The Manual of Hands and Feet is a text detailing various martial arts styles and techniques used across the Wheel. It was authored by the famous martial artist Musko Reeve, said to be master of almost every single style.
Head of JohnEdit
“An internal style focused on hardening the self. After many years of preparation and training, practitioners ram three metal studs into their skull, piercing the bone and blocking the flow of Atum at precise meridians. The studs extrude from the skull slightly and are said to be uncomfortable in cold weather. Once this ritual is accomplished, there is a healing, fasting, and meditation period of three weeks. After this, the practitioner finds that the skin of their head and neck becomes almost impermeable to harm and able to exert incredible force. It cannot be cut, severed, or scored by any blade, though I have seen many try.
The chief feature of this style is using the head as a blunt weapon. I have seen acolytes shatter bone with their headbutts in practice and an elder monk break a temple wall with the fierce application of his forehead. By practice of meditation they are also said to have accomplished unbelievable feats. It is a common story among the monks that their most senior member had his body destroyed and his head severed while defending the temple many years ago. His head survived for four weeks without a body, and was later sewn back on to the body of a deceased temple guard, which quickly revivified both the body and the head. I could not verify his claims but his neck did have a most spectacular scar. ”
“An external style, chiefly concerned with the sole use of the feet and legs to inflict powerful and rapid blows upon the opponent. The hands are reserved for killing blows only. The style is rare but its practitioners are extremely devoted.
The style is said to originate with the rogue Long Boxing master Kin Kiran. While abbess of her order she was accused of extravagance and over-indulgence by her subordinate monks. She took bribes for blessings and temple offerings and became well known for her love of gifts, wine, and luxury, plying her favors with the local magistrates to great effect. A rebellion within the temple took thirty lives and saw her exiled, beaten, bloody, and with her head shaved and fine silk abbess’s robes torn into shreds.
Kin Kiran swore from that day that she no longer deemed any martial artist worthy of her fists, and instead she would crush all who came before her under the bottom of her feet. Her arrogance was so extreme she established her own school after working as an itinerant mercenary for some time and soon drew a devoted following, resuming many of the corrupt and debased practices as former abbess. The mountain town about her school soon became a heaving den of sin and treachery, defended by rogues and bloodthirsty mercenaries, and ruled by the bloody and debauched abbess, flush with political power and coin, who was so skilled in martial arts that she could decapitate a man by kicking his head off faster than the eye could see.
The rogue school and Kin Kiran were ultimately destroyed by the mendicant knight Weishu Haoyang in 530 S.C. with use of his Invincible Heavy Crashing Wave technique. The abbess and all hundred and thirty of her acolytes were hurled off a mountain and dashed against the rocks, but her style survives to this day, despite efforts to stamp it out.”
Empty Palms Edit
"An internal, cold-atum style said to be as ancient as the gods themselves. It is said the god Ovis taught it to the first angels, who taught it to the first human, Metia. The style involves miraculous alignment of the body’s meridians to multiply the muscular power and striking force of bare handed strikes tenfold. Since the style relies heavily on the cultivation of internal force, its external strikes may seem unassuming to the untrained eye until they hit their target with the force of an ox cart.
It is said masters of this style can so precisely align the channels of power within their body that they can project the force of their blows at range, sometimes up to thirty or forty paces away. One old master of this style, who dwells in Fifteen Rivers, makes a great show to visitors of striking a heavy cast iron bell some 5 or 6 shins high with great blows from his fists, though he stands apart from the bell quite some distance.
A practitioner of this style must take tremendous pains to use it effectively. The style was originally developed for battling and destroying various titanic void monsters and unbound devils, and is rather difficult for humans to learn. A student must train rigorously, keep a strict diet, and maintain fine bodily control in order to effectively utilize its techniques. Therefore, it has always been an unpopular school, seen as somewhat old fashioned. None, however, deny the power of its techniques, which include YISUN’s Open Palm, widely regarded as an unbeatable move.”
Pattram Sword Hand Edit
"The school for this style is located in the Low Oak province. The school is always ruled by three monks who set its training, prayer schedule, and ceremonies. It does not engage in politics, defense, aiding the poor, or external meddling, as many other schools do, but solely focuses on perfecting martial arts. When the school goes to war, as it sometimes does, it is a terrible sight.
Its masters are incredibly disciplined but equally brutal, and they often train their students to the point of vomiting, collapsing, or ruining their body. I have heard that students occasionally die during its more unforgiving periods, though the masters would not elaborate any further.
