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->''"Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you kingdoms and armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger ..."''
-->-- ''Literature/TacticsOfMistake'' by Creator/GordonRDickson

For this guy, fighting ability is secondary. They're MissionControl, TheFace, TheTeamBenefactor, anything except outright combat, and so they are assumed to be a NonActionGuy. Then in a special situation, they show how physically mighty they are. After displaying this prowess in combat, goes back to being the unassuming Scholar. Both characters and audiences might forget he's stronger than the LightningBruiser because their "major" is in something else.

TheSmartGuy who Minored in Ass-Kicking is a character who, like targets of TheWorfEffect, is among the strongest in the cast. The difference is that not only do they rarely get beat up, most anyone challenging them [[CurbStompBattle gets their ass handed to them.]]

Despite this, they probably aren't an InvincibleHero because they prefer to use their [[GeniusBruiser brains and/or diplomacy]] to solve a problem, and will gladly let the rest of the cast flex their own muscles, only intervening directly when the situation is dire. It's this emphasis on non-combat that saves them from TheWorfBarrage, by keeping their combat skills as a [[HiddenDepths hidden depth]] they pull out maybe every fourth episode.

Despite their lifesaving combat skills, they may pose a danger to their friends when they aren't fully in control of themselves. When {{mind control}}led they are unbeatable because they are [[IAmNotLeftHanded unrestrained]]. If [[BerserkButton angered]] they are [[UnstoppableRage unstoppable]], and all this usually comes wrapped up in a NiceGuy package. BewareTheNiceOnes, indeed.

Compare BadassBookworm (for whom this is not an unusual trait), and the more extreme version GeniusBruiser. Contrast DumbassNoMore. See also MartialPacifist. See also UnderestimatingBadassery if one thinks this guy is all brain and no brawn.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'': Yuuno Scrya ''would'' be one of these, being both a very powerful BarrierWarrior and the chief librarian of the Infinity Library, but ''Nanoha'', [[ImprobablyFemaleCast being the kind of series it is]], doesn't give him too many opportunities to establish his badass credentials. To make it clear, he is capable of fighting on equal terms with the Wolkenritter through using Barrier Magic in unconventional ways. Despite being the only mage in the series to lack any form of [[ArtificialIntelligence artificially intelligent]] [[AmplifierArtifact Device]] to help him.
* ''LightNovel/TrinityBlood'': A bit of a throwaway scene in the Anime of has an elderly GadgeteerGenius and resident [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guy]] in the church anti vamp squad beset by a dozen zombie vampire assassins who are like vampires, but much more powerful. We cut to other adventurers, and when we cut back they're all dead on the floor while he calmly lights a pipe.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has a number of these but Albireo and Negi are probably the foremost examples.
* Son Gohan! ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' being the show that it is, he doesn't get much of a chance to show off his intelligence, so he tends to hide more behind his pacifism.
** {{Filler}}s of the {{Anime}} and the {{The Movie}}s do show his smart side, being able to read complex entomology book ''and'' building a sand-surfer/Nice Boat (with complex equations to calculate its dimensions and proportions) ''before turning 5''. Seriously, if he doesn't define ChildProdigy, who knows what does!
** In ''VideoGame/DragonBallOnline'', its revealed that Gohan actually wrote and published a book explaining in great detail the principals of ''ki.'' This alongside Trunks and Goten's martial art school fending off an invasion was what led to the '''massive''' rise in ki-using martial artists in the setting of the game.
* ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'''s [[NobleDemon Luck Gandor]], as the social face and "strategy" of the [[TheMafia Gandor family]], prefers talking his way through situations, and reads poetry in his spare time. Having a philosophical bent doesn't mean that he's not capable of some [[DisproportionateRetribution remarkable]] [[AndThisIsFor feats of]] [[GrievousHarmWithABody badassery]] when [[TranquilFury properly]] [[PapaWolf motivated]], however.
* Yuki Nagato from ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' is a perfect example of this. She appears to be nothing more than a waifish bookworm who rarely moves or says a word, but is capable of distorting reality, moving at impossible (for a human) speeds, and surviving otherwise fatal wounds without even wincing. When the fight's done, she just sits back down and continues reading silently.
* Yoko, the poster girl for FanService in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', decides to retire halfway through the TimeSkip to become a teacher. In one memorable scene, she silences the classroom by throwing a piece of chalk so hard across the room, it embeds itself into the wall. [[ExcuseMeWhileIMultitask Without taking her eyes off of her book]]. When the students get attacked by a pair of rogue Beastmen in mechs, we quickly find out she hasn't lost her snipin' skillz.
--> '''Yoko''': Class dismissed. You fail! *[[StuffBlowingUp Mechs go BOOM]]*
* From ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', [[spoiler:Aizen Sosuke. Too bad he's evil]].
** Also, Urahara Kisuke. He very rarely fights - but if he does, you are dead. The only one able to defeat him was [[spoiler:Aizen]], and that doesn't count because it was part of Urahara's plan.
** Still further, Retsu Unohana. She inverts this in a sense because in-universe [[spoiler: she was the most vicious killer in all of Soul Society as the First Kenpachi before she joined the Gotei 13, so really she was a badass who minored in medicine, eventually taking up the latter full time]]. In the story as told, however, she's a very matronly figure who everyone in Soul Society is kind of scared of for (until the spoilered part of this entry) unexplained reasons.
