The dukorīn (Vespian: ) is the traditional martial education and training program that all Vespians undergo, mandatory for all freeborn imperial subjects of Vespia. Beginning at the age of seven and ending around the age of twenty-four, the dukorīn involves learning the martial arts, physical and mental endurance, the use of stealth, and methods of torture and pain tolerance. Hunting, gymnastics, survivalism, and communication are major aspects of the process, with the cultivation of loyalty and discipline brutally enforced throughout the entire education. The word "dukorīn" itself means "to subjugate" and "to mold", both terms typically related to the similar but psychologically destructive method of conditioning slaves to bend to the will of their Vespian masters.
Instituted nearly eight thousand years ago during the age of Aynadiko, the dukorīn was established as a harsh method of training warriors throughout the early Vespian civilization to fight in the endless wars that plagued the banks of the Zhona River. Beginning much earlier in the life of the Vespian individual than in modern times, the martial education the Vespians were forced into throughout their lives, transformed them into remorseless killers that blighted the continent for millennia. It was eventually refined and reorganized during the time of the TBD in the TBD YH, which divided the dukorīn into three levels, each teaching fields that would be honed and mastered over the course of a Vespian's youth and early adulthood. The aim of the new program was to create a disciplined citizenry that would be able to manage their deeply-rooted malevolent and vicious nature.
The dukorīn transformed the first unified Vespian nation into one of the most powerful and feared civilizations in the world, and has continued to do so throughout the ages. Mandatory for all male and female Vespians for the first two levels, and required for females for the third, the dukorīn is still alive and well as of the modern-day. As intended, the concepts of retreat and surrender were violently beaten out of the Vespian youth throughout the program, and much of the love of pain and suffering in others already present in Vespians, truly solidified during the dukorīn. Discipline is strict, and Vespian youth encouraged to fight amongst themselves to establish a chain of dominance and power, while the weak are dropped from the program and the rights they aspire to stripped away from them as punishment.
Unlike the rest of the world, Vespian citizens are not automatically granted legal rights and protections at birth. Rather, all must enter into the dukorīn and master all fields they are taught within the program, and should they survive their education, are then granted the same rights and protections legally imparted upon their fellow imperial subjects. The same rule applies to all Vespians born within the homeland or not, meaning that members of the Vespian diaspora are not considered citizens of Vespia until they complete the dukorīn. As a result, virtually all Vespians in the diaspora have gone through the program, or sent their children to take part in it, so as to secure their place back in Vespia. All Vespians consider it an honor to take part in and complete the dukorīn, and those who have failed are roundly rebuked and stripped of their Vespian names and cast out from Vespian society.
The dukorīn is divided into three stages, each of teach a set of skills that a Vespian must grasp and understand before moving onto the next stage. Some skills are taught more than once, each more advanced than the other, so as to aid a Vespian in better utilizing it later in life. Because of the method and content of the education, many Vespian youth are wounded or killed in the process, leading to a high attrition rate which is deemed "acceptable" by the state and the families of the youth themselves. It is believed by the Vespians that surviving the dukorīn is a divine method of shedding the weak and the incompetent from the population of Vespian faithful, and thus all Vespians who wish to be viewed favorably by their fellow people must endure to the end and survive. The programs are conducted from facilities built in the wilderness, where all of the required training can take place. Such sites have educational facilities, dormitories, hunting grounds, proving grounds, physical training facilities, kitchens and baths, religious centers, and even crematoriums for the students that die during the training. Throughout the program, students are permitted one week per month to be with their families as part of their allowed rest period, though during the third stage of the program, this is reduced to one day a month.
