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Extremity Extremist

Zangief: What are your special moves?
Balrog: I punch really hard.
Dhalsim: Do you kick?
Balrog: What's a kick?

Some people have a weapon of choice. Some people's weapon of choice is no weapon at all. And again others like to specialize even further.

This trope is about fighting styles wherein people always use exclusively either their legs or their arms, with rare exceptions. Perhaps it's preference, or perhaps it's just their particular form of martial arts. Most characters of the kicking variety like to include elements of Tae Kwon Do and flashy Capoeira moves, which often makes this overlap with the Dance Battler. The fist-only variety is less common, and is obviously most closely related to boxing though TopHeavyGuys may fight like this for obvious reasons. The Kick Chick is a subtrope. A character who uses both hands and feet is a Bare-Fisted Monk.

Not to be confused with Well-Intentioned Extremist.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Tomoyo Sakagami from CLANNAD mostly uses her legs when she fights.
  • As does Sanji from One Piece. As he needs his hands to cook, damaging them would deprive him of his art, so he doesn't take any chances. Both of these sentences also apply to his teacher, Red Shoes Zeff.
  • Lenalee Lee from D.Gray-Man. Since her boots are essentially a powerful magic weapon, made of the only substance that can harm the villains, she doesn't have much choice about the matter.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, the martial art Sensui uses is called Resshuu-ken; his particular version of it also uses his reiki (Reikou-reshhuu-ken). It involves using the legs as offense, and the arms as defense, which comes in handy for Sensui, since Longcat...erm... long legs are looooooooooooooooooooong.
  • Played with in Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School: Taiho Hashiba is a boxer and usually only punches, but when the going gets tough, he abandons the family style for something with a little more kick.
  • Syaoran Li does this in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle because he cannot perceive depth very well, seeing (sorry) as he only has one eye.
  • In Shadow Skill, Front Skills were almost exclusively punches while Shadow Skills were almost exclusively kicks. This is because, like the Real Life Capoiera, it was devised by slaves.
  • Featuring the wide array of martial arts it does, it should come as no surprise that History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi has at least three Extremity Extremists Ikki Takeda, known as "Takeda the Puncher", is a boxer. There's also "Koga the Kicker", named for much the same reason. Finally there is Kisara Nanjo, who uses Tae Kwon Do.
  • Yakitate!! Japan has Gran Kayser, who doesn't speak or walk so that his immensely distorted arms can be used more effectively to bake.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, the scary vampire Moka relies almost exclusively on high kicks. Most of her enemies go down with one kick, so it's practical, and it tends to lead to panty shots.
    • Not in the manga, it doesn't.
    • Subverted. She prefers to kick but she is not at odds to use her hands for precision strikes.
    • Tsukune, on the other hand, relies more in punches.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Super Gogeta doesn't use his arms for anything but energy attacks (and throwing confetti.) He gets double points as the only apparent reason he does so is so that he can keep up his smug look.
    • In the Dragon Ball GT Final Bout video game Vegetto only uses his feet for his meteor combos.
  • Ryohei Sasagawa from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is a very enthusiastic boxer. Coincidentally, he adds, "to the extreme" to every other sentence.
  • Ichi from Ichi the Killer almost exclusively uses kicks in his fighting repertoire; albeit, while wearing razor blades on his shoes.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Shu, the successor of the Nanto Hakuroken fighting style, which focuses entirely on using kicks; kicks which slice people apart from sheer air pressure.
  • Maki the Air Master is perhaps only borderline... she's not afraid of using her fists, or - more frequently - her elbows. But her strongest, and most frequently-used weapon is indubitably her unbelievably-long legs. As a trained gymnast, she understandably uses her arms mostly for balance.
  • Touma Kamijou in A Certain Magical Index, due to its nature as an Anti-Magic weapon, tends to fight primarily using his right hand. So much so that an enemy is legitimately surprised when Touma shifts to his left for a punch.
    • Accelerator later tries to emulate Touma by using only his right hand to fight, but comments on how difficult it is.
  • Both Kotetsu T. Kaburagi/Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr. in Tiger & Bunny. Barnaby focuses heavily on kicks, while Kotetsu almost exclusively uses his fists.
  • Medaka Box: Once it is revealed that Zenkichi's fighting style is savate, he pretty much exclusively relies on kicking to handle foes.

