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This is where someone in a battle begins to jump around and perform gymnastics-heavy moves in order to dodge bullets or other physical attacks. They will do back handsprings, push off of walls, do twists in mid-air and find safety without getting a single scratch. This does not make them invincible, just very hard to hit.
Usually seen with characters that are smaller in size, more flexible, and, more often than not, they will also have either a martial arts or some type of military background.
In fight scenes, this can be used to get characters from a position where they are at a disadvantage (usually out in the open) to a place of safety (behind a wall) or closer to their opponent for an attack. In addition, this style of movement is visually appealing and is used to add a bit of flair to combat scenes.
Sometimes this is used when a new character is introduced and they need to stand apart from the rest by having a unique skill set. If this happens, they may make an appearance as the Sixth Ranger
, using this trope to show that they have considerable skill and coordination in comparison to other characters. Similarly, if this is a common tactic of a younger character (especially one that is hotheaded), the purpose is to demonstrate their physical capabilities and establish that this is someone with potential.
As this trope thrives on Rule of Cool
, it may also involve use of Wire Fu
and Bullet Time
effects in live action shows and movies, to showcase every angle, and so the audience can keep up with all of the action.
characters and practitioners of She-Fu
and Gun Fu
are naturals at this trope. However, the character needn't be a martial artist to exemplify the trope, as the Gentleman Thief
and Classy Catburglar
are also prime candidates, when action-oriented.
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Anime and Manga
- Maki of Air Master; in her past she was a world-class gymnast. Unlike most instances of this trope, however, at least once it definitely loses a fight for her — after an astonishing spinning, flipping thing which basically whips her martial artist father, she sticks the landing by reflex. He takes advantage of that moment to get her in a lock and take the victory.
- In Attack on Titan, the soldiers use 3-D Maneuver Gear to Building Swing and try to zip around and over the larger, deadlier, Titans whose only weak spot is a narrow area of the base of the neck. This trope with grappling hooks.
- Casca from Berserk centers most of her offensive and defensive maneuvers around flipping about the enemy.
- Rushuna Tendo of Grenadier uses this to dodge attacks with cartwheels and back flips.
- Canaan in Canaan does this in addition to her gun fighting skills alongside her synesthesia powers, making her a formidable mercenary.
- Gunslinger Girl. Cyborg girl Rico backflips toward terrorist leader Dante while he shoots at her with an assault rifle during the Turin Nuclear Plant siege.
- Valmet and Karen Low of Jormungand, they both use this style of striking and dodging with fancy spins and flips.
- In Naruto, being ninjas, all the main characters relish in this trope when dodging or attacking. Every fight scene is laced with stylistic flips and twists in addition to the consistent use of the environment and the people around them to fight.
- In the anime Noir, Kirika is one of the two most lethal human beings on Earth. Her sheer ability to dodge bullets, and general use of acrobatics, enter her into this category.
- Kodachi Kunō of Ranma Ĺ. Ranma Saotome uses this sort of fighting style in that he's prone to using a lot of flips, jumps, handstands, rolls and tumbles, all to either evade attack or beat on his opponent.
- Death The Kid of Soul Eater is an expert at an Improbable Age, though being the Grim Reaper's son probably didn't hurt. He uses backflips to dodge attacks and create distance between him and his opponent.
- In the manga and film Tekkon Kinkreet. The two boys, White and Black, have some incredible jumping skills when combat oriented.
- Batman makes use of this. Especially in a confined space surrounded by thugs, at which time he is forced to twist, pounce, and perform somersaults and back handsprings to narrowly dodge attacks coming from multiple directions. Then once out of danger he makes a few attacks of his own to defeat them.
- Nightwing is quite flexible and agile because of his circus background
- Sin City gunfighters tend to have very standard action movie/crime noir moves except for Wallace. He tends to do a lot more hopping around and is probably the most skilled protagonist of the series.