The yonâkörī (meaning "the trial" or "the ordeal") is the first stage of the dukorīn all Vespians must pass through to continue through the rest of the program, and is mandatory for the children of all Vespians regardless of rank or position in life. Considered the introductory stage, the yonâkörī is start of the martial education of the Vespians beginning at the age of seven. All Vespian children in the program are given a physical exam to determine their ability to survive the test prior to their entry. Upon entering into the dukorīn, the youth are assigned to a zhadukor, or a "supreme molder", who will serve as the instructor for his or her group of pupils and supervising their education. From this point on, the first stage of the education of the children begins. Children are taught the martial arts, how to fight and endure pain, and art regularly beaten by the instructors in the program to teach them both discipline, endurance, and hatred for the enemy. Those who cannot defend themselves are beaten mercilessly by their instructors, until they either pass out or escape. Teamwork is expected for the children to attack the instructor at once so as to teach them teamwork in taking down a superior opponent.
Children are given a single "field uniform" once a year, made from a rugged hemp fiber, which is typically a small hip-length dress for girls and a trousers for boys, with just a rope and no other clothes or undergarments. For the first three months of a year, the children are forced into the fields to sleep in the cold and the rain, and expected to work together to stay warm and find shelter. Failure to do so will either result in a beating the next day, or death from exposure or hypothermia. Children are expected to gather resources to stay warm, either by burning plants for fire, or huddling together to stay warm. A single group of four to five kids are given a single blanket which the others must fight over to stay warm during the evening inside of a shelter as a reward. It is hoped that the children will bond together and form a close link that will last into adulthood, from which future combat units capable of increased cooperation and communication will be formed as a long-term benefit.
When not taking part in physical or martial education, the children are required to undergo their routine secular education, which focuses on practical fields, such as mathematics, literature, the sciences, and trades. The children are given a single school uniform during the year, which they must keep clean until they are issued a new set of clothes to wear. The uniforms themselves are somewhat martial in appearance and minimalist in nature to teach uniformity and cleanliness. Of note of Vespian morality and humor is the fact that a for each group of five girls, only one set of undergarments is issued to serve as a status symbol, primarily to ferment jealousy and encourage violence within the group, as well as for the instructors own amusement and to make the sexual advances easier, for themselves and other students easier to carry out. Failure to maintain the uniform is grounds for corporal punishment by the zhaduka. All the children are taught how to hunt their meals for breakfast, teaching them an important survival skill in the wild.
For the rest of the year, all children sleep within the dorms of a dukorīn school, wear they will reside in spartan conditions for the next five years during the first half of the yonâkörī. Beds are stiff and uncomfortable, and there is no heating or air conditioning in the facilities. As with the first three months of the year, only one group receives blankets, which the other children must fight to take for their own groups, or sleep in the cold during the night. Bullying in encouraged by the instructors so as to teach dominance and physical conditioning. A basic, yet healthy meal is provided twice a day, with the focus of the meal to encourage communal behavior in the children. The leanness of the meal also promotes hunger in the students, to make them accustom to hunger and suffering, and keep them well-built should they find ways of acquiring food. All students are required to take part in daily athletic and gymnastic exercises to train their bodies physically and mentally, and failure to lift a specific load of weights for a set period of time at the end of each week is grounds for corporal punishment.
Students are beaten regularly to teach them physical and mental endurance, and to harden them to the physical pain they will experience throughout the rest of the program. The beatings also teach discipline, as most beatings are reserved for failures and infractions, serving as a warning to the others of the consequences of their actions. Often times, entire groups of students are beaten for the misbehavior of a single member, teaching them that an entire team may suffer as the result of a single individual, forcing them to behave for the benefit of all. Sexual grooming and education are also major parts of the program throughout the dukorīn. Because most Vespians are expected to engage in or be a victim of some form of sexual abuse or violence, the program trains pupils in how to perform sexual acts as part of their education and life beyond the program. As aforementioned, clothing is typically sparse and exposing, both to keep the students exposed to the elements forcing them to adapt, as well as make the predatory behavior of their fellow students and instructors easier to carry out. Sexual activities during downtime or the sleep period is fully allowed and encouraged, by instructors between students.
