Created By: LORd on August 4, 2010
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Secret Art

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Any skill or ability that only a select few know how to/can use, from magic to martial arts to metallurgy techniques. Even the art itself might be unknown to the world at large, but the crux of the trope is that the know-how to use it is limited to a single group or person. Some Secret Arts aren't even particularly jealously guarded and only remain secret through simple obscurity.

Examples are so ubiquitous that I'm having a hard time coming up with straight ones. The Force in Star Wars can only be used by the very few force-sensitive people, but the know-how isn't entirely monopolized by the Jedi Order. Alchemists in Fullmetal Alchemist try to keep their learnings to themselves, but I wouldn't call it a Secret Art by virtue of its sheer ubiquity and how just about anyone can decide to become an alchemist. Ninjutsu from Naruto is similar in this regard. Ryu's fighting style (ansatsuken IIRC) in Street Fighter isn't very plot-relevant I guess, but I think it's the most straightforward example, being a martial art taught by a single master.
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • August 4, 2010
    Fanra
    Sinanju in The Destroyer. Only two people in the world know it.
  • August 4, 2010
    Koveras
    Can be (or encompass) the Dangerous Forbidden Technique.
  • August 5, 2010
    LORd
    Bump? Any other input?
  • August 5, 2010
    TheExegesisFairy
    [[Avatar: The Last Airbender]] bending? Or, if that's not rare enough, Avatar...ing? 'Open your chakras, Aang...'
  • August 5, 2010
    Koveras
    Can be one of the membership benefits of The Order. Also, pretty much the whole point of Prestige Classes in RPGs. Black Magic is often this due to being outlawed.

    • The Templar's anti-magic abilities in Dragon Age are exclusive to them among the Ferelden warriors. Also, Blood Magic.
    • The Fuwa-ryuu sword style, exclusive to the Takamachi family, in Triangle Heart 3.
  • August 5, 2010
    LORd
    Bending might be a similar non-example to the alchemy of Fullmetal Alchemist. I'm not terribly familiar with Avatar The Last Airbender, but I believe that just about anyone could learn bending in the setting, and the knowledge wasn't particularly jealously guarded by the benders?
  • August 5, 2010
    Koveras
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