These are the basics for professionals."
"The maximum attack range is fixed? I can't touch you if you maintain that distance?" Feng Yu murmured. He had felt it earlier—Xu Jingming's movement was simple, but he couldn't touch him despite throwing everything he had.
"The essence of footwork is firstly, reaction; secondly, the awareness of space; thirdly, balance," Xu Jingming said. "These three aspects of yours are very rough. It's just like Coach Liu said; your footwork is like slow motion in the eyes of professionals."
"This kid just joined the provincial team after the college entrance examination," Liu Chongyuan said. "He learned plenty of unorthodox techniques, and it's true that he needs to work on his footwork."
Feng Yu immediately asked, "Coach Xu, what are the problems with my spearmanship then?"
He admitted to having weak footwork, but he was confident in his spearmanship.
"Strictly speaking, your spearmanship… Only the first thrust where you focused all the force from your forward charge into the spear could be considered to be at the professional level. You are very weak when it comes to interception, strikes, and blocking," Xu Jingming said.
Fighting with weapons wasn't a game; it was the most dangerous fight, where serious injuries and disabilities happened occasionally. Since he was their coach, he had to explain their problems clearly.
The other ten members felt pressured by Xu Jingming but were eager to try.
The second high school student had his spear fly away the moment it came into contact with Xu Jingming's spear. Even if he was prepared and tried his best to hold it tightly, it was useless.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Spear after spear was sent flying!
All the provincial team members were dumbfounded.
Even Huang Feng and Zhang Qi—two veterans that had participated in the national training program—were powerless against Xu Jingming.
Among them, only Zhang Qi made Xu Jingming deliver two strikes! The first strike knocked the spear out of his hand, but Zhang Qi did his best to hold onto it. He succeeded, but it left an opening for Xu Jingming to follow up with a second strike. It landed on Zhang Qi's chest, and the impact caused his armor to light up red.
Zhang Qi had lost!
As for the other team members, Xu Jingming only needed one strike, a defensive one at that. Those team members couldn't hold onto their spears at all—their spears were all sent flying.
So this is Spear Demon?
The World Martial Arts Tournament has been held for almost 30 years. In terms of spearmanship, Xu Jingming is recognized as one of the top ten professional gladiators in history. The gap is far greater than I imagined!
Spear Demon Xu Jingming's most famous move is 'Shadowless Thrust,' but he doesn't need to use that ultimate move against us.
If I can reach half of his spearmanship, I should be able to enter the World Martial Arts Tournament.
These team members' eyes were filled with excitement and fervor. Only after experiencing it for themselves did they understand how terrifying a spearman ranked in the historical top ten was. They even felt that Spear Demon Xu Jingming was still at his peak—it was even possible that he was stronger than back then!
Two hours later.
"I believe everyone is aware of their own shortcomings in today's preliminary training." Xu Jingming looked at the provincial team members.
All of them were excited and fanatical; they felt that this training was really worth it.
"In the next nine days, we will focus on basic training every day. When the training is over, you will have to practice more every day. Spearmanship requires years and years of practice. The strength of the entire body will naturally be transferred into every strike. It requires comprehension and hard work," Xu Jingming said.
"Yes, Coach," replied the 11 team members in unison. It was obvious that Xu Jingming had won them over; they idolized him.
"Alright, you're dismissed," Xu Jingming nodded and said.
"Take the bus back to the hotel first," Liu Chongyuan instructed.
"Alright." The team members put down their weapons and left in twos and threes.
"Ah Chen, help me entertain Coach Liu," Xu Jingming said. "Bear, I'm covered in sweat. I'm going to take a shower and get a change of clothes. We'll meet downstairs later. The barbecue restaurant next to our center is my favorite restaurant in Binhai City."
"Oh? I have to try it then." Liu Chongyuan—who was as big as a bear—also looked forward to it. Professional martial artists did a lot of training, so they ate a lot. All of them liked meat.
ραпdα Йᴏνêl(сòm)Meanwhile, Xu Jingming quickly went to take a shower. Although he was a coach, he was already drenched in sweat after two hours of training.
Even so, he was used to it. In martial arts training, it was very common to squeeze dry soaked clothes repeatedly.
After Xu Jingming washed up, he changed into a short-sleeved shirt and a pair of berms and walked out. He saw a middle-aged man smoking outside.
"Senior Brother, why are you here?" Xu Jingming smiled in surprise. The person in front of him was Fang Xinglong, and he was the boss of Cosmos Center! It was a first-rate combat center in Binhai City, and the building occupied an area exceeding 11,000 square meters. Xu Jingming, a professional martial artist, didn't have that much wealth. He was invited to be center head.
Fang Xinglong's main business involved selling alcohol, and he was a boss with a net worth of billions. He loved martial arts and weapon combat and was willing to spend money on his hobby. He was quite famous in the martial arts circle and was the disciple of 'Tiger' Liu Hai.
The World Martial Arts Tournament had been established for nearly 30 years. Liu Hai had been the head coach of the national team for 20 years, and most of the national team members had to call him master.
Liu Hai was already 45 years old when the first World Martial Arts Tournament was held. As a famous martial artist from the older generation, he was overjoyed when he found out about the tournament. He consecutively entered five World Martial Arts Tournaments and fought against experts from all over the world!
Because the rules of protection weren't perfect in the early days, it was even more dangerous than what the tournament currently had in place. Liu Hai had taken third place twice, second place twice, and first place once! After he became world number one, he announced his retirement. He became the head coach of the national team at the age of 50 and only announced his retirement at the age of 70.
Back then, Xu Jingming was the national team's linchpin and also Liu Hai's beloved disciple. Fang Xinglong was an amateur, but he loved combat very much. Thus, he also thought of ways to become Liu Hai's disciple.
"Jingming.." Fang Xinglong took a drag and looked at his good friend. "Did you offend someone?"