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->''"Sans maîtrise, la puissance n'est rien."'' (Without mastery, power is nothing)
-->-- '''Old Pirelli commercial for tires''', probably paraphrasing from Horace's ''Odes'' [[http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text;jsessionid=923073FDDD848058A0FB6F9EC391AFEF?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0025%3Abook%3D3%3Apoem%3D4 Book 3, Poem 4, line 65.]]

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

This is a character who, despite being physically weaker than their opponent, is able to beat them because they are more skilled than their opponent. They'll prove HardWorkHardlyWorks is a false premise, and even [[FlawExploitation exploit]] the stronger opponents' sloppy technique and {{Pride}} to win. It's not unusual for the BadassBookworm, and less unusual for TheHeart of any team.

If the Weak, but Skilled character is TheProtagonist or TheHero, they'll usually be an expert at DeadlyDodging, a fast thinker, and generally [[GuileHero win through cleverness and strategy]] that involve TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty and GeoEffects to win. If they aren't, then they're like a {{Mentor|s}}, TheRival, TheLancer or TheSmartGuy. They'll usually start out much stronger than the hero overall but [[CantCatchUp won't keep up]] once the hero starts gaining skill himself in the use of his powers. They'll occasionally bail them out but force them to finish their battles, and urge them to train their power to stop the bad guy, whom this character can't take out because the bad guy is both strong ''and'' skilled.

[[OldMaster A character who grows old and weak]] will often become this, having decades of experience to compensate for their lack of youth, but this can still be the case if they grow StrongerWithAge and thus have nothing to compensate for. This is a common justification for how {{Badass Normal}}s can keep up with more powerful characters in a setting or inside an ensemble. DeathOfAThousandCuts may also come into play.

It should be noted that "weak" (especially a PaperTiger class) can be a relative term. The protagonist[=/=]hero might have a certain level of SuperStrength and SuperToughness, but is completely outpowered by his opponent. In this case, the hero's own strength and toughness are what enable him to even ''hurt'' the villain and avoid being killed in a single shot, but he needs his brains and skill to ultimately win.

Compare with DavidVersusGoliath, CombatPragmatist, DifficultButAwesome and, metafictionally, CherryTapping. Contrast SacrificedBasicSkillForAwesomeTraining. WillfullyWeak may be invoked to bring this about. One explanation for the power of a BadassBystander. Despite their skill, may fall prey to IDontKnowMortalKombat. The rare villainous examples may fall into VillainousValour, depending on their presentation. For characters with [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway questionably useless powers]] within the superhero community proving otherwise, see HeartIsAnAwesomePower.

Contrast BiggerStick and UnskilledButStrong, the latter being the inverse trope.
Compare StrongAndSkilled where the character is both skilled and strong.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The main character from ''Manga/AnatoliaStory'' herself, Yuri Suzuki. She's a complete weakling physically speaking and can't do a thing when she's being sexually assaulted, but being from the future has its advantages. She is revered as Ishtar because she rode a horse, something that's common nowadays, but in ancient Turkey was unheard of. She also recognized an iron sword and used it against Zuwa, ignoring the other, weaker swords available. Back in the Bronze Age, iron was a GameBreaker, so the fact that she knew what iron was and how effective a weapon it is causes the people to see her as very intelligent.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'':
** The only way the inherently much physically weaker humans can survive multiple Titans encounters is to be '''very''' skilled.
** Annie Leonhart nearly effortless tosses both Eren and the much larger Reiner on their asses. Eren is amazed at how strong she is, but Annie explains that she is not that strong. She uses techniques that can turn an opponent's superior size and weight against them.
** Eren later takes a page from Annie's book against [[spoiler:Reiner, in Armored Titan form. He quickly realizes that Reiner's armor makes brute force a non-option, so he starts using Annie's techniques to get the Armored Titan in joint locks and grapples, which ''are'' effective even with the armor.]]
* Similarly, Carol Reed from ''Manga/OukeNoMonshou'' has zero fighting skill, but her almost encyclopedic knowledge of AncientEgypt comes off ''very'' handy when she needs to get the upper hand in the middle of constant power struggles in Pharaoh Memphis's court.
* In ''Anime/AldnoahZero'', the villainous Martians pilot physics-breaking {{Super Robot|Genre}}s, while the heroic Earthlings can only field pathetic MechaMooks, which allow the Martians to completely massacre the Earth forces. However, protagonist [[OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Inaho Kaizuka]] repeatedly dominates the Martians through clever application of physics to exploit weaknesses in the Martian machines, often taking advantage of the Martians' arrogance at their invincibility, and he does this while piloting a basic training unit.
* ''Anime/BloodPlus'': Both Saya and Haji are {{Vegetarian Vampire}}s that refrain from drinking blood as much as possible, and are thus barely stronger than ordinary humans as a result. Nonetheless, they're both skilled fighters and can easily hold their own against more powerful opponents.
* Hyunckel from ''Manga/DaiNoDaibouken''. At the beginning of the series he is portrayed as relatively strong and extremely skilled, but in the last chapters he's actually one of the weakest characters in the main cast, power-wise (though his skill level remain above average). He even develops a special technique allowing him to [[spoiler: use his life as a weapon, in order to compensate his lack of sheer power]]. It quickly becomes one of the strongest skills in the series.
** Also [[spoiler: Aban]], as near the end of the manga he's nowhere as strong as the other cast members, but still useful because of his skills.
* Gouta from ''Manga/BusouRenkin''. His Arms Alchemy, Motor Gears, is a pair of tiny chakrams, but he utilizes them in creative ways. He was even able to defeat [[{{Ninja}} Shinobu Negoro]], a senior alchemist, through AwesomenessByAnalysis.
* Arguably Mystogan from ''Manga/FairyTail''. Despite not possessing his own inherent magic like the rest of Earth-land inhabitants, he is still considered one of the strongest mages of Fairy Tail. Meaning he uses nothing but his skill and ingenuity with his magical staves in order to take down and dominate his foes. For no greater proof, these abilities were enough to make him an S-Class Mage of Fairy Tail and even [[SmugSuper Laxus]] pre-CharacterDevelopment considered him the only person in Fairy Tail [[WorthyOpponent worth his time to fight]] (yes, even over Natsu or Erza).
* Char Aznable of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam.'' While [[TheHero Amuro]] has greater PsychicPowers, [[ArchEnemy Char]] is a much more experienced pilot, so the two are evenly matched.
** Amuro's eponymous [[SuperPrototype Gundam]] is also much stronger than Char's [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority re-painted]] {{mook|s}} units, at least at first, but as Char receives more powerful mobile suits, Amuro's piloting skill increases proportionally. Eventually, Char receives a Gelgoog, which is an even match for the Gundam, and finally the Zeong, which ends up reversing their roles by being ''more powerful'' than the Gundam.
*** When they return in ''Char's Counterattack'', Amuro has had at least as much experience as Char had at the beginning of the original series and stronger PsychicPowers to boot. Once he answers Char's Sazabi with the Nu Gundam, The Red Comet CantCatchUp.
*** Amuro had significantly more experience in ''Char's Counterattack'' than Char had in the original series. Char was only 20 when he faced off against Amuro for the first time. Amuro was 29 in CCA.
** Hayato. He piloted the Guntank, a pretty sub-par Mobile Suit that had horrendous mobility, slow reaction time, and was useless in terms of close combat; yet he still managed to use it well, and survive the One Year War.
* A similar situation occurs in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]'', early in the series there are a few veterans that can completely outmatch the Gundam pilots as far as skill is concerned, and best the Gundams in one on one combat. But the Gundams are so strong they can just shrug off the attacks.
* ''Gundam'' fans also ascribe this quality to ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam0080WarInThePocket 0080]]''[='s=] Bernard "Bernie" Wiseman. By his own admission, he's only ever piloted once and he got shot down very quickly, but in the final episode he uses strategy, tactics, and traps to defeat a Gundam superior to Amuro Ray's[[note]]albeit with a less skilled test pilot behind the controls[[/note]]. And he does all this in a Zaku II, which is the poster child for MechaMooks.
* Ricardo Fellini and his Wing Gundam Fenice from ''[[Anime/GundamBuildFighters Build Fighters]]''. It's been pointed out that his gunpla is of an old make, one he's had since he was a kid, so his kit could be considered inferior from the outset, but he's introduced as the Italian Champion. As well, it has no Plavsky Particle manipulation gimmicks whatsoever, [[spoiler:but that didn't stop him from fighting the Star Build Strike to a draw ''after'' the latter went SuperMode in episode 15, or trouncing them before then]].
** To note, he's the first person we see to cause Team Nemesis to worry and overclock [[spoiler:Aila's Embody System]] and, unlike [[spoiler:Sei and Reiji with the Star Build Strike's RG Mode]], he didn't have anything to help even the odds after that happened.
* Shimon Izuna of ''Anime/GundamBuildFightersTry'' has a basic [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny Destiny Gundam]], built straight out of the box by his younger brother. Both Yuuma and Mr. Ral are convinced that it's going to lose, especially when his teammates' suits, equally built Murasame and Jet Windam, are taken out. Instead, Shimon's boxing skills end up making the suit a powerhouse, tearing apart a team based on the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamF91 Crossbone Vanguard]], but also fighting the Build Burning to a standstill.
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'': CreepyChild Chikage Kushinada (and her teacher, Mikumo) adheres to this trope. She's a grade school girl but is shown to be at least on par with the teenage characters because she has enough skill to fight and defeat normal adults. She is a fighter of 100% skill, 0% power, rather than split between the two. What is actually meant by this is that Chikage applies no force of her own during a fight, but uses the enemy's force against them, a tactic used in multiple martial arts. While most fighters are a combination of strength and skill (strength being striking power, skill being throwing power or technique-related ability) Chikage is all skill--she only throws her enemy in such a way as to use their own weight, momentum, etc., against them, rather than create an impact herself. As usual, this stems from the manga taking a martial arts concept to its absolute extreme.
** Also Miu, as pointed out to Kenichi at the beginning of his training.
* From ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'': [[IllBoy Toki]] is this, especially after [[HeroicSacrifice contracting radiation poisoning during his efforts to save his brother Kenshiro and Ken's fiance Yuria during a nuclear attack]]. Though he isn't very strong compared to fellow Hokuto Shinken disciples/brothers [[TheHero Kenshiro]] and [[BigBad Raoh]], he is far more adept at Hokuto Shinken than either of them. In fact, before the nuclear war, it was ''He'', not Kenshiro, who was going to be the successor of Hokuto, and everyone agreed it was how it should have been.
* Kenta Kobashi from ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo''. Compared to Ippo, he's a weakling, and he's got no badass knockout techniques. In fact, he's never scored a knockout in his career... and yet, Kobashi gives Ippo a run for his money by playing mind-games, making frequent use of clinches, and using a stance that allows him to easily reach with point-getting jabs, while sacrificing his ability to score heavy blows. Definitely ''not badass'', and the audience hates him, but by playing with the rules, Kobashi manages to win most of his matches. He would've beaten Ippo too, if he hadn't tried to finish him with a knockout.
** Also Ichiro Miyata. His own physical strength is pathetic when compared to other boxers, and he has a FatalFlaw in the form of a glass jaw... but he also has ''huge'' speed and does what he can to use counters to his benefit.
* ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis'':
** Syuusuke Fuji. He eschews physical fitness and outright strength in favor of counter techniques that require outrageous (impossible) amounts of skill to perform. He later gains some strength in a filler training camp in the anime, but this never happens in the manga. Either way, it stops being addressed as the series delves into further ludicrousness.
** Also Eiji Kikumaru, who has a flashy and fun style of playing yet is plagued by low stamina. [[spoiler: Unlike Fuji, his TrainingFromHell that makes him go from FragileSpeedster to LightningBruiser happens in ''both'' anime and manga.]]
* This trope is pretty commonplace in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf''. Ranma defeated Prince Herb, who far outclassed him in every way possible, by using a technique to gather up all of the energy Herb was giving off and turning it against him. Happosai is a frail old man, but he can easily toss far stronger opponents through walls or over the horizon by redirecting their momentum with a pipe.
* Kenshin Himura of ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' fits this trope. Kenshin is a short, skinny and relatively weak man, so much so that he eventually has to give up swordmanship because his kenjutsu style is meant to be used by stronger men and overusing it damaged his muscles. Despite this handicap, he is able to take down the most powerful warriors in the series (aside from his own master) because he's just ''that damn skilled''.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'':
** Chrono Harlaown is explicitly mentioned in the first season to be weaker in {{power level|s}} compared to Nanoha and Fate, a comparison he scoffs at, stating there's more to magic than that. He then proceeds to prove his point during the penultimate episode of the first season where he pulls a OneManArmy in [[BigBad Precia's]] [[StormingTheCastle Garden of Time]] while everyone else needed to charge in as a team, and again [[ComicBookAdaptation in the manga volume set immediately before the second season]] where he effortlessly defeated an improved Fate in record time when she had to battle him for her Mage Exam.
** An even better example is Nanoha and Fate's OldMaster, the original Head Trainer Fern Corrado of the [[TheFederation Time-Space Administration Bureau]]. Despite being a lowly [[RandomPowerRanking AA-ranked]] mage using standard bureau equipment, [[ComicBookAdaptation the third season manga]] revealed that she managed to beat the [[RankInflation AAA-ranked]], BiggerStick-equipped Nanoha and Fate at the same time when they entered the TSAB training school.
** Yuuno Scrya is quite possibly the weakest -- or at least just ''definitely'' the least well-armed -- combatant in the series. However, his mastery of binding and barrier magics make him the most capable NonActionGuy ever. He's also demonstrated the ability to force someone to be teleported against their will, which, when you think about it, is probably the single most lethal ability ever shown in the series. The unpleasant [[TeleFrag possibilities]] for it are endless, but sadly never explored.
** Shamal is in the same position as Yuuno, only she does have a powerful Device backing her up. She debatably has the most impressive record in the series at standoff combat, nearly paralyzing Nanoha from at least a half-mile away, and in every battle she's had a part in her opponents did not know she was there until attacked. Her skills with barrier, portal, and teleportation magic have endless tactical application that the series never explores, from making people run into instant magical walls at several times the speed of sound to portaling them off somewhere unpleasant. Yuuno would be capable of the same tricks if he had a copy of her Device.
*** There is the part in the final battle of ''A's'' where she locates the defense program's core and, with the help of Yuuno and Arf, teleports it to outer space, where the Arc-En-Ciel can be fired at it without destroying much of Uminari city; scrying, binding and teleportation magic succeeds where {{Wave Motion Gun}}s can't completely do the job.
** Teana in ''[=StrikerS=]'' often worries about her own worth as a mage, noting that she has no unique skills and not that much magical power compared to the other members of Section 6. However, she eventually learns how to put her illusion magic to good use in conjunction with her sharpshooting skills, and [[spoiler:defeats three of the Numbers Cyborgs by use of perfectly timed attacks and some help from Vice]]. She is apparently Nanoha's best student, as she is the only canon character whom Nanoha taught her signature [[WaveMotionGun Starlight Breaker]] spell (well, Reinforce also used it but she merely [[PowerCopying copied Nanoha]]). There is a subtle meaning to this fact: Starlight Breaker's quirk is that it isn't powered by the caster's mana but rather, the [[SuckingInLines magical energy dispersed in the environment]]. In other words, it is the ultimate achievement for a Weak But Skilled mage, allowing her to unleash powers way over her head by skillfully managing the available resources.
** Veyron from ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce''. In the mostly UnskilledButStrong Hückebein family, he's the only one who cannot [[SuperMode React]]. Nevertheless he can hold his own against Riot Force 6's operators and actually defeats a Reacted enemy Eclipse infectee in direct combat.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Shikamaru Nara lacks raw power and stamina (by ninja standards) and is initially too lazy to even put in much training, but his sheer intelligence means that he can consistently hold his own against opponents who are not only stronger, but older and more experienced than him. As he was wonderfully described by some troper, "Watching Shikamaru fight is like watching an acrobat work without a net."
** Amusingly, Sakura Haruno is this in after the TimeSkip despite possessing SuperStrength and juggernaut-esque healing, as her power and healing abilities are almost solely derived from her excellent chakra control. In terms of her chakra capacity, she's a drop in the ocean next to her far more powerful teammates. Tsunade (her mentor) is much the same.
** Haku is this in spades. His best attacks come from zipping around at high speed, nailing people with senbon needles in their pressure points, and using his ice mirrors to get faster. Not once does he ever use a truly destructive technique, and yet he would have beaten both Naruto and Sasuke [[spoiler:without even trying to kill them]], had Naruto not gone berserk when Sasuke went down.
** Itachi Uchiha is known to have been [[spoiler:severely weakened by keeping his Sharingan activated permanently]] throughout the series, yet still [[spoiler: manages to completely obliterate his perfectly healthy genius brother in their proverbial duel of fate]]. Even before the diminished capacity [[spoiler:derived from his illness is brought up]], he is said to have less than average power/endurance, which his partner Kisame Hoshikagi hints at by reminding Itachi that he shouldn't use his exceptional ocular powers more than a few times a day, lest he be completely drained. What Itachi lacks in quantitative power, he more than makes up for in qualitative.
** For that matter, Neji Hyuuga is one of the most dangerous of the Konoha 12 and the first to make Jonin, despite having relatively low physical strength. His mastery of the [[PressurePoint Gentle Fist]], [[SuperSenses Byakugan]], and [[DeflectorShield Heavenly Spin]] render him capable of crippling opponents far physically stronger than him while blocking, dodging, or redirecting most attacks. For instance, he was able to fight on equal terms with Naruto during the Chunin exams and was even favored to win that fight, even though Naruto completely outclassed him in terms of raw power, stamina, and quantity of attacks (thanks to Naruto's Shadow Clones).
** Rock Lee [[PlayingWithATrope plays with]] this trope. He's immensely strong, fast, and durable, and has mastered the Eight Celestial Gates, which makes him exponentially more powerful. However, he also has ''only'' his physical skills because he can't use chakra other than for the gates. His sensei Might Guy is much the same way, though he ''can'' use conventional chakra techniques (but just chooses not to).
** The Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, was this as well, at least compared to his peers. His most destructive technique shown was the A-Rank Rasengan... which at full power, can destroy ''maybe'' a twenty-foot area. Compared even to most equivalent elemental jutsu, that's pretty underwhelming (for comparison's sake, the A-Rank Giant Waterfall Jutsu can splinter and flood an entire forest in the hands of a Jounin-level user). And yet his speed, brutally efficient combat style, and mastery of sealing techniques (not to mention his teleportation powers) made him one of the deadliest shinobi in all of history.
