(1940-05-10) Passing the Bartitsu
Details for Passing the Bartitsu
Summary: Bannon and Shelley are joined by Rena in the training room at the Ministry for a little lesson in self-defense.
Date: 1940/05/10
Location: Training Room

It may not be nine o'clock on a Saturday, but at least some of the regular crowd shuffles in. It's early on in the evening Auror Bannon Bates has set up two dummies to work on. His hat and walking stick are gently resting off to the side as he stands near the dummies, two longish polished sticks, one resting in each hand. He watches the entrance, waiting for his soon to be student.

Shelley has been here a while already - practicing her charms work, which has always been a challenge for her. One of the dummies is showing a considerable amount of wear as a result of her efforts - and more than a little singing as well. She takes a break for the moment, though, to drink from a bottle of water. Well - probably water. Even Shelley has her limits, right?

And in walks Rena… Well, run would be more the word for it. She appears to have some extra clothing with her as well - though not meant for this training session, surely, by the looks of them.
The small redhead comes tripping through the door into the training room, carrying a coat over her arm and a torch and a Great-War style helmet emblazoned with a large white "W" in the center. These, she dumps onto a nearby table and pants: "Lor, I'm sorry I'm late Mister Bannon, sir. I was on my way down 'ere when I remembered I forgot to remember to grab my things from the desk. And I can't rightly be without them as I'm on duty tonight once it gets dark!
What the devil is the woman babbling on about, now?

Charms practice is as worthy of an endeavour as any, especially if it helps one to better themselves and their skills. Or so that's the thought that has oft passed through Bannon's mind when he has practiced his own skills. "I wasn't aware you were on duty this evening, Mrs. Faulkner." He responds in kind. "What have those items to do with the dark, however?" Though he may just be asking more out of politeness than anything else. "Regardless, what matters is that you have arrived." He holds out one of the sticks to Rena. "Our first lesson shall begin immediately."

When does Rena not appear flustered by //something, Shelley muses silently as she pauses with her bottle still in her hand. She's trying to remember but… well. There aren't all that many examples coming to mind. Giving a slight shrug, she takes another drink before closing the bottle and setting it back down.

"Well, it's all to do with the blackout on the other side." Rena explains, still slightly breathless from her quick run. Tugging her suit jacket straight, and patting her hair into place, she continues: "We've got to keep the streets dark at night all over the place - just in case Mister 'Itler sends bombers over. This way, we keep them from seeing what's on the ground so easily." Pausing, she picks up the helmet and displays the white "W" proudly: "Stands for Warden. I'm a volunteer Air Warden, now. Got to be on the street three nights a week."
Realizing Shelley is also on hand, Rena sets the helmet down once more and smiles brightly as she goes to join Bannon: "'Ello, Shelley - Mister Bannon's going to teach me a thing or two about 'and to 'and fighting."

Bannon says, "The 'W' is not for 'witch' then, hmm? Shame." While his face remains serious, it almost sounded like Bannon made a joke. Is that possible? It's a rare occurrence indeed! "It is certainly of the utmost priority that London town remain dark in case of raids by muggle Germany happen to take place. Your volunteerism is a most noble deed. If you become aware of any such volunteers who work out near Oxford, would you inform me of who they are?" He glances in the direction of Shelley. He offers her a little nod."

"Ah - is he now? Fighting using sticks?" Shelley asks. "You aren't in the habit of carrying a cane with you, that I recall… And seeing as most only resort to hand-to-hand when they've lost their wand, you won't be able to conjure one…" she critic idly. "Still. Can't hurt. Other than physically."

Rena giggles at the thought of the W on her helmet standing for witch: "Lord love ya Mister Bannon, that'd be a lark." However, she tries her best to sober down and put herself into the proper mindset for the lesson she's about to receieve.
Glancing over at Shelley, the young woman narrows one eye and smirks slightly: "Well, the point of all this is to see to it that I do the 'urting of an assailant, as opposed to t'other way 'round, see?" That's how it will all work out in the end, right? Nothing clumsy ever happens when Rena is involved…

"The sticks are merely an instrument of training. In theory, one could use one's arm in a similar fashion. Or they could use their hands in a way that, once learned in this form, that could inflict much damage." Bannon explains. "Besides, the streets are full of commonplace items one could use in aid of one's defense, should one look."
Turning to Rena, he nods. "One can never be too prepared. Especially with the possibility of facing any number of assailants." He holds out the stick for Rena once more.

