History of Pokémon Training

This is a piece of fiction, explaining my personal theory of how the system of training might have arisen in the Pokémon world, why Pokémon like to fight, why they let trainers carry them in balls and order them around, and so on. None of this stuff is official canon, but I like to think it's a pretty good theory anyway.

Eons ago, humans mysteriously appeared in the Pokémon world. Nobody knows for sure how they got there; all that is known is that the species cannot possibly have evolved independently both here and there.

But however they may have gotten there, once they were there they were fish out of water. In our animal-inhabited world, humans could thrive on brains alone, even while physically inferior to the animals that liked to hunt them. In this new world, however, the creatures they found were far more dangerous and powerful: they could commonly breathe fire, manipulate winds, spew pressurized water, utilize electricity, or perform other tasks that we of the animal world would consider impossible without designed technology. And even those that couldn't do any of that were frequently endowed with powerful physical weapons, sharp blades or horns that made them just as dangerous. Many of them had thick armor covering their bodies, and even the others could take a terrifying amount of damage before they were taken down, and when wounded they healed far faster than any animal could. The humans were vastly outmatched in everything but their unique cleverness and creativity, and even then, these creatures were intelligent; they could count, communicate complex ideas to one another and foresee the consequences of their actions.

In other words, the humans struggled to survive in this new world, where they seemed so very inferior to both their predators and prey. Eventually the humans befriended some young wild Pokémon in the area, perhaps orphaned Nidoran or Sentret, and they would help by fending off those predators they could handle. In between, these Pokémon would play-fight one another, and the humans noticed that these Pokémon became notably more powerful with each such mock fight, would begin to use new, more advanced techniques, and finally were even sometimes wrapped in a white light and changed into bigger, more powerful forms. The humans began to encourage these mock fights in order to make the Pokémon more capable of defending them, and the Pokémon were eager to comply.

Now, you may stop me and wonder, "Wait, why do the Pokémon like fighting each other so much?" It escapes many that this is in fact evolutionarily inevitable. As we all know, Pokémon grow very significantly stronger in all respects in proportion to their battle experience. This sets them apart from the animals of our world, for whom fighting ability depends mostly on the animal's inherent physical strength and instinct. Given only this fact of the significance of prior battle experience and that a Pokémon's survival and reproduction will often hinge on its fighting ability (obvious for any species that fights for mates or might try to physically fight its predators or prey), natural selection will see to that those Pokémon that on average have the most prior battle experience when they have significant battles will reproduce more successfully, and the Pokémon with the most prior battle experience on average by the time their strength matters are the Pokémon that have had the most mock fights in between. Thus, any genes that encourage Pokémon to initiate and participate in mock fights - in practice, genes that give them a strong competitive drive and desire to become stronger - will automatically become more numerous in the population. This means that given the existence of creatures like Pokémon, they are bound to evolve to be fiercely competitive and desire strength for its own sake, hence the assumption that this applies.

As the humans began to organize mock fights between their Pokémon, they noticed particular techniques that the Pokémon used and named them. They noticed how some of these techniques were more effective in some situations and against some Pokémon than others. They began to occasionally suggest good moves for the Pokémon to use during their fights, and the Pokémon quickly realized that the humans were frequently better at it than they were, both thanks to their quick-thinking strategic minds and the fact they didn't have to simultaneously use their time and energy to actually execute the attacks and dodge the opponent's advances. With the job of on the one hand selecting a good technique and on the other hand employing them almost completely split between human and Pokémon, the Pokémon performed better overall in battles, and this complete split quickly became the norm. The relationship between a Pokémon and its designated human, or "trainer", became more individualized, which each trainer knowing his or her Pokémon's moves expertly and exclusively commanding them when defense was necessary.

Humans who already had Pokémon would go out seeking new Pokémon to bring back to strengthen the Pokémon defenses of their home tribe, letting the ones that they had fight against the wild ones. Some of those wild Pokémon would be impressed by the strength of the human-assisted Pokémon and cautiously choose to join the trainer in the hope of acquiring that kind of power. When trainers had several Pokémon working together, it made for a team stronger than the sum of its parts: one's weaknesses would be made up for by another one's advantages. By this point, the trained Pokémon were more powerful than any of the Pokémon that had preyed on humans or in fact any of the wild Pokémon anywhere near human settlements, and so, to continue to grow stronger, they would instead prefer to continue to pick fights against other humans' Pokémon, who were similar to them in power. The humans enjoyed participating in this, making a sport of it both simply as a game and as training for future defenders of human settlements.