* Isumi from ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'', a quiet YamatoNadeshiko CloudCuckooLander who can banish demon hoards without even breaking step.
* Yukio from ''Manga/BlueExorcist''. His HotBlooded older [[HalfIdenticalTwins twin]] brother Rin always protected him as a child; now that they're in [[WizardingSchool exorcist academy]] Rin learns just how badass his brother is: not only is he the smartest freshman at school but also ''Rin's [[BadAssBookworm professor]]'' and a highly skilled exorcist who could see demons since childhood (and always knew [[TheAntiChrist something was up with his brother]]) wielding anti-demon guns and (at least for a moment) coldly determined to send his brother back to his [[{{Satan}} biological father]] for the death of their beloved foster father.
* Akisame of ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'', who spends his free time dabbling in sculpture, music, calligraphy, and just about every kind of artistic expression imaginable. It's implied that he's quite good at most of it too.
** During the arc where Ryozanpaku invades the American army base on Okinawa, [[spoiler:Akisame takes this trope learns how to hack a complex computer system ''on the spot'' by first asking for help from and then just copying Niijima]]. It's seriously scary how competent that man is.
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', Maka spends most of her time reading books and studying for exams. However if you call her on it, she and Soul will beat the ever-loving crap out of you (kinda subverted in that they do get beat up a bit until they TookALevelInBadass). Also, Kidd counts - obsessed with perfection and generally thinks his way out of situations... however, he's a freaking {{Shinigami}}!
* A semi-example for Hattori Heiji in ''Manga/DetectiveConan'': He is more hotheaded than the other high school detectives (a fact remarked upon in the series), but he always keeps using his brains, confronting armed killers with his logical conclusions rather than just knocking them out and calling the police. Attack him or his friends, though, and you'll find out just who can beat the entire police kendo club of Oosaka. Or stop a sword with a ''cell phone''.
* ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'': Tsuchimikado Motoharu is primarily a wisecracking spy and omnyouji, but has the combat skills to beat the protagonist in hand-to-hand combat.[[note]]The protagonist is only special because of his hand's ability to cancel supernatural powers, he is otherwise completely normal and as well as completely untrained in combat.[[/note]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Compared to the rest of the ''Franchise/{{Justice League| of America}}'' Franchise/{{Batman}} is a "weak" BadassNormal. Most of the time he's the one who puts together the available information to figure out who the bad guys are, what their plan is, and how best to foil it... but when it comes time to fight, he's one of (if not ''the'') most dangerous leaguers to face.
** The White Martians found this out the hard way, even AFTER Franchise/{{Superman}} clued them in:
--->'''Protex:''' He's only one man!
--->'''Superman:''' The most dangerous man on Earth...
*** Each member of the League took out a White Martian. Batman beat FOUR!
** Hell, the entire Bat family is made of this. Even in a wheelchair, [[HandicappedBadass Oracle is still more than capable of defending herself]]!
** And Alfred, who has an ExpansionPackPast [[RetiredBadass involving careers in the British army and Her Majesty's secret service, among other things]].
* ComicBook/LoisLane has a lot of this going on. Sure, she's nowhere near the level of Batman or other BadassNormal superheroes, but the sight of [[DamselOutOfDistress a skinny woman usually seen clutching a reporter's notepad busting herself out of her undercover position as the bride at a mobster's wedding with a machine gun she hid in the wedding cake]] isn't something that you really expect.
* Comicbook/{{Loki}} is often considered a GlassCannon or SquishyWizard by Asgardian standards (though he has SuperStrength and amazing endurance in comparison to mortals). However, he has physically (or mostly physically) outfought several opponents, most recently the Dsir during the ComicBook/{{Siege}} event. He also changes weapons more than most ''Thor'' characters, his main ones being a whip, sword, or halberd.
* ComicBook/DoctorStrange is a KungFuWizard who seldom lets on that he can defend himself physically. This allows him to keep the element of surprise whenever an enemy cuts off his access to magic and assumes Strange will then be helpless.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Rafiki from ''Disney/TheLionKing''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Mr. Miyagi from ''Film/TheKarateKid'' fits this trope along with MartialPacifist. He beat John Kreese without even really fighting him; he let him beat himself up.
* Yoda from ''Franchise/StarWars'', especially in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones''.
* Franchise/IndianaJones: It may not seem like this trope because we only ever see the Badass parts of his life, but he has "professor" as his day job. From the perspective of his students (as well as others who meet him as the "professor" first), this trope is played straight:
-->'''Henry Jones Sr.:''' You call ''this'' archaeology?!\\\
'''"Mutt" Williams:''' You're a... a ''teacher''?!
* Iguchi Seibei in ''Film/TheTwilightSamurai''. By the Bakumatsu era, most samurai were [[SalaryMan bureaucrats]], so fighting skill was not a foregone conclusion. Seibei, in particular, [[ActualPacifist prefers his drama-free existence]], and plans to become a farmer when the Shogunate is overturned. However,after he trounces his friend's abusive, alcoholic ex-husband in a duel armed with only a [[WoodenKatanasAreEvenBetter bokuto]], the new daimyo wants Seibei's skill in settling a succession dispute.
* Dale Arden, from ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}''.
--> "Hey, I'm a UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity girl! I took karate at the Y!" (as she beats up a couple of Ming's mooks.)