The hâzahun (meaning "honorable path") is the second stage of the dukorīn, and completion is mandatory for all Vespians to attain citizenship rights. Following a graduation from the yonâkörī, all Vespian youth who made it through the first twelve years of the program, move on to the hâzahun. Beginning at the age of eighteen, the hâzahun is a highly intensive period of training that touches upon marksmanship, manhunting, torture techniques and resistance, advanced physical combat and martial arts, basic medical training, equipment maintenance, and endurance training. It is during this period of the program that most Vespians who did not perform well during the yonâkörī are expected to wash out from the dukorīn as a whole. All students are moved out of their old dorms near the main dukorīn facilities for the next group of youth to move in, and to a set of dorms approximately one mile from the site. The students are issued a new set of clothing which is cycled out twice a year, and consists of a more protective set of clothing. Each day begins at five in the morning, and all students required to run a mile to the main facilities where the rest of the day truly begins.
Students are taught a set of skills which they train on throughout the week to improve upon that particular skill. Most Vespians begin with marksmanship during the first three months of the hâzahun, during which time they will handle their first gun. They are expected to learn how to maintain and use the assigned weapon effectively, and must turn in the weapon at the end of the day or face corporal punishment. Murdering a fellow student with the weapon is not tolerated, and the offending student is handed over the instructors and the students to be beaten to death in front of their family. The next period is that of manhunting, which typically involves a slave or a prisoner a group of students is expected to capture alive, and bring back to the site to be tortured. This takes place once a week, during which time the students will be instructed in how to properly interrogate the subject, and how to torture them as painfully as possible without killing them. Students who committed a particularly egregious act, though one not warranting death, if not expelled, may find themselves the subject of torture.
For medical training, students are taught how to revive a subject who endured and survived a torture session, and are expected to ensure they survive the revival attempt. Failure to do so means the entire team involved will be beaten, so as to teach them that all members of the team all have a part to play in saving an individual's life, no matter how small their part may be. The students are not expected to do anything major such as surgery or amputations, and are taught only basic medical information they may use throughout life, such as CPR and caring for wounds and infections. Once a week, students are physically beaten by their instructors to bolster their tolerance to pain. Unlike the regular beatings of the yonâkörī, the students are required to endure the entire beating without crying or making a sound, and any faces of pain are considered grounds for a prolong session. They are expected to hone their own endurance to the pain on a mental level, escaping the entire thing within their minds and making it through the session successfully.
All students take part in advanced physical training, which focuses on wrestling, martial arts, stealth, and hunting. Whereas the yonâkörī taught hunting small game such as rabbits, foxes, and snakes, the hâzahun teaches how to hunt big game such as bears, wolves, and deer, which shall be eaten and the pelts and skins worn as signs of success. All hunting must be carried out with swords, spears, and bows and arrows to reinforce use of familiarity with older weapons. Once a month, a group of condemned slaves and criminals are released into the hunting grounds, and the students permitted to hunt them as a form of entertainment and skill reinforcement. They may do whatever they please to the victim as part their training, and so long as they complete the day by killing their victims, the students are free to commit any act they wish for as long as they please. All students, however, must work as a team within their assigned groups, and failure to capture or kill at least one of the condemned individuals is grounds for corporal punishment.
At the end of the hâzahun, the students are free to claim their status as imperial citizens of Vespia, and gain the rights, privileges, and protections it guarantees, and are also officially recognized as adults under Vespian law and tradition. As part of the graduation ceremony, all of the surviving students are aligned before their families and staff of the program in their region, and are passed as a class by the head of the class. However, for students who failed to graduate, they are apprehended by authorities, and at the choosing of their family, either executed on the spot, enslaved by the state, or released into the hunting grounds of the dukorīn facility to be hunted by the passing members of the program as a celebration for making it through the dukorīn successfully and gaining legally citizenship in Vespia. Failed students who are not killed in hunt are captured and brought back to the main site, and sacrificed before all attending to the Vespian deities as an offering of gratitude for blessing the efforts of the students who survived and graduated from the program. All graduating students later receive their izhovaka, or "death tattoos", which officially marks them as adult citizens of Vespia.