** Tobi, at least in comparison with other members of Akatsuki. His space-time abilities make him one of the most powerful tactical fighters of the series, but he almost never uses large scale ninjutsu, whereas the rest of Akatsuki relies on several highly destructive techniques. It's because of this deficiency in raw power that Itachi was convinced that "Madara" was a shadow of his former self; at the time, Tobi was masquerading as the real Madara Uchiha, who was tied with the First Hokage (aka the second "God of Shinobi") in strength. It should be noted that his ability to control several tailed beasts with his eyes makes up for his lack of personal firepower. And this is not to mention when he became [[PhysicalGod Jinchuuriki of the Ten-Tails]]...
** Kakashi Hatake is this as well. Though he lacks in stamina compared to other top-level ninja, he's considered the equal of the unbelievably powerful Might Guy by virtue of having learned literal hundreds of jutsu and being a master tactician who rarely fights his enemies head-on until he's ready to destroy them. Despite still being ''way'' more powerful than the average Jounin, he's also ''way'' outclassed in strength by most of the Kage-level fighters he's compared to as an equal. It's perhaps no surprise that Kakashi was a student of the aforementioned Fourth Hokage.
** Kabuto Yakushi during Part 1, in a similar vein to Sakura above. Sure, he can't destroy much himself, but he can sever muscles and tendons and even damage internal organs with his Chakra Scalpels (which are normally impossible to use in combat because they require such intense focus; they're a technique intended for surgery). And he can also heal himself from any injury he takes, up to and including [[spoiler:having his stomach puréed by Naruto's Rasengan]], by using that same unreal chakra control to ''heal the individual cells of his body''. It has limits, though, as he lacks the chakra capacity to completely recover from large enough hits; [[spoiler:Naruto's attack still takes him out despite not killing him like it should have]]. He became Strong AND Skilled during Part 2, [[spoiler:thanks to assimilating his old master Orochimaru's remains and mastering the techniques of him and several of his strongest minions while losing none of the brilliance he had already, which allows him to become one of the few beings capable of defeating Itachi Uchiha, only losing thanks to Sasuke's interference]].
* This is the explicit reason Evangeline [=McDowell=] was able to reach the quarterfinals during the first TournamentArc of ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' despite being BroughtDownToNormal. Even a [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld ten-year-old]] girl can do some damage when she has been practicing [[WaifFu aikijutsu]] since before most of the competition's grandparents were born (she only had to break out the [[PeoplePuppets strings]] against Setsuna).
** It is heavily implied that she learned straight from either Morihei Ueshiba or Takeda Sokaku (respectively, the creators of Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu.)
** Takahata is unable to cast spells but still manages to be badass within a society of mages with his [[YinYangBomb Kanka]] ([[RedBaron his title]] is "[[StoicSpectacles Death Glasses Takahata]]").
** The most straightforward example is probably Nodoka, who has very little actual combat experience or magical skill, but still does a number on [[spoiler: a RealityWarper who had been erasing people from existence]], simply by skillful use of [[{{Telepathy}} her artifact]]. Her artifact is a diary that can read a person's surface thoughts if she knows their name. Not impressive, by itself, but handy. When she TookALevelInBadass, she teams up with a group of artifact hunters and grabs two things: a ring that, when pointed at a person, reveals their true name, and a doohickey that lets her read books without opening them. The most major villains in the series have been defeated by "What are you planning?", "Where can I find X?", or "How do I escape from this situation?"
* Joseph Joestar, from Part 2 of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', never fully masters the way of [[SuperNaturalMartialArts Hamon]] like his grandfather and Part 1 protagonist Jonathan. What he lacks in mastery over Hamon, he more than makes up for in [[GuileHero creativity and guile]], defeating his opponents by outwitting them rather than simply overpowering them. In Part 3, he does get a Stand, but it's among the weakest Stands seen and is near useless in combat, leading Joseph to usually take a supporting role. When on his own, though, he reveals he's lost none of the keen mind he had in his youth.
** A Stand's strength is inversely proportional to how far away from its user it can operate, making this trope common among long-range Stand users. Despite lacking a lot of raw power, creative use of their abilities allow long-ranged Stand users to threaten the heroes every bit as effectively, if not more so, than short-ranged fighters who get up close and personal.
** Daniel J. D'Arby, in an organization of Stand users that can punch through cars, generate powerful magnetic fields, or erase objects from existence, has one power: [[YourSoulIsMine he can take a person's soul]] [[AbsurdlyHighStakesGame if they bet it to him in a game and he wins.]] To compensate for this, he's very possibly the greatest gambler alive, even aside from his status as an inveterate cheat. Through nothing but pure skill as a gambler and heavy setup and cheating, he managed to steal the souls of two of the protagonists, and [[NearVillainVictory would have stolen all of them]] had he not passed out in the middle of a syllable. Meanwhile, his brother Terrence D'arby has roughly the same Stand (just replace gambling with video games) ''and'' the ability to read his opponent's mind (albeit only by asking them a simple yes-or-no question.)
* ''Manga/{{Kekkaishi}}'''s Tokine builds her combat style on this trope. Comparatively speaking, the barriers she can create have nowhere near the explosive power as those made by Yoshimori, nor can she make them as big. The solution? Just use the barriers you have [[http://www.mangareader.net/144-9466-16/kekkaishi/chapter-45.html in really awesome ways...]]
* Usopp and Nami from ''Manga/OnePiece'' are the crew's LovableCoward and [[TheChick Chick]] respectively, and have little ability in physical combat. WordOfGod has even stated that Usopp will ''always'' be the weakest fighter of the crew. However, both are highly skilled in their specific fields of sharpshooting and navigation. Usopp, an amateur GadgeteerGenius, has also built various weapons for himself and a WeatherControlMachine for Nami with the specific intent of using their brains over their brawn to win battles. And he has proved that he's no pushover; when he goes all-out, he's capable of giving ''Luffy'' a run for his money while his entire body is injured and bandaged up. And as for Nami...well, ''the weather'' is her weapon.
** [[BadassBookworm Robin]] would also qualify. While her physical strength is minuscule compared to the majority of foes that come her way, her extensive experience as an assassin as well as having two decades to work out the uses of her powers ensure that she's still very much a serious threat to most people. Furthermore, the nature of her powers allow her to apply what strength she has almost infinitely, limited only by the surface area of what she is grabbing. She has used this to twist a giant's arm behind its back with a giant arm made of other arms. Through smart use of her powers, she's one of the most dangerous Straw Hats and often lumped in with the far physically stronger 'monstrous trio.'
** For a villainous example, Foxy. He's not exactly "weak" per se, but he's a total joke compared to Luffy when it comes to raw power. He makes up for it with surprisingly clever use of his Devil Fruit power, as well as cheap tactics and low blows.
** Another villainous example is Ain from the twelfth movie ''Anime/OnePieceFilmZ''. She may be far from weak, but her physical strength still pales in comparison to her captain and several of her foes. To make up for it, she is very fast and uses [[FountainOfYouth her Devil Fruit powers]] in creative ways to gain or regain the upper hand in fights.
** Amongst the Seven Warlords of the Sea, [[CastingAShadow Gekko Moriah]] is the [[NonActionGuy least physically fit]] and the [[BadassDecay most rusty from slacking off his training]] due to his DarkAndTroubledPast, but his complete and utter mastery of his Devil Fruit's powers and having a [[ZombieApocalypse shit-ton of zombies of varying strength]] serving with absolute loyalty allows him to take on the entire Straw Hat crew at once and still have a decent chance of winning. Unfortunately for him, the World Government saw his poor performance as too much of a hassle to justify keeping around [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness and attempted to have him killed]] [[spoiler:though he escaped with his life and went into hiding]].
** Rebecca from the Dressrosa arc may very well be the physically weakest fighter in the Corrida tournament, but she still makes it to the finals because she is the master of a fighting style that lets her use her opponents' strength against them and [[RingOut knock them out of the ring]], and because she is the only one whose [[CombatClairvoyance Haki]] is good enough to anticipate Cavendish's/[[spoiler:Hakuba's]] attack and dodge it. That said, she is very fast, so she's not entirely without physical skills.
** This is usually a trait of the more successful Paramecia-type Devil Fruit users. While they lack the straightforward abilities of [[ElementalEmbodiment Logia]] or [[{{Animorphism}} Zoan]] fruits, they often make up for it with the most outside-the-box thinking and diversity in the application of a single fruit's powers. While a few Paramecia fruits provide massive destructive power (the category is simply a catch-all for anything that's not Logia or Zoan), most are far from impressive. Even the main character Luffy became far ''weaker'' as a child when he ate the Gum-Gum Fruit and became a RubberMan; it took years of training before he could even regain the ability to throw a punch. While he's become monstrously strong since then, he's had to come up with truly bizarre ways of utilizing his Devil Fruit power to do so (thus he personally doesn't fit this trope, but his Devil Fruit power pretty much does).
*** There are also some clear example of Zoans like this, because the inherent combat potential varies greatly depending on which specific animal the Zoan can transform into. Being able to become a leopard or a king cobra or a ''[[TyrannosaurusRex T. rex]]'' provides very obvious strength, but transforming into a giraffe? Not so much. But after eating that Devil Fruit, Kaku is able to use both his assassin training and his innate creativity to come up with an amazing variety of deadly attacks using his giraffe transformation, and does so ''on the fly'' in the middle of battle.
* ''Manga/VinlandSaga'': Thorfinn fights like this when he's got his head on straight. When he doesn't, he turns into a ScreamingWarrior and proceeds to lose rather spectacularly. Askeladd fights like this as well, all the time, but with him there's a slight subversion. Despite the tactics he employs physically he's still one of the strongest characters in the series.
* Chiko, of ''Manga/TheDaughterOfTwentyFaces''. Being just a pre-teen girl, she's physically weaker than everyone else she ever fights. However, she possesses impressive agility, quick wits, and clever resourcefulness, having been trained by a GentlemanThief.
* Sagara Sousuke from ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic''. Both when in hand to hand combat (with men who are a lot more muscled, no less), ''and'' when he's fighting in his [[HumongousMecha AS]] (although this trope is more pronounced when he's in an inferior AS). There have been numerous times where he was piloting an old, worn down model of AS while fighting against new, far superior AS. And while everyone underestimates him and thinks he'll never win, he ends up taking down the opponents easily by using his skill and strategies. It also helps that he's a CombatPragmatist. (On the other hand, in sister series ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanicFumoffu'', his skills as applied to every day school life is clearly overkill.)
* Kaku Kaioh in the ''Manga/BakiTheGrappler'' series. Was once very physically strong, until he came to believe that this was the superior way to fight, as his strength would fade with age, but skill would not.
* Sano from ''Manga/TheLawOfUeki'' has two powers: to turn towels to steel and his Level 2 [[spoiler: make the towel steel supermagnetic]]. From this, towel-boomerangs, towel-swords, towel-gags and at one point [[spoiler: charging at extreme speeds using a towel MAGLEV TRAIN]].
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'':
** In the original ''Manga/DragonBall'', there's a bit where Goku goes back in time and meets Master Roshi's old teacher, Mutaitou. By this point Goku is far stronger than the OldMaster, including having killed the monster that wiped out both the master and all of his dojo except Roshi and his EvilCounterpart {{rival}}, Tsuru. However, when they spar Goku's moves are so reckless and sloppy that Mutaitou manages to counter all his attacks with ease.
** This was also how his first meeting with Mr. Popo went.
** Compared to the Saiyans at the beginning of Z Goku was this. Since he was raised on Earth which had weak fighters compared to the rest of the universe, Goku lacked any real strength when Raditz came looking for him. However, Goku was able to sense energy, hide his power, and had great control of his ki, something that surprised Raditz when Goku bended his Kamehameha and powered up at various points.
** King Kai in a nutshell. When he debuted during the Saiyan Saga he was weaker than Vegeta at the time, and didn't get any stronger. He also trained Goku from weaker than Raditz to way stronger than Nappa in a mere six months, most of the Z Warriors from weaker than Nappa to strong enough to beat the Ginyu Force in ''a month and half'', and invented the Kaio-ken and the Spirit Bomb, two techniques that left in awe even the Gods of Destruction.
** This trope is the bane of the human protagonists' existence. It's entirely possible that Krillin, Yamcha, Tenshinhan, and Chaozu might be able to keep pace with the Saiyans in terms of actual fighting ''skill'', but the uber-powerful foes the protagonists face mean that the humans typically end up as benchwarmers, or are simply beat up as per TheWorfEffect. Even if it's only anime {{filler}}, Tenshinhan, Yamcha, and Chaozu do get their own personal CrowningMomentOfAwesome in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' when they faced the Ginyu Force while being trained by King Kai. King Kai's training methods, which were so good they allowed Goku to utterly thrash [[TheDragon Nappa]] when he returned to Earth, proved just as effective for the humans in that it allowed them to keep pace with Freeza's elite troops, and come out on top.
*** The reason this rarely works in Dragon Ball is because generally powerful characters are simply incapable of being harmed by anything that isn't at least somewhat close to their power level. They will just laugh it off. Even if a weaker opponent has the skill to get around their defense and hit them 100 times before they can react it doesn't matter, because none of the those 100 blows will hurt them. Krillin struggled to hurt Vegeta when Vegeta was deliberately standing there wide open so Krillin could injure him so he'd require healing because Vegeta was that much stronger.
*** When it comes to [[KiManipulation ki attacks]], it's the humans among the protagonists that have the creative attacks with special properties (geometry-breaking beams that can be supercharged with life energy, remote controlled projectiles that can turn on a dime, ki ''buzzsaws'' that seem to be able to metaphorically punch well above their weight class), while the Saiyans mostly just have increasingly large orbs and lasers to throw around. It's not always enough to even the power gap, but sometimes the results can be surprising...
** Piccolo gets this during the fight on Namek with Frieza. Though his {{power level|s}} was slightly lower than Frieza's even after his [[FusionDance fusion with Nail]], Piccolo's fighting skills nonetheless allow him to go toe-to-toe with Frieza's second form.
** ''Vegeta'', of all people, gets this treatment more than once:
*** In his second battle with Zarbon he found out that, even with the recent Zenkai boost, he was still weaker than his opponent. However he was a battle hardened fighter and Zarbon had grown rusty due being around Frieza for years, so Vegeta managed to get around his defenses and land ''two'' crippling blows. NoHoldsBarredBeatdown ensues.
*** During his fight with Recoome, Vegeta showed much more skill than his opponent... And not enough power to actually hurt him, something Recoome mocked him for.
*** When dealing with Perfect Cell, Vegeta found himself just as outmatched in terms of power as he had been against Recoome, something Cell mocked him for just like Recoome. Then, [[OhCrap much to Cell's horror]], Vegeta revealed the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA-WIynIzzs Final Flash]] and nearly ''killed him''-Cell had to dodge, and even then he received what would have been crippling damage against anyone without [[FromASingleCell his immense regenerative power]].
*** After Vegeta was defeated by Cell, Trunks stepped in with his newly revealed Ultra Super Saiyan form, powerful enough to overcome Cell... But too slow to actually ''hit'' him, in addition to drain his energy and stamina far faster than normal. Cell promptly revealed that Vegeta could have done it too, he just hadn't bothered because, being far more skilled than Trunks, he had not needed to use it in combat to notice the drawbacks.
*** In ''[[Anime/DragonballZBattleOfGods Battle of Gods]]'' he has the best showing against [[PhysicalGod Beerus]] because of his good fighting sense, outperforming the far stronger [=SSJ3=] Goku, Gohan, and Gotenk. Beerus even laments that he's "highly skilled, but lacks the power to match it."
** Gohan (who could be the poster child for UnskilledButStrong) {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this when he trains with Krillin. When Krillin congratulates him on how strong he is, Gohan says Krillin kept surprising him just because of how many different techniques he knew.
** The 23rd Tournament arc also makes a really big point of this trope: Krillin and Yamcha are absolutely {{Curbstomp}}ed, but the crowd still cheers wildly for them because their skills were still top-notch.
** Unbelievably, ''[[FakeUltimateHero Mr. Satan]]'': in his fight with Cell he attacks with great skill and in such a way that he would have ''destroyed'' a normal opponent (indeed, the ''first'' attack had a good chance to ''kill'' a normal human), but as his opponent was the far stronger Cell he didn't even scratch him. He later proves it again when going against two gunmen-and as the gunmen were [[{{Muggles}} normal humans]] he [[CurbStompBattle annihilates them]].
** [[spoiler:[[Manga/JacoTheGalacticPatrolman Jaco]]]] has shown his skills again and again, proving that [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass his bragging of being a super elite for being a member of the Galactic Patrol is well-founded]], with feats that include instantly calculating how much strength he needed to kick a falling giant rocket away from East City without blowing it up and noticing things that escaped ''Beerus and Champa''. In his solo series he also flat-out admits ''any'' adult Saiyan would destroy him (he's gotten better by ''Film/DragonBallZResurrectionF'', enough to fight a small army of Frieza's soldiers and come out on top, but he's still far from the big guys).
** Hit, an assassin from Universe 6, doesn't match Goku or Vegeta in terms of raw strength. Instead, he is able to easily defeat Vegeta, then later fight Goku on equal footing, because his skills in the martial arts, along with his "Time Skip" ability, allowed him to outfight them. He can also improve his fighting technique in the middle of battle when pushed to his limits, making him more dangerous as a fight draws on even though he doesn't get any stronger.
** In the Universe Survival Arc in ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'', Roshi definitely qualifies. While nowhere near the level of the rest of the team in terms of strength, his hundreds of years of experience and techniques are the reason why Goku and Gohan choose him. It pays off: he ultimately manages to defeat ''three'' opponents in the Tournament of Power, which puts him comfortably in the Top 10 of the entire Tournament (by number of knockouts).
* Yugi Mutou, from ''Manga/YuGiOh'', seems an ineffectual wimp who, in spite of being a gutsy little mite, would be about as much use in a fistfight as a squashed watermelon. But in a universe where Card Games are SeriousBusiness, Yugi reigns supreme. (Regular Yugi fits this trope better since the Other Yugi has HardWorkHardlyWorks going for him, whereas Yugi slowly but surely develops his abilities to the point at which he [[spoiler:can and ''does'' actually defeat the pharaoh]].
** The Pharaoh is a prime example of this trope regarding the games. In Capsule Monster Chess, he defeated Mokuba's strong monsters with a single weakling. And in the card game Duel Monsters, he's so good that he defeated Obelisk the Tormentor with his three Magnet Warriors. And in the 10th Anniversary movie, his deck is actually very old and weak in comparison to his two partners Judai and Yusei and the opponent Paradox, yet he manages to destroy the Malefic Paradox Dragon (4000 ATK) with his freaking Dark Magician, who doesn't have even an effect.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Jun Manjoume conquers the North Academy with a mix of random weak cards. Later, his brothers challenged him to a duel where Manjoume must only use monsters with maximum 500 ATK. He wins anyway. Also, Manjoume's current deck has the [[LethalJokeCharacter Ojama trio]] as his core cards besides his Armed Dragons.
* Yusei Fudo from ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' has a deck full with weak monster cards. However, since his deck is built for Synchro Summoning and is [[CrazyPrepared prepared for almost every situation]], he never lose on-screen.
