|Helping Toby find his inner ninja.|
|Author||Rachel and Jessica (Rachel Lambton and Jenny Williams)|
Toby was asleep on one of the sofas in the living room of the YogHouse, dreaming of destroying the Kingdom of the Saplings, when suddenly, someone slapped him repeatedly in the face.
"Come on, you moron! You call yourself a real ninja?"
Toby growled and tried to go back to sleep, but the person kept slapping him.
The person who was slapping Toby was his ninja buddy, Martyn.
"Dreamtime is over already, you mindless hammer freak!"
"All right, all right!" shouted Toby. "I'm awake! Quit slapping me!"
"Well, it's about time," smiled the Nature Ninja. "Come! Let's get a move on."
Then he grabbed Toby by the arm and ran to the Nature Ninja training base.
"Welcome to Ninja Training!" said Martyn. "Are you ready to be a real ninja?"
"Put me down, and then we'll talk," replied Toby.
Martyn let go of Toby and asked, "You've always wanted to become a professional ninja like me, right?"
"Uh…yeah," Toby replied.
"I thought so! Welcome to Intensive Ninja Training, Toby! I'm going to help you whip into shape."
"Wait, so…let me get this straight. I've always wanted to become a ninja, so you're going to help me become one?" asked Toby.
"That's right!" declared the Nature Ninja as he brought his sidekick into the main area of the training base.
"Let's get started! Let's start with some air punches!"
"Air punches?" asked Toby.
"Step One on becoming an expert ninja is to practice your moves," explained Martyn.
Toby watched Martyn as he demonstrated air punching. He began to practice air punching himself.
"That's right, Toby! You're doing great! Pick up the pace!"
After about twenty-five air punches, Toby had enough.
"Ouch!" he muttered, holding his cramping arm. "I am SO sore! All that punching made my arm almost fall off! Martyn, are you sure that I'm ready to become a real ninja?"
Martyn sighed and shook his head. "The road ahead is long and hard," he thought to himself.
This wasn't going to be easy as he thought.
Martyn was trying hard to help Toby become a ninja. So far, Toby seemed to struggle a little bit. But Martyn knew that with a little practice, he could turn Toby into a professional ninja in no time.
Martyn taught Toby a few punches and kicks, as well as his signature attacks.
Toby was getting the hang of the Punch/Kick combination, and he was starting to learn the right direction of using the Jump Kick.
But he was still struggling with a few other moves, though.
When Toby started learning the spin-kick move, or the "Gut Buster", as Martyn called it, he tried to spin around with his leg in a kicking position as he jumped, but he just kept falling to the ground.
"Oof!" he muttered. "Man, this is hard! I wonder how I got myself into this…"
Next up were the Dash Attack, Uppercut, and of course, Martyn's special movement called The Leaf Drop. Toby seemed to be getting a hang at the Dash Attack and Uppercut, but still needed practice with the Leaf Drop. Whenever Toby slowed down, Martyn would tug at his hoodie to get him to keep going. Finally, it was time to put what he had learned to the test.
"Let's go!" said Martyn as he ran across the training area. Toby tried to follow him as he attempted to practice his moves. He even tried to do a backflip as he ran just like Martyn did.
Toby kept up with Martyn as quick as he could. He also tested his ninja skills as he followed. He attempted the Punch/Kick, Jump Kick, Dash Attack, Uppercut, and Leaf Drop when he ran into obstacles. It seemed like he was doing well without the need of his hammer.
"Go, Toby, go!" shouted Martyn. "Ninjas go through great distances and attack many obstacles in their way!"
Toby stopped and fell over, exhausted.
"Isn't all that energy getting a fire into you?" asked the Nature Ninja.
"The only thing that's on fire are my lungs!" replied Toby.
Martyn looked at Toby unamused. "Okay, maybe we can take a break for you to get the dirt off the bottoms of your sneakers," he sighed.
"Thanks," muttered Toby. "You're too kind." Then he collapsed on the ground. "Martyn makes being a ninja look so easy," he thought to himself.
