2019-11-17 - Lose Honour


During her regular lesson with Ken, Babs talks about ways to upset the Yakuza.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Nov 17 07:27:19 2019
Location: Clocktower

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It's been a week or so since Babs has been to Kens dojo. He knows that she hurt her back when she slipped in the bathroom. At least, that's what she said - whether he believes it or not is another matter.

Today though, she's returned to the dojo, to train AND to share intel with him. Intel on his Yakuza friends.

Right now, she's working through a series of warm up exercises - making her back is ready for the training.

Kenuichio doesn't usually have other students when Barbara is around and that is the case tonight. He has changed out of his business wear and into his gi. He's just sweeping up while she does her exercises. Two practice swords are on a rack nearby. That will be for when she is ready.

"Your friend came by my apartment a few nights back." He says. "She was rather… chatty." And somewhat taken aback that he'd called her group a 'crime family'.

Barbara moves with her usual deliberateness, warming up before starting her training. She's rather enjoyed the time she spends in the dojo and has noticed that Kenuichio doesn't often have others here when she is.

"So she told me." The redhead answers, turning to face the warrior for a moment. "Said you had an interesting opinion about … things."

No Batgirl had not liked the family being called a crime family. "It's hard to tell if she was miffed at you or not, though I think she rather likes working with you."

"Have your friends been causing you any problems since they came in here?"

"No, but then that would not be their way. They know I am strong here. They will seek other opportunities to make trouble." Kenuichio seems confident of that. He had thought they might try to attack his student directly but they appear not to have done so.

"Oh? An interesting opinion about what manner of thing?" He had opined on a lot. He cannot say what she might have found interesting. Or upsetting. She is an enigma, the Batgirl, and definitely not prone toward letting her 'hand' show.

If she plays cards, that is.

"I didn't think so, but I thought I would ask. I have to say I've not seen any sign of them since that evening, either. I do keep expecting something though. Maybe I'm just paranoid." Babs murmurs, moving to some easy forms while they talk.

"I'm sure you know what you said that was … problematic … what she seemed most distressed at was your idea of romance." There's a teasing look in Babs eye. She and Batgirl seem to talk.

"I didn't come here though to speak about her. I came to train and to share what I've found so far. When you are ready, Sensei-san, I am ready as well."

The redhead takes up one of those of practice swords as she speaks.

"I imagine she has a rather American idea of romance then." Kenuichio says without seeming much bothered. He takes up the other practice sword and closes his eyes. "Now, as we practiced."

What follows should be a slow set of movements. Katas. Setting things in muscle memory. The movements are fluid. And they should be in synch the two of them. If it's done right.

"What have you found so far, Barbara?"

"Given she seems American, that would be right. Next time you might want to try wine and chocolate." Babs is unrepentant in her teasing. "As we practiced, Sensei." The redhead moves, not quite as freely as she should but she does have a back injury after all, doesn't she?

"Lots of small interesting things that we need to piece together. The lady friends of your friend all seem to import items of value that end up in their collections though."

It's not much, at the moment, but it might be something to go on. "Art work mostly."

"Perhaps he thinks that it is a better offering than chocolate and wine." Kenuichio observes with some wry humor as they go through the motions. Step, and slow slash, then turn, blade up, cross the body. There's a rhythm to it and it's all rather relaxing truth be told. Of course this is just a warm up for a sparring match later. That is if she isn't moving too stiffly. Then he'll teach her some new techniques to practice. That is how it usually goes.

"Are you thinking that perhaps those lady friends could be pressured?"

"Perhaps he does. What would you consider to be something romantic, then?" Babs is certainly in fine form this evening. "But leveraging the ladies would seem to be at least part of the approach, I think. He thought to put pressure on you through me, that's normally a good indicator on what they value, wouldn't you agree?"

Their movements are in almost perfect synch - Babs has skills no matter how stiffly she moves. She rather enjoys the exercise too and the time she gets to spend with Ken.

"It's interesting that some of the things that these ladies have procured might be on lists of things that shouldn't be exported. Well, not without a lot of paperwork and kerfuffle and try as I might, I can't find the official paperwork in the Greek governments systems. Though there is always paperwork at this end."

"Things that might be of interest in say museums." Kenuichio says. The kata ends and Ken turns to bow to Babs. Then takes up a stance. Now for sparring. He'll wait until she's ready. As student, she has the 'honor' of attacking. Though sometimes he attacks first. Just to keep her off balance.

"Perhaps. Though it could also be that he was attempting to make me lose face by proving that I could not protect students in my own dojo."

Because Japanese conceptions of honor and face are very important to them and Ken has proven he is no exception to that. "How would you proceed in this matter?"

"In museums yes. And to various Departments of Antiquities and the like." Barbara answers smoothly. She bows as well and takes up a stance, attacking quickly before Kenuichio can. "And this is just what I've found in my initial searches. Though the information you collected was helpful in finding more than I would have. I'm sure there's more there if we keep looking."