Now that humans frequently had teams of several Pokémon willing to fight to protect them, life had become a great deal easier for the physically inferior humans. It was now safe for individual humans, even children, to travel alone accompanied by trained Pokémon, increasing communication between different human tribes or settlements. The meme of Pokémon training spread rapidly around the world, and trainers with powerful Pokémon would travel to seek out others with similarly powerful teams. The primary inhibiting factor for this system was that the different species of Pokémon were differently suited to long journeys: some were fast but needed a lot of rest in between, others slow but could move for days on end. The trainers tended to be on the slow side as well, and the faster Pokémon could become impatient and restless while waiting for their traveling partners to catch up with them.

It had by this point been known for a while that there existed strange little hard fruits or nuts, Apricorns, which had evolved the ability to react with Pokémon's bodies in a way that transformed them into the form of plasma and trapped them inside of them, slowly digesting their energy into a form that the nut could in time use to grow a new tree. While trying to find out how this happened, humans discovered that by picking and hollowing out the Apricorns, they retained the ability to trap Pokémon and transform them into plasma - a property of particular organs on the inside of the shell - but lost the ability to subsequently digest the Pokémon. Additionally, Pokémon had the ability to restore their original form perfectly from the plasma form if the nut was broken open or the Pokémon was powerful enough to break the shell on its own. With this knowledge combined, the humans realized that if a hollowed-out Apricorn was fitted with hinges, it could suck a Pokémon inside, keep it safe and unharmed, and release it again if the Apricorn was opened. This way, Pokémon could be carried over long distances inside Apricorns and released again upon arrival.

Pokémon were initially suspicious of Apricorns, having learned to keep away from these potentially dangerous fruits, but after being assured they had been made safe and agreeing to try them, they turned out not to be so bad - in plasma form, the Pokémon were in a hazy, dreamlike state with a limited sense of time so that even lengthy journeys could pass in an instant, while they still remained aware enough to be able to pick up sounds from the outside world and concentrate on listening when they deemed necessary. Many of them were also quick to learn to forcibly break free from the Apricorn even without being manually released by the trainer, though as the use of Apricorns spread around the world, Pokémon came to trust them better and even like them, feeling less need to learn or use this ability.

"Pokéballs", as the hollowed-out Apricorns were called, were an instant hit with trainers. The original ballmakers taught the art to others, who settled down in other towns to sell their craft to the trainers there. Likewise, awareness of Apricorns spread out amongst Pokémon, even to wild ones as trainers went out to find new partners and showed them how the Pokéballs worked. Soon it ceased to be necessary to explain them to wild Pokémon after they had chosen to join a trainer, and likewise the awkward negotiations through the language barrier between trainer and new Pokémon shortened bit by bit, eventually becoming little more than the trainer demonstrating the power of their Pokémon through a battle, with the "capture" into a Pokéball becoming merely a ritual end to seal the trainer's victory as it became rarer and rarer and eventually almost unheard of for a wild Pokémon to refuse to join a trainer who had defeated it. Pokémon who sought power would specifically approach and challenge trainers in the hope of encountering one powerful enough to defeat them and thus, by extension, to improve them, while more reserved ones who did not wish for a human trainer would keep out of the path of trainers.

At the same time, the sport of Pokémon training began to develop its rules as we know them today. A trainer could only carry six Pokémon at one time so that they would not overwhelm all opponents through sheer numbers. Certain powerful trainers set up "Gyms", places of training where trainers could challenge the leader of the Gym to receive a certification of their Pokémon's power and the strong guidance of the trainer. Young trainers would travel the world and collect these certifications as a testament to their ability. After gathering all the prestigious certifications available in their region of residence, they would seek out other trainers who had done the same and strive to defeat them in the hope of being recognized as among the strongest trainers in the world. Eventually, as human technology advanced, they began to manufacture synthetic Pokéballs, extracting the active agent from the Apricorns that transformed Pokémon into plasmic form and placing it inside metal spheres capable of such conveniences as returning to a trainer's hand after being thrown and being minimized to an even smaller and more manageable size.

Today, Pokémon training is a universally practiced game, with its terms known and agreed on among humans and Pokémon alike: trainers must release Pokémon that wish to be, Pokémon must keep their attacks nonlethal in trainer battles, trainers must be sure to give their Pokémon adequate care between battles, and so on. Pokémon view it as a convenient way to become stronger and evolve in a much shorter time than if they were working alone; humans view it as a traditional sport and often as an important rite of passage or life lesson, teaching youth to survive in the wilderness, befriend Pokémon and other trainers, handle money responsibly and generally get by in the world, while keeping them relatively safe thanks to the presence of their Pokémon.

Page last modified August 13 2016 at 02:34 UTC