* Minor character [[WomanInWhite Shinobu Kojo]], from ''[[Film/TheStreetfighter Sister Streetfighter]]'', may be a ballerina, but she's quick to aggressively defend those under her protection from any dangerous person or group of people, as seen when she and Tina Long, who had earlier shown up on a tip from the former's boyfriend, Sonny Hibachi, double-team on a group of Kaki's {{Mooks}}.
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', during Zod's attempted coup, Jor-El manages to kick the crap out of Zod in a fistfight. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, while Jor-El's distracted by the launch of Clark's ship, Zod pulls a knife and stabs him.]]
* Tej, in ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'' movies is TheSmartGuy for Dom's team, noticeably smaller than the other men, and never attempts to fight any of the villains directly (though he does participate in car chases). Never the less, when a security guard corners him in the seventh film, Tej casually '''annihilates''' the guy in a matter of seconds with a series of blows so fast, the guard is unconscious before he hits the ground.

* Literature/SherlockHolmes solves mysteries with his vast intellect, but he is occasionally given the opportunity to showcase his martial arts prowess. His wiry frame also hides incredible strength.
* A number of Creator/TamoraPierce characters.
** [[Literature/CircleOfMagic Tris]]: [[FieryRedhead Redheaded]] [[NerdGlasses glasses-wearing]] crosspatch bordering on genuine {{Jerkass}}, but is a [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold sweet heart]] underneath. Constantly reading, slightly overweight, brilliant, and always picked on. Has weather magic that can literally rip you to bits.
** [[Literature/TortallUniverse Numair]]: Veritable CloudCuckoolander and always lost in some scholarly pursuit. Someone doubted his prowess as a war mage and that someone is now a tree. (As a consequence, somewhere, a random tree is now a somebody.)
* Surgeon/natural philosopher/spy Steven Maturin of Patrick O'Brian's ''Literature/AubreyMaturin'' novels. In the course of 21 books, he never learns larboard from starboard and shows a general disdain for heated combat. But he repeatedly demonstrates he's more than capable of taking care of himself in a duel or assassinating rival spies.
* The science-fiction version of Maturin is Adele Mundy in the Creator/DavidDrake ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' series. She'll always be clumsy on a starship, she's uncomfortable dealing with people rather than computers or books and she'd much prefer collating information to anything, but she's ''extremely'' protective of her TrueCompanions and a remarkably good shot with a pistol.
* The first thing Richard notices about Henry in ''Literature/TheSecretHistory'' is his size and how carefully he carries himself. It turns out he's a softspoken genius and even more terrifying for his mind--in addition to being a stoic killer.
* In ''Literature/TheSagaOfDarrenShan'', Kurda Smahlt is the one character like this in a mountain full of ProudWarriorRaceGuy vampires. He's a [[ActualPacifist pacifist]] and prefers not to fight unless he has to... and a vampire can't refuse a challenge during the Festival of the Undead.
* In Creator/JinYong's ''Literature/LegendOfTheCondorHeroes'', the guy with the most powerful martial arts is not the abbot of Shaolin, not the series' protagonists, not the BigBad... but the guy, completely forgotten to even his fellow monks, who sweeps the floor in the Shaolin library, and has probably read some that even the abbot hasn't heard of.
* ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'': Sazed is a teacher first and foremost dedicated to preserving knowledge, but the same powers that let him store memories of entire books also allow him to store strength, speed and endurance, to be tapped [[LetsGetDangerous whenever he needs them]]. He's also the first character in the series to take on a [[EliteMooks Steel Inquisitor]] and come off at all well. Lampshaded in the third book, where he begins to protest that he's a scholar, not a fighter, for something like the eighty fourth time before realising he's seen more fighting than most actual fighters.
* El Greco of ''Literature/InFuryBorn'':
-->The academics of El Greco warmed up their computers, set up their data searches, and turned to the study of guerrilla warfare, sabotage, and assassination as if preparing to sit their doctoral orals.
* Edmond Dantès from ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo''. The greater part of the story involves him infiltrating the French aristocracy multiple times under different guises, and trapping his enemies in [[ThePlan various plans]]. But he's also a hardened ex-con, seasoned buccaneer, and [[{{Determinator}} hellbent on revenge]].
* Stenwold Maker, hero of Adrian Tchaikovsky's ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt'' series, scholar, artificer, spymaster and War Master of Collegium.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'': Arbat-Elivat-Estoni from ''The Arrival''.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': The staff of Hogwarts.
-->'''[=McGonagall=]''': We teachers are rather good at magic, you know.
* A few examples from the ''Literature/DresdenFiles'':
** Charity Carpenter (the wife of the Fist of God makes his armor and is his sparring partner).
** Mortimer Lindquist (after Harry helps get the former's act back together) who turns out to be able to call on spirits to let him do something like this.
** Molly's tutelage under Lea could be considered this, since combat is one of the disciplines of magic she's least good at.
** Harry himself shows shades of this. Most people expect wizards to be all about magic and therefore useless when things get up close. Fortunately for Harry, his staff comes in pretty handy as a club and he even has training in using it similarly to a bo staff. Though he still prefers magic in a fight, if need be Harry can kick ass physically too. Not to mention the series of increasingly large and powerful revolvers he carries as a matter of course.
* Cursors from ''Literature/CodexAlera''. Yeah, they're couriers, and spies, and occasionally, they're called on to defend themselves, so its one of the things they train in.
* Kahlan Amnell of the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' is somewhere between this and a borderline BadassNormal. Her father taught her everything he knew about fighting, and he was a king who was unequaled in the Midlands at bringing war.