- This is Spider-Man's specialty. As a consequence of his powers, he fights reflexively. However he is extraordinarily limber and agile, so by reflex he jumps, twirls, twists, and contorts all over the place to dodge blows and missiles. His only real weapons are his hands and feet.
- It should be noted, however, that this doesn't really stop Spider-Man from taking severe blows. Indeed, almost every videogame starring him features a costume selection that is torn up and ravaged from all the damage he takes during the game. Because of his Spider-Sense, he's never really blind-sided, but his enemies just tend to be that fast and powerful.
- Unlike her genetic father, Wolverine, X-23's fighting style is much more acrobatic and in many of her fight scenes she can be seen using flips and handstands to bring her foot claws into play.
- Jesus from The Walking Dead jumps and kicks a lot while engaging both zombies and humans in hand-to-hand combat, and he uses his quickness to dodge attacks and outflank opponents.
- Being a The Matrix crossover with Supernatural where all hunters are a subdivision of normal rebels this happens in Hunting Series. A particularly good example of this, in part 3 - Hunting and Saving when John Winchester uses 'focus' and does this while trying to win a fight against a nest of vampires...he succeeds.
- This is Yuzu's preferred fighting style in Bleach fanfic Chasing The Moon (and it's prequel and sequel). She isn't actually hard to defeat once she does get hit, and the few times she sustained serious injury ended the battle immediately, but she tends to make herself hard to hit. Being a Master of Illusion probably helps with that regard. This is in contrast to her twin, who is Made of Iron.
- From Balls of Fury, Maggie (played by Maggie Q) uses combat parkour when she takes on a group of martial artists.
- In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Dee-Dee twins often tag teamed Batman and used flips and high jumps to get away from his attacks or find a better position behind him from which they would attack.
- In Batman Returns, some of the circus acrobats use this ineffectively to come in close to Batman for an attack.
- In Blade Runner, the android Pris ambushes Deckard and does a rapid series of somersaults to move in close to him in the fight.
- Chocolate (2008). Zen, a small Thai autistic girl whose Disability Superpower is to absorb martial arts from movies and TV shows. The entire movie is her beating up hundreds of people larger than her with Muay Thai. The actress supposedly spent 2 years learning enough Muay Thai to make it look realistic. The film handled her smaller size well - she uses it to her advantage by taking the fight into narrow spaces where her opponents have trouble moving. She and her opponents also and Combat Parkour in places when evading kicks and bouncing around the scenes.
- Jen Yu from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, most memorably in the restaurant scene. She uses backflips and rebounds off pillars and walls to evade and strike her opponents.
- Though not technically combat, Agent 99 uses nimble backflips and other gymnastics moves to thread her way through a laser web in the 2008 Get Smart movie.
- Kick-Ass has Hit Girl uses this to cover ground between her and her opponents with complex flips and spins.
- Hanna uses Le Parkour to confuse and separate her enemies, her agility to dodge their stronger blows and her Tyke Bomb Training from Hell to exploit any opening instinctively.
- Live Free or Die Hard / Die Hard 4.0 features an enemy agent girl whose super-agile backflips and kicks almost manage to defeat John McClane.
- In The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Kelly uses her gymnastic skills to kill one of the Velociraptors
- The Matrix, which used both this and Bullet Time.
- In Star Wars this technique is used mainly by Jedi when they duel, each dueler trying to gain the upper hand by attacking from a different angle or trying to throw off their opponent by leading or chasing them into a new battleground.
- For Yoda, all the jumping around is necessary for him to fight larger opponents (in other words, everybody else).
- Alice (Milla Jovovich) in the Resident Evil movies takes this to ridiculous extremes, with even an unpowered Alice sending full-grown adults (and zombies) flying with moves straight out of The Matrix. She enjoys making use of Combat Parkour mainly to dodge and evade attacks (and even lasers) in Resident Evil 3.
- Sucker Punch: The main character, nicknamed Babydoll, uses this technique mainly to dodge the knives and swords of her imaginary opponents.
- 3 Ninjas: The three main characters used this in their fights and, being ninjas, they were masters at using their environment to their advantage in a parkour style.
- Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior: This is used mainly to have cool fight scenes and has very little realistic value, but it is used a bit to dodge.
- In the Discworld, the Guild of Assassins and the Guild of Thieves both teach edificeering to their students. This combines parkour with a sort of urban mountaineering and is used both for speedy stealthy movement, and to get the height advantage if it comes to a fight.
- In Enderís Game all of the students playing in the games must bounce off walls and use the environment to beat the opposing team
- Matty Roh of The Heritage of Shannara has a strategy that relies on dancing around her opponents before going in for the kill. Makes things rather interesting when she teams up with the much more physically powerful Morgan Leah.
- Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium Trilogy happens to be very good at avoiding getting hit, sneaking up on people, and incapacitating her opponents, whether it's with stones, golf clubs or nail guns.
- Nina from Reserved For The Cat; she's a trained ballerina, and knows that jumps, spins, and kicks can be useful both in dancing and fighting.
Live Action TV
- Jason from Atlantis is an Instant Expert at Le Parkour, but not at swordfighting. This leads to the logical conclusion.
- Roy Harper in Arrow uses this in addition to his street-based hand-to-hand combat to give him an advantage over his adversaries.
- One of Chuck's adversaries was a former gymnast who used this trope to escape from the protagonists. His mistake: he stuck the landing, whereupon Sarah shot his kneecap out.
- Birds of Prey used this to dodge and create space between fighters.
- Xena: Warrior Princess uses this occassionally, and yet she still takes plenty of punches. It is an established part of Xena canon, based on Word of God, that cartwheeling/backflipping across an area is faster than running the same distance, so this is largely justified in-series.
- Doctor Who: In "The Doctor's Daughter", Jenny can backflip her way though a corridor of deadly laser beams.
- Dungeons & Dragons. In 2nd Edition, use of the Tumbling non-weapon proficiency improved the user's armor class by 4 (making them harder to hit) and gave them a plus 2 to their chance to hit in unarmed combat.
- Champions. Using Acrobatics skill gave the user a +1 to +3 on their Offensive Combat Value by surprising an opponent and making it easier to hit them.
- DC Heroes. The Acrobatics skill allows the user to add his APs in the subskill Dodging to his OV when attempting to Dodge enemy attacks.
- GURPS 3rd Edition. The Acrobatics skill allows the user to make an Acrobatic Dodge, a jump or roll that avoids an attack in a flashy way.
- Bayonetta. Acrobatic backflips are her standard dodge, so expect to be doing this a lot since it triggers Witch Time. She can even do this in mid-air!
- Jade from Beyond Good & Evil has a fairly impressive talent for backflips (and front-flips) in battle.
- Alora, a Dark Jedi and The Dragon in Jedi Academy, moves very acrobatically the second time she's fought, even compared to the other Force users in the game, who can all or almost all do flips easily.
- Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance: Frost prefers to perform backflips. Several of the male characters (such as Shang Tsung and Hsu Hao) also use backflips to escape.
- Devil May Cry III takes it to the next level. On a double jump, you can flip upside down, spin and shoot, flip back up, flip upside down AGAIN, spin and shoot, and flip back up in time to land on your feet.
- Tidus from Final Fantasy X, most notably with his 'Spiral Cut' Overdrive. So is Noel Kriess from Final Fantasy XIII-2, who does a lot of backflips with his attacks.
- Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, in that her fourth ATB attack is backflipping and firing a gun simultaneously.
- The Half-Life mod "The Specialists" featured this type of evasion which you can use to dodge, complete with Bullet Time.
- Kingdom Hearts:
- Aqua in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Her male friend Terra gets a long-distance forward dash, and her "little brother" Ven gets the series-standard "Dodge Roll" somersault. Not Aqua. She cartwheels away from enemies.
- Larxene as well. Her game play and battle style are full of this, especially in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Flips, cartwheels, mid-air spins and mid-air drilling, somersaults, etc.
