SUNY Jefferson

Fluidity of Stillness

James Shaw
Fluidity of Stillness 

Warrior Dome, Ost (Gladiator) City
Ry’Elta, Ry’Elta System
Outer Spiral Stars Group
Earth Year: 4008 

            As I wait for the guards to escort me to the arena, I sit on the floor cross-legged in my cell gently pulling the blood and sweat scented air through my nose. In spite of its warmth and moisture, I let the air pool into my lungs and cool my erratic mind. It quenches my thirst of excitement as the fear, pouring from my fellow slave-warriors, threaten to swallow me in its whirlpool of uncertainty.
            Yet, the flow of stillness stems the tide before I drown.
            Cascading deeper into myself, the increased serenity and awareness hot springs up to provide a cleansing of the gates of perception as I meditate.
            I float deeper into the viscidity of contemplation. Feeling the sprinkles of past matches, I remember my last two bouts.
            The first was against a mountain of a warrior who looked soft but inside he was granite. When he stamped I felt his power, it made the ground quake. His rockslides were devastating. I had to search for the cracks in his earthworks defenses which were well protected. It took many waves of pinpoint strikes to erode his foundation, but I persevered and poured my stillness into his cornerstone. I eventually withered away his castle built on sand.
            The second was against a talkative blowhard. He distracted with his chilling but empty words, followed with a tornado of kicks and strikes. It was rather difficult to flow in stillness with a blistering speed of words and punches pummeling me. But an opportune moment froze into place.  A calculated partial collapse of his windpipe filled him with dread and slowed his turbine power and gusts of speed. Then my flow dispersed that troublesome gale.
            While drinking the warm air into my lungs, I step deeper into my flow of stillness and the arena. I sense the ebb and flow of emotion from the crowd circulating all around me. Damming up my power until it was time for its proper release, I wait as the mighty immovable glacier that I am. My heart is pumping slowly and methodically, with stillness flowing all around and the well of my being slowly bringing up its heavy bucket full of lingering emotion and thought. The stillness must flow.
            The massive, and current, champion steps into the arena and erupts into a bellicose roar.
            It is quiet now except for my opponent’s steamed breathing, the crowd waiting with bated expectation. His veined eyes dipping into my soul, but all he finds is stillness, not even a ripple on the pond. With his intimidation checked, he bares his milky white teeth and enlarges his chest. Red and inflamed arteries throughout his body are carrying fuel to and from his furnace of contempt for me.
            His anger filled. He charges. There is no stillness in him, only fire, and it burns brightly. He is running now, churning the ground with each step and closing the gap of fifteen meters.
            Ten meters...
            Five meters...
            Three meters...
            Two meters...
            One... and I release my dam. The fluidity of my movements begins to fan the flames of his anger as I try to douse his center. I hurricane kick to his mid-section and waterfall drop into a leg sweep. He dodges the sweep. I boil up into the air to spout fists into his chest, but he blocks them. He heaves a powerful and explosive left jab but I grab the arm, melt into his center and give him a toss. He is agile for his size and rolls from his back to his feet quickly and expertly.
            But I flow as liquid as I wave crash into his face with an elbow. It only stokes his flames as he spins with the blow. A knee rockets into my ribs. They give but do not break as I tumble with the blow’s momentum. I am not given a chance to get up as his lava flow is faster than I anticipated. The combustion of his kicks is steadily evaporating my flow of stillness, but there is a weakness, no efficiency.  No accuracy.
            In a moment of triumph, he saunters away and erupts again in a roar. It is like kindling to the crowd. He raises his thick arms in premature celebration. He is too used to winning. I need to change that. I am going to change that.
            As I stagger to my feet, my mind languidly flowed back into its stillness. Everything slows like that of a stagnant lagoon with an imperceptible wind. He glares at me and flares his nostrils at my audacity of denying him his easy victory. He is the reigning champion of the past two years. I aim to rain on his parade, so I laugh. Loudly.
            His anger’s kiln is now ablaze.
            The arena has become a stokehold with my flow of stillness meeting his sulfuric anger. It is creating a boiler. The steamed pressure builds.
            He is stronger, but I am more fluid. He is smoldering anger and I the placidity of stillness. Both are devastating in their own right and can only be harnessed or contained.
            He explodes with strike after strike. Punch after kick bringing on the heat, and my ice shield is melted down but repels the brunt of the attack. He missiled in with an uppercut which I anticipate and use the momentum for a hydraulic front kick to open more space between us. He doubles and takes a knee, expecting me to finish him quickly. A trap, and I pretend to fall for it. He shows a fissure in his molten plan as he shoots up like a vented volcano, fists poised for maximum damage.
            He strikes lick at me like burning flames but as with most hot vapor, too fast and off balance. I give ground. Too eager to finish me, he sacrifices control for volatile power and speed. My ice shields deflect his blows with ease and allow me to head-butt his face. His nose breaks, blood spurts and tears well. He staggers now. I cascade down and geyser up into an uppercut of my own. He tries to dodge so it only glances, but it is enough. Side stepping, I float around to face his back and double-handed water hammer the back of his large skull. His legs go to jelly, and he splashes face down.
            I roll him over to finish him with arm raised to deliver the strike but the light in his eyes dim. They dim, but the fire in him is not extinguished, just smoldering embers reflecting the heart of a former champion.
            The cheers and applause from the crowd flow all around me. I give no granite stares, no hard blown speeches nor burning roars of anger, just fluid stillness.