** Warren. Also a BadassBookworm.
** Given [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld how long Nathan spent studying prophecy]], his martial talents could be considered this.
* Doctor Impossible in ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'' wouldn't have survived as a genius supervillain if he couldn't also tear the armor off a wannabe ComicBook/IronMan with his bare hands when the occasion calls for it. It's suggested most people don't even realize how strong he is because his physical abilities are completely overshadowed by people who have superstrength as their main power.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'' Unlike others in the Dragon's Lair mercenary guild, Mia's job is purely clerical but she can still subdue thugs with ease.
* ''Literature/RevancheCycle'': Dante Uccello presents himself as a completely cerebral manipulator, until it comes to a showdown with three bounty hunters -- at which point he demonstrates what he learned from years as a city militia captain.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'': Peeta Mellark is very strong, a wrestler, skilled with a knife, holds his own at the Cornucopia and against Cato and kills Brutus, one of the toughest tributes in the Quarter Quell. All the same he prefers diplomacy to violence and only uses force when his life, or Katniss', is on the line. He does most of his damage through being a MagneticHero and a master of the WhamLine.
* ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'': The ten orders of the Knights Radiant were charged with protecting humanity from the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Voidbringers]]. By the modern era, the common assumption is that all the Knights were frontline fighters, but the truth is that many of the Orders were scholars or healers. However, no matter the Order, every Knight had a [[SoulCuttingBlade Shardblade]], [[PoweredArmor Shardplate]], and the enhanced [[SuperStrength strength]], [[SuperSpeed speed]], [[SuperReflexes perception]], and HealingFactor of Stormlight, making them extremely dangerous when they did choose to fight. This doesn't seem like overkill as otherwise slaughtering everyone in those orders would doubtless have been a first priority.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Despite being a GuileHero who relies primarily on his wits, Tyrion has killed someone with just a shield. Tyrion's definitely taken some night classes since becoming Hand of the King, to the point where he proves a reasonably competent fighter in the Battle of the Blackwater. Bronn witnessed his killing with a shield, figured he'd make good use of a war axe, and offers one to him in recommendation. He does in the battle.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Mr. Spock of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' fame was a Crouching Scholar. As a half Vulcan, he was much stronger than his human peers, had combat training, could [[TapOnTheHead nerve pinch]] most enemies into submission, and aside from bantering with [=McCoy=] never [[SmugSuper lorded his abilities over anyone.]] This is made very apparent in the 2009 reboot ''Film/StarTrek'' films, where [[spoiler:when Kirk manages to ''break'' Spock's BerserkButton, he is thrashed from one end of the bridge to another and is very nearly choked to death (Kirk did this to make Spock realize he was not in the best state to command a ship]]. In [[Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness the sequel]], [[spoiler:he proceeds to go on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge and go toe-to-toe with OneManArmy SuperSoldier ''Khan Noonien Singh'', who had previously massacred an entire platoon of Klingons single-handedly and was only mildly annoyed at Kirk's best attempt to beat him up. He even fully used the nerve pinch to make Khan ''suffer.'' The only reason Spock didn't kill him was because Khan's blood could revive Kirk.]].
** Data from ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' also fits the trope - he has the strength of ten men, nanosecond reflexes, perfect aim, and other superhuman body feats. And he is a ''science officer''. Excels at it, having perfect memory, infallible logic and being faster at data processing than the ship's computer. He isn't defeated in hand-to-hand combat ''once''. (For the record, he can use the nerve pinch too, as demonstrated in "Unification", pt. 2. He learned it from watching Spock use it. Once. Most non-Vulcans don't have the dexterity to pull it off at all, and even Vulcans have to be trained in it.)
** Data's commanding officer Jean-Luc Picard has shown enough combat and survival ability that he could easily be a one-man commando unit. This is the man who prefers diplomacy and peace above all else, enjoys a glass of tea and some classical music while reading a 19th century novel, plays a flute and studies archaeology in his spare time, and is [[CoolOldGuy in his 60s]]. Oh, and a throwaway line in ''Q Who'', combined with one of Creator/JohnDeLancie's [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic later roles]], establishes Picard as a scholar of early 21st century TV drama.
*** In fact, he does serve as a one-man commando unit in the episode "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS6E16StarshipMine Starship Mine]]". The [[VillainOfTheWeek villains of the week]] try to take over the Enterprise during a maintenance stop when they expect the ship to be deserted. Picard, who is present only by accident, [[DieHardOnAnX single handedly takes out the entire team]]. No one even seems all that surprised by his success. Oh, and ''he'' uses a Vulcan nerve pinch. (How he knew how to do it, we don't know, but {{Fanon}} has it that it's a holdover from his mind-meld with Sarek.)
** This is a hat of the Federation really, only ''one'' class of ships was ever designed for combat, yet most can rival any other races warships of equal or greater size, often winning.
** It's certainly a hat of their ships. The idea is to be CrazyPrepared for whatever may be out there, and it's evident that it's necessary seeing how many episodes end with the crew surviving only by the skin of their teeth. The original ''Enterprise'' could devastate an ''entire planet,'' and each ''Enterprise'' is more weapon-laden than the last. This is even more true after ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine [=DS9=]]]'' 's Dominion War, where every ship built during that time or after is either like the starships ''Enterprise'' (an exploration vessel or what-have-you that doubles as a superweapon) or like the ''Defiant'' and ''Prometheus'' (the Federation supposedly doesn't have warships so we'll ''call'' it something else, but its true purpose is to shove quantum torpedoes down the bad guys' throats with extreme prejudice.) Every ship that wasn't built that way is being brought up to that standard, as seen with the ''Lakota'' (one of a type of ship that really shouldn't be able to stand up to the ''Defiant,'' but was upgraded.)