* In ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'', Red and Blue's main Pokémon have levels that range from the 80s to 90s, while only Green's main powerhouse Pokémon has the level of 80 and everyone else is around 60-70 (her Granbull is only in its 20s). However, she rarely engages in direct combat as her victories are contributed to her skilled use of [[GambitIndex gambits]].
** Yellow counts too, when she's not using her [[SuperEmpowering level-booster powers]]. By base level alone, she is by far the weakest of the Dex Holders. She can think up of a few sound strategies during battle to make up for her lack of strength (since overusing her powers rapidly exhausts her), but the flaws of this trope are pointed out to her when she works out a complicated scheme to get past Lance's primary defense but is unable to actually break through his secondary one due to simply not having enough power.
* ''Manga/BigWindup'' – {{Invoked|Trope}} - Momome points out that despite Tajima's exceptional speed and accuracy, he just doesn't have the build to be a power hitter in baseball. While he has been holding his own so far, there are signs that as the series goes on [[spoiler:he will struggle to progress as a result of this handicap while the other players like Hanai overtake him in usefulness by virtue of their superior power and range.]]
* Clare from ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'', despite being in theory the weakest of all the warriors, has learned every trick and tactic there is to kill Awakened Ones. Normally, she's [[CripplingOverspecialization cripplingly overspecialized]], but as the series progresses, Awakened Beings start coming out of the woodwork. [[spoiler: And then subverted horribly when she finally meets up with Priscilla after years of searching. Priscilla is by far the strongest character currently in the series and all the skill in the world can't put a scratch on her.]]
* Until he TookALevelInBadass, Yuki of ''Manga/FutureDiary'' usually just let his {{Yandere}} ActionGirlfriend do the fighting for him. However, he is the most skilled at utilizing the power of his Diary and anticipates moves in combat or finds very specific information from the future.
** Said girlfriend is the polar opposite of Yukki, but still manages to fit this trope. She is very strong and skilled, but her Diary is the weakest, only able to predict one persons actions and her own Dead End.
* ''Manga/InitialD'' gives us Takumi and his [=AE86=] Trueno. Although his Trueno pales in comparison to more powerful cars like the RX-7s and Skylines, his skill with the Trueno is what allows him to, to the shock of those who haven't seen him in action yet, hold his own against such more powerful cars.
* ''Manga/ShamanKing'' has Yoh's father, who tends to say "It matters not who has the most furyoku, but who uses it properly". He can defeat his overpowered son and friends with his technique alone, but then again, Yoh and friends don't seem to understand that in the anime.
** There's also the fight against Lee Bai Long. To stop him after he goes berserk once Jun's spell tag is destroyed, Anna summons the ghost of Bai Long's deceased master, who possesses Yoh in order to put the raging [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]] down. Bai Long's master died a decrepit old man - [[CurbStompBattle and still kicks Bai Long's ass.]]
* Lelouch Vi Britannia of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' uses his intelligence and tactics as counter his AcePilot rival, all while being an average pilot and outright pathetic ground-pounder himself.
* Any human in ''Manga/BeetTheVandelBuster'' capable of threatening a high star Vandel, including the main characters. Slade in particular fits this, he is small but quick, his special weapon is invisible rather than being an obvious representation of power like usual, and he is fond of advanced techniques involving intricate timing. [[spoiler:He is nearly killed when fighting Beltorze's puppet since Beltorze is just as intelligent a fighter ''and'' has a ton of raw power to boot.]]
* ''LightNovel/InfiniteStratos'': Maya Yamada, the assistant homeroom teacher, goes up against two students in Ace Customs, using a training IS... and effortlessly curbstomps them.
** In the same vein, Charles [[spoiler:aka Charlotte]] Dunois. Having explicitly stated to pilot an outdated 2nd Generation IS Rafale Revive II (the same type that Yamada-sensei uses), albeit customized, she can and has gone toe-to-toe with more modern 3rd generation machines such as Blue Tears and Schwarzer Roegen.
* Kisiragi of ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' is a weak pretty-boy with little stamina and only average speed. Yet he manages to be CoDragons with [[ManipulativeBastard Marco]] alongside the UnskilledButStrong [[TheJuggernaut Gaou]] due to his ability to knock the ball out of a receiver's hand just after they get their hands on it. With only this skill, and his own stubbornness, Kisiragi shuts down Monta, the best Wide Receiver in-series, and helps his idol, Gaou, take down Hiruma, possibly the smartest Quarterback around.
** Compared with his junior teammates, who are very large and powerful, quarterback Osamu Kobanzame from the Kyoshin Poseidons is a pushover. He's short, he's not particularly fast or strong, and he's a coward. However, because he don't want to become a burden for his teammates, he strives to perform to the best he can. As result, he became quarterback with great short-pass precision, with no interceptions during the tournament thanks to his cautious playing. And [[SelfDeprecation despite his own misgivings]], [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming his junior teammates actually greatly valued him]].
** The Devil Bats have Manabu Yukimitsu. He's only about as strong as Sena, and slightly faster than [[MightyGlacier Kurita]]. What he does have is the brains to be a master of the option route with [[MagnificentBastard Hiruma]] as his quarterback, and the {{determinat|or}}ion to pull it off.
* The [[OurHomunculiAreDifferent Homunculus]] [[TranquilFury Wrath]] [[spoiler: a.k.a. King Bradley]] in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. He cannot [[HealingFactor regenerate]] like the other Homunculi and he's also turning sixty, something he likes to remind us often, downplaying his combat performance as well as the effectiveness of his [[MagicalEye Ultimate Eye]]; a [[CombatClairvoyance skill]] that lacks the sheer power of, say, Lust's [[WolverineClaws Ultimate Lance]] or Greed's [[MadeOfIron Ultimate Shield]]. Finally, [[GunsVsSwords he uses swords in a world where firearms]] and [[FunctionalMagic long range alchemic attacks]] are fairly common. All in all, he shouldn't pose a significant threat to our heroes, right?...[[BadassGrandpa W]]-[[ImplacableMan R]]-[[ImplausibleFencingPowers O]]-[[HeroKiller N]]-[[OneManArmy G]].
* ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'': While Jin is definitely not physically weak, he's a lot more reliant on technical skill than his rival Mugen. This trope is most evident in the fight against [[spoiler: Kariya]]; Jin's actually very close in skill with him, but outclassed in sheer power and Ki-Attacks.
* Kuroko of ''Manga/KurokoNoBasuke''. He doesn't have the talent or the build for basketball, but because of his highly refined and practiced skill at Misdirection (which requires [[spoiler:enhanced tactical acuity and play-reading, foresight, and an iron-clad rationale dedicated to performing his specific role)]], he was able to be considered the "Phantom Sixth Player" of the legendary Generation of Miracles, his middle school team which took the national championship three years in a row.
** Serin's Izuki Shun is this as well. Among the point guards of the national-level teams, he's physically the weakest by a sizeable margin. However, his Eagle Eye, polished fundamentals (particularly passing and stealing), and his ability to read plays and predict upwards of three to four moves ahead allows him to go toe-to-toe with players like [[spoiler:the expert Kasuga Ryuuhei of Seihou, BadassNormal Kasamatsu Yukio of Kaijou, and even Uncrowned King "Thunder Beast" Hayama Koutaro]]. Hayama in particular recognizes him as a "first-rate player", and admits he can't beat him unless he plays at his absolute best ''and'' plans his attack first.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[DarkMagicalGirl Akemi Homura]] is eventually revealed to be a version of this. [[spoiler: Her actual powers are fairly limited; her status as one of the most accomplished warriors in the series comes from her creative applications of them. As well as a ''lot'' of [[MoreDakka Dakka]].]]
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'':
** After [[InsistentTerminology The Beautiful Suzuka]] was humiliated by the super strong Younger Toguro, he became obsessed with proving that skill is superior to strength, so he spent all his time working on special techniques instead of his strength. However, Genkai pointed out strength and skill are equally important and mocked him for not building up his strength before beating the shit out of him.
** Sniper more or less fits the trope. Physically, he's a normal human who could easily be knocked out from a mere tap by any of the main characters, yet he's dangerous enough of a psychic and marksman to give ''Genkai'' the chills. And sure enough, Yusuke stood no real chance against him during their "fight." [[spoiler:Fortunately for Yusuke, Hiei was lurking about.]]
** Kuwabara also fits this trope to an extent. He's the weakest of the main cast by a fair margin, and his overall skill isn't as great as the others. Despite this, he is incredibly gifted in energy manipulation, winning or coming close in a great many of his fights [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer through his many impromptu variations of his Spirit Sword]], even managing to defeat somebody roughly two spirit classes above him.
** In a surprising moment, [[spoiler: Shinobu Sensui, the BigBad of the Chapter Black story arc]]. He admits that Yusuke is every bit his physical superior in almost every way, but he has him completely outclassed when it comes to skill in real combat, and though they both use the same tactics of analyzing their opponents fighting style he's done it for far longer and can predict his every move, and finally concludes with the fact he's far more skilled and powerful with his spirit energy.
--->[[spoiler:'''Sensui:''']]: If your spirit energy could fill a fishbowl, then mine could fill the ocean.
* ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' gives us Nanami, an ordinary human turned PhysicalGod. She has plenty of divine power and she's both intelligent and cunning, but she is still only a human in terms of physical strength and endurance.
* [[MonsterKnight Viral]] from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. It's a stated impossibility for him to create Spiral Energy, but he can still stand up to Kamina and Simon through [[VillainousValour sheer piloting skill and courage]].
* Cao Cao in ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'' is this trope. He's just a normal human who admittedly has [[SuperpowerLottery the strongest spear (and weapon created in the entire series)]] that can kill a god, but all it takes is just one hit from any character in this series and he's down for the count since the protagonists are devils who are a lot more durable than he is. It should be easy to take him down, right? [[OneManArmy NOPE]].
* Puppetmon from ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' is one of the physically weakest Mega levels of all, but his special skills means he's able to keep pace with the physical powerhouse Wargreymon and even take control of him. Note, that he's only weak for his level, he'd beat most ultimates physically.
* When taking part in a baseball game in ''Anime/{{Charlotte}}'', Misa falls into this because, while she has the athletic skill, she can only act by possessing the body of her non-athletic sister, Yusa. This leaves her with a body that can't keep up with her actual ability. Despite this she's a key player in the baseball game against a telekinetic pitcher.
* The "Hero Killer" Stain in ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'' falls into this if you judge purely by Quirk. Stain's Quirk allows him to paralyze a person by ingesting their blood, with certain blood types being more susceptible than others. Not much compared to powers like SuperStrength, PlayingWithFire, or being AnIcePerson. He makes up for it by DualWielding knives and honing his raw physical combat ability to high levels to make the most out of his Quirk in combat.
* Among the physical combat-inclined [[Franchise/SailorMoon Sailor Senshi]], Sailor Venus and Uranus are this compared to Sailor Jupiter: Jupiter is the physically strongest of the Sailor Senshi, but the other two are so much more skilled that Uranus handed her a CurbStompBattle, and in the manga the (untransformed) fight between a BrainwashedAndCrazy Jupiter and Venus [[OneHitKO was over in one kick]].
* The [[HunterOfMonsters Ghoul Investigators]] in ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' operate on this principle. Ghouls are physically superior to humans in every manner, with CombatTentacles or RazorWings, a HealingFactor, and resistance to conventional weaponry. To have any hope of winning against them, humans have to be incredibly skilled and willing to resort to [[CombatPragmatist whatever methods]] can score a victory.
* Having low trion causes low powered weapons and brittle shields in ''Manga/WorldTrigger''. Despite this, Kitora and Yoneya managed to bring their teams to A-rank. To make up for their low attack and defense, Kitora supplements her skillset with traping skill, while Yoneya opts for higher reach by mounting his BladeOnAStick. Series protagonist Osamu also has the problem. And being a rookie at the start of the series, he has to work on that "skilled" part, too.
** Border as a whole effectively ends up as this in the Invasion arc. The vast majority of Border members can't match the raw power and advanced triggers of the Aftokratorian invasion team, and have to beat them though tactics, skill, numbers, and outright trickery.
* In ''Manga/Brave10'', Rokuro is one of the smallest, lithest dudes on the team and gets thrown around like a ragdoll more than once, but he has his [[MakeMeWannaShout sonic techniques]], later [[spoiler:BloodMagic]], and is fast and precise with [[HiddenWeapons suntetsu]] and his [[WhipItGood chain whip]].
* This is Ikki's entire Shtick in ''LightNovel/ChivalryOfAFailedKnight''. His magical ability is best described as "barely". Nonetheless, he manages to hold on through skill, endurance, the ability to read his opponent's fighting style, and a technique that pools all his meager magic into one single attack.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/{{Batman}}. He's a guy with a funny suit and a bunch of neat toys who runs around with people who can bench-press planets. And, whenever there's a conflict, ''he wins'', because he's the most skilled. It helps he's CrazyPrepared and [[BetrayalInsurance keeps Kryptonite on his body at all times in the off chance Superman is a danger]]. Let alone his other plans...
** ComicBook/TheJoker. He might be a normal, rather fragile human, but he can concoct poisons and create gadgets that regularly overcome metas on a routine basis. Add in the fact that he would sell his soul for a box of cigars and massacre a kindergarten class on a whim, and you've got a guy whom almost every other DC Supervillain fears.
** Tim Drake, the third Robin, shows off how much he's learned by employing the same tactics. In the last issue of his solo series, he's challenged to a duel to the death by Comicbook/LadyShiva, ''the'' deadliest assassin in Franchise/TheDCU, who trained him in the first place. After what appears to be a SingleStrokeBattle, Tim is stumbling, with three broken ribs, while Shiva is standing confidently... [[spoiler:until she falls to the ground, paralyzed. Tim spiked some hotel chocolates with a paralytic poison, activated by a heightened heart rate, ''before she even wrote the note challenging him''.]] Standing over her, Tim then explains this trope: If he can't match someone with skill or strength, he'll beat them with his smarts.
* Comicbook/SquirrelGirl, who has the powers of [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway talking to squirrels while having squirrel agility]], takes down Marvel powerhouses, including the Cosmic Powered Thanos, by [[WeaksauceWeakness exploiting their one weakness]], being just that good, or having PlotArmor. RuleOfFunny is also a factor. This trope probably applies to the entire ComicBook/GreatLakesAvengers team. They get no respect from the other superheroes, and their powers are...weird. Yet they still save the day now and then.
* This is Karate Kid's (''Comicbook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}'') entire schtick: although he technically doesn't possess any super-powers, he can still hold his own against Superman thanks to his knowledge of every martial art in existence.
* Cassie from ''ComicBook/HackSlash'' is a BadassNormal always fighting against undead monsters many times stronger than her.
* Believe it or not, Franchise/SpiderMan in relation to the rest of the Franchise/MarvelUniverse. Sure his powers are pretty impressive to a normal person, but he's a lightweight compared to the some of the guys he normally hangs out with. However, by using his brains, all his powers, and [[{{Determinator}} absolute refusal to give up]] he can, and often does, take down even literal {{Physical God}}s.
** Doesn't hurt that his {{Unstoppable Rage}}s are quite possibly the most legitimate in Marvel, next to [[TropeCodifier the Hulk]] himself.
** Most of his rogues' gallery is stronger than him, and many of them can break his webbing, so Spider-Man has to outthink all of his opponents. One of his favorite tricks is to hit an enemy with a strand of web, even though said villain is physically stronger and heavier so Spider-Man cannot throw him. When the enemy tries to yank Spider-Man towards them, he uses the momentum to deliver a nasty kick or punch.
** It also doesn't hurt his physical abilities are some of the most well balanced around. There are stronger, but they usually have nowhere near his speed and agility and those who are more agile and faster are nowhere near as strong.
** Interestingly enough, he has been written as UnskilledButStrong in some story arcs. During the Big Time arc he was temporarily stripped of his Spider Sense, and his fighting ability took a hit as a result, as he tended to rely on the early warning of his Spider Sense to anticipate his opponent's attacks. To compensate for the loss of his Spider Sense, he accepted an offer to learn martial arts from Shang Chi, one of the top martial artists in the Marvel Universe. Once Shang Chi taught him the basics, they perfected a unique fighting style called The Way of the Spider, which exploited Spider-Man's physical strength, speed and agility to maximum effect.
* Jesse Custer from ''Comicbook/{{Preacher}}'' is this compared to [[UnskilledButStrong Cassidy]], and has kicked his ass. As Jesse puts it, "Fella taught me to fight was the same piece of shit shot my daddy dead in fronta my eyes. That'll tend to focus your concentration".
** One of Jesse and Cassidy's fights hilariously subverts this. Cassidy throws a punch in a rage, which Jesse blocks; Cassidy is cowed and leaves. Jesse immediately asks Tulip and Amy to drive him to the hospital, as the punch broke every bone in his hand.
** Tulip also fits this trope, being a talented gunfighter who routinely goes up against both normal humans several times her size/strength and supernatural creatures. In particular is the time she [[spoiler:shoots Cassidy out of a window and into the sunlight]]. Bonus points for doing it with a hangover.
* This is the schtick of Reed Richards of the ComicBook/FantasticFour. He's physically the weakest member, but his mind makes him the most dangerous by a long shot.
* [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] is, by his own admission, terrible at fighting. He will more often than not lose out in a straight-up fist fight and doesn't really use any magic outside of rituals, and then only when absolutely necessary. Regardless, anyone who decides to piss him off better watch their backs, because chances are that he will be arranging some spectacularly terrible fate for them somewhere down the line.
* On paper, Comicbook/CaptainAmerica isn't all that impressive. He's listed as the height of human potential, but a good chunk of his enemies are ''way'' beyond that. Unfortunately for most villains, he's more than skilled enough to make him one of the top A-list heroes in Marvel. On at least one occasion, he's actually beaten [[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk the Hulk]]. He's also [[CrazyPrepared made a point of reading up on just about every major villain and threat the Avengers and U.S. government have gathered data on]], so he often starts fights with villains knowing what to look out for and what their {{Logical Weakness}}es are.
** In one instance Captain America lost the strength and agility that was given to him by the Super Solider serum, turning him back into "that skinny kid from Brooklyn". While being intimidated by some newly super-powered thugs, Cap tells them that while the serum gave him physical strength, his skills are the result of years of training and discipline. [[CurbStompBattle He then demonstrates.]]
* Comicbook/{{Empowered}} has shown signs of this. While her supersuit really is pretty powerful, it is easily damaged and rendered useless, making her an extreme GlassCannon. However, unlike 99% of the other superheroes in her universe, she actually thinks, and this has allowed her to beat villains that others were not able to. She also notes that as cool as throwing a car looks, you'll do much more damage [[CarFu by just driving it into them.]]
* Comicbook/DoctorStrange (yes, really), when up against the [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt caliber of threat that will get a Sorcerer Supreme involved]], is almost always overpowered and outclassed. He still wins through a combination of luck, knowledge, and the [[GuileHero clever use of what he has]].
