The Senethar are the unarmed martial arts of the Kencyrath.[1][2] They are divided into four disciplines: water-flowing, earth-moving, fire-leaping, and wind-blowing. The Senthar has a sister art, called the Senetha, which also uses water-flowing, earth-moving, fire-leaping, and wind-blowing techniques, but is not a martial art, but rather, a dance. Each discipline in its own stance is a beauty to behold, both strong and graceful. But the true forms of both is when they are simultaneously implemented in one encounter and two opponents engage in a fatally rhythmic and spiritual exchange of blows, counters, and suddenly transitions to dancing that embodies the turbulent flow of power that complements battle.

Individual forms are called kantirs, similar to kata in Japanese martial arts.


The water-flowing discipline is one of smooth movement, meeting and turning aside attacks rather than blocking them,[3] and evading blows.[4][5] May resemble the grace of Tai Chi.

In Bound in Blood, Corvine leads the cadet class in practicing water-flowing kantirs, where Shade does very well.[6] Later in Honor's Paradox, Drie is also shown to be very good at it.


The earth-moving discipline appears to be very Judo-like; it is described frequently as using leverage,[7] and holds,[8][9][10], as well as using an opponent's size and weight against them.[11] Earth-moving attacks are most effectively countered using water-flowing.[12]


The fire-leaping discipline is one of showy aggression[12], involving many kicks and strikes. It appears to resemble striking and kicking martial arts such as Karate or certain styles of Kung-Fu. Fire-leaping attacks may be countered with wind-blowing[12] or water-flowing.[13] The style may also be used in swordplay, in which it is also a fast, aggressive and showy style.[14]


Wind-blowing is the most difficult of the Senethar disciplines.[12] It is a light, weightless style, balanced and soaring.[12] Randiroc is considered the master of this discipline; Sheth Sharp-toung says that even Jame could learn from him.[15] Like water-flowing, this style involves much evasion of the enemy's blows.


  1. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter V: A Length of Rope", III — "Remembering Tirandys had also reminded her of the dignity inherent in the Senethar, that first and most unique of the Kencyrath's unarmed fighting skills."
  2. To Ride a Rathorn, "Glossary" — "Senethar: unarmed combat divided into four disciplines: water-flowing, earth-moving, fire-leaping, and wind- blowing"
  3. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter V: A Length of Rope", III — "She countered with water-flowing which meets and turns aside attacks,"
  4. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter XVIII: Solstice", I
  5. Honor's Paradox, "Chapter III: Pyres and the Pit", II — "Water-flowing was often used to counter fire-leaping as it channeled aside any attack."
  6. Bound in Blood, "Chapter XIII: A Day in the Life"
  7. Seeker's Mask, "Part II: Gothregor", V — "The next moment he was airborne as she used earth-moving leverage to hurl him into the colleague"
  8. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 15: The Killing Ground" — "Harn found himself on the ground, caught in an earth-moving grip that completely immobilized him."
  9. Seeker's Mask, "Part IV: Restormir", VIII — "The blow never fell. Brier's hand was channeled aside in a perfect waterflowing move that ended abruptly in an earth-moving thumb-lock."
  10. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter V: A Length of Rope", III — "finally caught her out with a slick, earth-moving wrist-lock."
  11. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter V: A Length of Rope", III — "She tricked him off-balance and threw him with a crisp earth-moving maneuver that used his own size against him."
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter V: A Length of Rope"
  13. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 8: Interlude with Jewel-Jaws"
  14. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 15: The Killing Ground"
  15. To Ride a Rathorn, "Chapter XVIII: Solstice", I — "How beautifully he moved, barely touching the grass, wind-blowing Senethari at its finest."

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