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"Look, a three-headed monkey!!"
The Best Backbender in OrientalAll the pupils love their master, Emaryl, because he has such a bright attitude both as a teacher and a person. He has a unique way of teaching and because of his philosophy his pupils become some of the most flexible elves in the world! His own contortion practice in the past helped him to develop his way of teaching.
Emaryl's main idea is that stretching must never be painful but must be instead something that can be truly enjoyed. First of all, Emaryl would teach the young elf to touch his feet to the back of his own head. This is something that most children can do very easily, but most of them don't even know that they can do it. He would then let the pupil experience how wonderful it feels, he wouldn't push any further and would let the boy enjoy the feeling of having his bare soles laying on the top of his head for as long as he likes.
The student falls in love with this feeling and then Emaryl says that this is actually what contortion is all about! But it's only the beginning, more advanced poses would feel even greater!
If it is so enjoyable, the pupil would quickly grow to be obsessed with it and would want to practice it instead of being forced to practice it. Emaryl never says such things as "You're good for nothing!" or "You're not working hard enough!" or anything like that, because saying that would represent the teacher's own failure that the student isn't interested enough.
The next stage is learning to fold the back completely in half backwards, it takes a pretty long period of training during which Emaryl tells his students very inspiring lectures. He says that putting feet on the head is just child's play, while folding completely in half is the most amazing thing the body can ever experience! The sensation while sitting on your own shoulders cannot be even compared to anything else, it's a truly wonderful experience!
The pupils listen to Emaryl's philosophy while gulping and having with their eyes wide open and when he's done talking they immediately want to stretch to learn it as soon as possible. And very often they overdo it, and then Emaryl tells them: "Hey, if you came here to torture yourself, you came into a wrong trainer!" He explains that pushing too hard is the first step to develop a hatred for contortion. The pain would build a fear of stretching and that fear would result in getting more stiff because of the stress, which would consequentially make it only more and more painful. When the training becomes a source of stress, the pupil would start avoiding it and eventually would stop training at all!
Aaulin's DiscoveryEmaryl often says that the mistake of other contortion teachers is that they push too much. A good teacher, according to Emaryl, should not just contort the student's body but he should allow the student's body to develop the feeling of love for being contorted. The body should grow to enjoy being contorted, the stretching should not be a stress but a pleasure. Only through love and pleasure truly amazing things are possible, and only if the student is really enjoying it like nothing else.
Anyway, this is a stone bridge behind Emaryl's house. It is rare to see other elves crossing this bridge because it's at the outskirts of the village and this bridge is only actively used during festivals and special events, or when the elves need to trade with other villages. Otherwise the bridge is rarely used, but it's a place with a nice view and Emaryl likes to use it for outdoors training, since fresh air is very good for the body, and proper breathing is one of the most important nuances while stretching: if the breathing is restricted the student would get stressed within minutes, but if the breathing is well done, it's very enjoyable to stay contorted even for a very long time. And of course, some of the best poses are often done outdoors ^^
p.s. Once again thank you so much, Aldric, for having created such a beautiful place as the Oriental village and such wonderful characters as Emaryl, Romir and many others! They're such a pleasure to think about and to draw! ^-^ <3
Characters belong to Aldric ©
Original art of Romir: Greeny Backbend