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Setting: City similar to the City of London. Oppressive government. People live in fear and merely trudge on in their dull lives.

My characters: Part of a cell of a large national resistance group. They live in a small flat in an apartment on a main street. (I don't really know how to describe it, but think of the apartment where Banner lands on Earth in Infinity War)

My prodigy: She's the leader of this particular cell, and has extraordinary telekinetic abilities.

My protégé: He's of a similar age, and also has the same potential as the prodigy. However, he was badly injured recently, and after waking from his coma, forgot anything which happened before his battle. He was recruited by the resistance cell when he 'discovered' his telekinetic abilities.

Before the protégé was attacked, he used to be of a similar power level to the prodigy (he'd been trained by an organisation seemingly sympathetic to the government). But, although he has all of that power, he can't remember how to use it, so will need training by the prodigy to relearn how to use his ability.

My problem: When he'd been trained before, he'd been trained for years in an academy/dojo by other people with his ability who were professionals. He had had access to high-tech equipment and lots of space and room due to the size of the academy (which was expensive, but paid for by the aforementioned organisation). However, now he's in a relatively small place shared by around ten other people as well as the prodigy, who's never taught anyone how to use their powers. So, how could my magical prodigy train my protégé?

The most similar situation I could think of is Neo being trained by Morpheus in the Matrix, but he was being trained in a simulation (think of the scene where he jumped between buildings), so there were next to no restrictions upon them.

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    $\begingroup$ "he was fatally injured recently, and after waking from his coma". You don't wake up from fatal comas, because you're dead. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 26 '18 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ Also, how much "high-tech equipment and lots of space and room" do you need to teach someone to move a teacup across the table? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 26 '18 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn Ah i misused fatally, I meant that he'd been badly injured and went into a coma as a result (but woke up later on in a hospital), and then healed and then met this resistance group $\endgroup$ – Adi219 Aug 26 '18 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn A lot less than when you want to move a truck across a road :) Also, I'm also asking for what sort of techniques my prodigy could use to teach my person? (as in famous books, mental techniques like clearing your head, and repeating exercises to build endurance) $\endgroup$ – Adi219 Aug 26 '18 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ You're asking us how to teach telekinesis. Since know one knows how to teach TK, all we can give is generic advice, or fictional speculation. That teeters near Vote To Close "Primarily Opinion Based". $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 26 '18 at 14:16
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The answer is, put quite bluntly:

With a lot of trial and error.

Luckily your protégé was already trained before, and his mentor can leverage on that. Even if his memory is completely erased, there's a good chance that he will remember through training - ergo, he could regain much of the basics without passing through years of courses again. I'm assuming here that at least some of the training received somewhat "lingers" into the protégé, as muscular (or maybe neuronal) memory, even if out of reach for his conscient mind.

After all, your protégé may have lost memories of the training, but not the training itself (different things are stored in different parts of the brain, so the area responsible for this character's abilities may as well be untouched after the coma).

The real issue here is that your mentor doesn't know how to train him: she will have to try out various things to make his powers emerge back. From simple "lift the ball" exercise to subjecting him to stress - and maybe to her own telekinetic power, in order to shock him into reaction.

The small space won't do if not for the simplest exercises (since the telekinetic abilities of the protégé could backfire and injure some of the other occupants of the flat), so maybe they would have to risk training outside or find a new "gym" suited space.

A good strategy could be trying to spy how does the organization/the government did it. You don't have to steal their training machines (even if you may as well try): the core target would be understanding how they work. Once got hold of the principles, your mentor could begin applying them with more homemade, cheaper resources.

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Make the poor training conditions part of the story (See Rocky IV)

First off, if you haven't watched the Rocky IV training montage, you are wrong.

Here it is. Go watch it, then come back.

Ok, so what do you see there? Ivan Drago trains with the most modern of Soviet medicine, surely-accurate punch strength machines, and totally-not-steroids injections. Rocky climbed tall mountains in the snow, and picked up logs and did various rustic manly things while growing a beard.

That whole scene existed to push Rocky as the underdog, so that his inevitable victory in the ring seemed more unexpected and legitimate.