The hunītan (meaning "obligation") is the third and final stage of the dukorīn, and mandatory for Vespians seeking to join the Zhautakar. Beginning at the age of twenty-one, the hunītan takes all skills which a Vespian has been taught throughout the program, and forces them to utilize them throughout the last three years of the dukorīn. Whereas the first stages of the dukorīn were focused on skills all Vespians are required to learn, the hunītan is an explicitly military education that only those seeking to become warriors would pursue. Going through the hunītan is considered an honorable action in Vespian society, but not a requirement for those seeking citizenship, which is granted at the end of the hâzahun. The hunītan focuses on cross-training, advanced physical combat and endurance, mental conditioning, advanced medical training and pain tolerance, resisting interrogation, sleep deprivation, advanced marksmanship, deep-water diving, and sexual humiliation. The latter is meant specifically for the female candidates, given that as the final stage is designed to produce warriors who are always at risk for capture, the female candidates are expected to be ready for the consequences and stark realities of be a prisoner of the enemy.
Whereas the two prior stages of the dukorīn have relatively high graduation rates around 90% of students, the hunītan has a mere 20-30% graduation rate. However, it is different in that there exists no penalty for failure during the hunītan. Rather, the Vespians view those who have failed the hunītan with high regard, as those who attempted to complete the third stage of the program have attempted to do far more than most, and thus there is no shame in failing the hunītan. All those seeking to take part in the third stage of the dukorīn are transferred to a series of specially-built facilities tailor-made for the hunītan itself. These facilities are located primarily in Shevakama and the Izhono Mountains, where the environment is hostile and the wildlife predatory. Regions where survival would be made harsh and dangerous to the individual were purposefully selected to ensure that skill and the ability to reason were harnessed effectively by candidates, and that only the most capable and competent were able to pass the program's final stage. From here, those who passed the examination phase move on to begin training in the four distinct phases of the program.
Those undergoing the hunītan must spend twenty hours a day in the field training, and are allowed only two, though sometimes one, high-calorie meals a day and about four hours a sleep. The first hour of training is spent running to the grounds where the courses will take place, and the last hour is spent running the back to the facilities where the candidates will be resting. Both runs are purposefully designed to go through rough terrain to tire out the candidates, and all members required to remain intact as a group when they make it to the grounds, or fail as a group and have to start over from the beginning. Intensive physical workouts are mandatory, with fifty perfect-form push-ups, sixty sit-ups, and ten chip-ups, all done within a period of two minutes each and every day. Three hours a day are devoted to running in full gear as well, during which time candidates must run in unison to and from a specified location with all of their gear with them. Combat diving is performed in full combat gear in muddy waters, with all candidates required to keep their weapon, infantry equipment, and if training for the air force, their parachute cords, and then swim to the end of the pool with all of their gear intact.
At base, all candidates must undergo "physical hardening", during which time physical abuse takes place with the instructors beating the candidates for a period five minutes per individual. Crying, screaming, or fighting back are grounds for automatic termination from the program. The goal is to force the individual to learn how to cope with and master their fear and pain, as well as endure to the end regardless of the harm inflicted upon them. Advanced martial arts training immediately follows the hardening session, both to teach the candidates how to kill another equally-matched individual unarmed, as well as to force them to fight beyond their physical limits after the physical trauma just endured. By doing this, the aspiring warriors will learn how to fight a stronger opponent on artificially unequal terms due to the beating, pain, and drowsiness, which will allow them to ultimately overpower any enemy when at full strength and energy. Candidates spend a single day every fourth week recuperating from their wounds, though on the following day, they are required to return to the field for training regardless of their recovery progress. On that day of recovery, candidates are permitted time to see their families away from the training grounds.
All candidates are required to fight rabid lions, bears, or wolves during the last week of eat month, or be mauled to death without intervention from the instructors. The purpose of this training is to learn how to out-think an opponent with absolutely no physical, mental, or moral restraints, and focused solely on killing the person on the other side of the field. Throughout the course of the program, points are awarded by instructors who carefully observe the behavior of the warrior candidates, which are used to determine leadership qualities, martial abilities, and mental skills. Low points are not a factor for determining one's possibility of graduating from the program, but their eventual starting rank within the warrior caste. At the end of the program, all individuals who made it to the end graduate as a group, with none of the members being expelled by the instructors. All receive a special warriors tattoo, and hold the lifelong right to bear the arms of a warrior in public. Following the ceremony, all members of the class are transferred into the military or into the reserve forces of their respective households.
