Originally Ku was just the name I gave the martial technique taught in neotoy. There were three schools- black, white and gray. Black students were quiet, introspective life respecting people much like Buddhist monks. White students were arrogant, violent, psychopathic assholes. Grey students were neutral, and not exclusively limited to either black or white behavioral patterns. Sometimes they kill and other times they protect, it all depends on the situation.
Ku itself was very simple to begin with it can best be compared to Jeet Kune Do
. It is an organic martial art that centers on logical range of motion fighting. Each mobile element of the human body is studied and implemented as a technique, then combinations of movements are studied, and lastly the student attains mastery with the instruction of full form aerobatic implementations of all techniques and possibilities.
Though the existential and metaphysical side of Ku is not taught by frame, it is shared between students and makes up at least 50% of a students overall fighting ability. This spiritual fighting consists of the manipulation of existential energy into offensive and defensive devices. Things like shields and blades are most common. Advanced study leads to the attainment of paranormal abilities like space warping, elemental manipulation and mass destruction. Fortunately these skills do not develop without deep insight into both self and environment which leads to a kind of spiritual understanding that is conducive to personal responsibility. Even the evil infinites acknowledge the truth known to all, why? because to do otherwise is to damn oneself.
Eventually Ku developed into a life philosophy that was not only about the martial way but was about language, sexuality, honor, and personal significance. Originally Ku was perfect and so was neotoy, but what can I say, perfection is the most boring thing there is, "it was a world without hope, aseptic in every respect, a world without life, void of inherent energy."
The Ku is supported by three pillars of reason, genetically and indelibly ingrained into all human and animal life in Neotoy. The first is the belief that reality is composed of energy rather than matter, therefore students of the Ku strive to transcend the limitations of the material world; so that they may express themselves in a supreme manner as existential or "spiritual" beings. Second is the belief in the paramount significance of individuality, students of the Ku are expected to find their own truth along the chosen path, to develop their own techniques and instrumentality; not to follow nor to lead but to manifest themselves as unique fixtures existing outside the influence of external forces and their own internal desires. Although the third pillar is listed last, it is in fact the most profound and abstract of the three; it is the belief that there are no absolutes. To oppose this concession is to destroy the foundation of the Ku.
Ku is a manifold philosophy, one might say a spectrum. First it is a means of communication; written, verbal and telepathic. Second it is a martial art comprised of three separate secs or schools, black, gray and white. And third, the Ku is a way of life, followed to a degree even by the denizens who are not members of any school or sect. Ku is the way that leads to spiritual enlightenment, or the realization of truth, rather than merely the belief in a popularized faith or theory. Literally this statement contradicts the fundamental rejection of absolutes, but the reality of the Ku is that the student or denizen who masters it, becomes it. The act of realizing the Ku is the act of self-realization, and therefore does not violate a denial of absolutes. As living beings we are not ourselves absolute, we are constantly changing, but when we find our own meaning of truth we become spiritually enlightened. In other words we become an absolute that is always changing. This is the zen of Ku.
All three schools of Ku have one common thread which joins them, and that is the system by which the grades of its students are determined. All beings born in Neotoy begin their lives as denizens, this is the word commonly understood to mean merely a member of the nameless population, or an inhabitant of the city who exists but does not belong to a school. Such common people are not directly associated with the Ku, they live unremarkable lives neither adding nor subtracting to city culture. At the point in time when a denizen makes the choice to become the member of a school, their official status changes, and they become a Ku student. However these students do not yet have any training. They are issued a mask which is marked with the special designation of Initiate. This is symbolized by the numerical character "0" (zero).
These special students are not allowed to live outside of the school to which they have become associated. Furthermore they are assigned to a senior student in a unique relationship known as a "toku" charge, pronounced "toe-ku". Coincidentally the word toku is also used to represent a training aid which consists of a long weighted rectangle of cloth which hangs off a student's arm. The concept is somewhat similar. The senior student is responsible for making sure that the initiate who is untrained is not killed before they can learn how to survive in the martial world. What this means is that the initiate cannot leave the school unless accompanied by the senior student. So in essence the initiate becomes like an attached weight restricting mobility.
