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Tensai was a word which meant "prodigy," and that was what these students were. The Isawa Tensai were a very specialized brand of shugenja exclusive to the Phoenix Clan. Whereas most shugenja schools focused on one element especially, the Tensai focused on one element exclusively. An experienced Tensai would be among Rokugan's most powerful shugenja within his element of expertise, but incredibly weak in the other elements.
Apprenticeship of the Tensai Edit
All Tensai began their training as Isawa Shugenja. When as children the students of the school were deemed ready to advance beyond their basic training and sat under the tutelage of a specific sensei, a handful were apprenticed to the Elemental Masters themselves. The Masters generally had up to five apprentices reporting directly to them.
These apprentices were also sensei in their own right, with up to five younger children each who were trained and taught by the apprentices instead of the Master. The Masters used this system to teach their charges spellcraft as well as responsibilty and leadership, which was a prerequisite for even considering the placement of a shugenja upon the Council of Five.
The students under the care of the Elemental Masters, whether directly or through their apprentices, were the tensai. Up to fifty new students were chosen for training as tensai each year, though more than half of these proved unsuitable and were given to lesser Masters after their first year for the "personalized" training of the Isawa Shugenja.
Training of the Tensai Edit
The tensai schools were among the most competitive in Rokugan. All of the students knew that upon the end of their current Master's tenure on the Council of Five, they might be called to fill the position. Competition and rivalry run rampant throughout the schools, and the most extreme dedication was required of all students. Fortunately for new students, the more experienced tensai who taught them were also aware that their worth as leaders as well as their ability as shugenja was being taken into account; in this way, the younger students could still expect a good education.
The end result was that even if a tensai did not become the next Master of his element, he would be one of the most powerful and knowledgable shugenja in the empire. No graduate of the tensai schools would ever be in want of position or influence, as the academies of all the clans were eager for tensai to teach their shugenja and daimyo across the land welcome their assistance as advisors. Gempukku as a tensai was a badge of honor recognized across the empire.
Students of the Tensai school were referred to as "Initiates", until they mastered his art to such a degree that they gained the attention and recognition of the Elemental Masters, and were referred to as "Acolytes". 
Schools of Wizardry Edit
Each of the Elemental Masters had a physical school, the Schools of Wizardry, at which they trained their students. These schools were built to reflect the nature of the elements in which the Tensai were training. The School of Air was in Mori Isawa, where the breeze was constantly blowing through the trees. The School of Earth was a series of caverns deep underneath Kyuden Isawa. The School of Fire was a stone building on the slopes of Sleeping Thunder Mountain. The School of Water was located at Firebird Falls, near Reihaido Uikku.
Each of the schools could trace their building to a specific Master in the annals of history. The School of Earth, in particular, had evidence it was founded by Isawa Ouno, the brother of Isawa himself and the first Master of Earth.
Unlike the other four elements, there was no School of Void. Legend said that there was once such a place, but it was destroyed by a maddened Master of Void sometime in the early or mid-ninth century. Ever since, the Masters of Void had taken few students as Ishi, because they only took those whom they could train during their journeys. Because of this, the Ishiken were often said to "follow the Path of the Wanderer."
Known Techniques Edit
See also Edit
- Way of the Phoenix Pages 54-55.