"Right. But it generally involves several forceful meetings with the mat while you're learning the technique," Shelley points out. "Well - with a mat if you're lucky." She smirks in amusement. She glances at her practice dummy for a moment, then back at Rena and Bannon as she adds, "Please. Continue."

Rena, realizing that she missed taking the stick from Bannon before, and she nervously takes it in hand. After looking over the length of it for a moment, the little redhead breaks into a faintly wistful smile and glides her hands down to either end. Pausing a moment, she drops one end to the floor so that it taps, and then begins to play with it a bit as a prop to a few quick little dance steps that end in a show-girl pose.
Laughing self-consciously, Rena shakes her head: "Sorry, Mister Bannon - brought back old memories of being on stage, it did. I'm ready, now." She'll behave, now that she's got that out of her system.

"That would be why we use a training space. It is to ensure a safe place to fall and not be seriously injured." Bannon responds in kind to Shelley. There is a raised eyebrow at Rena's little 'performance'. "Good. It is best to remember, we are practicing a serious form of defence. We are not cabaret performers at the Moulin Rouge."

"…Bates performing cabaret at the Moulin Rouge," Shelley repeats. Now there's an image she'll need to scrub from her mind with an entire bottle of firewhiskey later.

Rena's cheeks turn bright red when Bannon chides her for her little impromptu trip down memory lane. Her head ducks slightly, and her gaze drops to the floor. She can't help feeling slightly ashamed of herself, now. Her only reply to the gentleman's remark is a that of a shame-faced student. "Yes, sir," she murmurs, still looking toward her feet. Although part of her mind wonders if Bannon has ever BEEN to the Moulin Rouge…
"Well, let's get on." She urges, recovering herself a little and finally raising her head.

"'Tis a thought best left unattended, Prewett. For the sake of all of our sanities." Bannon remarks, as an aside, to Shelley. "We shall start with a few simple motions, that we shall perform on the dummies. Once I believe you've managed them well enough, I shall ask that you attempt them on me, understood?" He explains to Rena.

"Then bloody well don't bring up the notion, Bates," Shelley counters, rolling her eyes, before turning abruptly to her target dummy again. "Reducto!" The poor thing shatters into numerous small pieces, much to the woman's satisfaction. "There. Much better."

"Right-o," Rena answers cheerily as possible, bringing back the smile. She holds her stick at the ready and keeps her toes straight on a line on the floor. Now, she is the picture of a perfect, prim model student. Shelley causes her to jump slightly, however, when she shatters the dummy with a Reducto, and she allows herself a nervous chuckle: "Well struck."

Barely flinching at the exploding dummy, Bannon also faces his dummy. "Good form, Prewett." He tells her. It's certainly a useful spell to practice, and a useful spell for work in the field. His attention back on Rena, he continues. "First, we start with the stance for the first strike. There are, in fact, a few different motions that can be made from this position. With the stick firmly in your dominant hand, your right." He assumes from where he's seen her hold her wand. "Then you proceed to place your right left leg behind you slightly and kneel forward on your right leg, bending it." He does the motion he explains, showing her how it must look.

Shelley surveys the damage with satisfaction for a few moments longer before triggering the spell that would repair the dummy. Of course - she can't leave it unharmed. That would go against the purpose of this whole exercise. Pointing her wand again she calls out, "Confringo!" causing the dummy to burst into explosive flames. Neither of those spells would work on a person, of course…
As the remains of the dummy cheerfully burn, she glances aside at Bannon and Rena curiously.