* Methos from ''Series/{{Highlander}}'', at least from about 1800 till modern day. He's spent two hundred years hiding out and spying on the Watchers, and running away from every fight he can run away from. But just because he doesn't like to fight doesn't mean he can't. After all, he's not the world's oldest Immortal for ''nothing''.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** Giles. [[BadassBookworm Quiet, scholarly, and can (and will) kick your ass]]. It could be with a spell, it could be with one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of weapons that he is familiar with, or (as Ethan Rayne knows) GoodOldFisticuffs. As stated elsewhere here, there is a reason why [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast he used to be known as 'Ripper']].
** Dawn might not be as badass, but she has shown potential in magic ("[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS7E7ConversationsWithDeadPeople Conversations With Dead People]]") and combat (multiple times, including fighting side by side with Buffy and holding her own). Oh, and there was the time she tasered Xander.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Shepherd Book is especially this trope, delivering a half-fist to the throat to Dobson in the first episode. When [[spoiler:Mal is taken hostage]], Book is asked if Literature/TheBible [[ThouShaltNotKill prevented him from killing]]. His response? "It's a little fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps."
** Also, it appears that on his way to becoming a respected doctor Simon Tam learned to throw one hell of a punch. [[FridgeBrilliance Which makes a good deal of sense]] if you've ever had the misfortune to attend a hospital emergency room on a Friday or Saturday night after the bars close.
*** He has also incapacitated a man, literally with his hands tied behind his back, by calmly kneeling on his windpipe.
** Inara seems to have some combat training, given her fights with Saffron (in "[[Recap/FireflyE06OurMrsReynolds Our Mrs. Reynolds]]") and the Operative (in ''Film/{{Serenity}}''), and the fact that she has a personal laser-bow-thing that she uses against the Reavers (also in ''Serenity''), landing at least some hits. Makes sense given that her Companion work presumably leaves her in at least some dangerous situations.
* In the later few seasons of ''Series/StargateSG1'', [[CunningLinguist Dr. Daniel Jackson]] falls into this trope. Keep in mind he was always TheSmartGuy (well, he shared with Sam), but only later did he [[TookALevelInBadass take a level]] and fit.
* On the surface, Simon Campos of ''Series/{{Flash Forward|2009}}'' is a brilliant particle physicist (not to mention short and wimpy-looking, which has been pointed in-show). However, you ''do not'' want to bully, threaten, or hurt him, or he will go psycho and kill you without hesitation. Preferably with his bare hands.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Doctor is shown to abhor unnecessary violence and is generally a GuileHero, but even his gentlest incarnations will usually get one big direct physical fight scene:
*** A brilliant example is the Fourth Doctor - he was intended as, and fans remember him as, a less aggressive incarnation than the Third Doctor (who had been a martial arts master), but he is actually a lot more physical than the Third Doctor was, although he has a looser, more chaotic, [[GoodOldFisticuffs brawling]] fighting style. Even after the introduction of ActionGirl Leela forced some CastSpeciation, it only caused him to switch to guns.
*** The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Doctors have all shown themselves to be master swordsmen (in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E3TheSeaDevils The Sea Devils]]", "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E4TheAndroidsOfTara The Androids of Tara]]", and "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS20E6TheKingsDemons The King's Demons]]", respectively).
*** The First Doctor might look like a frail old man, but he managed to beat an assassin in a direct fistfight in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E4TheRomans The Romans]]" and killed or knocked out multiple characters by clobbering them over the head with a solid object ("[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E8TheReignOfTerror The Reign of Terror]]", "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E9TheTimeMeddler The Time Meddler]]", almost "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E1AnUnearthlyChild An Unearthly Child]]"...). And then there's his ability to resist the Time Destructor in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E2TheDalekInvasionOfEarth The Dalek Invasion of Earth]]".
** The First Doctor's companion, Barbara. Usually, Ian would be the ActionHero, the Doctor would be the CrazyAwesome-clever one, and Barbara would be the insightful-clever one who would pick up on things the Doctor was too arrogant or unobservant to notice. However, she'd get physical on occasion - she knocks a {{Mind Control}}led Ian off his feet in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E5TheKeysOfMarinus The Keys of Marinus]]", kills a bunch of nasty alien brains in the same story, battles super-fast growing foliage, kills a Dalek by running over it in a speeding lorry, shoots a 'sand beast' in the face with a rocket, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kills a Lovecraftian monstrosity]]...
** K-9 is a genius computer and usually supplies useful facts and figures. And is also equipped with a laser.
* Jor-El on ''Series/{{Smallville}}''. Renowned scientist and scholar, legal mind par excellence...and a former Kryptonian soldier--complete with dog tags--who can nerve pinch most enemies into submission.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'', the eponymous protagonist, is a "LabRat" (with an MD) who took "courses in advanced jujitsu". While he usually strikes by surprise, he was able to clash with a heavily muscled police sergeant who is ex-special forces, and able to best him while Dexter was handcuffed and the cop had a pistol drawn.