* Amy from ''ComicBook/SonicTheComic'': She never gains the raw power of Sonic or Knuckles, but her smarts and ranged combat abilities allow her to be almost as effective under the right conditions.
* Hideko Takata was a member of the Hulkbusters in the late 1980s. She's a normal, overweight, middle-aged woman, who managed to ''throw the Hulk to the ground,'' by expert use of judo.
* ComicBook/{{X 23}} is a short and slight teenage girl [[DependingOnTheArtist usually depicted]] as even smaller than ''ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}''. She shares his mutation but only her claws are laced with adamantium, so though she heals faster she's [[GlassCannon less resistant to injury in the first place]]. She's ''still'' one of the most dangerous fighters in the Marvel Universe because of her extensive combat training (and not just hand-to-hand, either. "Target X" shows her sniping the pilot of a ''maneuvering helicopter'' with a perfect headshot). In fact she's ''such'' a dangerous fighter despite her physical shortcomings that ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance'' actually classifies her as a ''[[MightyGlacier Bruiser]]''.
* ''ComicBook/{{Grendel}}'' especially the Hunter Rose and Christine Spar versions. Hunter Rose was a slight man and not particularly tall, but he was a teenage fencing champion. And of course, he was intellectually brilliant. Christine Spar was a tall, thin woman who, however was said to practice kendo. She was good in tracking and spying but physically, she couldn't handle more than petty thugs or not so bright animal cops like Dominic Riley. Also, because she was the least malevolent Grendel, her body count was quite small compared to other Grendels as she didn't really seek to kill anyone except her son's kidnappers. She didn't even think to finish off thugs that she maimed, such as Tujiro stooge Niccolo. Of the handful of people she killed, two were killed by a carbomb, not direct physical combat. The only heavyweights that Christine fought were Tujiro and Argent. However, Tujiro escaped and [[spoiler: she died fighting Argent]].
* Comicbook/BlackPanther is stronger and more agile than a normal human, but is significantly weaker than many of his fellow [[Comibook/TheAvengers Avengers]]. Despite this, he's a CrazyPrepared tactical genius and one of the few heroic examples of TheChessmaster archetype, making him very effective. He's managed to get the drop on many more powerful opponents, including ''ComicBook/{{Mephisto}}'' [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu himself]].
* ComicBook/{{Daredevil}} has a powerset consisting of SuperSenses and a DisabilitySuperpower that compensates for his blindness by giving him a special "radar sense" instead. Other than that, he relies on his athleticism and combat training to survive. That said, it's often all Daredevil needs, as he's very creative in figuring out ways to use his powers to defeat enemies that otherwise outclass him in sheer power. He's even defeated villains like [[GeniusBruiser Mr.]] [[TheBerserker Hyde]] and [[PowerCopying the Absorbing Man]], guys who regularly give ''ComicBook/TheMightyThor'' and ''ComicBook/IncredibleHulk'' fits, this way.
* Kenton of ''ComicBook/WhiteSand'' is ridiculously weak compared to his fellow [[DishingOutDirt Sand Masters]], but thanks to that he's learnt to control the little he has with far greater precision.
* While Franchise/WonderWoman always has SuperStrength, and is often a FlyingBrick, she's sometimes this given that she often faces off with {{Physical God}}s. Notable, against her two main [[{{Archenemy}} archenemies]], Ares and Circe, the [[WarGod god of war]] and a powerful immortal {{Evil Sorcere|r}}ss respectively, her strength means little, so she had to rely on her wits, her Amazonian training and her [[{{Determinator}} upstoppable determination]] to defeat them.
* In the [[ComicBook/WarlordOfMars Dejah Thoris comics]], one arc has Dejah Thoris transported to the future where Mars is invaded by Earthlings. The Red Men are shown able to overpower the humans physically, despite humans being as strong as the mighty Green Men. However, the Red Men are also expert swordsmen and the humans come from a time period when hand to hand combat is rarely used (additionally humans don't have the great height and [[MultiArmedAndDangerous 4 arms]], so they're not as big a melee threat to the Red Men).

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' [[http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1988/09/09 features a strip]] where Calvin says to Moe, "You're so dumb you probably never thought about how a sparrow's smaller size and greater maneuverability is an advantage in fighting off big crows." Calvin is then punched by Moe.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* There's a magic style built around this principle in ''Fanfic/GameTheoryFanFic''.
* ''FanFic/QueenOfAllOni'': When Jackie fights [[EnigmaticMinion Blankman]] in the Vault of Endless Night, he notes that he has [[TheBrute Hak Foo's]] level of skill, if not power.
* In ''Fanfic/{{Kage}}'', Jade fits this, at least in comparison to her foes. She only has CastingAShadow powers, enhanced physical abilities, and [[{{Hammerspace}} an unlimited amount of]] [[KnifeNut kunai and shuriken]]. Her main foes are the Guardians, who all have ElementalPowers. During the capture of Vathek, she is able to keep Irma and Hay Lin too busy dodging her attacks to be able to actually ''fight''.
* {{Discussed|Trope}} in ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7832146/1/Swapping-The-Cage Swapping The Cage]]''. When Sakura mentions that she has good chakra control and skill to compensate for her lack of power, Kuushou points out that there comes a point where all the skill in the world can't compensate for a significant gap in power. However he does agree with her that it's far better to have both skill and power than one or the other.
* [[LightNovel/SwordArtOnline Kirito and Asuna]] in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9891998/1/Highschool-SAO Highschool SAO]] are the weakest members of [[LightNovel/HighSchoolDxD Rias' Peerage]], but due to their time fighting in SAO, they have the skill to fight almost all of Raiser's Peerage and come out victorious.
* The titular character in ''[[http://www.tthfanfic.org/Story-28404-67/DianeCastle+Xendra.htm Xendra]]'' is at best a match for fledgling [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer vampires]] but her and a few mostly normal (Andrew has some talent as a summoner) take out a nest filled with dozens of vampires using a combination of Molotov cocktails, spike strips, and filling the warehouse basement with gasoline.
* In the ''Anime/DragonBallGT'' fic ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1337083/1/God-s-Gift-to-Women God's Gift To Women]]'', Master Roshi is able to get the better of Bra in a sparring match despite the vast difference in their power because he is so much more skilled than her.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10917821/12/The-questionable-burdens-of-leadership-of-a-troll-Emperor The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor]]'' Naruto's general [[BadassNormal Setsuna]] crushes [[Manga/{{Sekirei}} Kara]][[UnskilledButStrong suba]] in a spar after the latter is BroughtDownToNormal. Even beforehand, Setsuna proved to be a dangerous opponent due to having centuries of combat experience and training.
** The Celestial Empire in general qualified for the first few centuries. They had far fewer forces than the Goa'uld, no ships, and the same weaponry. They won so readily because Naruto drilled actual battlefield tactics into them unlike the Goa'uld who went no further than "Charge! Run them down!", which as Naruto noted only works against enemies so outmatched you never had a chance of losing. Later the empire's technology advances far beyond Goa'uld, at which point the Goa'uld begin to realize they might actually lose the war.
* Saito in ''Fanfic/ZeroNoTsukaimaSaitoTheOnmyoji'' notes that he's roughly half as strong as the average student in the academy but because he's a fully accredited mage and the way his magic (called mysticism) works, he's considerably more dangerous.
* ''Fanfic/LuffysRenewedAdventure'': Nojiko. She’s nowhere near as strong as some of the crew, but she makes up for it with exceptional agility and precision with a knife and pistol. The first fight we see her in, she takes on six Baroque Works bounty hunters at once in Whiskey Peak, and wins without a scratch.
* ''Fanfic/ThisBites'': Cross and Soundbite. Cross has a good tactical mind and [[SelfInsertFic knowledge from another dimension]], but even with Zoro's Training From Hell to increase his stamina, Kureha's miracle vitamins to increase his durability, and Usopp's custom-made armor to increase his strength, his physical capabilities remain at the point where the only enemies he can reliably fight on his own are {{Mooks}}. Soundbite's Noise-Noise Fruit powers make him masterful in bluffing out and disabling his opponents, as well as mustering reinforcements in seconds, and he's developed a few genuine attacks. But without his powers, he's only a snail. With their wits combined, however, and Lassoo as the main source of firepower, they're easily formidable enough to have a place with the Straw Hat Pirates.
* A staple of ''[[Fanfic/RyuugisTheGamesWePlay The Games We Play]]''. Even as Jaune makes leaps and bounds in his power over the course of the story, almost every serious fight he gets into has him going up against someone or something that is statistically even more brokenly strong, forcing him to use skill and quick thinking to win.
* For a certain measure of [[OvershadowedByAwesome weak]], Xander in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11181910/45/Yet-Again-Still-Even-More-Fragments A Sunny Day In DC]]'' has spent far more time analyzing his Kryptonian powers than Superman and Supergirl due to having smaller reserves of solar energy and being unable to rely on physical superiority when fighting. As a result, he's realized that his [[EyeBeams heat vision]], [[BreathWeapon frost breath]], SuperStrength, and {{Flight}} are all forms of [[MindOverMatter telekinesis]] which he's spent time perfecting. Most people don't even realize the new superhero is Kryptonian because he doesn't fight like one.
* Karura is definitely weaker than her son Gaara in ''[[http://ficwad.com/story/213011 Eroninja]]'' given that she can only control about as much sand as his gourd holds and has to manipulate it with hand gestures, unlike Gaara who can control hundreds of tons while barely moving. However, she's much faster with it and can manipulate sand more finely than Gaara can.
* ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11267384/1/ Chiaroscuro]]''
** Shikamaru and Kakashi manage to take down Orochimaru by tricking him into attacking himself.
** Sakura manages to beat Neji due to a combination of greater planning and Neji being foolish enough to monologue during a fight. He might have been faster, stronger, and more skilled, but she took that time to set up a flashbang genjutsu.
** Shikamaru again, when he distracts Itachi by messing with his mind instead of trying to compete against his technique.
* This trope is how Anime/CuteyHoney can fight [[Manga/SailorMoon Dark Kingdom youma]] and win in ''Venus Flash'': while far weaker than any serious youma, let alone Sailor Venus, she's an experienced fighter that [[CombatPragmatist would not exitate into throwing a flamethrower-vielding enemy into an open fire or]] ''[[CombatPragmatist strip herself as a distraction]]'' and used to fight stronger enemies, allowing her to keep up with creative use of her powers.
* Discussed in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12512455/2/Lex-Marks-The-Spot Lex Marks the Spot]]'' when [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Xander]] in Lex Luthor's body points out the flaw with the Doomsday program: they're trying to make someone strong enough to beat Superman rather than something that can take advantage of his weaknesses. All they need is someone strong enough to be in roughly the same ballpark as Superman with some powers he doesn't possess (such as telepathy). Or as Xander puts it, "If you drop a naked Green Beret in the forest with orders to bring you a dead bear by Sunday, what will you get on Sunday? A dead bear, two if he gets hungry."
* Ume from ''Fanfic/SugarPlums'' is a SelfInsert protagonist who is actually at her default weaker than the average shinobi. She just naturally has less chakra then a normal person, and the longer a fight goes on the more likely she is to be killed because she has to draw from the chakra shinobi use to make them physically stronger and tougher than a normal person. Which is why she [[CombatPragmatist never]] [[FragileSpeedster let's her fights]] [[OneHitKill last that long.]]
* In ''Literature/VioletThiefOfTheHermitCore'', Laven is this. He has sky-high Vitality and Resistance, Speed, and Luck, but low Strength and Intelligence, making him a good StoneWall. He usually wins through IndyPloy tactics and generally being skilled enough to make up for his lack of sheer strength.
* In ''[[Fanfic/MCURewrites Captain America: Ghosts of HYDRA]]'', [[ComicBook/Agent13 Sharon Carter]] is this. She assists [[SuperSoldier Steve Rogers/Captain America and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier]] in taking down the remnants of HYDRA. While she has not taken a SuperSoldier serum like her companions, she more than makes up for it with sheer combat ability in CQC (whether hand-to-hand or her electric batons) and firearms. It is is because of this that she is able to mow down HYDRA agents, keep up with Brock Rumlow/Crossbones, hold off both Crossbones and [[spoiler:another one of the Winter Soldiers, Josef]] for awhile and [[spoiler:kill Josef by [[BoomHeadshot shooting him in the head]].]]
* ''Film/{{Underworld}}'' has such a moment at the end, during [[BigBad Viktor's]] fight with the newly [[HybridMonster hybridized]] Michael Corvin. Though Michael clearly outmatches Viktor in raw strength and speed and initially has the upper hand, Viktor, having 600+ years of combat experience under his belt, eventually manages to turn the tide, with Michael only being saved from death by Selene making a ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind. Of course, it's only compared to Michael that Viktor can be considered weak but skilled; earlier in the film, he effortlessly {{Neck Lift}}ed a fully transformed [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Lycan]], and then performed a NeckSnap.
* In ''Film/TheThirteenthWarrior'', in order to get the scheming prince to back off, one of the thirteen picks a fight with a younger, bigger, stronger mook. He lets the mook beat him up for a while and very nearly win, then when the mook rushes in for a killing blow, the warrior casually sidesteps it and cuts off his head in one stroke.
-->'''Herger''': Any fool can calculate strength; [the prince] has been doing it from the moment he saw us. Now, he has to calculate what he ''can't'' see.
* ''Film/RoboCop1987'' combines this with WeaksauceWeakness: The eponymous cyborg defeats ED-209 by ''knowing how to [[CantUseStairs climb stairs]]''.
* In ''Forbidden City Cop'', Ling Ling Fat inherited a position in the imperial bodyguards, but doesn't actually know any martial arts. Instead, he's a clever RenaissanceMan who uses his wits and inventions to outfight his enemies.
* ''Franchise/{{Zatoichi}}: The Blind Swordsman''. He's old, blind, feeble, and homeless. He practically hobbles up to his opponents, and then cuts them down.
* Hit Girl (Creator/ChloeMoretz) of ''Film/KickAss'' is an 11-year old girl, but is capable of killing multiple adult opponents due to her superior training in martial arts, weapons and firearms [[MST3KMantra (just go with it)]]. Notably, in unarmed combat against an opponent who is an equally skilled martial artist, his significant advantage in terms of weight means that she actually has trouble keeping up with him.
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', the Kryptonians haven't adapted to Earth like Superman has, so they're vulnerable to the same PowerIncontinence he got over and have had less time to gain strength from Earth's sun. However, having been bred to be soldiers, they are better fighters and learn the basics of their new abilities extremely fast. [[spoiler:By the end, Zod has learned to control both his flight and his heat vision.]]\\
In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', this is subverted with Comicbook/{{Batman}}, who's only able to go toe-to-toe with Franchise/{{Superman}} by weakening the Man of Steel with Kryptonite and using a suit of PoweredArmor to increase his own strength. When Doomsday arrives, something Bruce has [[OutsideContextProblem no preparations for]], all he can do is dodge and avoid the monster's attacks. It's played straight with Superman and Franchise/WonderWoman who, while both having SuperStrength, are outmatched in brute force by Doomsday. Wonder Woman is the only one who's really able to take it on in a fight due to her [[SuperReflexes agility]], experience and training, while Superman uses his flight momentum to coordinate strikes with her.
* ''Film/RobRoy'': Archibald Cunningham, the fencing master and foppish fashion enthusiast. His introduction scene has a burly Scottish swordsman mock Cunningham's puny physical frame before getting his ass handed to him in a sword fight. The even burlier Rob Roy manages to physically manhandle Cunningham on several occasions, but in a straight swordfight, the tables are turned. In [[DuelToTheDeath their duel]], Cunningham easily dodges Rob Roy's heavier, slower swings while slowly slicing Rob to pieces.
* BigBad Memnon from ''Film/TheScorpionKing'' is weaker and smaller than the hero but dual-wields his blades with incredible skill.
* In ''Film/{{Chronicle}}'', Matt has weaker telekinesis than Andrew, but he's a lot more creative in applying it and takes advantage of the environment more often, allowing him to get the upper hand.
* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'': Judy Hopps is a bunny officer on a police force full of large megafaunas like rhinos and bears. She survives by using her speed and agility to turn her opponents size against them.
* While the version of Angel Dust seen in ''Film/{{Deadpool}}'' has SuperStrength and SuperToughness, she's still in this position when she takes on Colossus, who [[TheJuggernaut far exceeds her]] in [[NighInvulnerable both those categories]] while also being [[HuskyRusskie considerably larger]]. However, Colossus fights with a [[GoodOldFisticuffs fairly simple]], [[JustHitHim brute force]] style, while Angel Dust has obvious martial arts and combat experience that lets her somewhat negate or redirect Colossus' strength. That, along with the fact that [[CombatPragmatist she fights very, very dirty]] while Colossus is [[NiceGuy too nice]] and [[HonorBeforeReason honorable]] for his own good, allows her to fight him on relatively even terms.

* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', Ward's aunt Stala - relatively, as she's very strong and tall. She can beat Ward's father (who is a giant of a man) in everything, except wrestling, where raw strength is more important than skill. Unsurprisingly, Ward's siblings, who have been trained by Stala, are this too. When he tells his sister to stay away from combat as no amount of skill could make up for her lack in strength (she's a female teenager, and a bit of a late bloomer) ... she still hurts a man lethally. Ward himself is a GentleGiant, and also a skilled fighter, so more or less everyone who beats him is this trope, in comparison to him, at least.
* Karrin Murphy of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. While not exactly physically weak, she's a [[PintSizedPowerhouse tiny]] BadassNormal up against a lot of supernatural creatures who could in theory mop the floor with her. She's an expert martial artist and marksman, [[AttackItsWeakPoint makes sure to remember and implement any weaknesses she learns]], and is willing and able to improvise - at one point she takes down a chlorofiend (read: plant monster) with a ''{{chainsaw|Good}}''.
** Anastasia Luccio, the Captain of the Wardens, is this by necessity, due to a [[GrandTheftMe body swapping incident]] with a necromancer. Her new body just doesn't have the same magical talent her old one did, forcing her to constantly conserve her energy with her spells. That being said she can use the same fire spells as Harry as needle-thin beams of extremely precise and intense heat and cast mass-concealing veils to hide people. Harry says that even with the decrease in power he wouldn't want to fight her.
** In ''Ghost Story'' Harry's apprentice Molly has gotten in on the act--again, she doesn't have nearly Harry's raw destructive power, but she's gained ''enormous'' skill in illusions that let her evade and fool multiple attackers at once, sometimes tricking them into killing each other.
** The Archive is a human receptacle for all human knowledge, and it is also hereditary, passing from mother to daughter at birth. This means that that tiny girl know more than any other individual in the world. And she puts that knowledge to good use, holding her own against several Denarians without much apparent effort.
*** Although in normal conditions, Ivy has both skill ''and'' power; the Denarians trapped her in a circle that cut her off from using more than a tiny fraction of her magical power, and she still cleaned their clocks pretty thoroughly.