Despite the length of Rena's skirt, she does manage to position herself accordingly to Bannon's instructions. It's a bit tight through the hips, seemingly, however. A problem that causes her to furrow her brow slightly and frown downward for a second. Her clothing always fit exactly properly and just so… Oh well, it must be the position.
"I think maybe I ought to wear a romper next time I do this," she muses aloud.
Blinking at Shelley as the dummy bursts into flames, the younger Auror bobbles slightly in her position and chuckles: "What've you got against them things, Shelley?"

"Now, with your stick…" Bannon extends his arm toward the dummy. "You want to hit the dummy just so." Slowly, he demonstrates hitting the dummy in various locations. He glances between Shelley and Rena. "What has she got against them? Has she not spoken to you of her experience with them during her auror training? Certainly seemed amusing to most others, as it was told throughout the office for months after its occurance." Is he joking? Is he not? Perhaps Shelley's response will give an indication.

"Yes, well, someone kept moving the blasted things around. They were everywhere. Behind every door I opened - a bloody dummy." Whether or not the tale is actually true - Shelley deadpans it without missing a beat. "Deflammo," she adds, extinguishing - well. Some of the fire.

A dubious look passes from the little redhead between Bannon and Shelley once or twice before Rena decides that she isn't sure who to believe. She knows very well that she's possibly the most naive person on the force… and frankly, everyone else knows it, too. However, that being realized - there is a lesson to focus on.
"So, you mean like this-" Rena says, taking a decided swing at the dummy with her stick, only to have a collosal missfire of aim. Spinning around in a fast circle, the young woman somehow manages to trip over her own feet and topple over. Before landing on her rear end, however, she manages to smack Bannon by accident with the stick. "OOph!"

"It was merely a bit of…tomfoolery. I certainly wasn't the one who placed the one in the elevator for you to find." Could Bannon have done that? It's really difficult to say whether either of them are joking or not. However, Bannon's attention turns back to Rena. Only to find her tripping and falling, with her stick hitting him square on his rear end. He sighs softly, leaning forward and holding out his free hand to help Rena up. "If you insist on hitting me instead of the dummies, I might as well just have you practice on me."

Shelley turns to study Bannon, a frown on her features. "You?" she asks. "I thought it was all Alis." But the whole department had been in on the thing? … that made a lot of sense, actually. And she calls herself a bloody Auror?
At Rena's fumbling, she can't help but let out a snort of amusement. "I'm not sure which of you is in more danger," she remarks.

"Cor, Mister Bannon - I didn't mean to do that!" Rena cries, covering her mouth with her hand as she stares up at the older Auror with absolute horror at what she's done. Blushing furiously to a shade of bright red as Bannon graceously helps her to her feet, the poor young woman can't even begin to try to un-mortify herself just yet.
Unsteadily back on her feet, Rena casts a glance at Shelley through her embarrassment and finally sticks out her tongue at the other woman. Straightening her clothing once more, she snatches her stick back and gets into position - just as before. However, her next attempt at striking the dummy goes just about as well as the first time. At least she merely misses the dummy and stumbles, this time around. No more hitting Bannon by accident. That's an improvement… right?

"I assure you, Prewett, that there were a few. Some of us begrudgingly, but were persuaded by the arguement that it may improve your investigatory skills." Bannon glances at Shelley, while helping Rena up, a somewhat amused glint in his eye.
This time, Bannon is prepared for another instance of possibly being hit by accident, stepping back slightly. "At the moment, I am not worried in the slightest for either of us." He pauses. "No, I have spoke out of turn. Are you doing all right, Faulkner?" He asks with a raised eyebrow. He frowns. "Instead of attempting to hit the dummy, I am going to attempt to have you hit me. He moves back a few more paces. "Stand an arm's length away from me, facing me, please. And then attempt to hit me here, here and here." He motions to his chest, left shoulder, his chest, and his right side. "And stand normally, not in stance…or perhaps stand as if you were about to cast a spell."