- Kingdom Hearts II Big Bad Xemnas fights this way, flipping and spinning like crazy in his boss battles. Taken Up to Eleven in the final battle, where it'd be a Free-Fall Fight if you weren't able to Double Jump and swerve around in mid-air as if there was something to push off against.
- Princess Zelda of the cartoon The Legend of Zelda usually fights like this. Sometimes, so does Link.
- Ms. Marvel's fighting style in Marvel Ultimate Alliance involves lots of flips.
- This was one of the original concepts for Mirror's Edge, as seen in this concept art◊. Even though, in the final game, it was replaced with more realistic free running it is still possible to do with a lot of practice.
- In a very bizarre example from Monster Hunter, Rathian's special attack is a draconic air-backflip.
- Mortal Kombat: Sonya Blade does this, despite having Kenpo and Tae Kwon Do as her fighting styles in previous games. Her signature move is doing a backflip, grabbing the opponent between her legs, and throwing them. She also uses this move to break Kano's neck in one of the movie versions, and in Mortal Kombat 4 she has a fatality where she does a handstand and tears the opponent in half with her legs.
- There's also Li Mei.
- Nitara's Unicorn Kick special is the deadliest cartwheel you'll ever see.
- Unlike Sub-Zero, who slides around Iceman-style to escape from sticky situations
- In Prototype2 James Heller, a former Marine, is infected with a special strand of virus that gives him superhuman abilities. In the game he can run up walls and performs backflips which is meant for evasion or just really cool combat scenes.
- Also in Resident Evil 4. Player Character Leon S. Kennedy performs multiple evasive backflips and wall-jumps. Then again, Ada and Krauser manage to top it off with even more backflips. Then, Leon learns Le Parkour...
- Sheva and later Jill perform lots of acrobatic somersaults and cartwheels for their physical attack follow-ups in Resident Evil 5.
- All three characters in Resonance of Fate practice this by running/jumping often in Bullet Time presentation while shooting their opponents
- Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter uses a front flip to dodge or get behind opponents.
- Lili from Tekken has stylish balletic moves, with liberal use of flips. And a move where she does an aerial somersault; if she lands on the opponent's head, she does a double snap kick in the air.
- Tomb Raider, in which you can draw an M-16 while flipping backward in the air and successfully target some mook on the balcony below you.
- Rubi's primary dodging style in Wet is this trope, she uses flips and spins and cartwheels to dodge bullets and get from open positions to behind objects for protection.
- Total Overdose, a Robert Rodriguez homage, becomes progressively more Gun Fu oriented as maximum adrenaline increases. The whole acrobat range of stunts are unlocked from the beginning, and the majority of sidequests are intended to introduce and exercise the skills.
- A vital combat mechanic in Darksiders II. Instead of blocking like War could do in the first game, Death dodges instead, which is crucial in surviving all of his battles.
- Sonic the Hedgehog takes full advantage of his speed and agility to flip and bound around badniks and Eggman's mechanical creations, expertly weaving between and around attacks before either striking them directly or kicking their missiles back at them. The parkour-like aspects of his fighting style are more apparent in cutscenes and in the animated adaptions.
- John Morrison. Which has been played up by the commentators a lot, check it out. It helps that the practice is actually part of his training. Said training does him a lot of favors at the Royal Rumble, where he proved to be about as hard to eliminate as Kofi Kingston, if not more so.
- Red vs. Blue in the later seasons. This trope was used mainly to dodge and evade using back handsprings and other gymnastic styles along with bouncing off walls with Bullet Time effects. Added mainly to create awesome fight scenes involving guns and hand to hand combat.
- In RWBY this is Team RWBY's (and most other females) main shtick. They use their weapon's gun form's recoil to speed up their attacks and use their blade form's edge to hold on to obstacles or terrain to maneuver mid-flight to allow for high speed attacks and movement. This is best shown during Players and Pieces, where they have to survive a fall to a forest using only their weapons.
