Jan 1

“If all you had to do to become a good [x] was listen to something like that, everyone would be good. You have to let it seep into your body, or else it’s impossible to do.”

“If you go backwards, you can probably avoid one blow. But you will end up having to avoid two or three blows. But if you avoid it by going forward, you will get a single chance. In summary, you can only win by going forward!”

“It is true that the ratio of strikers who appear and win on mixed-form tournaments is low. The reason why? It is very difficult to avoid being grabbed by an opponent who is prepared to receive two or three blows. After being grabbed and knocked down, the overwhelming advantage of ground techniques can’t be denied. […] There are many grappling opponents in street fighting, too. What is one supposed to do?

Karate isn’t a sport, it’s a martial art! […] Amongst many different striker-type combative forms, it is the only one with an attack aimed straight down! […] While Judo or wrestling evolved in the form of suppressing the opponent, karate developed as a way to destroy the opponent.”

“It’s dangerous to fall with your opponent. You can’t escape right away.”

“Where are we to go? There is nowhere that we can go.”

“”That’s a lie! Those who want to avoid it only think about running away from it. Admit it. The euphoria when you knock down your opponent, the uplifting feeling behind the dark and bitter guilt… you should know it. Am I wrong?”

I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to say “You’re wrong”, but… I couldn’t find the words to back it up. Up till now, my own existence has ben denied again and again, at times even by myself. Struggling to not be rejected, to not be erased. Defeating the opponent and making sure of my own existence. Maybe there is a primitive sort of pleasure on the back of that.

No, there is.”

“”When facing off against many opponents, go for the leader/the strongest one first” – many who believed this have ended up in a bad to worse situation.

Say for instance, you ignore those who are weaker than you and go for the strongest one. If the opponent is the same, or of superior strength than you, however weak the others are, if they get in your way or manage to would you, it will prove fatal, and you are done.

There is another important reason to start with the weakest. Mental diversion! By defeating in a single blow, and establishing yourself as dangerous, all other opponents will hesitate to attack most of the time. You are facilitating a one-on-one by going for the stopped opponents yourself.”

“If you insist on justice, you can never ever win against Katou. If you try to win cleanly, you’ll lose for sure. I was the same. “I’ll never fight like that” – I was strung up by my own rules… and now look at me.”

“Back then… I was scared. I thought you might not come back. I-I hate that. Even if it’s not you. Kamishiro, he… he’s so timid, but his face is so kind when he smiles. Why does someone like that have to… why does he have to get caught up in violence? I don’t get it… when there’s plenty of kids just having normal fun at night… why can’t he do that too?”

“The reason people talk about the “art” around fighting is because of the possibility for spirit and technique to rise above mere power.”

“Suddenly, I felt like I realized something…
Imagining a place where I can belong on my own might have been a mistaken idea to begin with.

A place to be isn’t something one can make their own.”

“After suffering this much, why are you still down here? It’ll never end.”
“Because it wouldn’t end no matter how much I ran, either.”

“Human’s field of vision gets narrower with concentration”

“Oh that’s right isn’t it. Perspective is the opposite of focus.”

“Seems he’s quite a cocky kid, yeah?”
“No… he just – he just doesn’t know anything.”
“So, like you used to be back then… raging around all you like, you feel like a real bigshot. Spreading those wings freely, higher, higher, yeah? But sooner or later you realize that there’s a ceiling up there. A ceiling you can never ever overcome and if you go and try, you find yourself strung up by the yakuza, pursued by the police. You’re sent right back to the ground. That sky we soared in like nothing… was all within a frame drawn by the yakuza. It’s not a freedom you earn by yourself.”
“So, Mr. Shimoyama,did you overcome the wall by going to that world?”
“Even the yakuza are nothing more than a part of society… there’s no such thing as complete freedom.

Not on this earth.”

“That which must never be lost – to Yuu, that is the power that lies in his fists. It could even be called a faith that made his prayer to “change” become possible. Excuse the suddenness, but I too (the author) have also had experience in losing something.

You readers may have too.

When I was 20, a series of circumstances led me to suddenly lose the ability to “create manga” that I had taken for granted since I was a child. This was while I was studying to become a professional. I began to walk a different road, but a certain event led me to suddenly rediscover this ability.

By that time, seven years had passed.

Through help from others, I am able to draw the manga I do now. But during those seven years, there was never one day when I did not suffer from a feeling of loss.

Jobs, friends, family, interests, beliefs – it is truly a wonderful thing to be able to treat something with so much care that it feels like it’s a part of yourself.

That must really be what the word “priceless” means.”

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