"Begrudgingly. I'm sure," Shelley responds at her most dry. If Alis were still around- well. But she wasn't. She turns towards the dummy that was still burning and calls again, "Deflammo," putting out more of the sparks - but not all of them. Still, it seems to be enough for her as she scoops up her things. "Goodluck with Faulkner. Try not to end up in St. Mungos," she remarks as she strides towards the door.

"I… I really don't…" Rena falters in her reply to Bannon's question as to whether she's alright or not. It isn't like her to fail so miserably at anything as she's doing just now. Maybe it's all down to the skirt being too snug and restrictive. It could be that simple.
Gripping the stick more firmly, the young woman somehow manages to look even more uncertain as she lines herself up to do as Bannon asks. Pausing as Shelley takes her leave of them, she rolls her eyes to the heavens, briefly: "You might as well just call me Rena, you know," she calls out after her. "I've swapped surnames too many times over the last year," she continues, lowering her voice to a dry mutter near the end.
Returning her attention to Bannon, the young woman tries her level best, but somehow manages to bobble and fail spectacularly once again. "Mister Bannon, I don't know what's wrong with me," Rena says, shame-faced and stepping back.

"I shall attempt to remain in good health, but I make no promises. There is a portrait near the bed I frequent at St. Mungos that I enjoy having lively discussions with, and it has been much too long since my last lively discussion with it." Bannon responds to Shelley, actually giving her a little grin and a nod of farewell. With his attention, once again, turning to Rena, she shakes his head. "No need to worry, Faulkner. We all struggle when growing and learning. After all, if the caterpillar does not struggle out of the cocoon, it can never become a beautiful butterfly."

Whatever Shelley might have been about to say is completely lost as Bannon makes a butterfly analogy. She simply lets out a groan, and disappears through the door.

A few troubling thoughts seem to drift through Rena's mind - it's easy enough to see that in her face. However, the expression is fleeting, and she soon returns to herself. For her part, the analogy does not cause her to groan as Shelley does; rather, she offers a wan smile and takes a deep breath. Time to try again.
Steadying herself and gathering her wits must have done Rena a world of good, because this time, she actually manages to do a half-decent job of striking true to where Bannon directed her. Naturally, her strike is not heavy or hard by any stretch of the imagination. Baby steps are steps, none the less. "That's a bit better, yea? She asks, hopefully.

The groan gets no attention from Bannon. He's got some instructing to do! He actually smile when there's a notable improvement. "Very good. Very good, Faulkner. Honestly. I knew you could do it. This time, I want you to aim for these locations, in this order…" He motions to his right shoulder, left hip, right hip, and left knee.

Perhaps Shelley's presence was adding to Rena's inability to get things right. Now, she really is beginning to get the hang of things - to a small degree.
Watching Bannon and listening keenly, the redhead brushes one of her curls aside from her forehead and gets back into position. This time, a look of determined confidence begins to colour her features, and she goes in the order of the directions: Right - left - right - left. Again, though striking true, there is no "oomph" behind her blows. She is a little thing, after all. But still, at least she can smile, now.

There's a nod from Bannon. "Good. The same order again, but I'm going to defend against each strike with my stick." He informs Rena, holding up his own weapon. "And remember, take it slowly. These first lessons are not about speed, nor necessarily about accuracy. It is about the motions. Once you've got enough practice with the motions, we can then focus on the speed."

Giving a firm nod of acknowledgment, Rena hones in her attention on Bannon. She does know a thing or two about combat, one way or another. You must watch your opponent's body language and their eyes to judge their possible actions and then react accordingly.
Keeping her jaw tightly shut, Rena actually steps into the strike this time to put a little more force behind her action as she swings out to strike at Bannon's right shoulder.

Bringing up his stick to block Rena's, Bannon watches as she begins to swing. "Growing up, did you ever hear tell of a fighting style by the name of Bartitsu?" Once the sticks meet, he places his at the next meeting point.

CLACK! The stick's meet sharply as Bannon blocks the strike. Coming away from the initial swing, that pesky curl of red hair falls before Rena's forehead once more. She glances up at it briefly, but does not trouble herself with it, this time around.
CLICK! The two sticks meet once more, now at Bannon's left hip. "Afraid not," she answers, simply. "Where I come from, the men just 'ave it out wi' their fists if there's a row." She swings to his right hip next.