** Some of the Denarians. Their human hosts may not have as much magical potential as a full White Court wizard but given a few hundred years of practice and the backing of a FallenAngel they can use the power they do have VERY effectively.
* According to WordOfGod this is how Professor Quirrell started out. As a kid (and a teacher) he was extremely intelligent but constantly picked on and teased. As an adult, with his self confidence really low he sought out Lord Voldemort to try and defer him and earn some respect, [[spoiler: only for it to backfire [[NiceJobBreakingItHero and for him to become possessed with the undying soul of the dark Lord, subsequently allowing Voldemort to gather in strength and allow for the next seven books to occur...]]]], however, he is shown to be extremely skilled in magic, having been showed to be able to use wandless magic, a rare skill among wizards.
** One could argue that this applies to Hermione. Though she is incredibly skilled with spells, she tends to be overwhelmed when she duels more powerful and experienced wizards.
** Peter Pettigrew is an interesting example as there seems to be nothing wrong with his magical skills yet he himself is a wimp.
* The titular character's schtick in ''Literature/EndersGame''. He wins a mock battle in Battle School in which the enemy has a 2:1 advantage, wins every battle in Command School [[spoiler: aka the Third Invasion]] against even worse odds, and ''kills two older and larger boys with his bare hands'' when he feels his personal safety is threatened.
* Sargon in ''Literature/BlackLegion'', especially compared to his fellow sorcerer. While Khayon has tremendous edge in raw power and experience, Sargon can achieve much more subtle effects and has greater control over his power.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' has Cohen the Barbarian (and the rest of the Silver Horde). It says a lot about his skills that Cohen is in his eighties, has been a barbarian hero his entire life, ''and is still alive''. Whenever you have five centuries of combat experience distributed among half a dozen guys, expect a lot of this.
** [[Discworld/ThiefOfTime Always remember Rule 1: Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man.]]
** In "The Sea And Little Fishes" Mrs Earwig, saying Granny Weatherwax shouldn't enter the Witch Trials because she always wins, suggests Granny should be grateful for her [[TheGift natural talent]]. Nanny Ogg quickly replies, "I'm the one with natural talent, Esme just works bloody hard."
*** Granny ''doesn't'' enter the Witch Trials. Of course, everyone else (except ''maybe'' Nanny Ogg) is so widdling-in-their-knickers scared by Granny acting ''nice'' that they can't manage to do their own tricks right, and at the end of the day it's just silently acknowledged by everyone that Esme won by using the most subtle Headology trick ever: [[ParanoiaGambit doing absolutely nothing]].
** In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'' Vimes takes on three werewolves, one with an axe, and two more, not more than minutes apart, with his bare hands, either of which could have easily killed him had it not been for his absolutely awesome brawling.
* One of the 'viewpoint' protagonists in the light novel series ''LightNovel/FateZero'', Emiya Kiritsugu, is presented as this. While he is an [[ColdSniper expert marksman]], most of his successes come from [[CombatPragmatist exploiting]] [[ShootTheHostage his targets' weaknesses]] and [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty generally fighting very methodically]]. Whenever he is in a direct confrontation, he will ''always'' be the one running away, while waiting for the best time to put his plans into action.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':
** Mat Cauthon outfights two stronger and more practiced opponents at the same time, while recovering from a serious illness. He's ''really'' good with the [[SimpleStaff quarterstaff]].
** Sorilea can barely channel enough to light a candle, but is one of the oldest and most experienced Aiel Wise Ones, and has such a sense of authority about her that when she says "jump" even other Wise Ones ask, "How high?"
** Androl is probably the weakest channeler in the Black Tower, but has an unmatched talent for making gateways, which normally requires great strength in the One Power. He normally uses them for such [[MundaneUtility everyday tasks]] as [[PortalCut cutting leather]] and preparing tea. Then he starts developing new and [[TookALevelInBadass awesome]] ways to weaponize them.
** Be'lal is one of the weaker channelers among the Forsaken, but he makes up for it by being a MasterSwordsman, one of the Shadow's three top generals, and a politician savvy enough to earn the nickname "Netweaver". Unfortunately for him, it doesn't save him from being [[TooCoolToLive the first Forsaken to be]] KilledOffForReal.
** Egwene briefly has this role when she is [[spoiler:captured by Elaida's faction of Aes Sedai and demoted to novice, with her channeling almost completely suppressed with forkroot]]. What little of the One Power she can channel, she uses with a level of finesse that awes her instructor.
* Jasmine from ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' is tiny, and has this as her fighting style throughout the series, even winning a fighting tournament with it in the fourth book. Lief also uses it to an extent, he's at least average in size and strength, but most opponents are still bigger and stronger.
* David from Literature/TheBible ([[DavidVersusGoliath in his fight against Goliath]]) is the [[TropeCodifier quintessential]] Weak But Skilled character; one stone slung in the right place and the fight was over.
* [[Literature/TheElricSaga Elric]], until he acquires Stormbringer
* Downplayed in the Detective's Story in Dan Simmons' ''Literature/{{Hyperion}}'', where the protagonist notes that while this is sometimes good enough, it can't stand up to Strong ''And'' Skilled.
* Hrathen from ''Literature/{{Elantris}}'' is hardly ''weak'', being a BadassPreacher ''par excellence'', but he's nowhere near as physically powerful as a magically-enhanced Dakhor Monk. He's still able to hold his own against them because he's an incredibly skilled swordsman, while their power has made them arrogant and sloppy.
* In ''Literature/DarkRendezvous'', Scout is a Jedi Padawan. The Force is weak with her; she makes up for it with determination, quick thinking, and endless training. She's got HeroicResolve in spades and bloody-minded determination, and in a book full of concern about almost every other character maybe one day turning to the Dark Side, no one believes Scout will, not even herself, because she fights so hard to be the best Jedi she can be. Just to drive home the point of how good she was: she survived ThePurge that killed most of the full Knights and Masters of the Jedi order. In her non-Dark Rendezvous appearance the author had other Jedi look down on her for having weak powers, but it only takes one line to see that that author was just not doing the research.
-->'''Yoda:''' "Too few Jedi have I already. But even had I a crop of thousands, small one, I would not let you go without a fight. Spirit and determination you have. Between the stars, so much darkness there is. [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Why would I throw away one who burns so bright?]]"
** It should also be noted that she ''won'' the Jedi Apprentice Tournament with CrazyPrepared RefugeInAudacity tactics that would make Batman proud.
* In ''Literature/DuelOfSorcery'', Serroi succeeded as a ''[[AmazonBrigade meie]]'' by way of quick reflexes and sheer determination.
* In the Creator/DaleBrown novel ''Sky Masters'' a small Filipino group using outdated ships is able to trounce a larger, modern Chinese flotilla to the point that the BigBad admiral in charge of said Chinese flotilla is pushed over the GodzillaThreshold.
* Deconstructed in ''[[Literature/TheActsOfCaine Heroes Die]]''. When [[ActionGirl Talann]] fights [[TheDragon Berne]], she initially holds out, but Berne has some mean skills of his own too, even if not to the same level, and her inability to close the power gap [[spoiler: gets her killed.]]
* Literature/LordPeterWimsey is particularly this, when it comes to a test of strength he'll get taken out, but there's been several a villain who's been surprised that the short, thin, well-dressed man in spats has insanely fast reflexes and a considerable knowledge of martial arts that will make an opponent's bulk a disadvantage.
* Tavi from ''Literature/CodexAlera'' has no access to fury power, while everyone else in Aleran society does. It forces him to become very skilled at kicking people's butts all on his own power. The teacher even has him deliberately pretend to be horrible at it so he can serve as a counterexample for the other students in fight training. [[spoiler:''Then'' he starts developing his furycraft powers...]]
** The Canim Ritualist Morak. Unlike [[BigBad Sarl]] he follows the old way and uses [[BloodMagic his own blood]] to fuel his spells rather than taking the blood of others. This gives him a lot less power than Sarl but he demonstrates a much higher level of efficiency and is able to accomplish a lot more with the power he has than Sarl could.
* In the Literature/MythAdventures series, Skeeve is just an apprentice magician and his mentor Aahz has been completely BroughtDownToNormal. Nevertheless, thanks to each being quite the GuileHero, they regularly trounce or otherwise deal with vastly superior foes, leading to Skeeve enjoying a public reputation as a sorcerer with an almost godlike power level.
** This trope gets deconstructed in one Myth novel by [[GeniusBruiser Guido]] when he infiltrates the army and has to fight a DrillSergeantNasty in drills. The sergeant is a tiny guy, especially compared to Guido (who's a walking wall of muscle), and in Guido's internal monologue he points out that this only works if the strong guy isn't terribly skilled. Guido happens to be ''very'' skilled and flattens the sergeant with a single punch.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Benji inherits his mother's superpowers ''and'' the skill to use them but he doesn't have her stamina or her strength. He compensates with guile.
* In ''Literature/TheGoneAwayWorld'', Wu, the Master of the Voiceless Dragon, is "soft form" martial artist who does not rely on overwhelming physical strength. The narrator describes him as about 80 years old and with a limp, yet it's implied that he could easily defeat anyone. The narrator learns the same martial arts style. He's pretty miserable at "hard form" martial arts, yet becomes quite skilled at the Voiceless Dragon style.
* This is the entire premise of the Literature/VorkosiganSaga: Miles is crippled, but consistently wins through brilliance and sheer force of personality.
* In the ''Literature/GentlemanBastard'' series, Locke Lamora is supposed to be a really bad fighter. [[spoiler:The end of the first book mitigates this since he is able to defend himself decently against Capa Raza, who is described as "deadly" with a sword.]] This is more than compensated by his considerable skills as a con artist, thief, smooth talker and gambit planner.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** Features this trope regularly in a very plausible way. The series has loads characters who are too old (Barristan Selmy, Syrio Forell) or too thin (Loras Tyrell) to be considered "strong" but are extremely capable fighters, usually because they are both naturally skilled, very well trained, and unusually brave. This is realistic since there is no use being a bag of muscle if you are clumsy, untrained or just too weak-minded to hold yourself on a battlefield or in another life-or-death situation. In other words, being strong and resilient may make you a good soldier (since much of soldiering is enduring months of underfeeding, sleeping in camps, forced marches, exhausting work and generally horrible life conditions) but it does not automatically make you a good fighter. (The reverse is true: many a KnightInShiningArmor is a capable fighter but could never endure the life conditions of the rank and file.)
** {{Subverted|Trope}}, however, by Syrio Forel, who gives a very impressive account of himself when he is outnumbered six to one and armed with a wooden sword while his opponents have live steel. He defeats and possibly maims or kills five of them, but falls to the sixth, who has (as the Hound memorably puts it in [[Series/GameOfThrones the TV adaptation]]), "armor and a big fucking sword."
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheIsles'' the wizard Tenoctris has very little power, but has a huge understanding of how magic works. This is a world where several civilizations have been wiped out because their own wizards cast mighty spells without properly understanding what the effects would be. Her spells do what she wants, and she often knows exactly how a spell will backfire when the caster doesn't even know there will be side effects. She'd lose to almost anyone in a WizardDuel, but as an adviser she's invaluable.
* Katniss Everdeen, from ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', is what happens when this meets GlassCannon. Her short and thin frame leaves her at a disadvantage in a fight when all of the men and most of the other women are larger and stronger, and haven't starved a day in their lives. Her sole combat ability relies on her skill with a bow, which the Gamemakers play up by only putting one bow and twelve arrows into the Arena. Only once she's gotten that bow does she even ''think'' about mounting an offensive against the Careers, but it is her skill with wilderness survival, tendency to ration and plan ahead, and speed and agility that allow her to hold out long enough in the meantime. It also seems she's pulled a Batman and tried to recall what worked in previous Hunger Games to help decide her course of action. If a natural charisma also counts as a skill, it certainly helps her get much-needed assistance.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' The Doctor, aside from a handy [[AppliedPhlebotinum screwdriver]] and a parlor trick regarding [[DeathIsCheap kinda-sorta-not-really dying]], is for all intents and purposes, a mortal being no more powerful than any other sharp-witted human male. And yet, he has engineered the downfall of entire races by being merely ''smarter than them.''
* ''Series/MacGyver'' lived and breathed this trope. He generally loses straight-up fistfights with larger or stronger opponents. He always needed to attack from advantage, [[AHandfulForAnEye throw sand]], or use some gadget to win. What keeps him from being a CombatPragmatist is that he DoesntLikeGuns and never uses them.
* ''Series/{{Buffy|the Vampire Slayer}}'':
** Ethan Rayne can't take Giles in a fight, but he has a flair for magic-induced chaos.
** Giles, meanwhile, is only human, and is routinely punched out by vampires and creamed every time he tries a TrainingMontage on Buffy; on the other hand he's seemingly familiar with every melee weapon known to man.
** As far as credible villains go, Angelus is not on the same scale as the ascended Mayor but he's a Master Vampire who has been in the game for over two hundred years and is powerful enough to stalemate Buffy, an unusually strong Slayer. His greatest asset, however, (aside from a meticulous brand of viciousness that would make The Joker proud) is his inside knowledge of the Scoobies, which he uses to full effect.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Wesley is easily the physically weakest male member of Angel Investigations. Yet he managed to kill Skip, capture and cage up Justine, and he was the one to face Vail in "Not Fade Away".
** While testing Illyria's powers, Spike (who is usually no slouch in the strength department) gets knocked around the room constantly by her godlike strength, commenting that she hits "like a mack-truck". Over time he begins to adapt and dodge her blows and gets a few shots in. Illyria disparages him as being weak for adapting and compromising, to which Spike retorts that it is a strength because he is ''learning''.
** Kate ''knows'' that she isn't strong enough to fight vampires head-on, so she uses pragmatic tactics to gain the upper hand.
** Happens only rarely, but when Fred pulls a fast one, her ingenuity will leave you dizzy.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' - D'Argo is huge, strong, used to be a Luxan warrior, and has the ability to knock people out with his ''tongue''. Aeryn Sun is slender, smaller, female, with a species weakness which means she starts dying whenever it gets too hot. But in any battle where D'Argo doesn't surprise her, ''guess who's tougher''?!
* ''Series/RescueMe'' had strong, young firefighter Franco training as a boxer. His first sparring partner was a man with decades of experience, who was way over 70 years old. Guess who won?
* Ben Linus from ''Series/{{LOST}}'' hardly looks dangerous, but he is fully capable of taking you down. He managed to destroy two Middle Eastern guys on horseback and armed with machine guns using only a telescoping baton and the element of surprise as weapons. There there's the fact that he's also TheChessmaster and a MagnificentBastard and can play GambitRoulette like few others...
* The Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}} is a 50 year old bucket which was being turned into a museum when the Cylons hit, having been rendered obsolete by newer battlestars. Yet, thanks to its Commander, (eventually) hardened pilots and a TrueCompanions mentality, they were able to survive the holocaust and the four years of ordeal. There is a reason why many fans believed ''Galactica'' could take out ''Pegasus'' despite the former being heavily outgunned by the latter.
* Harvey Korman, a patient in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'', is obese, nonathletic, and a [[{{Hypochondria}} hypochondriac]], but his tennis swing managed to send a doctor that promised to play a round with him '''flying''' into the fence behind him.
* A curious example of this pops up in the form of [[RobotGirl Cameron]] in ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles''. While she's [[CuteBruiser far from the weakest member]] of the main cast, she's still much physically weaker than other machines, being very small and lightweight. In a straight slugging match, she tends to lose. However, Cameron is intelligent and adaptable, making use of her surroundings, {{Improvised Weapon}}s, and outmaneuvering opponents to defeat them.
* ''{{Series/Sherlock}}'': Despite being ''very short,'' [[TheLancer John]] and [[BadassAdorable Mary]] are good shots, and John had killed TWO villains, threatened actual freaking DEATH on one of them, grabs on to Moriarty, ''while having a bomb vest strapped to him,'' and tells his friend to run. Oh, and ''Mary's'' the one who shot Sherlock.
* Despite being a "ninety pound girl" River Tam from ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' is skilled enough to accomplish such feats as sharp-shooting mooks with her eyes closed, single-handedly beating to a pulp a bar's worth of low lives with nothing but her hands and feet, and, last but not least, massacring a contingent of [[ImAHumanitarian Reavers]] with whatever she could find lying around.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E21AllHellBreaksLoosePartOne "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21)]], Jake and Sam tower over Andy. Andy is not a fighter, but has MindControl.
* In ''Series/TheFlash2014'', Jay Garrick is not as fast as Barry Allen and eventually loses his powers, but he's a lot more experienced and had several tricks with speed that Barry had never thought of. Jay teaches Barry his tricks, making him much more effective.

[[folder: Mythology and Religion]]
* Although never directly stated this is how humanity is often seen compared to [[UnskilledbutStrong Gods, Demons or Monsters]] we will never be as powerful as them, but every single skill that various heroes learn are from mortal creatures rather than Gods, Hercules learned from Chiron, at the time a mortal being, so did Achilles, in a more straight example Cu Chulainn learned from Scathach, a mortal woman who became so skilled that she stepped into divine territory, Sun Wukong also learned from mortals and his miracles are completely man-made in the legend, and seeing how powerful they are this is saying something considering [[PhysicalGod who]] they usually confront, ESPECIALLY, Sun Wukong and Hercules, this is saying something.
* Among Greek Gods, Athena is this, no lightning bolts, no super speed, no domain over the dead, so what does she have? The greatest mind and will of the entire pantheon and a hell of a vengeful streak

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/JushinThunderLiger is not a large man, and in fact was refused by Japan's dojos when he went looking for a place to train because of his stature, forcing him to go to Mexico. Yet, once he actually got training he gradually became one of the most famous professional wrestlers in the world, because he was good at it and dedicated. He even lecture's Wrestling/RingOfHonor's locker room, insisting strong technique is more important than physical strength alone and decided to train the petite Cheeseburger to prove his point.
* In IWA Mid-South, this was the stated reasoning for moving Wrestling/JimmyJacobs from the light heavyweight division to the heavyweights, even though he was not very big. He was simply too much better than everyone else in that weight class and good enough to beat heavyweights...though another light heavyweight, [[Wrestling/HunterJohnston Delirious]], rose up the ranks not long after Jacobs did.
* While at first glance, it would seem absurd to look at the 196 cm 104 kg Wrestling/ChrisHero and call him "weak", his record in Wrestling/ProWrestlingNOAH's [[TournamentArc Global Tag League]] has seen him fail to advance from the opening round for several years in a row. In his fourth year in, he and Wrestling/ColtCabana were officially recognized as having the best technique of any participants, despite their low showing, suggesting that Chris Hero and his partners simply aren't strong enough [[TechnicianVersusPerformer or that they're lacking something else]]...
* Wrestling/{{Rey Mysterio|Jr}} is the smallest and physically weakest regular male competitor on the WWE roster, usually outweighed by a good 30-40 pounds even in the Cruiserweight division. Yet he competes almost exclusively in the Heavyweight division and he's won more titles than 90% of the other guys.