The school of Sword Hand is a killing school. It is an external style that focuses on blows so precise and sharp that they turn the edge of the hand, foot, or finger into a cutting implement strong enough to part flesh, sunder armor, and cleave bone. It is widely considered one of the strongest external styles for a reason. Unarmed or empty-handed styles that do not strongly focus on internals have little regress against sword hand, and for that manner neither do many weapon styles. It’s one weakness is its incredible drain on stamina. If a practitioner does not kill his opponent in a few serious blows (and the style is rarely used seriously for anything other than killing intent), he will quickly find himself too weak to even drag one foot after the other.
I have seen masters of this school sever solid rock with a fingernail. Little more needs to be said on its brutal effectiveness on the human body. It is an evil school, and I am glad that my study of it has been rapid."
Flying Snow Edit
"Regretfully I know little of this rare internal technique other than one learns it over many years by listening to certain resonances of the wind. Extended practice is very difficult, but makes the body extremely light, so much that it seems to ignore the common properties of gravity. There are rumors that masters of this technique can balance their whole weight on a single leaf, walk on water, or even fly. I would have inquired more about its properties but the only master I was able to reliably locate mocked me for my lack of knowledge shortly after I came upon him in a bamboo grove, at which he bounded away, propelling his whole body off the forest with only light touches of his fingertips.”
Shivering Arrow Edit
"I found a lanky and rather weathered peregrine knight who was a master of this style and followed him for several days on his journey. We soon reached a kingdom in terrible repair, passing many burned out houses and hovels. My companion informed me it was ruled by a tyrant, who would levy impossible taxes and often ride out to ravage his own land, preventing the people from leaving by force, and indulging his basest vices upon them. The land was very battered and thick, leather-necked soldiers were everywhere. We could not find lodging and had to camp under some ragged trees. There, the knight informed me he had made many preparations, had spent some time meditating, and decided it was right and proper to slay this man.
I asked the knight how he planned to accomplish his quest, seeing that the warlord kept mostly to his very imposing stone keep and was guarded by fifty men, day and night. The knight cautioned me against hasty conclusions and bade me wait. I thought the fool would walk us right up the fortress gates and have us slaughtered, but to my surprise, we instead turned towards a distant mountain path. Three days of mostly silent climbing and very difficult trails, we found ourselves on a high mountain ledge, with a clear view of the poor, destitute kingdom below us, and the keep squatting like a black ogre overlooking mouth of the valley.
At this point I was still quite befuddled, but waited while the knight seemed to pace about and test the weather with his fingers and tongue. Seemingly satisfied, he boiled water, mixed some herbs, and began to pray. He had an enormous silverwood greatbow slung across his back, and only one arrow, almost the size and length of a javelin. Drinking the mixture, which smelled quite dreadful, he strung the bow, which took some effort. When the sun was almost at his zenith, he rose to his feet and bade me stand back, drawing the bow and the single, wicked looking arrow back with all his strength. I should mention here I have never seen a man look so anguished with concentration. He seemed to peer at some distant spot in the valley below, waiting for some ideal moment. I had absolutely no idea what the fool man’s goal was at the time. He stood like that for some four or five minutes, muscles straining, and it was only then that I realized he might be aiming at the keep.
When he loosed, the rush of wind that followed blew my whiskers nearly clean off my face and sent half my pack tumbling down the mountainside. I didn’t see where the shaft disappeared to. The man seemed mightily relieved and seemed to deflate somewhat. He told me the deed was done and that he would be leaving the kingdom soon. Thinking him mad, I was glad to be rid of his company.
When I returned to the valley below a few days later, I was almost immediately set upon by a peasantry almost crazy with mirth. The land was in disarray. The warlord had been slain in his keep, while he ate his luncheon. An enormous arrow had torn his head clear off his shoulders, and carried it out the window. It had traveled through three feet of stone to reach its target, as though a ballista had launched it.
It had been shot about fifteen miles.”
Twenty-Five Purities Path Edit
"This rather obscure style is only learned by reading the Twenty Five Purities Manual, of which there are only said to be eighty eight copies in the whole Wheel, many of which are no longer intact. They were written by the insane monk Yebn Bal Pura, whose quest for spiritual purification eventually led him to amputate large parts of his body and waste away from starvation.
The madmen who pursue the study of this manual do so because once read and understood (a dizzying and quite complicated process, I am led to understand), the practitioner of this style gains several abilities, the first of which is a virtual resistance to aging, poison, and other infirmities of the flesh such as disease or illness. The skin of the monks who practice this technique can turn away blades or mighty blows, and their bodily and spiritual forces are so powerfully aligned that they can withstand tremendous forces. I have heard of a master of the sword arts practiced in this style that once meditated for three nights on the nature of being, and on the second night the town around him was destroyed by a typhoon, leaving him its sole survivor (quite unperturbed, I am told).
