Shadeclaw Combat Manual, Entry One - Goutfang

  • Shadeclaw Combat Manual, Entry One



    Claw Techniques – Goutfang











                 As a Po’ Tun, the first and last weapon at your disposal is your claws. They may not be as deadly as a well-placed kunai or be as versatile as shuriken, but they are always at the ready. Care for them as you would any other blade. Trim them regularly, sharpen them, keep them polished so no rough edges form over time. When all your tools are gone and your magic is exhausted and the enemy has your back to the wall, your claws need to be the one thing you can count on. And of course, you need to learn how to use them effectively.


                    The most orthodox of the Three Claw Arts, Goutfang forms the basis of all claw techniques. As such, it places the most emphasis on the use of your claws directly. To avoid unnecessary injuries, you are advised to use Goutfang techniques (and any other techniques involving your claws in Roritsu-ryu and Whispering Fang as well) without releasing your claws when sparring with a partner.





                    As with all martial arts stances, the basic Goutfang ‘ready’ stance involves keeping your feet apart and your knees slightly bent to lower your centre of gravity, improving your balance. Keep your shoulders loose and raise your hands to head level, parted in front of your face. Hook your fingers downwards and release your claws.






                    The three primary ways to attack in Goutfang are swipes, jabs and slide-cuts. Swipes and jabs are designed for medium range combat with an opponent at arm’s length, while slide-cuts usually accompany close range grappling.





                    Do not lock your shoulders, arms or fingers, but do not allow your joints to become too loose. Keep your fingers hooked and connect with the target at a forty to sixty-degree angle. Use your arm and waist to fuel the attack instead of your wrist and forearm. Adjust footwork accordingly to lead into the next attack.





                    Keep your fingers hooked and move your arm and forearm like a spring. Turn your torso along with the blow to increase range and power. Execute repeated jabs by returning to the ‘ready’ stance as quickly as possible.





                    Rest your claws on the target and dig inwards. Do not move too quickly or you risk snapping your claws off. Keep the target area small and pull with your arm. Have your fingers transition from a heavy bend to a light bend as you complete the cut to smoothen the extrication.




    Target Areas


                    Goutfang techniques revolve around distracting an opponent long enough to escape, or, in rarer situations, to counterattack (keep in mind that if you are ever in a situation where you must rely on Goutfang, escape is likely the best course of action). The primary means by which a Goutfang practitioner accomplishes said distraction is by exploiting a weakness common to almost all living creatures on Nirn. Pain.


                    Pain is the singularly most powerful sensation. Pain can stun opponents temporarily, weaken their concentration, or in some cases even incapacitate them entirely. To maximise your ability to inflict pain, Goutfang prioritises several target areas on an opponent.



    The eyes


                    The majority of sentient races are sight-dependent (one of the reasons your shinobi training should give you an advantage at night) and a blow to the eyes is often more than enough to end a fight. The two techniques for attacks on the eyes are jabs and gouges. For jabs, spread your fingers wide and bend them slightly to absorb the impact, then thrust your claws into the eyeball. For gouges, you will need to be closer to your target. Cup the cheek with your hand and push your thumb upwards. The shape of the opponent’s skull will guide your claw naturally into the eye socket. The eyelids and corners of the eye are also effective follow-up targets.



    The nose


                    The sides of the nostrils and the cartilage supporting the nose are quite sensitive, and the thin soft tissue makes it a viable target for your claws. Refrain from attacking downwards from an upward angle. Attack the nose from below or from the sides. Ideally, you would be able to insert your fingers into the nostrils. You can then follow up by hooking your claws upwards or to the sides, tearing the nose open. For Argonians, an additional target presents itself in the gills, located at the side of their necks. Insert your fingers into the soft flap between the scales and pull outwards with your claws dug firmly inside the folds.



    The ears


                    Just as sensitive as the eyes and the nose, the ears are a harder target to reach. The optimal target for inflicting the most pain is the eardrum, and has the additional benefit of rendering your opponent deaf. Refrain from attacking the pinna or the earlobe since they are much less sensitive. As with the gouges to the eyes, use the structure of your opponent’s body to guide your attack. For men and mer, brace your claw against the tragus (the flap of tissue perpendicular to the earlobe) and thrust inwards into the ear canal. For Khajiit (practice without claws on your fellow Po’ Tun as we are anatomically similar in this regard), trace the curvature of the ear flap and press your claws deep into the inner ear. Argonians do not have visible ears, but they do have a form of tympanic membrane tucked inside a small spot above the gills. The scales surrounding it make it difficult to damage, but if you are able to insert the tip of your claw into the hole, you can twist and penetrate the eardrum.