"I only ask…" CLACK! "Because I am understand that it was practiced by many throughout London. But perhaps it is not as widespread as I had been informed." Bannon shakes his head sadly. CLACK! The sticks meet once more. "Very good, Faulkner. You know, I once knew a Faulkner…Farah Pandora Sophia Elizabeth Faulkner. I met her as a child. She quite enjoyed saying her full name at any opportunity, explaining each part of her name. This is why I can recall the name, of course. Her parents were friends with mine."

"Wapping ain't much of London, and that's a fact." Rena states, flashing a wry smile through the exertion. The waterfront - it is a world completely belonging to itself - and the people tend to be just as unique.
Chuckling at the name, Rena remarks: "Birdie's real name is Charles Keith Faulkner. Nothing nearly so long and complicated." Here, she cuts in with another strike of her own, quite unbidden. CLACK! It is blocked again, and she smirks before laying off completely, taking a step back. "He were born in Bucking'amshire. Your people aren't from there, are they?"

Bannon says, "Fair enough, I suppose." Bannon offers with a bow of the head, in regard to Wapping. Gently resting the stick against his shoulder as they take a little break, his mustache wiggles ever so slightly. "I was born in east Essex, which isn't too far from Buckinghamshire. However, while I was still young, my father received a professorship at Oxford University, where we then moved. Oxfordshire, itself, immediately borders on Buckinghamshire. I cannot recall where my parent's friends, the Faulkners, lived. It very well could have been Buckinghamshire." He frowns, thinking on it, trying to see if he can remember exactly where those Faulkners lived."

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - or so the old saying goes. And so, Rena mimics Bannon's movements exactly by flipping her stick over end and leaning it against her shoulder with a playful grin. Upon hearing Oxford University spoken, her lips form into a feigned: "OOooh."
Grinning, the young woman gives a little shake of her head and says: "My husband is a Cambridge man. But, try not to let it bother you, eh?"

"Cambridge?" A sharp, but rather humoured, 'hmm' emits from Bannon. "I shall attempt to not be perturbed by his subpar university education." While he does purse his lips, he seems rather more amused than bothered. After a moment, he does relax slightly. "In all honesty, I never quite understood the rivalry. They booth seem to be prestigious educational institutes. However, perhaps this is due to the fact that I, myself, never personally attended either."

"I'm sure I couldn't say, sir," Rena answers, giving a light shrug of her shoulders. "Neither of us ever 'ad what you'd call much of a conventional education. I 'ad what the government allowed for a poor kid like me before Hogwarts, but that was all. Everything else came from learning about life, face to face, as you might say."
Pausing, the young woman suddenly seems to remember the time. "Gracious, I should be on my way to my rounds!" She exclaims, hurrying toward her things. However, she seems to remember mid-step that she still has Bannon's stick. Sliding to a stop, she does a quick turn and trots it back to him: "I'm looking forward to more lessons, Mister Bannon - thanks ever so for being patient with me!"

"Quite true. For those from muggle families, we've had a very un-muggle education." Bannon says with a nod of agreement. He shakes his head when she moves to return his stick to him. "Keep it, and work on motions with it. We'll make arrangements to do this again soon. Good evening and good patrolling, Miss Faulkner." He leans forward ever so slightly in a little bow.

"Ta!" Rena answers, brightly. If she were a mere Muggle, carrying the stick with her would be an inconvenience. However, there are some instances in which she finds being a witch to be quite useful.
Returning to her pile of things, she pops open the rather small-ish handbag she always carries on her person and simply drops the stick into it. The head continues to stick up for a moment; but, this is soon repaired by giving the bag a vigorous shake. The last of the stick slips away from view, as if it has been swallowed whole.
Damn the consequences of passing through the Ministry looking like a Muggle. On goes the air warden helmet, and on goes the coat. "Be seeing you, Mister Bannon," Rena smiles and dashes out the door.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License