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Ir-Vothiam is the traditional martial art of the Jin people. It is both a physical and spiritual art and can take many, many decades to become a revered master of the form entitled only then to be known by the title 'Kivatha'.

Both the physical and spiritual aspects of the art must be studied in tandem, as the relationship between the two is symbiotic.

Tek-Vothiam (the physical aspect of Ir-Vothiam)

Tek-Vothiam involves two branches which must be simultaneously mastered: the individual practice known generally as Invoth and a grappling-based close-combat discipline known as Exvoth.


The individual practice of Tek-Vothiam - all about honing one's own body and physical control, and is focused on steadiness, breathing, core strength and fluidity of movement.


The close-combat practice of Tek-Vothiam - efficiency of action against another and translating the Invoth philosophies into close-combat techniques which, if done correctly, can be savage. It tends to be mainly focused on joint locks and personal defense, though more advanced Tek-Vothiam may also involve staffs and eventually swords with which to take part in combat, but the requisite spiritual understanding must be demonstrated before this is permitted, just as the body must be disciplined in Tek-Vothiam before certain stages of spiritual learning are allowed to take place. And of course, honorable execution techniques are of the utmost importance.


In each discipline, the 'poses', 'frames' or positions are called Vozhen - specific techniques or poses through which the body naturally moves. Examples include:

Grasp Rosewing's Tail
Single Whip
Dusk Yibis Spreads Wings
Strum the Zitar
Step Up, Deflect, Parry, Punch
Appear to Close Entrance
Carry Beast to Mountain
Ward off Ezoujo
Thread Needle through Shroud
Draw in T'rath's Gift
Part Feiyen's Mane
Weaver Works the Loom
Gather Kith in Storm
Creeping Snake

Both Invoth and Exvoth can be practiced in many ways, and different techniques have developed over the years. They may also be mixed and matched as mutually decided by a student and their Kivatha, though most Jin choose one style for each aspect, many choosing just one discipline with which to practice the introspective and interactive aspects of Ir-Vothiam. including the following:

Pia'dao ("the dance")
A smooth, slow, and primarily meditative tradition. It is a graceful art that weaves the body fluidly through space, prioritizing the spirit in sync with the body. Pia'dao is perhaps the most beautiful form to watch.

Zhe'fei ("flying shroud")
Popular with the youth, this tradition features a ranged complexity of movements. There are fast releases and jumping kicks, requiring athleticism and thus a chance to showcase one's ability in a more daring way. This is often used in historical reenactments as it reads well from a distance.

Li'gon ("tribute")
This tradition has almost died out of knowledge and use. The few masters reside on the Blood Ark in a state of revered seclusion. It is incredibly advanced and useless to non-Jin, focused almost entirely on the deatheye and its connection to the rest of the Jin body and being.

Huo'zha ("held comet")
Distinct with small, compact movements, this tradition was developed for close-quarter combat typical of ships and urban environments. It is intense and forceful, and exercises small muscle groups with precision. Few outside of the military practice it.

Hun'shu ("hybrid" or less respectfully, "watered")
This style is the most recognizable by those outside of Jin culture. It is a modified tradition developed through diplomacy, as those of the Ark shared with their newfound allies of Scatterhome. Combining aspects of the other traditions, it is a very basic introduction to Ir-Vothiam that true practitioners would equate to learning the alphabet rather than composing poetry.


This is the term used for specific transitions between vozhen, which teach application or choreographic technical displays. Traditional Jin theater performances tend to meld the retelling of historical stories, with the beautiful movements of Tek-Vothiam.

A popular Exvoth game based on binary stars. Those who play brace their forearms against each other, and try to make touches upon the other's torso as 'strikes' without breaking contact from each other.

Eit-Vothiam (the spiritual aspect of Ir-Vothiam)

As all Jin (and probably many other people) are aware, the fear of death can be a great and rigid obstacle. It is a reminder of a of loss of control that might make someone freeze with fear, or panic and respond irrationally or impulsively. As such, overcoming any fear of death is the first lesson in the practice of Eit-Vothiam. Freedom from this fear is believed to release great powers.

