Alnherr had attracted a large number of students in the Immortal Berserker Sect. Some were just there out of curiosity, but they dropped out quickly enough. Some of the things they had to do seemed nonsensical… and some of them were more strenuous on the body than standard Immortal Berserker training- and that involved fighting people so that they had injuries to recover from to toughen their bodies. Barrett understood it all had a point. Alnherr might have been a strange old man who was surprisingly fanatical about Pure Body Tempering… but he wasn’t crazy. Or rather, it was shown that his training methods could work. He might actually have been crazy.
Barrett sweated with exertion. One finger push ups were certainly something. There was a lot of force on a single point, which made it quite uncomfortable but possible. Then there were vertical one-finger pushups- with the whole body placed above For a normal person, their finger would snap with the weight of their whole body on it. However, at a certain level of bodily toughness it was possible. At that point, it was just a fancy one-armed pushup that involved a lot more balance. Barrett had no problem with either of those things.
The hard part was doing it all with the finger. Even at his level of strength, it was all Barrett could do to have his finger hold the weight in its optimal position, curved to distribute the weight in a stable way. His arm strength was easily sufficient to push himself up and down, and his balance was fine. However, when he was asked to bend and extend his finger alone? That was something else entirely. Fingers weren’t meant to support that much weight, especially not in that manner. Then again, that was why it was a Pure Body Tempering technique. With that, it was still difficult… but not impossibly so. Transferring strength from the rest of his body to his finger made it possible, if awkward. The trick was not taking too much, or his arm or back or legs would collapse and topple him over.
Immortal Berserkers were a stubborn bunch, but some of them just had trouble getting the feeling required for Pure Body Tempering. Instead of giving up, it could be said they returned to more efficient uses of their time. None of them quit without at least mangling a finger or two, so it wasn’t like they didn’t put in the effort.
Among those remaining was Katja. The large young woman made at least twice as many painful mistakes as anyone else, but her first tier immortal body gave her the healing speed of an Immortal Berserker at the fifth tier of training. She would snap her finger or whatever was wrong back in place… or if it was really bad, she would go have a medic help knit things together properly. Then she would be back at it… and she seemed to learn quickly because of her drive.
Then there was Herman. He was the smaller fellow who had been sparring with Katja when Barrett first saw them. Herman wasn’t tiny, but when placed around a large number of warrior types, only slightly above average human height was small. Warrior type training catered to big people. It also catered to people with healthy bodies, but Herman didn’t let that stop him. Not that he was sickly or anything, but he was missing an arm. That sort of thing would cause many people to give up the career of a cultivator- and even for magicians losing an arm was a big deal. Herman didn’t give up… but the loss of his arm did make him grumpy.
Barrett was actually speculating on that last part. It was entirely possible that Barrett himself was the one that made Herman grumpy. There was the whole thing about having a true immortal body… and while he didn’t publicise it, the information was available for those who looked. Barrett couldn’t have been sure if he would have continued training as an Immortal Berserker if he hadn’t had a true Immortal Body. When he lost his arm… everything was difficult and seemed hopeless. Herman hadn’t ever said anything to Barrett, but if he was annoyed at him for getting lucky at birth… Barrett couldn’t blame him.
Along with Pure Body Tempering, Barrett trained unarmed combat with Alnherr. Or rather, along with general Pure Body Tempering stuff. Alnherr’s method of unarmed combat and Pure Body Tempering techniques were intrinsically linked. While most warriors worked hard to put as much of their mass and power as possible behind a punch or kick… Pure Body Tempering allowed that to actually happen.
That wasn’t the full extent of it, however. Hitting harder was one thing, but unarmed combat also involved grappling. That was good, because Barrett didn’t want to spend all his time punching metal armor… even with gauntlets on his own hands. Catching hold of people could be difficult, but Alnherr- and with practice those he taught- could move in ways that were unexpected or impossible. For example, if Barrett grabbed out with his right hand and his opponent dodged to the right he would have swing his whole arm to catch them… but with the right technique he could bend his elbow the opposite way without actually breaking it. That involved stretching tendons and popping bones out of sockets. Was it actually more practical than moving the whole arm? Not usually. However, it was good practice for other things, such as escaping a hold. There were certain holds that could not be broken out of without many times as much strength as the holder, or breaking or dislocating something. However, the right techniques allowed twisting the arm or leg in such a way that those problems could be avoided.
Sometimes a dislocation was still necessary, and returning a dislocated shoulder to its socket usually came with lingering problems. Even for Immortal Berserkers the problems would usually last for the length of a fight, or even a couple days at lower tiers. However, Alnherr taught Barrett how to ‘safely’ dislocate things, such that once things were back in their proper place there was no damage. Along the way Barrett had many mistakes, including some situations where he damaged tendons and broke bits of bone… both of which would have taken significant time and likely some special medicines to recover from. Fortunately he had an immortal body and would recover… but it hurt like hell in the meantime.
Alnherr didn’t just lighten up on the training just because of something like that, either. “Don’t you have two shoulders? You’ll be fine!” When Barrett broke his spine he thought he might actually get some rest… but that simply wasn’t the case. “Don’t you have thirty three vertebrae? Don’t worry about one or two! You have all of the rest of them to work with still!”