- Chaka of the Whateley Universe specializes in this style of fighting. Justified in that her ki powers make it extraordinarily easy for her to do so. In her first superhero fight with a bunch of ninjas, she drives her opponent up the wall by dodging his attacks with a series of flips.
- In Schlock Mercenary Parkata Urbatsu is a descendant of Parkour that focuses on pursuit and escape in an urban environment while looking so impressive that bystanders stop and watch. But as Lieutenant Shodan demonstrates it's best used with more combat-oriented martial arts.
- MAG ISA — Eman vs Kyle Round 1... FIGHT! This trope is used to dodge bullets with blurred backflips and somersaults.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Suki demonstrates great Parkour skill by running over people's heads, climbing up walls, swinging over railings and sliding under people, almost entirely avoiding direct confrontation until she reaches the warden of Boiling Rock. Also, the main character, Aang, uses parkour to evade attacks. See the first and second episodes.
- Ty Lee has no Bending ability, she carries no weapons, she's a skinny perky cutie ... and she can totally incapacitate you by hitting you in the pressure points while remaining impossible to hit because of her acrobatic and gymnastic skills.
- While The Legend of Korra generally moves away from its predecessor's flashy, bombastic martial arts to more practical and streamlined styles, this trope is present in several character's fighting styles. These include Korra (especially once she learns airbending), Tenzin and Zaheer (as demonstrated during their fight) and, amusingly enough, Bolin and Ghazan.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Robin actually had a fighting style like this. He was a trapeze artist in a circus before becoming Robin.
- Yumi from Code Lyoko frequently uses such moves when fighting in the virtual world, thanks to her increased agility and the low gravity of Lyoko. This allows her to use backflips frequently in combat.
- The heroine of Cyber Six uses flips and wall pushes to evade and come in for attacks. It also makes for very cool movement in the scenes.
- Kim Possible lives by it. Got her on the cheerleading team, too. She uses this trope mainly to dodge when in combat, using a series of flips and twists to get out of the way.
- Dragons Fire And Ice has Kyra using loads of flips and kicks during her duel with Dev, who just uses archaic and brutish forms of "swing the sword in that general direction until something dies".
- Ace Bunny of the Loonatics Unleashed rarely remains a stationary target in combat situations. This was best demonstrated when he was trapped in a railway car with a dozen military-grade Mecha-Mooks armed with Frickin' Laser Beams, and survived unscathed. Ace's partner Lexi Bunny has the She-Fu variant developed from cheerleading routines.
- In Samurai Jack Jack uses this to dodge, evade, and attack his opponents. He utilizes the surrounding environment to change his direction or slow down his opponents.
- All the heroes in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! use this technique in dodging and attacking in order to add visual appeal to the fight scenes.
- Robin in Teen Titans uses this combat style to attack and dodge. His archenemy, Slade, is also quite deft at this, utilizing the technique mainly in dodging. Another enemy, Jinx, uses this to dodge and get more space between her and her opponent. Most commonly, she uses the back handspring to do this.
- All four turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles use this to attack and dodge, utilizing their weapons and parts of their environment to block attacks and change their direction.
- In Transformers Animated this is used by quite a few characters:
- Hotshot (For the 50 seconds he is seen) does a back handspring to avoid getting hit by incoming laser fire
- Prowl and Jazz both use this in dodging attacks and they both have similar martial arts backgrounds
- Jetfire and Jetstorm are younger characters that use this mainly to dodge attacks, and in the first episode they are seen they continually bounce off of walls and sofas to avoid getting hit.
- In Transformers Prime a large variety of characters use this:
- RC and Smokescreen use this to dodge and attack, even in coordination with using their guns. The best example for Smokescreen is when we first see him and he does plenty of gymnastic moves to avoid getting hit by the Decepticon lasers.
- Blackarachnia, being part spider, is consistently using the walls and ceiling around her to gain an advantage over her opponents, especially when they are larger than her.
- Wheeljack uses this mainly in attacking
- TRON Uprising: Beck fights a lot like Rinzler in TRON: Legacy (he seems to be chary of using his disc in tight quarters because of this).