All Vespians who go through the dukorīn are taught a number of basic concepts that form the foundation of Vespian civilization, qualities that are sought in all members of the population regardless of their social status or rank within the caste system. Due to the eschatology of the Vespian religion, the primary concepts taught during the dukorīn largely revolve around self-sacrifice, merciless behavior, and physical and mental discipline as life-long obligations to the state. Perhaps the most important of the martial concepts is shevashotazoya—the concept of self-sacrifice up until the point of death—which all Vespians are required to learn as apart of their training. Below is each of the primary concepts taught to a Vespian during their time in the dukorīn by varying level of importance.
Perhaps the most important lesson taught during the dukorīn, and indeed the very reason for which the entire system had been created, was the promotion of personal discipline and self-restraint among the Vespian youth. This concept known as rekuva, or "self-castigation", is among the very first lessons taught to the Vespian children during the first stage of the dukorīn, with the goal of preventing the more animalistic nature of their people from creeping to the surface during their lifetimes. Through the instruction of rekuva, the historic instability that plagued ancient Vespian civilization was managed and averted to a large extent, as the youth that made up the majority of Vespia's population had been properly trained in how to control their violent and often psychotic nature to such an extent, that their first reaction toward a slight was not to maim or kill. Rekuva is by far the most important trait a Vespian can possess aside from their concept of self-sacrifice for their people, and has been pivotal in ensuring the last stability of Vespia as a nation through the thousands of years of its existence. A Vespian without self-discipline is not tolerated within Vespian society, as the Vespians as a whole understand on an intimately personal level why it is such a necessary trait. Individuals who will not accept discipline or counsel are executed on the spot, as they are deemed a trait to Vespian civilization as a whole, showing an ugly side of Vespian psychology that the ancestors of the Vespians worked so hard to avoid. As such, rekuva is the first thing all youth are taught and failing to show progress in this area of the dukorīn is grounds for "termination". As such, thanks to the concept of rekuva, though the Vespians can rightfully be regarded as "savage", they are not "uncivilized".
The concept of Dak'Diyon, or "hardened form", is an ideal every Vespian regardless of their upbringing and social status will pursue. Revolving around a healthy and productive, Vespians as a people actively seek to maintain an athletic physique on par with some of the most fit individuals in the world, pushing themselves to keep up the strength and energy required to fight for their gods and their empire. As all Vespians are ultimately trained to be warriors in an official capacity or a symbolic one, the ideal of Dak'Diyon is something every Vespian strives to fulfill. Gymnastics and athletic sports are common pursuits within Vespia itself, healthy foods and lifestyles are the norm, and ostracization and even violence against those deemed unfit and physically incapable. Dak'Diyon also extends beyond mere physical form, but mental capacity as well, as the old Vespian saying "the cup is fine, but the contents are foul" applies to their outlook on an individual's capacity to function as a member of society. Any Vespians with physical or mental defects are immediately executed as they are deemed an affront to the purity of Zhautan and his human creations. Individuals who cannot function without the long-term, permanent assistance of others with no recuperation in sight, are considered a handicap to the nation's ability to operate at peak efficiency. The mentally retarded, autistic, physical feeble, and inept, are all considered yujakin, or "sinful", and must be removed from society permanently.
During their training, all Vespians are refined physically and mentally in line with the lofty ideals of Dak'Diyon, with all individuals required to maintain a strict physical standard for which they will be tested thoroughly throughout the course of the dukorīn. Likewise, they are encouraged not to allow their minds to be permanently or even temporarily addled by alcohol or narcotics insofar as it depends upon them. Moderation is encouraged in terms of food and drink, and athletic pursuits are held as worthy goals in terms of sport and entertainment. All individuals seeking to become members of the vakoranin are by secular and religious law within Vespia and Vespian communities, required to keep themselves at the peak of Dak'Diyon status. Those who fail within the diaspora are simply stripped of their warrior status, while through back in the homeland are first publicly humiliated for having allowed themselves to fall from grace as a Vespian, and then executed for having failed their gods as a warrior. Vespia does not take lightly the concept of Dak'Diyon, as Zheaniic teachings hold that the Vespians are created, first and foremost, to serve as divinely-guided warriors for Zhautan in the physical realm to cleanse it of impurity. By failing to maintain the physical and mental standards of Dak'Diyon, a Vespian and moreso a member of the vakoranin, have failed their ultimate purpose in life, and committed an act of blasphemy for which there is no forgiveness.