In as much as you are also making a story, why not make it a plot point that the protege had to train under less than optimal circumstances? Sure, the best telekinetic mages all train at academies, but this time, the protege was forced to train in basements, and outside the city limits and night and whatever other disadvantaged conditions. But at the end, he still develops the power needed to beat the bad guy and save the world/get the girl/whatever the plot point is.

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  • $\begingroup$ "If you haven't watched the Rocky IV training montage, you are wrong." Love it. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Aug 27 '18 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ Don't worry, I've seen the series! Loved them :) Thanks, this answer makes sense. $\endgroup$ – Adi219 Aug 27 '18 at 11:48
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He does not remember for a reason. He has psychogenic amnesia.

Psychogenic amnesia, also known as functional amnesia or dissociative amnesia, is a disorder characterized by abnormal memory functioning in the absence of structural brain damage or a known neurobiological cause. It results from the effects of severe stress or psychological trauma on the brain, rather than from any physical or physiological cause. It is often considered to be equivalent to the clinical condition known as repressed memory syndrome... Situation-specific amnesia is a type of psychogenic amnesia that occurs as a result of a severely stressful event, as part of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma, which manifests itself in constant re-experiencing of the original trauma through flashbacks or nightmares and avoidance of any stimuli associated with the trauma...

It is most commonly associated with traumatic events or violent experiences involving emotional shock, such as being mugged or raped or involved in car crash. Those at increased risk include those sexually or physically abused during childhood, those who have experienced domestic violence, natural disasters, terrorist acts, etc, soldiers who have experienced combat, and essentially anyone who has experienced any sufficiently severe psychological stress, internal conflict or intolerable life situation.

The treatment of PTSD is beyond the scope of this answer, but that is what must happen for your protege. His lack of memory is a reaction to the events that hurt him, and a denial of his own abilities which led to those events. Teaching him to use those abilities anew will run into the same subconscious roadblock (which would make for fine movie material). Your protege must have a coach / therapist to help him address and resolve the underlying traumatic experiences.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! But, regarding his amnesia, I'd planned it as a result of a severe concussion as well as extensive injuries to his head. I was planning on him slowly remembering things as the book progressed (over a span of a few weeks) and that certain techniques or names or words would trigger some of his memories to come back. $\endgroup$ – Adi219 Aug 26 '18 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ You could have it be purely physiological - just brain damage. Or you can start by having him think it is that (he really was damaged) but realize over the course of the book that the real reasons for his lack of power have more to do with his internal conflicts than they do with his physical damage. It opens the door to more story: your prodigy starts by thinking she will teach what it is to wield power, but winds up teaching what it is to be a human who can wield power. Battling superhumans give energy to a tale, but real stories deal with the humanity of your characters. $\endgroup$ – Willk Aug 26 '18 at 19:56
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As already mentioned a simple act of trial and error, combined with how memory loss can occur.

Most people who suffer from memory loss often do not lose their ability to speak, read, write, walk, do the job they used to do, drive etc. When they do lose a particular skill they often are able to re-learn it, although the length of time taken can differ based on how much brain damage there was and how it was spreas through the brain.

Your protege can simply have forgotten most of his past and training, but it's still there just like his ability to talk and walk, he just might need to remember or re-learn parts of it. This makes it easier to learn all those skills again.

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You may already have your answer in the character's past amnesia alone.

People who suffer amnesia will have muscle memory to remember how to do physical things, but they won't remember other things surrounding that.

If a person has to do a ritual, say words, or maintain some sort of non-physical situation to use their powers (say, a certain kind of aura or energy or outlook), they wouldn't remember those things or how to do them.

Generally telekenetic powers aren't associated with being locked behind any other barrier, but if there are non-muscle barriers, those can be utilized as a wall that your protagonist must learn to re-climb. Some other ideas in this realm are not having the strength/capacity to wield those powers, or even to control them.

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If your prodigy is truly a prodigy, have them recreate the neural pathways which resulted after the learning process through the academy.

Maybe a plot line could be that this could cause the protege to forget other things (reassembling the existing pathways vs materializing new ones which would be more science-y). This could take the form of teaching the protege something much easier to learn then 're-purposing' or actively reforming those pathways in to the telekinesis gift.

A catch can be that this can only be conducted on people who already possess the natural gift and still is only the starting point. Like any learning process, these pathways will need to be strengthened (a mental rehabilitation process) through hard work and normal training. This can just accelerate the initial process.

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