As she moves, pressing her attack and falling back as counters, Babs considers. "You have two avenues as I see it. The first is the legal path, to expose his business partners and drive them out them business, squeezing his operations that way. The second is to resort to blackmail."

The wooden swords clunk and echo in the confines of the paper walls that make up the dojo. Click, clack, click, clack. Kenuichio tests Barbara's defenses before going onto the offensive, trying to back her into a corner.

"The third would be to cause him so much embarrassment that his superiors cannot keep him in place without themselves losing face." Which is clearly an option that Ken is considering because it will leave any successor less likely to want to tangle with Ken or his interests. After all. He drove the last one into social exile.

"Whom do you think has the most to lose from the arrangement? Nagumo? His superiors? Or the lady friends?"

Ken is really going easy on Babs and she knows it. She's seen him fight when they're in the field. Not that he knows that. However, this is Barbara Gordon recently confined to a wheelchair and she's good at keeping up that pretence.

What will Ken if he ever finds out the truth about her?

"You didn't answer my earlier question…" The red head responds, blocking and parrying his advances. She does fall back, towards the corner he's aiming her for - it looks like she's fallen for the ploy. "What is that you consider romantic, Sensei?"

"Not his ladies. They have a lot to lose, that's for certain and if caught by the authorities will pay a high price. But the cost is less than the others. Nagumo will be able to disavow knowledge if confronted directly but, if I understand the lessons you've been giving me, his superiors may pay a much higher price if he's not removed."

"In terms of the deal, as I've been able to piece it together, Nagumo stands to loose the most. He'll loose his network of importers AND the business AND the support of his higher ups."

"Honor." Kenuichio says with a smirk. "Romance is not something I have much considered. I had one relationship some time ago but it was not good for anyone, most especially me. I do not know if I would consider that romance."

There. She should be right where he wants her.

"If Nagumo proves to be embarrassing they will not wish to retain him in his post. For that to happen things must go wrong for him and publicly. It will not matter if he deals with them. The fact that they keep happening will be reason enough to remove him."

"Honor. Hmmm? If a woman was to sweep you off your feet, that's all it would take?" The green eyes sparkle as the redhead steps wide, letting Kens next strike whistle past her. The wooden practice blade, whips up, tangling with his as Babs twists her wrist to try and disarm him.

This is not something she would try if he had his real blade, but here in the dojo she will.

"This is where I need your advise, Sensei." Babs answers, a little out of breath like she's really exerted herself with that move. "A series of public article speculating at the collection and how he's come by its possession. His lady friends being taken in for questioning in a very public manner and linked to him - perhaps at a party they're attending together. It's easy enough to cast aspersions on someones character - it just depends what will make his masters move."

"It would certainly be quite important. Though if a woman were to sweep me off my feet she'd need to be quite strong. I am not light." Was that a joke? Yes it possibly was. Ken twists his sword in the opposite direction, briefly locking hilts with Babs before turning 90 degrees to break contact and back away a few paces.

"Yes. And anything that threatens to make private Yakuza business public. He must be made to seem like a liability. Perhaps increased interest in him in an unfavorable manner. Not from the police that will not work. But yes. Gossip magazines. That might do so."

"Strong, hmmm?" Babs smirks, letting her wrist roll with Kenuichio own movement, the wood of the wasters grinding as they move. "Nice disengage…" she murmurs, taking a step back herself and settling into a stance.

She doesn't attack, just waits to see what the Swordsmaster will do.

"It's easy enough to do that. I wouldn't think mentioning the Yakuza directly would be useful. But it can be hinted at, mentioning the dishonour that has been bought upon a country for such desecration of it's national treasures."

"Even better if you can get that in Japanese language publications. That way Nagumo's superiors are more likely to read it." Because they ARE Japanese. And they tend to be somewhat insular. Creatures of habit even. Well, older folk tend to be but anyone can fall into that trap.

Ken smiles at Bab's compliment and sizes her up. Then he goes in low, aiming a sweeping stroke at her thigh. It's below the belt, she may have to stretch a little to deflect it if she doesn't want to be caught opening herself up to another stroke somewhere else.

"I can do that too." Barbara smiles. "Here and in Japan. Is there a particular publication or geographic area that I should focus on?" Ken isn't asking too many questions about how that may be achieved, for which she's grateful.

"Before I do though …" The practice swords moves downwards, trying to push his sword wide. It leaves her open for a moment, as she steps *into* Kenuichio and punching out - pulling the punch before it hits of course.

"New York. I am not sure which group in Japan the ones here are working for. They shift a lot. So if you wish to get the attention of the superiors, it will have to be the ones here in New York. The ones that do not want to have to answer to their masters in Japan…"

The aggressive move surprises Ken a little bit and the punch makes contact right about the same time he brings his pommel down on her hand, preventing her from following up with the blade. A quick side step is followed by a snake-swift strike aimed at her shoulder with the tip of his own bokken.