There is an ancient story passed down by Ir-Vothiam masters, of a conversation that supposedly took place in the far-off Jin home system Ijzala between the Godking as a young student, and his mentor, Kivatha Amati Barek – a man of immense meditative and spiritual accomplishment.

The young Godking had accidentally insulted a high-ranking officer, who had challenged him to a fight to the death and so he sought out the Kivatha for spiritual guidance. The Kivatha told him earnestly that he had little chance of surviving the encounter, but that he could ensure an honorable death by treating the combat as he would the formal ceremony of the Bread Ritual.

"Compose your mind," said the Kivatha, meticulously weighing out flour, water and salt into a bowl, "pay no attention to the petty chatterings and fears of death in your head, just focus on the ingredients."

He pointed to the flour, reiterating the symbolism of the Bread Ritual, "The body," he said, before pouring in the water, "the physical world, ever changing and fluid," then he finally sprinkled in a large pinch of salt, "and other people, who give the whole thing flavor." He smiles warmly at the young Godking, bringing the ingredients together as he had done a thousand times before, kneading it into a pliable dough. "Then grasp the sword straightforwardly; with the same practiced and confident precision and concentration of mind you would use to knead dough - that's you putting your spirit into the thing right there." He picked up the bread, eyes sparkling with amusement, "Does it look like me?" The young Godking grinned with amusement and shook his head. Frowning, the old Jin peered at it, "Ah, well, perhaps likeness isn't my finest skill. But it is me, nonetheless." Then all at once he tossed the flattened dough into a red hot pan. The Godking gasped and the Kivatha chuckled, "Don't worry, boy, these are the trials we all must go through in life to reach the ultimate goal." He turned the puffed up bread over on the skillet, toasting it to a crisp before placing it on a saucer and handing it to his young mentee. The Godking looked at him curiously, "You want me to eat it?" "Don't hesitate boy. What is bread for, if not for eating? Get it down you." The Godking picked up the hot little round of bread and ate it, as instructed. His old mentor smiled sagely, nodding.

"Very good. When the time comes you should not hesitate. Do not have fear or think of it as anything more than what it is in the moment. Step forward, with no thought of the consequence, and strike your opponent down in one blow!" - From 'Tales of the Godking' by Haiz Kavathrik 911 A.E.

The Godking is then said to have prepared himself accordingly, abandoning all fear of death, and when the morning of the duel arrived the high-ranking officer, encountering the total poise and fearlessness of his opponent, was so shaken that he promptly begged forgiveness and called off the fight.

The acknowledgement that death is inevitable and therefore we all have limited time on this plane can enable a person to eliminate pettiness and self-indulgence. The many thoughts of death, regret and lost opportunities, risks not taken and inertia given in to, all those thoughts of time travel and cloning to give limitless 'chances', are brought into the present by Eit-Vothiam, and the present time will always be before the opportunities are past, while the airlock is still sealed, while all three eyes are still alert and can galvanize one to begin taking responsibility for living a fulfilling life before going on to meet T'rath.

Death is of the utmost importance and is the focus of Eit-Vothiam. It is the great changer, the thing that makes sure that life does not remain static, stagnant, fixed. Continual, unchanging self-replication is a zombie-like living death of sameness and stagnation; the freshness and newness of each individual born, who dies to make way for another unique being, is eternally changing life through death.

Closing the normal eyes to hone the deatheye's vision of the world, in a special meditative position called 'Ikvaya' is regarded as being a great motivator on life's path: an awareness of the reality and inevitability of one’s personal death can be a fantastic energizer, releasing unsuspected level of motivation for radical change.


Gei-Vothiam is a traditional form of meditative body painting, and is a part of Eit-Vothiam. A practitioner may paint their own body, or may paint the body of a partner or paid model. The paint is most commonly applied to the back, and sometimes the chest. The limbs and head are not used. The painting is generally representational, with landscapes or flowers being the most common subjects. There is a current trend among the refugees in the Starmourn sector to do abstract paintings instead, though this is scorned by traditionalists. As with all things in Ir-Vothiam, the paintings demonstrate that life is beautiful, but transient, and destruction should be embraced so that one may begin anew.