Shortly after the initiate has been fully settled into their new life, training begins. All basic training in martial Ku is conducted directly by the robotic civil servants who are controlled by the core of the city. These are powerful robots called "frame", like the ubiquitous Ku shield mask they are powered by compressed black holes. They do not look like androids, they are instead comprised entirely of metallic rods of various lengths and widths. These rods are arranged in such a way that they form a minimalistic and symmetrical skeletal structure which accurately mimics and reproduces all possible mechanical configurations of the human body. The rods are joined by quantum aperture control spheres enabling them to orbit any joint in any direction at faster than light speed.
For a Ku school to be established; first a denizen must desire to learn a specific branch of Ku, next an appropriate and unoccupied structure must be selected, then two frames must agree to teach at the school, once this is done the school is given a name (most often after the metto where it is located). This marks its official opening, gradually over time the school will fill up, once it has reached the maximum membership of 100, it will refuse to take new students until an opening becomes available. Training consists of two steps, observation and application. First the students will watch a visual expression of a technique performed directly by the frame. Second they will attempt to mimic the action, they will repeat this step until they have achieved mastery.
The career of a Ku student is complex, starting out as an initiate and training hard it still may take hundreds even thousands of years for a student to reach the higher levels of power. In all there are ten grades of martial Ku: initiate (0), 1-8, infinite (infinity symbol). Traditionally both the lowest and the highest levels are not referred to as grades but rather states. The school itself will only provide training in levels 1-8. Initiates start without training and Infinites transcend training. Therefore students are only expected to understand the conventional teachings. The essential basis for martial Ku is the mechanical division of the human body into eight mobile segments, this is to say four appendages, each involving two connected parts. Each level of Ku focuses on applying compound range-of-motion techniques to accomplish statistically beneficial attack and defense postures. As grades progress these combat techniques not only become more intricate, but interrelate in such a way that the more simplistic compounds learned in the lower grades can be integrated into the advanced postures to multiply power. Overall this system of martial learning could best be described as a physical language using math to ensure the integrity of communication; the larger your vocabulary the more expressive and articulate you can become, and sincere dialog is the key to possessing a profound influence.
There is also a degree of symbolism to the grading system. While there are eight familiar grades involving the eight mobile segments, you may notice that the body of a Neotoy denizen has five total appendages: two legs, two arms and a head. The head which cannot be divided can be counted as the unofficial ninth segment. And while it is not used directly in combat it is the key to transcending the martial training and reaching the coveted unofficial ninth grade a.k.a. Infinite. The initiate is ignorant, grade 8 has achieved mechanical mastery of Ku, but to become an Infinite requires the mastery of one's mind. Naturally the real experience is never this black and white, no Ku student is ever so strict as to graduate in a perfect compartmentalized and linear path. The mechanics of Ku are essentially guidelines, it is only necessary to know them in order to graduate from one grade to the next. Typically students will begin to experiment with their supernatural powers as soon as they join a school. This is critical because the use of one's existential energy cannot be taught, it is not mechanical but rather intuitive and must be learned independently.
Once all the compounds have been mastered for any given grade, the student may choose to take the test to graduate. The test consists of a direct contest with a frame. The robot will use exact counter-techniques to all the student's compounds, each which results in a precisely calibrated energy cancellation, if even a single technique has not been mastered the student will invariably lose the contest. Once the match has started, simply meeting all the challenging moves without disrupting the predetermined balance of energy ensures graduation. These are tactical matches and do not involve intentional physical damage. It is important to note here that this catalog of secret counter-compounds known and practiced only by frame could be considered a fourth school of Ku, as they are designed exclusively to nullify the energy of techniques taught in black, gray and white schools.