* Most of the ''Series/BabylonFive'' philosophical characters are capable of beating the living hell out of anyone given enough provocation. None of Delenn, Lennier, Sinclair or Sheridan appear to be particularly physically intimidating--until the moment they decide that the universe would be best served by beating someone into unconsciousness. This trope particularly fits the Minbari as a whole, who look like average-build humans in physique, but when sufficiently provoked will demonstrate that they're physically more powerful. In one scene, Lennier grabs Marcus by the lapel and lifts him off the ground, saying:
--> Lennier: Do not touch me in that fashion. We may sometimes look like you, but we are not you. Never forget that.
* ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'': Helen Magnus is most often seen utilizing her abilities as an OmnidisciplinaryScientist and diplomat to solve problems and save the day, but her coworkers in the Sanctuary are always quick to point out that she can handle herself in a fight and she has shown the ability to do so many times. The entirety of "Monsoon" is basically Helen evading the bad guys and saving the {{innocent bystander}}s through a combination of wit, stealth, and hitting people in the face. The following exchange sums it up quite well, clearly with the trope in mind:
-->'''Charlotte''': What are you, a spy, an agent or something?
-->'''Magnus''': A doctor.
-->'''Charlotte''': Of asskicking!
** She spent an entire episode fighting with Adam and decisively kicked his ass despite his ability to {{teleport|ation}}.
* Scorpius of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' wins most of his battles by outwitting his opponents, but when pressed, he has immense superhuman strength. He ''hates'' relying on it, though, and would much rather be remembered for using his brain than his brawn.
* While Series/{{Castle}} is usually a NonActionGuy, as a civilian writer shadowing the NYPD, we are occasionally reminded that he can occasionally be angered enough to [[spoiler: punch a sniper out]] and that he is also a ''hell'' of a good shot.
* Milton in ''Series/KickinIt'' is a TeenGenius who started taking karate lessons to defend himself from bullies - if not the fully formed version of the trope, he's at least Minor''ing'' in Asskicking.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'': Mack is a self-taught engineer (and a good one), but whenever things get hairy, he demonstrates exactly how he survived the HYDRA uprising. Eventually he becomes a front line agent full-time, but he would much rather be fixing the agency's cars and quinjets.
-->'''Mack's Brother:''' You're really good at this stuff, huh?\\
'''Mack:''' Reuben, I'm a mechanic. I ''hate'' "this stuff."
* Noah Kuttler, The Calculator, in ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' is a genius hacker. He's no match in combat for most of the show's other villains, but when Damien Darkh sends Brick and others after him, he proves skilled enough with a shotgun to hold out until he's rescued by Team Arrow.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'': The Drow in Menzoberranzan. Particularly the wizards in that, in addition to ten years in Sorcere, they also spend six months in the school for fighters for martial training with all kinds of weapons. Likewise, the fighters go to Sorcere for six months of training there.
* The ''Spycraft'' system has the "martial arts" feat, which allows a character to change the stat on which unarmed attacks are based, meaning that a weak character designed to have strong social skills can pull out a surprisingly damaging sucker-punch even if otherwise entirely devoted to talking their way out of things.
* Every game with a level-based system gives the primarily trick or skill-based classes some combat prowess with level, just not as much as genuine combat-oriented classes. For instance, a ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' wizard at high levels can still quite reliably land a hit with potential critical damage using a spear, which is quite devastating to the average mook, and has the defense to dodge many physical attacks even without magic.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Liara T'Soni in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' claims to be a regular archaeologist, not even of the [[AdventurerArchaeologist adventurer type]]... then, with some training, becomes the single most powerful biotic in the game. All while retaining her rather timid personality.
** And in the sequel, she [[spoiler:becomes a KnowledgeBroker dedicated to getting revenge on the previous top player in that field, and has apparently done well enough by the time you meet her that she actually has said previous top player on the run. Also, she threatens to flay someone alive with her mind. [[BewareTheNiceOnes Not exactly all that timid anymore]]]].
*** Keep in mind, though, that since said archaeological ruins potentially hold amazing technology, they get 'visited' quite often by pirates and mercenaries. Add in that Liara's done nothing but study these ruins, by herself, for at least fifty years, and that adds up to a ''lot'' of practical combat experience.
** The Asari species as a whole. They are actually the galaxy's diplomats and mediators, and their military generally consists of semi-organized militia....but said militia are proficient in a vast array of killing and usually spend several centuries practicing their trade, and thus are the deadliest fighters in the galaxy.
** Mordin Solus in the sequel. Originally a doctor helping out plague victims in a clinic, you're told that mercenaries who attempted to threaten him and his patients were soon killed and hung outside as a warning. In the words of the man himself; he helps people. There are many ways to help people - and sometimes the best way to help people is to kill ''other'' people.
*** While working in the Salarian [[CloakAndDagger Special Tasks Group]], Mordin once killed a Krogan while armed only with a ''pitchfork''.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' and its sequel both have Gordon Freeman. A [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guy]] with a [=PhD=], who is strong enough to [[ArmorIsUseless bludgeon armored Combine soldiers to death with a crowbar.]]
* Citan Uzuki of ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' is an eccentric OmnidisciplinaryScientist, [[TheMedic the main healer for much of the game]], very polite...and an almost [[GameBreaker game-breakingly]] powerful fighter with bare hands or a sword. [[spoiler: He is also a secret agent.]]
** A viable combat strategy for some of the latter giant robot fights is to remove Citan from his robot and hit the [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant enemy]] with his sword.
