Book 1-1.3 How to breathe, how to not breathe.
(TL: I know it sounds like it should be how to breathe, how not to breathe, i.e. correct way to breathe, which makes sense with the content of the chapter, but the raw says how to breathe and how to not breathe. I’m tempted to change it to how not to breathe but I’m going to stay true to the raw for now. If something comes up later that tells me it should be the other way, I’ll update at that point)
“The first thing to learn is how to breathe, and how to not breathe.”
Yulian was confused by Chun Myung Hoon’s words and responded.
“You’re making me say things twice. The first thing you will learn is how to breathe and how to not breathe.”
“That’s my question. What kind of ….?”
As Chun Myung Hoon’s fist struck Yulian’s stomach, Yulian groaned and bent forward in pain as he spoke.
“Ow! Master, why are you hitting me?”
“I will explain the rules of learning from me. First, you will never question what I say. No matter what, your answer should be Yes, Master. Got it?”
“What kind of rule is that?!”
“Even after I explain it to you, you don’t listen. Back then and even now, if someone doesn’t listen to me, I beat them up. That is the second rule. Got it?”
Yulian changed his response as soon as he saw Chun Myung Hoon’s fist raise up.
“Great. That’s the way. My word is law and all you need to do is listen and learn. It’s such a simple method to learn.”
Chun Myung Hoon nodded, as if he was satisfied with Yulian’s quick adaptation.
Although Yulian had issues with it, he decided that if this was his Master’s way of teaching, he will not complain again.
The desert training was also rough. Whether it was a dad teaching his son or an older warrior teaching a younger warrior, it was the same.
When it came to learning, there was no such thing as your own opinion, and there definitely was no way to not listen to their advice.
That’s the type of place the desert was.
The desert is where the thing that you pay attention to today could be what saves your life tomorrow. Because of this, all of the desert tribes pay their respect to the elders in the tribe. There was nothing to throw away amongst the life experiences they had gathered.
Yulian knew this to be a fact; this is why he was able to make the determination to not complain and follow Chun Myung Hoon’s instructions.
“When you are breathing, breathe in until you count to five. When you are breathing out, breathe out until you count to ten. You also need to make sure that you go slowly so that you make no noises when you are breathing. Give it a try.”
Yulian tried breathing in and out, following Chun Myung Hoon’s instructions.
“Something else to pay attention to is that your stomach must move in the opposite direction. When breathing in, suck in your stomach. When breathing out, stick your stomach out.”
Yulian followed the instructions and replied:
“It’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”
“Think about it as if you are breathing through your back. That should make it a bit easier.”
“Breathe through your back?”
Yulian had questions about Chun Myung Hoon’s incomprehensible words, but decided to do as he was told. He focused on breathing through his back as he took a breath in, and it was a bit easier, as Chung Myung Hoon indicated.
“Do I have to continue breathing like this?”
Chun Myung Hoon replied to Yulian’s question.
“To be honest, my martial arts is the hardest in the beginning. You must continue this breathing method whenever you are awake. Truthfully, you should also continue it while you are sleeping, but it is still too soon for that. What I am certain about, is that if you are able to master this breathing method, it will be much easier to learn my martial arts. I guess it will be easier in the beginning if we cut down your sleeping time. We need you to get used to it and master it completely so that you can breathe like this even when you are sleeping.”
As Yulian tried to determine how this will help, his breathing returned to normal and he did not properly execute the breathing method. In that moment, Yulian felt intense pain on top of his head.
“Ah! Master, why are you hitting me again?”
“Didn’t you go back to how you used to breathe even though I just taught it to you? I must be strict with you as you are both my first and my last disciple. If you are useless, won’t it make me also look useless as your master?”
“But do you have to hit me like this?”
Yulian felt the pain again.
“I told you talking back was not allowed. For the next month, you will only be practicing this breathing method until it is engrained in your body. During this month, if you keep forgetting like this, it will only delay your path to learning my skills.”
“What can I gain through this method? If you could at least let me know that one thing, I will never talk back again.”
Chun Myung Hoon debated hitting Yulian again for his retort but decided against it. It would not be too late to hit him after showing him.
After talking to Yulian, Chun Myung Hoon headed to the large wooden pillar supporting the center of the Paoe and pushed on the pillar with one finger.
Yulian was in suspense to see what Chun Myung Hoon would do; he could not hide his surprise after staring at Chun Myung Hoon’s finger. As if he was punching a hole through a piece of paper, Chun Myung Hoon’s hand was going through the wooden pillar.
When Chun Myung Hoon removed his hand, there was a small hole, the size of a finger, on the wooden pillar.
“I promise that you will be able to do this if you continue that breathing method for just ten years. Of course, it also depends on whether you listen to my instructions completely or not.”
“Of course I can do it.”
“Oh yeah? Then first, take a punch since you talked back earlier.”
Chun Myung Hoon’s finger, which was able to pierce even wood, struck at Yulian’s forehead. However, like magic, even though the noise was loud and the pain was terrible, you could not see any damage on Yulian. On the outside, he looked fine.
“There is an art to hitting as well. If your skin got cut, how sad would your dad be?”
Chun Myung Hoon laughed as he responded.
Yulian suddenly felt as if despair was gathering around him.
Yulian thought that he had a lot of endurance, but that type of thought disappeared quickly. In a month, you could not find that type of thought even if you washed your face cleanly and searched.
Chun Myung Hoon’s flicks hurt so much to be human.
Chun Myung Hoon followed Yulian around; if Yulian’s breathing became disturbed even by a little, he relentlessly flicked his finger to make Yulian pay for his mistake.
He even stayed by him and hit him while Yulian was sleeping, so it became normal for Yulian to not sleep well and greet the sun with significantly red eyes and large bags under his eyes.
People also started to worry because Yulian was losing so much weight, but Yulian clenched his teeth and persevered. This was the first thing his master showed him. He started to develop the confidence that there was no way he couldn’t master this when he was trying so hard.
Days passed by like this, and just before a month ended, the amount of times Yulian was getting hit started to shrink little by little.
“As expected, there is nothing that cannot be solved by violence.”
Chun Myung Hoon was satisfied by his teaching methods and made up his mind to move on to the next stage.
“Since you have shown some progress, I will teach you something else.”
“I understand, Master.”
“This time it is how to walk, how to run, how to sit, and how to lay down.”
“I will follow attentively, Master.”
Yulian had adapted to Chun Myung Hoon over the last month. Yes. Yulian quickly learned that Chun Myung Hoon was a dictator.
“This time, it looks like you are not asking why you have to learn such things.”
“I’ve learned that everything you teach me becomes my skin and blood. How could I dare to question you, Master?” (TL: Basically, I know it’s all to help me become stronger is how I take it.)
“You’ve improved. Listen well. A person must have good posture and stand up straight. For the time being, this is what we will focus on. Of course, there is also the proper way to sleep. You understand what I mean, right?”
“Ah… of course.”
Yulian felt like everything was becoming dark again. He finally thought he could sleep well but now it was focusing on his posture.
“I think you will adapt quickly. You have to.”
“Hahaha. Of course…”
“Then let’s start. You know I don’t like to repeat myself, right?”
Yulian could not sleep properly for the next three months.