Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma 1/2 or the Neko-ken. Don't really WANT to own the Neko-Ken to be honest.
The Neko Ken
Thesis and Theorem generated by ShadoeFox Laboratories (Better living, through Better Tactics.)
The Neko-Ken! That most maligned, and feared, of Martial Arts techniques. We've all witnessed the effects such as:
1) The ability to claw through almost any materiel believed to be due to the formation of Ki claws.
2) Heightened senses and reflexes, and
3) The behavioral mannerisms of a cat.
The question is, how and why does it work?
The theories that we, at ShadoeFox Labs, have encountered are varied and we would be remiss not to mention some of the more 'conventional' idioms.
By far, the most popular theory is Demonic or spiritual possession. Generally attributing the Neko-ken to the machinations of a cat demon, or a less malicious spirit or god, the many scholars of the Ranma-verses who support this theory point to the large apparent boosts in energy and the ability to absorb damage as evidence to support their suspicions.
Another popular supposition is that the Neko-ken is intended to produce 'simple' berserkers, as demonstrated by it's users animalistic violence and lack of higher reasoning. The Ki manipulation can be explained by the fact that all students are required to be highly competent martial artists, many of whom have a limited amount of Ki control as it is.
Both of these theories are flawed, however. In the case of possession, the Neko-ken sufferer doesn't do anything more then defend themselves from perceived threats and they usually react well to kindness much like the domestic cat they're behavior resembles, which is quite contrary to most documentation of Demonic intent.
Also, in the case of a Berserker, the victim can not summon the battle madness as the Nordic wild-men of legend could. Also the Neko-Ken victim isn't inherently violent, just extremely defensive.
However both Theories, in spite of the flaws, gave our researchers a couple of starting points and we believe they are both, in some indirect ways, correct! The Neko-Ken, we suspect, was intended to create shock troops, similar to the Nordic Berserks, to fight the Mongols. It proved a failure since only about one percent of the 'students' would ever learn it, and of that only maybe ten percent of THEM would develop the ability to use the technique relatively rationally and at a reduced effectiveness.
However it did have the unexpected benefit of boosting the potential of its victims past their previously existing limits. It took a great fighter and opened the path to legendary skills! This is where its status as an unbeatable technique originally came from. This is because the victim of the training absorbs the spiritual energy (But not, from evidence, the soul) of the cats used in the training.
We will now examine the different steps of the Neko-ken training, and analyze the probably reasons why they exist.
NOTE: ShadoeFox Laboratories is NOT publishing this report in the intention of supporting this dangerous training regime. Any attempting to use our notes to duplicate the technique is responsible for their own actions! Also, if you consider trying this, you should seek a mental health professional immediately, and have your HEAD EXAMINED!
Step One: Pit of starving cats.
This, admittedly sick, stage has two purposes. The first, physical reason is to guarantee the cats will attack the trainee. The second reason is because it produces strong emotions in the cats, fear and depression, which in turn produces powerful 'Battle Aura' which is important later in the training.
Step Two: Wrap the 'student' in fish products, tied up.
First, and possibly most importantly, this causes the cats to attack a much larger, non-prey animal. It also produces fear in the trainee, though at this stage usually not much since it is presumed that the student trusts their teacher.
Step Three(a): Toss them into the pit!
This has the physical effect of forcing the student to his limits in the attempt to defend him. It also has the effect of generating fear and desperation, creating a battle aura similar to the cats.
The student rarely, if ever, masters the Neko-ken the first try. This is partially because the victim hasn't had his ego subsumed by the fear, but ALSO, and more importantly, the victims aura hasn't 'come in tune' with the cats yet.
When it does, a Ki draining effect occurs, where the student absorbs his feline tormentors' spiritual energy even as he destroys their physical bodies which in turn releases even MORE Ki energy.
It is the Ki absorption, and its side effects that give the technique its use. The absorption of the cat Ki, for some reason, increases the potential of the student. It is interesting that some information suggests that the lower the starting potential of the student the more pronounced the effective boost so subject NK-1a(Active) Ranma Saotome likely gained a mere five to ten percent boost while subject (Voluntary) NK-2a(Active) Michael Brown increased by fifty percent!
As for how some legendary warriors learn to use it consciously it is our suspicion that they were somehow restrained and had fully fed, hand reared and friendly cats introduced to them shortly after the training was completed. If this is true a slow build desensitization therapy may be effective, possibly starting with toy cats.
We at ShadoeFox Laboratories thank you for reading this analysis and hope for continued support in our attempts to synthesize 'Kasumi Happiness Pheromones' and 'Automated Ki-mallets (By craftsman)'. Thank you.
Note: Donations for Michael Browns continued mental health care is currently being accepted. His family and we thank you for your continued support of the Sciences.
AN: I HAD to write this as humor, okay! The Neko-ken is so insane that I couldn't do it any other way without shaking my head and muttering darkly. Do you know how much that scares people?