    The soft palate


                    The soft palate is a stretch of soft tissue lying in a hollow part of the lower jaw. A weakness shared by men, elves and beastfolk alike, a strong upward thrust with the claws into the mandible behind the chin will result in severe pain and numbness.



    The navel


                    The depression formed after snipping the umbilical cord remains in men, mer and Khajiit, and is an extremely sensitive spot. It can be difficult to target, however, especially when covered by clothing. A good method is to sweep your fingers over the gut, just above the bladder. Usually this will be enough to hook at least one finger into the navel, allowing your claw to burrow into the flesh with ease.



    The groin


                    The reproductive organs in both males and females are widely known to be vulnerabilities. Even a light flick to the crotch can cause acute pain. To inflict maximum damage, curl your fingers into a bowled shape and strike from below, with your claws extended upwards between your opponent’s thighs. After connecting with the testicles or the clitoris (depending on the gender of your target), immediately pull outwards to rip the wound open. Alternatively, you can grab the groin directly and close your fingers into a fist with your claws still released, then repeat the motion of pulling outwards.



    Exception: The throat


                    While Goutfang emphasises pain, you should never forget that as a shinobi, it is often far simpler to kill an enemy outright. The throat is your primary target for a killing blow with claws – the passageways for air (the windpipe) and blood (the carotid artery and jugular vein) are the most exposed there, and depriving your opponent of either is enough to cause death.








                           Mokko peered at the top girl in his class, dispassionate as ever. ‘I heard from the Grandmaster,’ he said in his usual monotone. ‘Your first mission was a resounding success.’


                    Diia bowed deep. ‘Only thanks to your teachings, Master.’


                    ‘Don’t think bootlicking is going to make me go any easier on you.’


                    ‘I’m being honest, Master. At one point in the mission I had to engage in close-quarters combat with a warlord. Your Goutfang techniques saved my life.’


                    ‘Is that so. Then you have much to improve on if you were forced to use them in the first place. Now off with you. I’m sure Ambarro is waiting with your lunch. Have the two of you ever spent more than a day apart?’


                    Diia blushed under her fur, and she hurriedly left the dojo with her nose red. As she walked the short distance to the eatery, she rubbed the last three fingers on her right hand with a thumb. The claws had almost grown back completely. Wincing, she recalled the pain of snapping them off on Terse’s plate armour. Then she shivered as she remembered the feeling of opening his throat. It felt like ripping clay…


                    A brash voice cut through her dark thoughts.


                    ‘Diia! Oi, Diia!’ Ambarro yelled as he waved from his seat, two plates of steaming food in front of him. ‘I managed to get you a double serving of unagi this time! Hurry up before it gets cold!’


                    Smiling, Diia slid her claws back into her fingers and sat down at the table.















    This entry is part of Roaring Thunder, Hissing Lightning - Assorted Lore.


4 Comments   |   Karver the Lorc and 4 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  January 11, 2017
    Nicely laid out Harrow. The short story at the end was particularly enjoyable.
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  January 4, 2017
    May I ask a question, Diia's got a cat face, right? That means she's covered in fur, right?  How would her face redden then? She'd feel a blush, but unless blushes show on the nosepad or something, no one would be able to perceive her blush, am I rig...  more
    • The Sunflower Manual
      The Sunflower Manual
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      The Long-Chapper
      May I ask a question, Diia's got a cat face, right? That means she's covered in fur, right?  How would her face redden then? She'd feel a blush, but unless blushes show on the nosepad or something, no one would be able to perceive her blush, am I rig...  more
        ·  January 4, 2017
      Drat. I actually forgot about that. WHILE I WAS WRITING ABOUT THEIR CLAWS. >.< Your nosepad idea is pretty good, Lissette-ko, so I'm just going to steal it. *swipe*

      RTHL is set in the world of Elder Scrolls, and the primary inspiration ...  more
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  January 4, 2017
    Damn lot of details! Nice! :)