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            The tests are over, passed with little incident.  Arlo is now about to begin the hardest training sessions he has ever undergone…


The Training Begins

By Matt Prower


            It was dawn.  The sun rose over the sacred forest, setting it ablaze with life.  Arlo was awoken by a loud gong.

            "EAHHHHHHHH!" He screamed as he literally flew out of his bed.

            "Rise and Shine!"  Master Hama said, laughing, "Today we start your training."

            Arlo quickly got out of bed and put his training outfit on, which consisted of a light blue vest bearing the symbol of his former training grounds, Kalin Temple, and a light blue pair of pants.  "Ah, That’s much better."  Arlo said, patting himself down,  "Let's get started than"

            "Okay."  Master Hama replied, walking out of the room, Arlo following close behind him.  They walked out to the lake that Arlo completed his second test in.  When Master Hama reached the edge of the water, he stopped and turned around.  "First, We'll build your speed.  I want you to swim one hundred laps around this lake.  You have thirty minutes."  He raised one paw in the air, "And go!"  He dropped his paw back to his side.

            Confused for a moment, Arlo stripped and dove in and started swimming as fast as he could.  By the time he had about seventy laps done, he had slowed down considerably.

            "Come on!"  Master Hama yelled from the shore, "You can do better than that!  Did I mention that there's fish in there?"

            'Fish?'  Arlo thought to himself, 'I know there's fish in here--’ His thoughts were interrupted by a shark that nearly took a bite out of his hind paws.  'Oh...’ He thought, 'That kind of fish...’ The shark than proceeded to chase him for the last thirty or so laps, forcing him to swim faster than ever.

            When he finished his hundred laps he literally ran on the water up onto the shore, panting.  "That was...intense.” he said in between pants.  "Can we have breakfast now?"

            "Yes.  I think you've earned it.  And everyday you'll do this first thing in the morning and you'll add ten more laps every day."  He smiled.  Upon hearing this Arlo nearly fainted.  After he came to his senses they went back and had breakfast.

            After they had breakfast the old wolf led Arlo out to a field of boulders not too far his cottage.  "This will be your second training of the day."  He pointed to a boulder about half the size of Arlo, and instructed him in what he wanted done, "I want you to pick that boulder up and smash it into pieces."  This will build your strength.  Arlo did as he was instructed and picked up the boulder with little effort, however, breaking it into pieces proved to be much more difficult.  After about twenty minutes Master Hama told him to put the boulder down.  "That was good, for a first try.  And once you manage to break this one you'll move on to an even larger one."  Once again, Arlo nearly fainted when he heard what he had to do.

            Later that day after having a picnic lunch of homemade sushi and aged sake, Master Hama led Arlo into his cottage and sat him down in his living room, where he drew down a screen from the ceiling.  "Now than, along with physical training we have to train your mind as well.  Being able to run well and lift heavy thing, all your physical training is useless if you don't know how to use them.  And since you seem to have everything down that I cover in Basic training, we'll start off with intermediate techniques."  He dimmed the lights and began his lecture pointing out key items on the screen.

            And so went Arlo's training, each day harder than the last.  Along with a few other activities, Arlo trained under the watchful eye of Master Hama for over three years, and with each day he be came stronger, faster, and a better fighter than he could have ever imagined.  Now he is ready to once again vie for the title of World Martial Arts Champion.


To be continued