Each maneuver belongs to one of nine martial disciplines. The maneuvers in a discipline are loosely linked by common effects, philosophies, or functions. The second line of a maneuver or stance description provides the name of the relevant discipline, along with its type.
Just like maneuver names, the names of martial disciplines vary widely from one locale to another. In fact, the term discipline is not universally used. Disciplines might be known as schools, traditions, philosophies, regimens, teachings, paths, or styles. For example, the Desert Wind discipline might be known in some areas as the Green Naga style or the Wakeful Dreamer philosophy.
Each discipline is tied to a skill that might be used in the execution of some of its maneuvers. In addition, various weapons lend themselves to the philosophy or maneuvers of different disciplines.
The nine disciplines include the following;
Speed and mobility are the hallmarks of the Desert Wind discipline. Desert Wind maneuvers often involve blinding flurries of blows, quick charges, and agile footwork. Some maneuvers from this school, however, draw power from the supernatural essence of the desert and allow an adept practitioner to scour his foes with fire.
The key skill for Desert Wind maneuvers is Tumble. Weapons associated with Desert Wind include the scimitar, light mace, light pick, falchion, and spear.
Faith, piety, and purity of body and mind are the wellsprings of a warrior’s true power. Devoted Spirit maneuvers harness a practitioner’s spiritual strength and her zealous devotion to a cause. This discipline includes energies baneful to a creature opposed to the Devoted Spirit student’s cause, abilities that can keep an adept fighting long after a more mundane warrior would fall to his enemies, and strikes infused with vengeful, fanatical power.
Intimidate is the key skill for Devoted Spirit. Devoted Spirit associated weapons include the falchion, greatclub, longsword, and maul.
True quickness lies in the mind, not the body. A student of the Diamond Mind discipline seeks to hone his perceptions and discipline his thoughts so that he can act in slivers of time so narrow that others cannot even perceive them. A corollary of this speed of thought and action is the concept of the mind as the battleground. An enemy defeated in his mind must inevitably be defeated in the realm of the physical as well.
Concentration is the key skill for Diamond Mind. The rapier, shortspear, bastard sword (katana), and trident are the associated weapons for Diamond Mind.
Absolute mastery of the sword is the goal of the Iron Heart discipline. Through unending practice and study, the Iron Heart adept achieves superhuman skill with her weapons. Iron Heart maneuvers are demonstrations of uncanny martial skill—weaving patterns of steel that dizzy, confuse, and ultimately kill with no recourse.
The key skill for Iron Heart is Balance, since a perfect understanding of motion is essential to maneuvers in this discipline. The bastard sword, dwarven waraxe, longsword, and two-bladed sword are the associated weapons for Iron Heart.
Strength is an illusion. Adherents of the Setting Sun philosophy understand that no warrior can hope to be stronger, quicker, and more skillful than every one of her enemies. Therefore, this discipline includes maneuvers that use an adversary’s power and speed against him. Setting Sun maneuvers include throws and imitative strikes. The highest forms of the Setting Sun require an adept to empty herself of preconception and impulse to become a hollow vessel unhindered by want.
Sense Motive is the key skill for the Setting Sun discipline. The associated weapons for Setting Sun are the short sword, quarterstaff, nunchaku, and unarmed strike.
Never show an adversary what he expects to see. The Shadow Hand discipline emphasizes deception, misdirection, and surprise. The most effective blow is one struck against an enemy who does not even know he is in danger. Because the study of deceit as a philosophy often leads into darker practices, some Shadow Hand maneuvers employ the supernatural cold and darkness of pure shadow.
The key skill for the Shadow Hand discipline is Hide. Shadow Hand associated weapons include the dagger, short sword, sai, siangham, unarmed strike, and spiked chain.
The strength and endurance of the mountains epitomize the Stone Dragon discipline. The methodical and relentless application of force allows a student of this philosophy to defeat any foe. Strikes of superhuman power and manifestations of perfect, idealized force make up the Stone Dragon maneuvers.
Balance is the key skill for the Stone Dragon discipline. The associated weapons for Stone Dragon are greatsword, greataxe, heavy mace, and unarmed strike.
Consciousness is the enemy of instinct. The Tiger Claw discipline teaches that martial superiority can be achieved by discarding the veneer of civilization, along with the higher thoughts that fetter a warrior’s actions. Tiger Claw maneuvers emulate the strikes, leaps, and pounces of animals. When infused with ki power, some Tiger Claw maneuvers also allow a martial adept to take on animalistic characteristics, speed, and bloodlust.
Tiger Claw emphasizes strength and speed, so Jump is the key skill for this discipline. The kukri, kama, claw, handaxe, greataxe, and unarmed strike are the associated weapons for Tiger Claw.
No warrior fights in isolation. Cooperation, teamwork, and leadership can give two warriors the strength of five, and five warriors the strength of twenty. The student of the White Raven masters maneuvers that combine the strengths of two or more allies against a common foe. Shouts and battlecries infused with ki are the signature maneuvers of the White Raven discipline.
Diplomacy is the key skill for White Raven. This discipline’s associated weapons are the longsword, battleaxe, warhammer, greatsword, and halberd.