* This is pretty much the [[MaskedLuchador Technico-Luchador's]] schtick, while the Rudo-Luchadors tend to be stronger and are often a CombatPragmatist.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Rogues in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' are practically the patron saints of this trope. Not only can they apply their dexterity to weapon skill instead of strength like most classes, but they also learn much more quickly than their counterparts. Even low intelligence rogues will have a healthy set of skills, while a high intelligence human rogue will quickly become the team's ninja historian animal taming demolitions expert.
** The rogue's signature sneak attack ability was also changed from a damage multiplier in 2.0 to deal consistent bonus regardless of the rogue's strength or size of his or her weapon in 3.0 so that rogues do not particularly suffer from low strength or lightweight weapons.
** A Rogue-friendly prestige class in v3.5 called Invisible Blade applies this trope more narrowly to combat. The rogue becomes incredibly skilled at fighting with [[KnifeNut daggers]], and can now apply his Intelligence bonus to armor class as well as to skill points. As a trade-off, the Invisible Blade cannot wear any armor. To qualify for the prestige class the rogue must defeat a WorthyOpponent in single combat using nothing but a dagger.
** In 3rd Edition Wizards could cast fewer spells per day than sorcerers but knew more spells. Giving them more versatility but they couldn't put out as much raw magic. Clerics had a similar relationship to the non-core Favored Soul class.
** Fighters are this compared to Barbarians, though this is a rather relative comparison. Fighters have slightly fewer hitpoints, move slower, and can't use [[TheBerserker Rage]], but they can equip heavy armour and tower shields as standard, they have more combat feats, and they are at least literate - Barbarians NeverLearnedToRead.
* The [[LightEmUp Haos]] attribute from ''TabletopGame/{{Bakugan}}'' absolutely thrives on having lower power levels by having cards that give the weaker Bakugan a tremendous advantage (The wider the margin, the better). Probably the only game where people get into arguments over who has the ''weakest'' of something.
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', Weak But Skilled tends to be an advantage. A creature having high power or toughness stats and no other special traits or abilities is utterly unremarkable (after all, the most common creature-removal spells simply kill or otherwise remove creatures without looking twice at their size). However, some of the most valuable creatures to have are small ones (in terms of power and toughness) with useful abilities like [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=198383 the ability to retrieve any Equipment from your deck, and put any Equipment in your hand into play for a low, fixed cost]] or [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=185749 the ability to give you extra mana just for putting more lands onto the battlefield, especially in formats where the ability to do so more often is commonplace]].
* TabletopGame/{{Mage|TheAscension}}s count as this trope in TabletopGame/TheWorldOfDarkness. TabletopGame/{{Vampire|TheMasquerade}}s have their Disciplines, which grant them supernatural strength and resilience, as well as blood pools that can be used to heal their wounds at a moment's notice. TabletopGame/{{Werewol|fTheApocalypse}}ves have sheer strength on their side, being perfect killing machines created by {{Gaia|sVengeance}}, in addition to their spiritual gifts, feral Rage, supernatural resistances, a healing factor, and pack tactics. TabletopGame/{{Mage|TheAscension}}s are comparatively {{squish|yWizard}}ier, having to use Magick to replicate any of that--and even then, a Mage needs to be careful, in order to avoid gathering Paradox. However, Magick also allows Mages a degree of control over any facet of reality: it's possible for a well-prepared Mage to develop completely coincidental counter-measures that can neutralize any other Supernatural's abilities.
** To highlight this, one of the truly unique things a mage can do that no other splat can in TabletopGame/TheWorldOfDarkness is to rewind time, allowing them effectively a few extra moments and some foreknowledge in combat. In the TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness, this is replaced by the ability to selectively rewrite his past, declaring that he spent the last ten years studying lock-picking and escape-driving instead of riflery and science, allowing him to retroactively have prepared mundane defenses and learned appropriate skills.
** The unofficial national sport of Mage players is negation of other supernaturals, seeing how few ranks in a magical discipline one needs to render a massively stronger opponent mortal, such as using a low-level mental power to prevent a werewolf's rage or remove the friction from the ground beneath a speed-based vampire.
** Hunters ([[TabletopGame/HunterTheReckoning both]] [[TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil kinds]]) even more so. The majority of Mages may never have the direct combat prowess of beatsticks like Vampires or Werewolves, but their immensely flexible RealityWarper abilities give them options that even the strongest EmpoweredBadassNormal of Hunters can't match. Through cunning, fighting dirty and planning, however, Hunters can and many times do put down the things that go bump in the night.
* The second edition of the Champions/Hero System rulebook explicitly pointed out that in the game system as it existed at that time, DEX was the OneStatToRuleThemAll, because DEX was used in calculating several other stats. People who exploited this tended to rely on the Weak, But Skilled paradigm.
* The Creator/JohnMFord-designed [[Franchise/StarTrek Klingons]] from [[Creator/{{FASA}} FASA's]] ''Star Trek: The Role Playing Game'' aren't as physically powerful as Terrans, but their endurance, high-gravity-tuned reflexes, and lifelong combat training more than make up for this.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'', characters take an old age roll at the end of each four-year career term starting with the one ending at age 34 when generating the character's backstory. Failing this roll (which gets increasingly likely as the character gets older and the penalties become increasingly severe) will drain physical attributes, but staying in a career for longer will, among other things, increase the character's skills.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A common SelfImposedChallenge in video games, the LowLevelRun, is an example of invoking this trope. Just getting through these games with vastly reduced HP, MP, and resources is difficult enough, and it often takes raw skill (often to the point of exploiting GoodBadBugs) to keep your level low to begin with.
* In ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'', the player character Gordon Freeman is a scientist who theoretically isn't cut out for the kind of mayhem caused by the resonance cascade. He has to make do without any firearms at first, and, given a skilled player controlling him, could be said to either take a quick, practical [[TookALevelInBadAss level in badass]] or just discover that he's naturally skilled as a fighter.
** The second game {{lampshade|Hanging}}s it with a speech by Breen to the troops:
--> "How could one man have slipped through your forces' fingers time and time again? How is it possible? This is not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had barely earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture is by all standards just that--an ordinary man. How could you have failed to apprehend him?"
* The captains in the ''{{VideoGame/Pikmin}}'' series are tiny astronauts that, if on their own, could be defeated with little difficulty by almost any enemy in the series. But by commanding and utilizing the skills of the titular Pikmin, they're capable of handling anything that comes their way.
* You, in ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'': A good player with half-decent skill ranks can annihilate mighty bosses while taking only ScratchDamage, while an incompetent player with mighty stats will be [[CurbStompBattle curb-stomped]] in short order.
* Any ShootEmUp such as ''VideoGame/{{Ikaruga}}'' or ''VideoGame/BeatHazard'' requires that the player be this.
* You, in ''VideoGame/NetHack''. Your only hope of survival is good tactics, but with proper preparation you can survive the wrath of a GOD.
* You, in ''VideoGame/DeusEx''. Even when you get the laser sword, super speed and inhuman damage soaking. You'll still get taken down by most enemies if you don't think carefully.
* You are (or rather, [[NintendoHard will become]]) this in ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' from the very beginning to the end. You can level up your abilities and adapt to stronger armor, but your opponents in terms of sheer strength and power will almost always outclass you. Fortunately, as you are an Undead, you basically learn from each death you suffer, and grow more knowledgeable on [[CombatPragmatist utilizing certain tactics]] to win against these foes.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', Waka fights Amaterasu twice, and though he loses he urges her to get stronger. It's clear that he's far stronger than Ammy through most of the game's beginning and middle because he [[spoiler: shows up to help in the very final fight, and manages to block a full strength blast from Yami long enough to deliver a FinalSpeech. It helps he's been awake and active for 100 years while Amaterasu was weakened SealedGoodInACan, but he's still just a mortal and survives fighting gods]].
* ''Franchise/MegaMan''
** In the games where he is playable, Proto Man is an example of this. [[spoiler: Due to a defect in his power system, he is in constant pain, and]] ingame tends to take fewer hits because of it. Avoiding hits and fighting smart is his only option to take on enemies.
** Mega Man, himself, at least to begin within his games. His Mega Buster is vastly inferior in terms of power to his opponents. Only by the end of the game, when he's a walking arsenal of doom, does he go to the other side...and then ''still'' require skill, because he's still just a small robot facing huge massive weapons of destruction.
** His buster's ability to adapt weapons is also an interesting case of this. He's instantly able to [[PossessionImpliesMastery use new weapons]], but because he lacks the specialized bodies of the masters he took them from he tends to end up with similar, often limited versions of the weapons as he's limited to using only what he has to utilize it. While Top Man could spin and shoot all around the arena due to the wheels on his feet Mega Man can only spin in the air, yet for projectile-only weapons like Search Snake he gets a version identical to that of the robot master.
** VideoGame/MegaManX fits even more than Mega Man, considering the fact that he's almost always smaller and less technically able than the opponents he faces, but he's goddamn unstoppable once he starts. Add the fact that ''every game'' still manages to have ThatOneBoss even ''after'' he gets his 'Ultimate' armor.
** It's stated in canon that adherence to this trope is entirely voluntary for all incarnations of Mega Man. With their [[TropeNamers signature]] [[PowerCopying adaptability]] and intellect, any Mega Man could easily become powerful enough to wipe the floor with the rest of the cast combined and quite rightfully fear the [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity corruption]] this could lead to. This doesn't explain Bass' tendency to lose his copied weapons too despite that his sole purpose is to defeat Mega Man and become the most powerful robot in existence. One would guess he wants to do it on his own merits instead of relying on other, "inferior" robot masters' weapons.
** Zero from the same franchise is also this, he doesn't have the same adaptability as X nor does he have armor upgrades to compensate for his less than great durability, thus making him a GlassCannon, but his skill with a sword is second to none, even learning techniques to gain advantages for his weaknesses.
* Certain ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' [[ThatOneBoss bosses]] display the ability to kick your ass despite using statistically weaker planes (such as Espada Team using a ''starting'' fighter and a "multirole" fighter-bomber in a pure air-to-air mission)... to an extent that might be considered the computer CherryTapping ''you''.
** On the other side, you have, canonically at least, Mobius One in his Raptor against up to six Wyverns and Gryphus One against the Fenrirs, as well as Cipher and Talisman in (Strike) Eagles against [[spoiler: Solo Wing Pixy]]'s Morgan and Ilya's Nosferatu respectively. While neither the Raptor nor the Eagle are objectively "weak" in-game, they are statistically outclassed by these superfighters. Nevertheless, the protagonists still pull off wins. Then you get to the CherryTapping examples...
* In the first two ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games, it's possible to take an at-creation trait called Skilled, that makes your character into one of these. You gain perks (miscellaneous, but potent benefits) less often but get a bonus to all your skills (medicine, gun skills, etc). It's generally considered inferior to its counterpart trait since skills are easy to raise and specialize in, but perks come only with level gains.
** It makes a comeback in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' where it instead means that you get 10% less experience points, but instead gain 5 experience points in every skill. Here it becomes a trait to cherish, as while it takes more time level up, a low level character with Skilled can be more effective than a high level character.
** ''New Vegas'' actually has another example, in unarmed combat. Since (excepting the ballistic fist) most unarmed weapons only require 2 strength to be used properly, a character can have only 2 strength (pitifully low) but still have vast unarmed combat abilities, capable of punching people across rooms. The learnable combat moves take this up to eleven, allowing enemies to be knocked down, disarmed, and countered without "strength" factoring into it at all. Possibly averted in that unarmed combat is based off of "endurance", a measure of how resistant you are to attacks, which could be thought of as "strong"
*** If Raul Tejada is inspired to be the Vaquero that he once was, he states that while he's an old man who's eyesight and body aren't what they used to be, his brains can make up for that and he's still quick with a gun. His Old Vaquero perk lets him fire revolvers and lever-action rifles 33% faster.
* Garrett from the ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series is very much like this. He's reasonably athletic (he can run and mantle with the best of them, although he's no ninja), but in strength and combat is no match for the muscular bruiser guards or straight-out superhuman monsters he's regularly faced with. Instead, he relies on smarts and stealth to outmaneuver and outwit them all.
%%* Faith from the 3D {{platformer}} ''VideoGame/MirrorsEdge''.
* Little Mac in ''VideoGame/PunchOut'', particularly in his NES incarnation. Pint-sized guy vs. title holders who are many times bigger and more muscular than him, anyone?
** His Star Punch is only acquired by hitting the opponent at a moment of opportunity, and tends to be less powerful than many later game opponents' punches, which clearly shows how much the players must rely on tactics and be more efficient than their opponents.
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' this is a fundamental part of the conflict between Sand and Qara. It is implied that Sand has no extraordinary aptitude for magic, and yet though training and dedication, he's an accomplished wizard when you meet him, knowing both the theory and practice of magic. As a sorceress, Qara comes by her power naturally, but doesn't bother to learn to ''do'' anything with it beyond the apparently all-purpose application of "Blow Stuff Up".
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', Solid Snake has aged considerably but is still able to fight effectively against physically and technologically superior opponents using his elite covert warfare skills. This is in fact a major theme of the first and fourth games: experience and skill trumps pure strength. Snake repeatedly triumphs against the Genome Soldiers of the first game, and the [=PMCs=] of the fourth game, because he knows what he is doing and has the confidence and ability to pull it off, while the other side is relatively unskilled but has a significant numerical and technological superiority.
* Luanne Lui from ''VideoGame/BackyardSports'', mostly due to her speed. She's as fast as Pete Wheeler, but lacks his hitting power, mostly hitting infield.
* A rare villainous example from ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' - High level [[BeastMan Charr]] are still not at a particularly high level compared to most enemies you face at maximum level, but still manage to be some of the hardest enemies in the game because they have better thought out combinations of skills than most enemies and [[ThePowerOfFriendship being a lot more coordinated]].
* Doctor Mordin Solus in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' was a member of the Special forces of his Race. He's small, but can take out several mercenaries by himself.
-->'''Mordin:''' Not always been a doctor, can handle myself. Advantage of being Salarian. Turians, Krogan, Vorcha all obvious threats... *[[VerbalTic sharp inhale]]* Never see me coming.
** Most salarian soldiers do this. The salarians are not a strong race, so they use their heads to fight.
** Shepard in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' was a regular, ordinary human, who ''still'' managed to take down Krogan, Thresher Maws and Reapers. Technically, this makes them ''more'' badass than they are in the sequels, as the Lazarus Project turns them into an EmpoweredBadassNormal.
* Another pair from Creator/BioWare: [[KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Mission Vao and T3-M4]]. They have the lowest hit points in the party, but they're the best when it comes to disabling mines, hacking computers, picking locks, or turning the security systems against your enemies. Mission also has a nasty sneak attack ability while T3-M4 can be equipped with stun guns and flame-throwers in addition to blasters.
* You as Gene in ''VideoGame/GodHand''. Sure, between the [[SuperMode Unleash]] and the [[LimitBreak Reel/Roulette]] you do have a lot of power, but the other 80% of the time when you're building up to the former, even simple mooks can tear you a new breathing hole very fast. Dodging and knowing when and how to retaliate are very important. It's a NintendoHard game, folks.
* Leon S. Kennedy in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''--particularly if the player is daring enough to do a [[SelfImposedChallenge knife- or]] [[UpToEleven no-upgrades-handgun-only]] run. He's more agile than he was as a rookie in the RCPD, and he's gotten advanced combat training since then too--which are the only things keeping him alive against a literal army of parasite-powered villagers, cultists, soldiers, giants, giant ''bugs'', Regenerators, and chainsaw nuts with sacks over their heads--not to mention the obligatory freakshow bosses, every single one of which is capable of killing him in one hit. Sure, he has superior firepower for most of the game--but a gun isn't much use to someone who can't put the bullets where they need to go.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'''s various classes include a few of these.
** The Sniper has only his rifle, his wits, and his marksmanship to take down his opponents. And more often than not, he does.
** TheEngineer is rather weak, but displays incredible skill around his machines.
** TheMedic is also pitiful in offensive and defensive capabilities, but the entire game is said to revolve around his abilities.
** The Spy has one of the weakest melee weapons in the game, but his GuileHero skills make up for it, giving him the ability to instant-kill anything that isn't invulnerable. Except for snipers with the Razorback.
** The Scout, while fast, isn't strong enough for front-line combat. Instead, the ''player'' has to be extremely skilled in using his speed and mobility to get in close and harass the enemy with some of the game's highest-damage guns.
* The Swordmaster Class of the VideoGame/FireEmblem series, at least in the games they appear, tend to be this, but the class that epitomizes the trope would be the even rarer class, Assassin. Swordmasters have high speed and skill with a relatively low strength cap, but also gain a boost anywhere from 15% to 30%, depending on game, to their critical chance. Assassins tend to have the lowest strength cap in any given game they're in for final class promotions, but also have the highest skill cap, and are the only class with a one hit kill move that deals death even if they'd normally not even do damage with a normal attack.
* This Trope is played ''very straight'' in the ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' series. With a proper usage of [[StatusBuff status buffs]], [[UselessUsefulSpell instant death spells]] and [[AttackItsWeakPoint exploiting your opponent's weakness]], you can easily triumph over a more powerful opponent. That, being NintendoHard, the same principle applies to your enemies.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' has two examples:
** [[HighlyVisibleNinja Bang]] [[RatedMForManly Shishigami]] is one of the few pure humans in the series (i.e. having no genetic or eldritch empowerment). He also lacks an empowered weapon with which to do battle with these beings, though [[spoiler:he actually possesses a powerful Nox Nyctores, but has no idea how to use it and it has been in its dormant state]]. However, his long years of ninja training, which include various ninja skills (including the hidden technique [[SuperMode "Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan"]] [[note]]yes, that can be attained through training[[/note]]), and most importantly creative uses of them (especially the last one), enable him to survive against both members of the game's super-powered BigBadDuumvirate, and with all those skills, he can handle himself just fine against various superpowered other characters in the game.
** Jin Kisaragi lacks most of the raw power that most characters have in their fighting styles, instead relying mainly on his skills as a swordsman in conjunction with his ice abilities. This is especially obvious when contrasted with the UnskilledButStrong Ragna; Ragna attacks in a rather simple style of or vertical slashes as well as punches and kicks to overwhelm the opponent. Jin however has much more precision and speed as well as different horizontal attacks to fit different situations, and a more refined looking style compared to his brother. This also extends to gameplay as he's a JackOfAllStats.
* Old and ill and all, [[BadassGrandpa Gen]] of ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' can still pack quite a punch against younger, healthier and physically stronger fighters than himself. If Akuma is to be believed (and why shouldn't he be?), Gen's age and illness are the '''only''' things that make it remotely fair (in-story) for him to fight any of the other characters.