* Lara Croft from ''Franchise/TombRaider'' is just searching for ancient artifacts, but if a T-rex, dark entity or [[OneWingedAngel Super-powered queen of an ancient civilization]] gets in her way, she ''will'' take it out.
* The Keepers of the ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series. Sure, they may be stealthy and unfathomable {{Badass Bookworm}}s, but... why endanger themselves when they can beg [[ImpossibleThief Garrett]] to do their dirty work once in a while? At least they usually award him for the trouble he goes through.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'', Ghido the turtle sage mostly just provides exposition...but when the BigBad attacks him, he fights him off with surprising ease. "You think I sat around seven centuries [[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles munching on pizza]]?"
* Canas of ''VideoGame/FireEmblem: Blazing Sword'' is an easily-missed, slightly klutzy and very calm shaman who spends his days studying and traveling to learn more about the dar- sorry, ''[[InsistentTerminology arcane]]'' arts. Recruit him and train him up, and he'll be able to take down the final boss in a turn or two on his own.
* [[SternTeacher Kuzuki Souichirou]] from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. He's the protagonist's homeroom teacher who dictates history and ethics classes. [[spoiler: He is also a retired assassin]].
* Rabbi Russell Stone, the protagonist of ''VideoGame/TheShivah'', manages to talk a knife-welding crook, send to kill him, into a fist-fight. The would-be assassin laughs at the challenge, thinking that the Rabbi is just a harmless, old Jew, until Stone's right fist hits his face, and the Rabbi reveals that he used to be in a boxing league before proceeding to completely beat up the crook.
* Franchise/ProfessorLayton usually doesn't need to fight, given that his adventures are predominately mysteries. But when he does have to fight, remember that he is an expert fencer [[AllSwordsAreTheSame with a broadsword]] [[ImprovisedWeapon or lead pipe]].
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' gives us the head of Arachnos, Lord Recluse, the game's BigBad. He mostly stays in his tower, outlines plans and creates nigh-perfect tactics and XanatosSpeedChess level counter-attacks for the forces of evil. If you actually manage to beat his four CoDragons, endanger a major operation or, heaven-help-you, actually bring the fight to him, he will leave said tower and proceed to beat the ever-loving-hell out of you himself, before going right back into his tower and calling one of his armies to come clean-up the mess.
** Lord Recluse's attendants [[BadassBureaucrat the Arachnos Arbiters]] take after their boss to a lesser degree. They are more or less law-enforcers for the ''City of Villains'' (because the few base-laws that do exist there are crucial to their society). To qualify as an Arbiter one must be a veteran soldier of Arachnos and submit to Arachnos brain-conditioning to be both a worthy enforcer and psychologically incapable of corruption. Almost none of the Arbiters ever need to resort to raising anything more heavy-duty than a pencil, which is because assaulting one prompts an army sized man-hunt. But when one is actually given kill orders you will see all those years as working up the military-chain put to terrifying effect.
* Throughout ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series, the ThievesGuild [[EvenEvilHasStandards enforces]] that murder (and combat in general) is a last resort only. However, members are still expected to be capable of defending themselves. Thus, Guild services often include training in CloakAndDagger style combat skills, such as bladed weapons, light armor, and marksmanship.
* Mei from ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' is a climatologist first and a fighter never. Every other character in the game's roster has at least some reason to pursue a combative approach to a problem, but Mei only had to build her FreezeRay weapon out of necessity to survive her grim conditions down in Antarctica. She has no reason to use it in combat and freeze her enemies solid, yet she eagerly does so anyway.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'':
** Raven. Most people know him as a strict old teacher with an off-putting (occasionally creepy) interest in certain students, particularly the main characters. It turns out that walking cane of his is actually [[CaneSword a concealed sword]]. Also, [[spoiler:he's an elvish mage]].
--->'''Raven:''' I ''can'' act directly if the situation involves magic or is an immediate threat to myself or others. You are a homicidal wizard invading a public school. ''No one will care if I kill you.''
** Also, Noah. Androgynous and slight, and speaks very precisely and without contractions. He wore ''Elliot'' out racing and playing basketball.
--->'''Noah:''' I am good at controlling my temper ''now.'' But I was suspended on my first day of high school for beating up two seniors who were playing keep away with my backpack. I heard they are offensive linemen on a college football team now, whatever that means.
* Gil from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''. He's more or less constantly [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority underestimated]] by most of the cast, but trip his BerserkButton or threaten [[TheHero the woman he loves]] and you'll see [[WarriorPrince another]] [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge side]] [[MadScientist of]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes him]].
** Surprisingly, [[spoiler: Tarvek.]] Even his own bodyguard's mouth was hanging open when it turned out [[spoiler: he can match even with Gil]], to the point that they both just collapsed in exhaustion (and illness) at the end of a brawl that was ''supposed'' to just be a staged one.
* Kevyn from ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary''. A scientist and engineer who would really be happiest messing around with cutting edge technology. Happens to wear antimatter grenades as epaulets, one of which might as well be a nuke.
** Technically, they both may as well be nukes. The one he [[spoiler: threw at the tank]] just used up most of its destructive power to get through the shield first.
* Jane Doe from ''Webcomic/NobodyScores'' has actually attended [[http://nobodyscores.loosenutstudio.com/index.php?id=71 "The Courtney Love School of Just Hauling Off on a Motherfucker."]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The title character in ''Literature/TheSagaOfTuck'' is a math and Unix geek and D&D nerd who can [[spoiler: jump more than three meters off an escalator and punch an abuser in the back of the head]]. Without thinking it over beforehand.