Shevashotazoya, meaning "to achieve tumultuous absolution", is the Vespian concept of dying in a such a manner that the enemy suffers greatly for their defiance. As with the vakoranin, Vespian civilians who are required to complete the martial training and discipline of dukori to qualify for citizenship, have it drilled into them that they must die for their empire to ensure its survival and victory over what they term the "Great Heathenry". However, unlike the more prestigious act of henodizhon, shevashotazoya does not by its very nature alone bring honor and glory to the warrior who dies in the name of their people and gods, nor is it strictly reserved for Vespian warriors themselves. Rather, any Vespian who chooses to die on behalf of Vespia has achieved shevashotazoya. The concept of shevashotazoya lays in the idea of a Vespian from any background laying down their life for their people, and regardless of their prior station in life, achieve "divine absolution" from any sins or shortcomings in their time in the mortal world. Through death in combat or killing a number of the enemy, a Vespian has accomplished their primary purpose in life in cleansing the physical plane of existence of the "unholy blight" that mocks Zhautan and his glorious creation. Depending on the circumstances of one's death in the process of committing an act of shevashotazoya, a Vespian's sacrifice may qualify for the status of henodizhon, should it have been done under extraordinary circumstances, or have brought a major victory to the Vespian people themselves. Even slaves who die for their Vespian masters may find themselves honored with recognition, as by its very nature, committing shevashotazoya is seeking the salvation of the Vespian gods through death, and ultimately, their divine approval for one's sacrifice.
Henodizhon, or "prestigious death", is the Vespian vakoranin concept of dying in such a manner for Vespia that it brings glory to both themselves and their civilization. Dying in battle in the ultimate purpose for all Vespian vakoranin, for which they have trained their entire lives to fulfill in the name of their god Zhautan. Commonplace during times of defeat or overwhelming numbers, Vespian warriors will commit to perform the suicidal act of henodizhon with the intention of bringing as many of the enemy with them as possible before their inevitable loss. For the Vespians, the idea of a Vespian warrior surrendering to the enemy under any circumstances in intolerable, and as such, death for allowing themselves, their people, and their gods to be dishonored by the enemy has been rooted out of the warrior caste of Vespians. Vakoranin who make up Vespia's military forces have had the concept of henodizhon drummed into them since the beginning of their hunitan military training, and are taught that for the benefit of their people, they must die willingly so that Vespia may live. Though a warrior concept, henodizhon is not exclusive to the vakoranin. While every death of a Vespian warrior is automatically considered an act of henodizhon, non-warriors within the Vespian population who die on behalf of Vespia may also qualify for henodizhon status depending on the nature of their death and the results in accomplishes in the process. Through the lesser act of shevashotazoya, a Vespian civilian may die for the glory of Vespia, and in the process render a degree of harm against the enemy that is deemed sufficient enough to have their death praised by their fellow Vespians as on par with the sacrifices of the vakoranin themselves.
List of countries dukorīn is legal
- Vespia – The dukorīn is completely legal in Vespia, where the program originated. Due to the nature of Vespian law, completion of the first two stages of dukorīn is a requirement for any vespoid—native or foreign-born—to obtain entry or citizenship within the country. All other dukorīn programs around the globe are regulated by state officials in Vespia.
- Eastern Reaches – The dukorīn is completely legal in the Eastern Reaches. Unlike the parent program in Vespia, completion of the dukorīn is not required for citizenship, though most citizens do complete the program to obtain the legal status needed to enter other vespoid countries.