* From ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', [[TheEngineer Engineers]]. In combat, they're [[MasterOfNone Masters of None]] who lack the speed and movement range of [[SuperSpeed Scouts]], the toughness of [[StoneWall Lancers]] and [[HeavilyArmoredMook Stormtroopers]] and the long-range fire-power of [[GlassCannon Snipers]]. However, given the fact that they can repair [[TankGoodness the Edelweiss and Shamrock]], rebuild sandbags, replenish ammunition and grenades, [[StuffBlowingUp carry three grenades instead of one]], [[LandMineGoesClick defuse mines]], and [[CombatMedic heal squad members at double efficiency]], means that Engineers are some of the most versatile squad members in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfTanks'', the match making can place very low tiers in matches with the bigger, nastier high level tanks. A skilled pilot, however, will stay hidden, reveal the enemy to his artillery, manage to destroy the enemy artillery and capture once the dust has settled down. In fact, a pilot that is good at this will do more to help win than his strongest teammates without firing a single shot.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Oddworld}}: Stranger's Wrath'', Stranger decidedly qualifies as a badass, despite being "kinda shrimpy [[spoiler:for a Steef]]".
** [[AlmightyJanitor Abe]] as well. As the ([[DeadpanSnarker very snarky]]) manual puts it, he's "the skinny guy with no weapons". You want to win, you need to be smart and not fight fair.
* Several Franchise/{{Pokemon}} qualify as this. For example, Sableye is a Pokemon with a base stat total of merely 380. However, it has only one weakness with three immunities, and has the ability Prankster which gives priority to non-damaging moves, allowing Sableye to cripple your opponent's team with several very annoying moves.
** Sableye got some love from a [[TookALevelInBadass Mega Evolution]], making it much more bulky to compensate for its fragility, and giving it Magic Bounce instead of Prankster, returning pesky traps and status effects back to sender.
** Whimsicott is seen as a better choice stats wise, but due to its Grass/Fairy typing, it's vulnerable to many other types, however, its high speed and Sableye's Prankster make it a lethal threat in Battle Spot and Nintendo's VGC format.
* Ned Flanders in ''The Simpsons Wrestling'' is the weakest character in the game, save for his Lightning Bolt attack, which does the greatest damage in the game. All you have to do is survive so you can use it.
* Adol from ''Franchise/{{Ys}}'' series can't take a lot of damage, especially if he is underleveled or if he's up against a boss, so the key to survive as him is to learn how to dodge and counter attack.
* Miles Kilo from ''VideoGame/{{Syndicate}}'' (2012) is a downplayed version. While he has none of the truly super abilities of the other Agents, he's technically still a SuperSoldier by normal human standards. Nevertheless, as his InUniverse dossier notes, he is unusually creative and independent, which enables him to come up on top against better-empowered foes. Indeed, he was specifically chosen for the DART 6 chip because he had sufficient skills and abilities to fully make use of it, but if the prototype failed, he was only a physiologically barely-above-average agent who could be easily replaced. [[spoiler:His creative thinking and independence, however, makes him a nightmare for Eurocorp when he turns on them.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Payday 2}}'', the Ghost class can be this. They have fewer damage dealing skills then their Enforcer or Technician allies, they will typically wear less armor in order to be faster and harder to see, and will also use smaller guns/silenced guns to increase their concealment. But a good Ghost can open every door, slip in and out undetected, and steal every single loot bag on the map without any guards knowing what the fuck is going on.
** The Fugitive class could arguably be considered this, as well- most of their skillset revolves around seemingly minor tricks, like a little extra concealment or extra movement speed, and at face value a pure, focused Fugitive doesn't seem like a good fit for the game. Then you pair the appropriate skills with other classes and you see how much better they are for it-
*** Fugitive Medic Bags may not reset the Downed count, but it still heals to full health and he carries ''alot'' of them, allowing the Mastermind's Doctor Bags to be saved for real emergencies, and a fleet-footed Mastermind with the Inspire skill Aced can run around the field reviving the entire team and have the healing supplies to salvage a potentially doomed heist, while pairing the Fugitive's Akimbo Aced skill with the Mastermind's pistol perks will make him a dual-wielding force to be reckoned with.
*** An Enforcer with the Fugitive's Thick Skin can make them tankier than they already are while giving them a much-needed movement boost, with healing options to help them last longer.
*** A Ghost with Low Blow, Sneaky Bastard, Sixth Sense and silenced weapons with the right perks can ''solo'' some of the hardest stealth missions in the game quickly, and still be able to put up a good fight when things go south.
*** A Technician can make use of the Fugitive's movement boost to set up turrets and mines quickly before an assault starts, and pairing with the Tech's sniper perks with the Fugitive's Run-and-Gun perk will make them an accurate yet fleet-footed marksman, with both the former and latter setups thinning out assaults before they get too close while allowing them to quickly reach and reactivate stalled drills, or reload empty turrets.
* In ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'', the characters [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII Onion Knight]] and [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX Zidane]] qualify. For the former, due to still being young, his bravery attacks aren't very strong or as varied as the other Cosmos warriors, but makes up for it by [[FragileSpeedster attacking and moving quickly]], having both [[MagicKnight short and long range options]] as well as all of them having branching attacks that deplete HP. For the latter, Zidane hits slightly harder than Onion Knight and just as fast, but his strength lies in dominating at aerial combat, and he is very good at getting his opponent up in the air quickly to get pummeled by aerial combos.
* Hunters in ''VideoGame/{{Sinjid}}'' are this. Their base attacks are weak, they can't regain [[{{Mana}} Focus]] as well as the other classes, and if they run out of Focus during a fight, they're toast. On the other hand, they can be devastating if the right strategies and combos are used. Out of all the available classes in the game, [[DifficultButAwesome they're the most difficult to master, but are the most rewarding]].
* This is how the titular hunters of ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' prevail against the many, many large and life-threatening monsters they face. Even the strongest weapons still take dozens or hundreds of hits to kill one such target, while the monsters can easily kill hunters in one or two hits, but through skilled evasive maneuvers, exploitation of all the right weak points, and management of the items they carry in their pouches, hunters regularly come back in one piece with the bits and pieces of monsters that are tens of meters long as their victory trophies.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge''
** Rogues in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', like in the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' example above, can take a passive ability that allows them to base their damage with daggers off their Dexterity instead of their Strength. This usually results in an immediate damage increase out of the Rogue, as players usually build their Rogues with high Dexterity.
** In the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII sequel]], Rogues have a few different skills they can take that do things like replace Dexterity with Strength for calculating damage, gain them a 1% bonus to critical hit damage per point of Cunning (high level rogues will easily have 30+ points of Cunning, before any armor bonuses), and increase the 'chance' of scoring a critical hit by 1% per each point of Cunning. Combine this with the fact that your characters no longer control like drunken yaks like in the first game, and a Rogue ability that moves them directly to the target's rear, thereby making flanking 'much' easier, a Rogue with 14 strength will really put the Cannon in GlassCannon.
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'' Loid is first found hiding from bullies in a trash can. He is extremely skilled with weaponary however, and is able to use beams, flamethrowers, and many other tools in to aid in combat. When R7038 defeats the party on Mt. Itoi, Loid comes in with a ''tank'' to rescue them.
** Likewise, in ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' Jeff Andonuts is to Ness and his party. He used the Bad Key Machine to free Ness and Paula from underneath the Threed graveyard. Despite his lack of PSI, he proves himself invaluable with his heavy bazooka, neutralizer, and especially with his bottle rockets which is an insane GameBreaker (Even crazier is when you equip with the Rabbit's Foot).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', there is a particular character whom you can only fight under very specific circumstances. If you "Check" the character, the scan says they're the easiest enemy in the game, and all of their stats are a measly 1, which seems to support this. However, this character is also the single most difficult battle in the game by an ''enormous'' margin. Sure, all of their attacks only do 1 damage... but they come at you so fast they can take half your HP in less than a second (and just 1 damage doesn't trigger MercyInvincibility), and on top of that inflict a sort-of "Poison" status that drains an additional 1 HP for every hit you took over time. And sure, the character has only 1 HP, but gets around this by simply ''dodging'' every single attack you throw their way. When they get serious, the character even starts abusing the game's battle system itself by doing such things as attacking out of turn, switching from one attack to another in the middle of the attack animation, or even just [[spoiler:never taking any action, and therefore never ending his turn, never allowing ''you'' to take any actions]]. This character's name is [[spoiler:Sans... turns out he's BrilliantButLazy]].
** All of this aside, this is a base requirement for ''any'' monster that intends to fight a human and hopes to survive, due to their incredibly weak souls and even weaker bodies. The only advantage a monster brings into battle is its attunement to magic.
** On the other hand, the human child is this if you do a Pacifist run. Sparing all the monsters means that you never get [=EXP=]. As a consequence, you always keep 20 [=HP=] and your ATK and DEF stay at 0 (aside from the boosts your items give you, and not counting the extremely costly [[ArmorOfInvincibility Temmie Armor]] it's never a big boost). Therefore, some of the opponents during the last parts of the game may be able to deplete a quarter of your life with just one hit, meaning that you have to be very good at dodging their attacks if you want to survive.
* The pitches of the tall and female pitchers from ''VideoGame/ArcStyleBaseball3D'' don't have a whole lot of speed, but they make up for it with a wide array of breaking balls that can make the CPU's life a hell.
* In ''VideoGame/Persona3'', the Michael Persona has a full-team heal, two ma-dyne spells, repels his weakness, and learns the unique move Heaven's Blade, which has the highest critical rate in the game and will do almost as much damage as Brave Blade. However, he has very low stats that don't grow easily.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d with the comment that fighting technique is used to compensate for weakness. The context, however, is an {{inver|tedTrope}}sion, pointing out that Berserker, consumed with magical bloodlust, is so damn fast and strong that he doesn't ''need'' skill.
** Archer has one of the worst statistics of all the servants in the Grail War and has no divine blessings or the like. However, he is immortal, and has spent a ''lot'' of the time he has fighting and devising tactics that maximize his strengths. Consequently he's able to stand up to epic legends and demi-gods like Saber and Berserker, [[spoiler:and when Shirou borrows Archer's power in one bad end, he even beats Saber Alter in a sword fight]]. In spite of his Servant class designation, Archer is actually closer to being a JackOfAllStats than the GlassCannon that would otherwise be implied. First off, Archer specifically says that he wasn't originally a warrior or a hero or anything like that; [[spoiler: he's actually a mage, the most fragile class there is]]. Whereas other [[spoiler: mages]] have all sorts of cool tricks [[spoiler: or spells]] they can pull out for most everything, Archer [[spoiler: only knows two types of spells, [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer though what spells they are]]]]! Moreover, unlike virtually every other participant in the Grail War, Archer [[spoiler: is not actually a traditional Heroic Spirit]]. This makes him virtually inscrutable since he has no notable weaknesses or famous AchillesHeel for others to exploit.
** Assassin is fast but not very strong and is wielding an essentially normal sword. His magical energy is not only low, it only declines because it cannot be restored. However, he fights on more than equal terms with Saber herself and only loses because his sword is bent from blocking an attack of hers. Even Lancer, who thinks nothing of fighting several other Heroic Spirits at once so long as he is on the defensive, highly dislikes the idea of having to fight Assassin. Let's put it in perspective: Assassin's secret technique allows him to strike thrice in the same exact instant. This is NOT a Noble Phantasm, magic spell, or of divine origin; he simply trained a lot. [[spoiler:Then reality itself ''gave up'' and gave him what he wanted... a form of Second Magic. '''[[BeyondTheImpossible Which should be impossible to replicate]]''']].
*** This is the central idea of the Assassin class. In a direct confrontation it is unlikely Assassin could win against any of the other Heroic Spirits. However, their skill in assassination and their Presence Concealment ability make Assassins extremely adept at eliminating enemy Masters.
** [[spoiler:Souichirou]]. He trained in a martial arts style [[ConfusionFu so strange that when people fight him for the first time they have no idea what he's going to do next]]. Because of this he is able to almost kill Saber (second strongest Servant in the Grail War) during their first encounter, [[BareFistedMonk unarmed]] with a strength-boosting enhancement given to him by Caster.
** Caster herself is also unskilled but strong. Physically she is weak enough to literally get beat up by a teenage girl, and her Noble Phantasm is easily the weakest one of the eight Servants, however she is able to use guile, pragmatism and outright cheating on several occasions to become a major threat to our protagonists.
** The fight between [[spoiler:Shirou and Gilgamesh]] is a contest between Weak But Skilled and UnskilledButStrong. Both use the same weapons, but while [[spoiler:Shirou]]'s are weaker copies than [[spoiler:Gilgamesh]]'s, he has more skill wielding them. The result is that in a direct clash they are evenly matched with only the rate at which they can grab a new weapon making the difference, and [[spoiler:in his Reality Marble Shirou can grab a sword instantly]]. [[spoiler:Gilgamesh's]] trademark arrogance also worked in [[spoiler:Shirou's]] favor, since the former deliberately refused to use his armor or his ultimate weapon at the beginning of the fight, thinking that his opponent wasn't worthy. By the time he realized he might actually need them, it was too late.
* The Nanaya Clan is revealed in ''[[VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}} Kagetsu Tohya]]'' to have next to no supernatural abilities at all nor superstrength or ''anything'' but pure assassin skills. The most badass of them all, Nanaya Kiri, only has the ability to sense the thoughts and emotions of others. Normally, they go up against horribly dangerous monsters at the likes of Vermillion Akiha or worse. Akiha's who actually know how to fight, that is. And they win. Just think if Shiki had actually grown up with them before they were wiped out and ''then'' gotten his Mystic Eyes. How much training can a six year old really have received anyway? Yet he still takes out Nero Chaos, Roa, Walachia, Satsuki and at least one more of the 27 top Dead Apostles before they even notice he's there.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': During the battle of Haven, [[BigGood Ozpin]] is forced to take control of Oscar's body when it becomes clear that Oscar will die if he keeps fighting the super-strong Hazel alone. Although Ozpin can use Oscar's body and Aura to fight at a level Oscar [[UnskilledButStrong can't yet achieve]], he is far less powerful than he was when he fought Cinder; despite the level of skill and experience he can bring to the fight, he is currently limited by the strength of Oscar's undeveloped physique and Aura.
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': Dylan barely has any powers to speak of and isn't physically imposing at all, but his cleverness and determination is what gets him out of trouble. He explains this to Melissa in 'Confronting the Dark'.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* While Bun-Bun from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' is hardly weak, he ''is'' still a mini-lop rabbit, and relies on this trope when taking on particularly tough opponents like [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=990404 Mecha Easter Bunny]], [[http://ads.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=020630 evil Aylee]], [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=031221 Alien Santa Claus]], or [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060112 the]] [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060113 dread]] [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060115 pirate]] [[http://beta.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060118 Black]] [[http://beta.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060119 Soul]].
* ''Webcomic/GeneralProtectionFault'': Fooker while protecting Ki from [[spoiler:Sam]], who is a football player, as he apparently had been "moonlighting with the UGA" at the time and knew martial arts well enough to win. This also comes up when he fights [[spoiler:his counterpart in the Nega-Verse]]; he doesn't fare quite as well in this case, but manages to gain the upper hand when his opponent gets distracted.
* Hatsu from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' is a [[BadassNormal human]] [[EverythingsBetterWithSamurai swordsman]] in a setting where Great Family members and Zahard Princesses are naturally ''much'' stronger than everyone else. But through [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower constant gruelling training]], he has developed enough skill with his blades to competently go toe-to-toe with people that far outstrip him physically.
* Jason in the Webcomic/WalkyVerse is exactly this. He once said he grew up a "mortal among gods".
* ''Webcomic/{{Inverloch}}'' gives us an unintentional CripplingOverspecialization subversion. Raul is the smartest headmaster ever at the Wizarding Academy, but he has almost no magical strength.
* Gote, from the long-defunct webcomic ''Dominion'', is a millenia-old immortal with no magical powers and more importantly ''no healing factor.'' How? In an email, the creator of said webcomic responded to that very question: "''When somebody punches you multiple times, you learn to duck. They do it ENOUGH, you learn to hit back. Do this for a few thousand years, and you can do it damned near PERFECTLY. ;)''" His nemesis Mack (the actual protagonist ironically enough) was by contrast a DBZ-grade superhuman.
* ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'': Ten Winds (an [[TabletopGame/{{Exalted}} air-aspect Terrestrial]]) is, in terms of raw power (or in Secret's case, potential power), the weakest of the FiveManBand. But he's also a former member of what's essentially an Exalted Seal Team 6; an extremely skilled fighter, frequently shown taking on Exalted who should (in theory) be able to steamroll him.
** Nemen Yi (a Sidereal Exalted) mocks the Messenger Gods for their inability to fight, since "they don't even get perfect attacks". She is immediately knocked out cold by something they ''do'' get: Perfect Delivery... of a letter wrapped around a rock.
* In ''Webcomic/UnOrdinary'', despite [[MeaningfulName John Doe]] being a "cripple" and having no special ability of his own, he is still able to defend himself from and defeat low and mid-tier individuals with his superior hand-to-hand fighting ability.
* The eponymous ''ComicStrip/{{Nodwick}}'' has no magic, no fighting talent, and no special abilities that don't relate to carrying stuff. His companions are a warrior, mage and cleric of considerable power. But he's responsible for more of their victories than not. The dark god Baphuma'al wants vengeance on the three conventional adventurers, but he just wants to avoid Nodwick. Vengeance there isn't worth the risk.
* Quentyn of ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'' scored very low on everything he tried out, in particular those based on physical or magical strength. But because he tried and trained for practically everything he is practically a JackOfAllTrades, incidentally very useful for a Questor.
** Racconans in general are apparently this in comparison to human mages. Almost all Racconans are lux sensitive thus they have well-established schools of magic while the few humans who have the talent have little to no opportunity for formal training (thanks mainly to religious prohibitions) but all those that have appeared either can barely even see lux or have enough raw power to send Racconan mages running.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Sensei Ito, the aikido instructor at Whateley Academy in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. He ''is'' this trope. He's a little old man with NO superpowers who starts each term by demonstrating this point. By picking the most powerful mutant in the class and then ''beating the crap out of him'' in front of everyone.
* In ''Literature/MotherOfLearning'', Zorian's {{mana}} reserves are much smaller than those of combat mages like Taiven, but as the GroundhogDayLoop he is stuck in continues he picks up enough finesse and [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty trickery]] to hold his own against a lot of very dangerous opponents.
* ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'' sometimes puts high-level players in control of low-level avatars. Having to start over again after losing the high-level avatar is Arthéon's backstory and [[spoiler:Fantöm]]'s fate after the first WhamEpisode. Ystos has a so far webseries-only second character that he once used during a tournament. Watching the replay of all the battles in which he took part in a row takes about thirty seconds.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Bruce Wayne in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' is like this considering that he's [[OldMaster older and more physically frail]]. Terry too; the batsuit might enhance his strength compared to a normal human, but considering the sort of opponents he tends to go toe-to-toe with, he still is usually outmatched in terms of sheer physical force.
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny. He managed to win a heavyweight wrestling match against the aptly named [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Crusher]] through sheer pluck.