* Most Garzoni in ''Literature/TwistedCogs'' can fight very well, but it is only second to their true passions in art.
* Headmistress Elizabeth Carson of [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]] in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. She was the head of the English department before she became the acting headmistress. It turns out there's a reason she's the headmistress of a school that has around 600 superpowered mutants: she's really Lady Astarte. She's the greatest superheroine of the 90's. And under a different codename she was also the greatest superheroine of the 80's... and the 70's... and the 60's... and the 50's... and... At Halloween, she flexes her muscles and takes on the most deadly killer in the Whateley Universe, and the army he brought with him, convincingly demonstrating why you don't mess with her.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Master Splinter in many incarnations of ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles''. He usually leaves the fighting to his sons, because of his age and that his sons need to fight their own battles. When pressed, however, he demonstrates just exactly ''who'' taught the turtles to be tough ninja warriors in the first place.
* Iroh from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' is one of the most skilled fire benders alive but usually restricts himself to drinking tea unless fighting is really necessary.
** According to Zuko, he may be able to beat the BigBad Fire Lord Ozai (although Iroh said he doesn't know if he can).
** Sokka is well on his way to being the same, except replace "tea and pai sho" with "corny jokes and science".
* Jackie from ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' is an archeologist, and when he's not fighting the Dark Hand, he seems like he couldn't hurt a fly. Of course, since he is Jackie Chan, the viewer can tell he's a strong fighter just from the name.
* In ''WesternAnimation/LibertysKids'', Creator/ThomasPaine has a brief badass moment in "American Crisis". Say you're a brilliant propaganda writer in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution, you're wandering the streets of UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} at night looking for a printer, and some British loyalists threaten you and your young friends with bodily harm. What do you do? Pick up the nearest log and '''charge.'''
* [[TheQuietOne Ferb]] of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' is usually a quiet GadgeteerGenius, but took down bully Buford in one Vulcan-inspired move after he "got all in [his] face". Likewise, while "Vanessasary Roughness" showcases [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter Vanessa]] as an ActionGirl, he has more than his share of cool moves as well.
* Rhinox in '' WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' is head technician and pilot of the Maximals. His weapons are also [[FanNickname known as]] the Chainguns of Doom and when brainwashed into being evil he took over the Predacon army. By himself.
** Optimus Primal is a space explorer. Doesn't stop him from kicking ass.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' we find that Optimus Prime was basically a ''librarian'' before gaining the Matrix of Leadership. Other series have him as a dock worker, a space bridge repairman, or ''anything'' but a master warrior before gaining his current station. Decepticons ''majored'' in asskicking and Prime still kicks their afts left, right, and center.
*** Let us not forget Soundwave, who got into exactly 5 fights in the show and won 3 of them. The two he lost: shot out the air by an upgrade Optimus Prime (though this may have been part of a BatmanGambit for him given what happens later); and trapped in the Shadowzone (which he had no experience with and no way to combat) by Jack, Miko, and Raf. The three he won: handing Airachnid her skidplate so hard she never seemed truly intimidating ever again; incapacitating [[TheBigGuy Wheeljack]] in a struggle for the Resonance Blaster; and knocking out Bulkhead, Smokescreen, and Fowler before kidnapping Ratchet, all without breaking a sweat.
*** Soundwave reappeared in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' as a VillainOfTheWeek who was also TheDreaded. Compared to the usual stuff the show throws at us, his introduction was downright terrifying! (He comes out of a special portal to the Shadowzone, knocks out Bumblebee, Strongarm, and Grimlock in 30 seconds, tosses Bumblebee through the portal, and would have done the same to the others if it hadn't timed out. Then he chases Fixit, Denny, and Russel with his CombatTentacles. The [[{{Leitmotif}} techno-sounding music]] didn't help matters any.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' cartoon "By Word of Mouse" the professor mouse is able to fend off WesternAnimation/{{Sylvester|TheCatAndTweetyBird}}.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'', Walter "Doc" Hartford is usually the PluckyComicRelief, GentlemanSnarker, or DeadpanSnarker compared to his more frighteningly-enhanced teammates. His {{Technopath}} Series 5 ability is utterly useless in combat. However, "Heart of Tarkon" revealed that he learned acrobatics and fencing from "Miss Abercrombie's Charm School." Considering he has used the stuff he learned in "charm school" to break out of a dungeon, hand an EvilChancellor his ass, take down one of the most frightening villains on the show ''single-handedly'' and impress the local princess? Yeah, Doc. [[MysteriousPast That's some "charm school."]]
* Hank [=McCoy=], AKA Beast of the ComicBook/XMen has always been a [[GeniusBruiser capable fighter belying a brilliant mind]], regardless of the media portraying him. Yet his incarnation in ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' states early on that he's "a pacifist by nature." Push comes to shove, however, he'll knock you down.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Twilight Sparkle is a student and a librarian and a immensely powerful mage.
** Rarity is also an example. Unlike Applejack (rough and tumble cowgirl known for her athleticism) or Rainbow Dash (a BoisterousBruiser who's always the first into a fight) Rarity is a fashion designer, who hates getting dirty or sweaty. She's still proved herself to be one of the most effective fighters in the cast on several occasions, and is certainly not afraid to defend herself should she or her friends be threatened. She's the only one we've seen get into an actual fighting stance when it's time for hooficuffs. She thought nothing of attacking a manticore ''many'' times her size in the two-part premiere.