I’ve always seen Khajiit as an under-developed race with a lot of potential. One of the areas that I felt needed more love is the connection between Magicka, soul, and the Khajiiti martial arts. This post seeks to unite all these things with themes taken from real life kung fu. The first three masteries, though not specifically named like this, are all important themes in kung fu as well, much in the manner described here. The fourth mastery could be best understood as the concept of Qi (also Ki, Chi) in Chinese martial arts, though of course you will not be shooting fireballs out of your fists in real life.
TL;DR: Khajiit are basically the Airbenders of the Elder Scrolls universe.Author’s Note
[Adapted from the lecture of a Dagi-Raht Master.]
First comes the mastery of the breath. If one cannot breathe, one cannot live: this is obvious. Managing the breath is akin to managing one’s strength. Each breath flows through the body as power; so, a Moons Dancer must learn how to control his breath before he can control anything else.
Next comes the mastery of the body. While we are on this earth, our bodies, souls, and minds are bound together as one; what affects one will affect the other. A neglected body leads to a neglected mind or soul, and vice versa. As even the most mindless of Rhojiit display strength and skill in launching their weight and manipulating their limbs, this is what is taught to kits second, as the second-most natural control they can grasp in this life.
The mastery of the body lies in two main spheres, often thought a dichotomy, but in reality any master may possess both. The first of these is raw strength: the ability to jump high, run fast and long, lift and carry heavy burdens. The second is agility: the flex of the tendons, the coordination of the eye, speed of striking, and grace of movement.
These two spheres interlock, and thus comes the third mastery: technique. A Khajiit’s body is made in such a way that some sequences of movement are easier, and some strikes are more powerful when given the proper leverage. An example is the Ohmes fist-fighters: the rotation of their shoulders and hips lends to stronger punches when a left punch is followed by a right, the energy of the recoil gathered and released into the next strike, like a serpent’s coil.
Technique, then, is the doorway to shaping Magicka. Magicka is literally in everything. The rightness one feels in finding the proper rhythm in their techniques is reflected in the flow and efficiency of one’s Magicka. Kits at this stage of training should be able to feel the animus energy in their movements, and further conserve or release this animus in order to give more power to their strikes or absorb more force when deflecting a blow.
From here comes the fourth and last mastery, Magicka itself. A kit next learns to invite the animus of their techniques to transcend their mortal form and become raw energy. This is not a divorce of the energies latent in one’s body as an Altmer would cast spells, but instead the ultimate channeling of it, through movement. A spell cast with proper breathing, physical conditioning, and technique is hence always more powerful than that merely conceived of in the mind, though a wise master will of course also learn still and silent spells for use against cunning foes.
After a kit learns to augment their martial training with Magicka, more varied teachings may avail them, such as stealing or replenishing another’s life force, twisting the fabric of light or substance of rock or air to create a more favorable arena, scenting the tracks of spirits for spiritual guidance, or shaping the raw energies of fire, frost, and lightning. Though one must demonstrate restraint or have the guidance of a master, moon sugar can also be used as a enhancement, as the practitioner is in essence ingesting the animus of the moons and making it their own.
A Khajiit master trains in all four of these masteries and knows neither of them are greater than any other, that each is susceptible to weakness if neglected. A Moons-Dancer focusing on only one mastery becomes but a point on a star, equidistant to the center from the others, or true knowing. For this is the breath, the soul, of our art: that everything is connected, everything governed by the animus energy that flows to and from, through and away; that which may become what was once only imagined, felt as a quiver in the whiskers or a shiver across the fur: the all-encompasing flow that is Magicka.