I refer to those who seek this manual and its powers as madmen because it is said to so perfectly align the body’s forces that its users become hyper aware of their own imperfections, eventually driving them to self destruction and insanity. For this reason, I could not find any living practitioners of the style, though I am certain they must exist.”
Demon Flips the Cart Edit
"A strong internal/external style that grants a practitioner unbelievable muscular strength. While not as reviled as infamous styles such as Leisure Kicks, Ecstasy Dart, or Hundred Wind Ghost Blade, it is nevertheless seen as a rude, renegade, and unrefined style, and as such has no official schools and must typically be learned by seeking out a wandering master. It is a popular style of many famous belligerent or mendicant knights, including (famously) the warrior monk Ippo Kemon who once defended a bridge by clogging it with a wave of dead men and horses.
It can only be learned by men and devils, who have the abundance of black Atum needed. A student of this style kindles their Atum and internal forces with unbelievable heat, by eating certain herbs and ingesting certain roots over a few weeks of time, during which the practitioner must train intensely. The result of this process produces a voracious and incredibly strong hot black Atum that suffuses far more of the body than normal, spilling over from its meridians and saturating the flesh itself, an effect which is normally quite painful and can in some cases cause a person to quite literally burn to death.
The masters of this style sweat profusely when they let this energy suffuse them totally, and their body becomes red and flushed with blood, and even seemed to steam. They are capable of absolutely absurd feats of strength, such as lifting an ox cart overhead with one finger, lifting a house sized boulder, or (as I once witnessed in a duel) hurling an opponent several hundred meters into the distance. An old master once boasted to me that he had hurled a royal sailing ship at an opponent once while drunk in his youth, which I calculated later was about 2000 short tons (2500 imperial tons).
The well known drawback to this style is a practitioner must eat and drink around three or four times as much as a normal person of their weight in order to stoke their internal fire. Without such regular fuel, their own body is consumed and they quite literally combust. The masters I talked to were rather unconcerned about this particular quirk and took it as a matter of religious importance, one of them going as far as to say that most old masters that know their time is getting near stop eating, so that when they next enter battle their body will consume many of their opponents in its violent self immolation.”
Shadow Arts Edit
"I take a brief interlude here to briefly mention the hand and foot arts that are commonly known as the shadow arts. I cannot say much on account of both my limited understanding of these arts but also the extreme measures to which the various schools go to protect the knowledge and practice of these arts. The schools are administered by hereditary hunter clans and well hidden. At the time of writing there are said to be thirteen. The centipede school was infamously uncovered underneath the Red City’s ghost market some 60YT back , dug into its tunnels, and raided by a massive cadre of Root Knights, but it was not destroyed and has since dug itself a new lair somewhere else in the city. The locations of the other schools are unknown, and even seeking them out can be a perilous venture, as I have discovered.
The fools that seek these academies of the dark arts out are often aspiring vengeance seekers, assassins, or bounty hunters. Once initiated, a student becomes part of that school’s clan and is inextricably bound to clan law on pain of execution, typically by being flayed or buried alive. They learn how to move unseen, to use disguises, and the use of many tools, poisons, and explosives.
As for the styles themselves, they are a mix of internal and external techniques, with each school specializing in a particular technique to the point of obsession. Each school takes for their totem an animal, which guides their study. The aforementioned centipede school, for example, is said to train a technique allowing one to use any part of their body to wield a weapon. The legendary Crimson Legs, a human assassin from this school, was infamous for killing with four knives, one in her teeth, two in her hands, and one gripped between her toes.
The wolf school teaches two to fight as one, and mostly trains bounty hunters. The Stone Beetle school supposedly teaches a technique that turns bullets away from skin. The lizard school is said to allow limited transformation of the body’s coloration and texture to totally blend in with the environment (though I have yet to confirm this rumor and it appears a little too outlandish).”
“An internal/external discipline, widely respected as the most dangerous Fist Art in the multiverse. It’s core technique is a breathing method that allows internal force to be cultivated extremely rapidly and focused on a point smaller than a pin-prick, giving blows absolutely phenomenal power. Blows using this technique are named by the number of points they contain – one point blows are strong enough to crack stone with a touch. Two point blows can decapitate a man with the air pressure created by flicking a finger. Legends about of old masters of Ki Rata using ten point blows to level cities but I find the claim highly dubious.