The redhead winces as the pommel of the bokken hits against her hand but she doesn't stop, turning her shoulder as he strikes at it. It will hit, numbing her arm and make it impossible to swing the sword for a short while.

Normally she'd follow through and take her combatant in a throw - but she can't, not without revealing too much about herself.

Well … not entirely anyway. The redhead turns and moves to put Ken over on his back. She stops though as she winces - not entirely feigned, without her suit her back just isn't that strong.

"Then I'll focus on the New York Japanese publications if that meets with your approval."

Kenuichio stops as Barbara winces. He could follow up for a 'point' or a simulated killing blow but that's not really a teaching thing. That's more a a competition thing. So he lets the redhead recover. Not knowing about how much she could do if she pushed.

"That does meet with my approval. I am somewhat surprised that you have the contacts to get them to write about such a thing though. Or are you just that good at social engineering?"

A polite way of saying 'manipulation.'

"You are too kind, Sensei. I was foolish." Babs murmurs, stepping back to gain her balance and recover. There's a flush to her - probably just from their exercise, right? "Perhaps you would show me how I might counter that, given my current physical condition…"

"I am a PI, Kenuichio-San and a policemans daughter. I have contacts and I have done this for many years. Not all investigations are simple or straight forward, sometimes I need to smoke out my quarry. And pricking ego is one of the ways to do so."

There's also a certain cop that might help her.

"Would you ask a woman to tell you all her secrets?"

"Even if I were to do so I would not necessarily expect an answer." Because a woman might well just smile mysteriously.

To Barbara's request, Ken nods. "Do you understand, first, how I deflected your blow?" If she does not he will have to teach her the blocking technique before he teaches her the counter. He starts an attack mirroring Barbara's but in slower motion to give her a chance to demonstrate the block he used.

"That is a wise answer, Sensei." Babs straightens and nods slowly to Kens question. "As long as my methods won't upset your honour, Kenuichio-san, I'll do this. Help you get the leverage you need to have Nagumo back off. And the rest of the Yakuzo if we can wrangle it."

Slowly Babs demonstrate the blocking movement. With her photographic memory, it's easy to do so. "I got the deflection, yes. I had the next steps planned out in my mind but my back let me down. It's just not strong enough for moves that I've seen."

"I am occasionally wise." Ken chuckles. "Very good. Now it is key that you not use your strength. Use your opponent's momentum against him. You need not be strong enough to force the blow aside. Only strong enough to turn it in it's path. So when I twist and rotate, I am doing indeed what you wish me to do. You need only push the blade a little further than I intend it to go in order to open up a gap in the defense."

A gap like what he opened but his movement depended on her reaction times being slower.

"Occassionally yes." Babs agrees, watching and listening as Ken explains.

"You mean like this?" The redhead repeats the move, far more deliberately than she should but she is becareful not to hurt herself again.

Her pommel drops on his hand - not hard at all - pushing his hand wide and side stepping, just as he had.

Her sword comes up to strike at him. He might marvel at how exact her moves are. "And then …"

As she repeats his move he twists his blade ever so slightly and pushes in on the tip to impart that little bit of extra momentum. Her hand goes wider than his and when she comes around for her strike, she finds that she is slower than he was at the same maneuver and that her centerline is open for the same kind of lightning stroke that he used on her only in reverse.

"There. Like that. Does that make sense?"

It probably does. Using an enemy's strength against them is standard thought for the Bats.

Standard thought for the Bats and even more so for Batgirl. Batgirl who is not the acrobat that Nightwing or even Tim. Her strength is in her mind and using the terrain to her advantage - which includes her gadgets. This type of move is right up her alley.

Echoing the move, once he demonstrates it, Barbara nods slowly, her breathing slightly quicker than it should be. They're quite close really, which makes sense given they are fighting.

"It makes sense, Sensei." The redhead murmurs, not moving away just yet.

"Good. Then let's see if you remember it." Ken suddenly moves back, creating separation and goes for the exact same attack he had previously. Can Babs, caught possibly off guard, move fast enough to defend herself? Or was she… slightly distracted by being that close?

Later, Babs might wonder whether Ken suspects her secret. For now, her instinct and training kicks in. Ken moving does catch her off guard but not as much as it might.

The redhead sidesteps, catching his sword with hers and knocking it wide. Wider than she had the last time, stepping in again. This time though, she follows through, just like he showed her.

"I was enjoying that…" she manages to murmur. Yes, she had been distracted but not quite enough. She does have a high survival instinct after all.

"And you shall get to enjoy it more." Ken says, bowing to Barbara. "Well done." Her instincts are quite good. And her memory and reaction times… well…

"Come. I think that is enough of that for now. I shall make us some tea." And then they can talk more if she'd like. Or simply sit in silence and enjoy the tea…

Barbara hadn't meant the sparring but she lets the Sensei think what he will. Bowing to Ken, Barbara takes his sword this time and moves slowly to the rack to put the weapons away.

"Tea would be wonderful, thankyou, Kenuichio-san. Perhaps today you will tell me a Japanese folk tale."

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