%%* Disney/{{Aladdin}} generally falls into this trope in the various movies and TV series he appears in.
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': The title character is a master of the martial arts and beats other lightweights around with ease, but every time he tries to use his skills against a large, strong character, he might as well be punching a stone wall. Then he says LetsGetDangerous.
* WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob SquarePants}}. The guy is so weak he can't even lift a barbell with stuffed toys, yet he is an expert in karate, and one training session with Sandy Cheeks had the park cut in half from the practice they had.
* Sokka of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. InAWorld where most of the main characters can [[ElementalPowers control the various elements]] he's still the most Normal of the BadassNormal characters. To deal with that, Sokka often uses [[CombatPragmatist strategies]] and his weapons to bring down his enemies. He's also very resourceful and a fast learner - see 'Sokka's Master' and how quickly he picks up swordsmanship having not been shown to have any prior experience in that particular weapon. He has, also, grown up in a tribe which relied on non-bending forms of combat for decades and picked up a lot on his own before being formally trained. That would have helped a lot when he met Piandao.
** Aang could be considered this, especially before he learns the other Bending skills. Airbending itself mostly relies on evading. Bumi taunts him with this;
--->'''Bumi:''' Typical Airbender tactics, avoid and evade. I was hoping the Avatar would be a little less *kicks a rock at the Avatar* '''PREDICTABLE'''.
*** Though "weak" is a relative term, and applies more to the Air Nomad philosophy of [[TechnicalPacifist (technical) pacifism]] than their power. The Fire Nation waited until [[MassSuperEmpoweringEvent Sozin's Comet]] to move on them for a reason. Season Three of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' showed how [[StoryBreakerPower broken]] Airbending truly is, in the hands of an aggressor.
** This is eventually Azula's undoing against Zuko: at first ''she'' appears more powerful thanks to her raw talent at Firebending, but once he matches her in their final fight she's fourteen and a girl against an opponent who's sixteen, a boy, more used to physical strain and that has recently learned a style that employs very little movement, and she gets tired much faster.
* Contrary to traditional, mostly-equal power levels, the Autobots of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' are almost universally weaker than all but the lowliest Decepticon. They manage to get around this through a combination of team-based tactics and resource management that, while not entirely closing the gap, grant them some measure of advantage over their better-armed-but-less-organized counterparts.
** This applies not just to the main cast, but the Autobots on a larger scale as well: while the Autobots used the [[PersonOfMassDestruction Omega Sentinels]] to actually win the Great War, the reason they got that far in the first place was because their ''logistics'' were vastly superior to the Decepticons thanks to their [[PortalNetwork Space Bridges.]]
** True of the original generation 1 Transformers as well. Autobots were ordinary citizens, while Decepticons were the military caste. What's more, Decepticons could fly, and the first Autobots could not.
* Princess Sally in Season 1 of ''[[WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM SatAM]]''. She [[TookALevelInBadass takes a level in badass]] somewhat in Season 2.
* Beck from ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising'' definitely qualifies. He has spent a lifetime roof-hopping, dueling, and racing bikes - thus is an exceptionally agile and fast enough to hold his own in protracted battles with Paige and Tesler, who are trained combatants with a lot more power to throw around. Beck rarely wins any battles, but he always gets away. And this all before he officially begins his uprising or gets any form of training.
* Bioborg villain, Easel from ''WesternAnimation/SkysurferStrikeForce'' is the shortest, least imposing and most human looking of the borgs, but his [[MadArtist Mad]] ArtAttacker powers are invaluable to Cybron's plans.
* TheTeam in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. They aren't very strong on their own, but they are very good at working together, using the environment to their advantage, working out [[ThePlan plans]], and using their powers in diverse ways. [[spoiler:The first season finale has them fight the mind-controlled Justice League, and win. Even if the League was limited by whoever was pulling their strings, it's still an impressive feat.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'':
** Kevin Levin fits this trope upon transforming into [[AllYourPowersCombined Kevin 11]]. He becomes a physical amalgamation of all ten of Ben's first forms, but the abilities he gains are only a tenth as powerful in comparison to Ben's. That said, he can use them in conjunction with each other, such as combining Stinkfly's gunk with Heatblast's flames to create an explosion.
** Rook is one of the few aliens in the franchise to lack any ability that could qualify as a superpower, and his weapons, while [[SwissArmyWeapon extremely versatile]], is pointed out to lack power. Yet, he is skilled enough to stand against much more powerful enemies and defeat them. ''Predators And Prey'' even have him defeating one of the major antagonists in a hand-to-hand fight.
** Ben in general. Whenever he picks the wrong alien to turn into, gets stuck with one other than what he wanted, has to go without turning for a while, or is otherwise ends up in a disadvantage in raw power he uses his head to win.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Trixie's a stage magician by trade, yet when her power was tested by an Ursa Minor it proved rather inadequate. Later her power output was boosted by an artifact to around Celestia or Luna's level, she was capable of using, with ease no less, spells which Twilight considered far outside her range. And she's just a performer.
** That same episode shows that Zecora, who can't even use magic since she isn't a unicorn, knows more about the subject than ''Twilight''.
** Scootaloo might have weak puny wings, but on the ground, she gets serious horsepower out of them. Especially with a fully loaded little red wagon attached.
** Sunburst possesses great knowledge of spells, but lacks the raw power necessary to apply most of them.
* Lucas from ''WesternAnimation/CyberSix'', since the enemies in the show are {{Super Soldier}}s and monsters created in a lab and he's just [[{{Muggles}} a muggle who can box]]. He holds his own against a Fixed Idea, a creature that can smash bricks with it's bare hands, simply because he's an experienced enough fighter to dodge it's telegraphed moves.
* Pearl from ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' has admitted that she was never built for fighting. She is not as scrappy as Amethyst and can't touch Garnet on the power scale, but will still hold her own alongside them or against them with her spear thanks to technique and practice. The fusions that include her add her finesse to the power of her partner(s), making them very impressive in battle.
** Likewise, her student Connie is a human child, far weaker and more fragile than even the least combat worthy gem. She's made up for this for being extremely fast and agile, and with Rose's Sword (which is a OneHitKill weapon on Gems) her lack of strength doesn't matter. Again like Pearl the fusion she's involved with (Stevonnie) is the physically weakest one so far, yet humiliated the very powerful Jasper with far superior skill and tactics.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': The eponymous protagonist of the show isn't very large or physically powerful, but he's one of the most badass warriors in the entire world because of his mastery of swordsmanship and martial arts from all over the world. One example is the episode where he meets the Scotsman's clan and is forced into a stone-throwing contest to test his worth. Unfamiliar with the sport, he did poorly in the first attempt, but after noting that his mocking opponent was much heavier than the stone, he used a martial arts move of redirecting balance and energy to fling him an equal distance.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Gracie family used this principle to win several of the early UFC and other NHB tournaments despite being generally smaller, lighter and weaker than many of their muscular powerhouse opponents through proper application of techniques with which the other fighters were unfamiliar, and in fact Royce Gracie was chosen to represent the family in the early UFC for this reason (as opposed to a larger relative). When the rest of the world became familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the advantage disappeared.
* Boxer Paulie Malignaggi has excellent handspeed, good skills, and a decent chin, but can't crack an egg with his punches and suffers from hand problems. He has 27 professional wins, but only five of them have been by knockout.
* [[TheAce Floyd Mayweather Jr.]] when he moved to the welterweight division. He lost the power he had at the lower weight classes, and on top of having hand issues, was able to continue his undefeated career based off of pure boxing skills, ring intelligence, and masterful defense.
* Creator/RandyCouture, former UFC Heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, had a smashing comeback win in 2007, where he defeated then-heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. Despite Sylvia outweighed him by about 55lbs, Couture won by simply out-timing him and picking apart his opponents weak striking technique. He's come back to the sport a second time and despite being in his 40's is doing quite well by relying on his skill and experience to out strike his opponents, although a noticeable drop in power means he's stopped fighting in the Heavyweight Division. This is all the more impressive when one realizes Couture was originally a wrestler.\\
Wrestling is a large part of why Couture is still competitive at 47 years old in a sport filled with 20-somethings. His particular striking style (save for in the Sylvia fight) relies on "dirty boxing," using his Greco-Roman wrestling skills to control opponents in the clinch while freeing one arm or the other to strike with. This allows him to stifle the movement of faster, more explosive strikers with his grappling skill, and throw submission artists off their game by throwing power punches in a range of combat where hand strikes are usually less dangerous. Couture makes up for the limitations of speed and chin due to his age by bridging the gap between striking and clinch grappling with his skill in both areas.
* Having a greater variety of offensive weapons makes it easier to compensate for a lack of punching power in UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts. Fighters like Michael Bisping, Frankie Edgar, Forrest Griffin, and Dominick Cruz have been title contenders, and even champions, despite having little punching power.
* Two words: Roger Federer. Sure he's not super thin and wiry but he's not OVERLY tall like some in UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}}, nor is he massively built like other giants of the game like Nadal. He doesn't rely on massive serves, power volleys or other such tactics to win-- just sheer skill.
** Marcelo Ríos stood at just 5'9" and had a rather thin contexture, but his massive natural talent made up for his lack of physique, taking him to be ranked 1st for a short time. However his career burnt quickly, having to retire at just 28 from a [[GameBreakingInjury chronic back injury]].
* This also applies to a lot of female UsefulNotes/{{Tennis}} players like Maria Sharapova.
** Maria Sharapova is actually known as power player on the woman's court. It's just that the William Sisters, especially Serena, makes her [[OvershadowedByAwesome look weak by comparison]].
* [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/earthnews/3353107/Mouse-bites-snake-to-death.html Mouse wins epic boss battle]] against venomous snake with "barely a scratch on him".
* Wayne Gretzky. To quote the other wiki: "Gretzky's basic athletic abilities were not considered impressive. He was 6 ft (1.83 m) tall, weighing only 160 pounds (73 kg) as an 18-year-old NHL rookie in 1979, and 185 pounds (84 kg) at the end of his career in 1999. At the beginning of Gretzky's NHL career, many critics opined that Gretzky was "too small, too wiry, and too slow to be a force in the NHL". On the other hand, his intelligence and reading of the game were unrivaled, and he could consistently anticipate where the puck was going to be and execute the right move at the right time. It was said that he "seems to have eyes in the back of his head" and had a knack of "rolling with a check".
* Essentially the role of aggressor pilots in the US Navy and in Top Gun, during the Cold War. Flying outdated F-5 Tigers and A-4 Skyhawks, the more experienced aggressors regularly curbstomped pilots in the Navy's newest Cool Planes: The F-14 and F/A-18.
** This is due to the agility of the outdated aircraft [[note]] despite being subsonic, the A-4 has a 720 degree roll rate and is remarkably agile, due to having a good engine and light frame[[/note]] and the fact that these engagements always occur within visual range. The F-14 especially was designed to fight at extremely long distance with is advanced radar and long range missiles, in close it was too large and couldn't accelerate fast enough [[note]] no thanks to the crappy TF30 engines forced on the design, and almost always carrying drop tanks with several tons of fuel. With the tanks off and better engines, the Tomcat became a better dogfighter[[/note]]. In the case of the F/A-18, it was purely due to pilot skill as the F/A-18 is also quite agile but is still slightly inferior. In addition the instructors are truly some of the best fighter pilots in the world.
** On the US Air Force side, there are plenty of stories of pilots in F-15s and F-16s getting shot down by Air National Guard pilots in outdated F-4Cs at Red Flag... because while the boys have the superior fighters, the old guys in crap planes have been flying those planes since ''Vietnam''.
* UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}}:
** There are quite a few pitchers who can't throw above 85-86 mph (91-93 is considered normal) but have the ability to get hitters out consistently due either to perfect pitch placement or outstanding movement on their pitches. The so-called 'crafty lefties' like Jamie Moyer and Mark Buehrle are a good example of this. Then there are knuckleball pitchers, who combine this trope (knuckleballs have very little velocity and hence take relatively little arm strength to throw, but take absolute mastery to pitch consistently), with LethalJokeCharacter (knuckleballs are notoriously [[UnpredictableResults unpredictable in their movement]], so a wild pitch is as likely as a strike), BadassGrandpa (the best known knuckleballers like the Niekro brothers, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey didn't come into their own until their mid-thirties, when most pitchers hit the downward slope) and GlassCannon (the pitch is dependent on the pitcher's fingernails to throw properly, so an injury that most other players wouldn't notice will wreck a knuckleballer).
** The above goes double for right-handed pitchers. Righty pitchers who can't break 90 mph are generally considered batting practice pitchers, as right-handers can't get quite as much of a tricky windup or funky delivery between their positioning on the mound and their own body mechanics compared to southpaws. However, pitchers like Josh Tomlin, Marco Estrada, Kyle Hendricks, and Yusmeiro Petit have been known to log incredible performances and years, with Tomlin and Petit coming close to logging perfect games, while Estrada and Hendricks both made All-Star and playoff appearances in 2016 (as did Tomlin with the playoffs). This is mainly a factor of their near perfect control, but also of their tricky off-speed pitches (the curveball for Tomlin and Petit, and the changeup for Hendricks and Estrada) that they use to create separation in both movement and speed from their fastballs.
** Greg Maddux was one of the best pitchers of his time, but had a comparatively weak (mid to high 80's) fastball compared to his contemporaries. He compensated for this with his impeccable ball control and trick pitches.
** Maddux is actually part of a group of pitchers who started off with solid or power fastballs, but lost speed due to age or injury (as a rookie, Maddux was rocking a 93 mph four-seam). Guys like Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy, C.C. Sabathia, Mike Mussina, and Pedro Martinez all lost power as they got older, but they adapted to their changing outlook by brushing up on their command, movement, and/or pitch repertoire. Mussina in particular stands out, as he was averaging 86 mph by his final season, but still managed a 20-9 season with a 3.37 ERA, made even more impressive by his comeback from an injury-riddled campaign the year before.
** Another key skill for these pitchers: learning the hitters. Every hitter has pitches they can do very little against. Additionally, every hitter must anticipate what's coming and try to keep their timing on with incredible skill. As long as your control and ability to keep the hitter off-balance hold up, a pitcher with excellent knowledge of the opposing line-up can be a terror.
** Sabermetrics, the attempt to use modern scientific statistics to understand baseball, values one particular stat for hitters above all others. No, not average. Not RBI. Not homers. That statistic, On-Base Percentage, is simply how often a hitter gets on base, regardless of power. Slugging - a measure of power - is nice, but OBP is king; the rule of thumb is that OBP is about three times as valuable as Slugging. Sabermetrics doesn't care how you get on base, but ''that'' you get there. As depicted in ''Film/{{Moneyball}} (both the film and book), this led to the Oakland A's discovering Kevin Youkilis, a player who was overlooked in the draft because he had a wonky stance, decent but uninspiring average, and less-than-stellar physique. The A's took a special interest in him because they realized his decent batting average masked a stunningly good on-base percentage. He had the plate patience and self-control to battle pitchers deep into the count, wearing their arms out and getting to first base on ball 4. The book jokingly called him "Euclis, the Greek God of Walks". Youkilis went on to be an All-Star, an expert defender, and while his career .281 average is good, it's not great. His career OBP of .381, on the other hand, is [[https://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/obp/ outright impressive]].
* Spin bowlers in UsefulNotes/{{Cricket}}. A spin bowler normally bowls at about half the speed of a good fast bowler, but uses a set of elaborate techniques to make the ball "swing" in the air and bounce in improbable ways instead.
* Golfers in general tend not to be particularly strong, especially compared to athletes in other sports, but Jim Furyk stands out as an utter weakling. Hitting tee shots that some LPGA players could match in length, and a good 80 yards shorter than some big hitters on the PGA Tour are capable of hitting it, Furyk has ridden excellent accuracy in all facets of the game, and, when playing well, unfailing precision in his short game to a US Open victory, a 2nd place finish in the 2016 US Open at ''Oakmont'', one of the longest courses in Open history, a few other runner up finishes at Major championships, a FedEx Cup championship, and he even holds sole possession of the PGA Tour single round scoring record, as he once shot a ''58'' at a Tour event.
* Steve Largent, a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, was small (under 6 feet tall and 180 lbs) and not particularly strong or fast. His strengths were his incredibly sure hands and his ability to read defensive coverage like a book. By the time he retired, he'd set almost every receiving record in the book. Unfortunately for him, Jerry Rice came along a few years later to break most of them.
* In computer science, improving algorithms can cause a laptop being able to outperform a vast cluster of super-computers in certain applications. No matter how much power you have, no matter how much you optimize the code, a better algorithm will always outperform a brute force one.
* Steph Curry, the point guard for the Golden State Warriors, is not as big or tall as a lot of other NBA players but his ball handling skills are phenomenal, his passing skills are top ranked, and [[TheDreaded his legendary 3 point shooting]], along with his [[ImprobableAimingSkills ability to make highly contested shots from anywhere on the floor]], is the stuff of {{Nightmare|Fuel}}s for opposing teams. It's these skills that allowed him, in 2015, to lead the Golden State Warriors to winning their first NBA Championship since 1975 and also allowed him to become the NBA MVP.
* Animals, such as raccoons, monkeys, and such are pretty darn scrawny compared to the average human being. However, thanks to being able to move quickly, expertly climb, and a knack on how to use serious pressure with their sharp claws, [[CurbStompBattle big ol' human will lose the fight.]]
* On the whole, humans themselves are generally this. When it comes to raw physical strength, stature, speed, agility, or even senses such as sight or smell, there are many, ''many'' animals that can kick even the fittest human's ass in seconds. Unfortunately for the animals, the humans learned how to use tools and the environment around them to their advantage. Humans also are a social species, communicating and working together to fell beasts well above their size. Incredible stamina at a walk is merely a bonus - humans didn't need to fight to the death when they could just pursue the prey until it collapsed.
* Mainoumi Shuhei, sumo wrestler. He weighs only 216 pounds (for a sumo wrestler, that's tiny) and in fact failed the Sumo Association's height requirement until he [[LoopholeAbuse had a doctor inject silicone into his scalp to fake it]] (causing the rules to be changed in the process, because the Association didn't want anyone else to have to go through such a painful procedure). He was also quite possibly the most ''skilled'' sumo wrestler in the modern age. Known as "the department store of techniques," he was recorded as using 33 different winning moves to complete his matches (most wrestlers don't use more than a dozen across their career), including techniques that had either not been seen in the modern era or that he personally made up. He earned five special prizes for technique, and at the height of his career, he was ranked as one of the top (''san'yaku'') wrestlers in Japan, defeating wrestlers twice his size for the honor.
* Racquetball players. Don’t believe me? Suit up, go to the gym, and find a 70 year old and challenge him or her. We’ll wait here - you won’t be long.
* Wing Chun is designed as a practical Martial Art designed to be usable by someone with the muscle mass of a stick. In fact, it's worth noting that the (possibly apocryphal) legend of it's creation states that it was created by a woman.