I have found nobody willing to train me in this art and none who will grant me observation. Improper use of a Ki Rata technique will literally tear a man’s own body into pieces, so I have not attempted to study it myself. The only living masters live in the (remarkably pretty) land of Rayuba and are staunch pacifists, having, according to legend, culled their order to a single community. Reportedly the only time they ever use their considerable talents is to kill someone who somehow manages to learn a Ki Rata technique without being trained by them first. They only take apprentices to replace an old master when he dies, so that someone will always be around to make sure Ki Rata does not exist in the wider world. Many supplicants flock to Rayuba in the hopes of being trained by the masters, who sometimes are forced into self defense when they are challenged to unwanted duels.
When I arrived there hoping for some insight, I witnessed such a duel between a low-ranking monk of the style and a well-known master of the Pilgrim Fist. Within three moves, the monk, a rather short fellow, used a two finger one-point technique to completely vaporize the bones in both of the master’s arms.
I am strongly dissuaded to continue pressing my study of this art and will write no further on it.”
Krayu Mat Edit
- Translated from the Angelic language : "RESPLENDENT SOUL FIST"
I made several feeble attempts to learn this art, but was rebuffed in my efforts by its very nature. It is, by my best attempts at researching its origins, the oldest martial art in existence. The human Metia was said to have been taught many martial arts by the gods upon her birth from Koss’ hearth, but the angels say Krayu Mat is older. It was (purportedly) taught to them by a god whose name has been forgotten. Today it is exclusively practiced by angels, who regard its practice as highly archaic. All angels know it, having learned it at some point during their repeated reincarnations, but it is extremely rare and unusual to observe it in practice, for the simple and plain reason that its origins are in the primal killing movements of angels in their ancient forms, whose foes at the time were enormous unbound devils, beings of myth, and lesser gods.
Each of my inquiries with the Concordant Knights led to exactly the same conclusion, which they explained to me with great patience and kindness: it was impossible for me, a being with a weak soul flame, to practice Krayu Mat, as it would tear my flesh in ten thousand places and utterly annihilate my physical body. 
FIERCE HORSE SOUL Edit
"A peculiar internal style with very narrow application, and one almost solely focused on defensive techniques. Practiced by most angels, it is almost entirely focused on getting close enough to a foe to subdue him without harming him, with maximal speed, safety, and precision. The movement techniques in this style are very popular and often borrowed by other schools, such as the Unlimited Chariot Sprinting technique which, when practiced properly, allows running at incredible speed over long distances without tiring. The student of this school is taught to endure all kinds of harm, hardship, and exhaustion in the pursuit of his quarry, and in doing so develops a truly unique constitution, resiliency, and ability to channel internal force.
Though it is commonly perceived to have no offensive applications, a quirk of this school is that due to its energy conservation techniques, a trained master who has practiced them for an extremely long time is capable (or so I have heard) of unleashing attacks of staggering power, aimed at felling dangerous or impossible to subdue foes. Such an technique must be delivered at extremely close range and can take a phenomenal amount of concentration and cultivation of internal force. Only the oldest extant angels proficient in this style are said to be capable of this ‘ten thousand year evil-quelling fist’ style – those that have been alive for an age or more. If any of them truly exist and can be roused to action, it would be a most terrible sight indeed.”
-Manual of Hands and Feet King of Swords 9-127
Martial Arts Not listed in the Manual of Hands & Feet Edit
- Ovis' Palm : A technique of Empty Palms created by Ovis, the God of Emptiness & Void. Ovis is also attributed as the founder of all martial arts. 82 White Chain Born in Emptiness Returns to Subdue Evil demonstrated the use of Ovis' Palm in the Ring of Power. King of Swords 9-110
- A number of additional martial arts appear in the Broken Worlds RPG. These are: Bearer of Legend, Diamond Soul, Five Elements Internal Technique, Howl of the Cursed, Medicine Palm, Murderous Blade, Pilgrim Fist, Rider of the Endless Path, and Vertigo Bullet.
- The Leisure Kicks style has been previously seen used by the Petal Knight 33 Judicious Rains Sear the Unrepentant.
- The martial arts style employed by White Chain is simply referred to as "Empty Palms" in the book, though characters in the comic consistently call it "49 Empty Palms".
- Head of John appears as an Advanced Martial Arts technique in the Broken Worlds RPG. There, the abilities described in the Manual are joined with the ability to read the ambient mood of the room and the ability to fire a beam of energy from the central head stud.