Martyn examined his progress at training Toby to become a ninja. So far, it was going very well. There were still a few bumps on the road before them, but Martyn was sure that Toby was going to become a ninja just like him in no time.
"Isn't all that kicking and punching great?" Martyn asked Toby during a rest break. "Don't you feel that rush of energy inside you? Don't you feel the ninja coming out in you?"
"I feel like I'm going to puke," muttered Toby, who was still tired after he tested his ninja skills.
Martyn sighed and shook his head.
"Toby, Toby, Toby, Toby…" he thought to himself. "Still not ready to become a ninja yet, are you?"
Martyn knew that his sidekick needed just a little more practice.
After a fifteen-minute rest break, the Nature Ninja allowed Toby to start the next test.
"Okay, Toby. Ninjas should always prove themselves worthy right before they attack," explained Martyn. "Like Riley Stanford said, the 'eye of the tiger' philosophy will only get you far."
"But, Martyn," interrupted Toby. "Doesn't it take a lot of pressure to become a ninja?"
"Sort of," replied Martyn. "To me, the strength and power just come out naturally. So, if you try harder and practice a little more, then the same thing might happen to you."
"Martyn, I figure that since I don't have the same powers as you, I might as well be unable to develop any of that ninja strength."
"Well, then, how about this? If you just focus enough, you will eventually find the power developing inside you."
"Okay," replied the confused Toby. He still wasn't quite sure if he could do this, even after Martyn gave him those words of wisdom.
A while later, Martyn was helping Toby practice a few more skills.
"Uhhh…I don't know, Martyn. I just can't make myself throw a good punch," said Toby as he saw the punching bag before him. "Are you sure it's just a practice punch?"
"Oh, I suppose so," said the Nature Ninja. "Go ahead. Try it."
Toby closed his eyes and swung his fist at the punching bag.
"There, you did it!" said Martyn. "See, easy."
Toby opened his eyes and saw that he made a big hole in the punching bag.
"Whoa," Toby thought to himself. "That was one heck of an uppercut!"
Now that Toby was sure that he was able to use the skills that he learned, he was going to become a real ninja, just like Martyn, in no time flat.
Now that Martyn was sure that Toby had mastered his ninja skills, it was time to get Toby to show what he really learned. First, he talked to Toby about how he should attack at the right times.
"Okay, Toby," said Martyn. "Now that I'm sure that your training is paying off, I should tell you about how ninjas should attack. Ninja skills are all about the mind and body. You need to focus on what you're doing and how you're attacking your enemy."
"Um, I thought ninjas were supposed to be a little aggressive," replied Toby.
"Well, not really," said Martyn. "That kinda defeats the purpose. We're supposed to focus with our minds and bodies before and when we attack. So, the next test is to focus on the mind and body when you're practicing your skills."
"Oookay, then," said Toby.
During the next test, Toby tried hard to concentrate on what he was doing.
"Focusing on the mind and body is pretty hard, isn't it, Toby?" said Martyn. "But ninjas have to stay focused when they attack. Just focus. Focus, Toby, focus!"
Sure enough, Toby started to focus. But he couldn't focus for long. He just wanted to show off what he had learned.
Martyn stared in shock as Toby flipped a circuit. Toby jumped up and went Full Ninja, looking like he was about to take Martyn down.
"Whoa!" shouted Martyn as Toby made a lunge for him. "Stand down, Toby! Stand down!"
Just as Toby was about to take Martyn down with a Leaf Drop, the Nature Ninja stopped his sidekick in his tracks.
"Wait, Toby!" cried Martyn. "Snap out of it! I was wrong! You don't need to be a professional ninja like me. I like you just the way you are!"
That's when Toby stopped.
"What was I thinking?" he sighed, slapping his forehead. "You know what, Marty? I guess I unleashed my inner ninja a little too soon. I guess I'm not ready to become a ninja just yet."
"Well," said Martyn. "Maybe some other time, I'll help you learn to unleash your inner ninja at the right times. Anyway, it's good to have you back, bro."
Now, both Toby and Martyn understood that they shouldn't change each other to make them act like each other better. But Martyn knew that someday, Toby would become a ninja, just like him.
But not today.