     Comic Books  

    Film 
  • Any Chuck Norris (popularizer of the Roundhouse Kick) or Jean-Claude Van Damme character will have a propensity for kicks.
  • In the Terrence Hill & Bud Spencer Spaghetti Western They Call Me Trinity, one of their allies is a guy called 'Shy', who had his hands permanently buried in his pockets, and fought exclusively with kicks. He taught a bunch of Mormons to fight the same way, too.
  • Honorary mention: In one of the most famous scenes from the film My Left Foot, the protagonist, an almost-total paraplegic who is carried around in a wheelbarrow, uses his only working appendage - guess which one - to do some damage in a Bar Brawl.
  • The title characters ? one of whom is legless, the other armless ? in The Crippled Masters.
  • The final battle in Jackie Chan's Legend Of Drunken Master was between him and a villain who did pretty much nothing but kick. The hero beats him with drunken boxing, which uses the entire body.
    • In another Jackie Chan film, Who Am I?, the final battle consists of Jackie fighting a duo made up of a man who primarily punches and a man who primarily kicks.
  • If you pay close enough attention to The Matrix films, you'll notice that despite being in no less than five fight scenes, three of which were quite long and one of which involved around one hundred copies of himself, Agent Smith only ever uses one kick, once.
    • Hugo Weaving commented at one point that his right arm is much stronger and more coordinated than his left. Most of his moves consist of straight punches with his right arm.
    • This analysis postulates that the reason agents only use one or two moves is to reflect their role as rigid-minded machines. As the human characters learn and grow, their fighting styles evolve with them. But Smith never learns. This lack of variety is compensated for by inhuman strength and speed, which are the only two factors the machines increase when upgrading their agents, rather than adding finesse.
    • Similarly, Keanu Reeves claims to use few kicks (speaking about the first film, specifically) due to a neck surgery he had recently had before filming.
  • Invoked in Ip Man 2: The British, trying to stack the deck further in favour of the Twister after he takes a few good hits, tell Ip that kicking is now against the rules. Shortly after, when Ip reflexively leashes out with a kick, the ref is quick to remind him that another one will disqualify him.

     Live Action TV  

  • From the Kamen Rider franchise:
    • Played straight by the aptly-named KickHopper and PunchHopper in Kamen Rider Kabuto. The former even focused on kicks while using the Bee Zecter, even though its finishing move is a punch.
    • Kamen Rider Kiva uses kicks as a signature move, particularly in Emperor Form.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard uses a highly acrobatic fighting style based entirely around kicks, as well as his gunblade. He almost never punches, primarily because he uses Rings of Power to channel his spells; the only time he does throw a punch is in the final episode, after he blocks one of Gremlin's sword attacks with a ring, destroying it.

     Video Games  
  • Pokémon: Hitmonlee. It even stole Blaziken's signature move in DP. Though to be fair, you can teach him moves that don't involve kicking; but the anime was all about the kicking game in the two times he was shown. Its counterpart Hitmonchan is a boxer who specializes in punching attacks. Hitmontop's moves mostly involve spinning, but since its legs are the only things that'll be hitting you...
    • Hitmonchans can sometimes have the ability Iron Fist, which boosts the attack power of all "Punch" attacks; most Pokemon with Iron Fist will be built by their trainer to have punches dominate their movelist.
    • Extending to the manga, we have Crystal, who demonstrates accuracy to kill for when she kicks her Pokéballs at wild Pokémon. When she broke her arms during her childhood (and her own heart later), she went to the mountains to train her legs, and the training stuck after she got better. She eventually teaches this skill onto Emerald.
  • In the Fatal Fury series, Kim Kaphwan and his sons Kim Jae Hoon and Kim Dong Hwan all have a punch here or there, but their moves are overwhelmingly kicks. Kaphwan's KOF teammate Jhun Hoon, on the other hand, really only has kicks. They all are Tae Kwon Do practicioners.
    • Boxer Franco Bash, like Kaphwan and sons, has a kick here and there, but relies overwhelmingly on punches. Heavy D! from The King of Fighters really just has punches. Rick Strowd deserves special mention: he only punches, and many of his moves were later inherited by Vanessa in the KOF games.
    • Hinako Shijou, being a sumo wrestler, basically only uses slaps and grabs, with one or two kicks (namely low kicks and stomps) in her arsenal.
  • Mickey Rogers from the Art of Fighting series only uses punches, Sinclair from AOF 3 only uses sword attacks and cannot kick.
  • Regal Bryant from Tales of Symphonia vowed never to use his hands to hurt anyone ever again after killing his lover, and spends most of the game wearing shackles to enforce this... But his legs were a different story. He will, however, use his arms for things besides fighting, like cooking or destroying prison cell walls.
  • Balrog from the Street Fighter series uses this, since he's a boxer and everything. Of course, he also headbutts, but still.
    • Lampshaded by Street Fighter: The Later Years with the quote at the top of the page.
      • Bizarrely, although the animation is exactly the same, Balrog's strong punch differs from his strong kick in one very key way: the low strong kick acts like every other character's strong kick, sweeping the enemy off their feet. With a punch to the stomach!
    • Similar to Balrog, British boxer Dudley only ever punches (no headbutts, but uses elbows in air), even if a kick button is pressed. Elena, a capoerista on the other hand, only uses kicks, even if you press a punch button. They're both from Street Fighter III.
    • Juri from Super Street Fighter IV plays this similar to The King of Fighters's Kim in that while she does have punches, her moves are primarily kick based - yes, even her projectiles and her throws. Like Kim and Hwoarang, she is a South Korean Tae Kwon Do practicioner.
      • Super Street Fighter IV which puts Balrog and Dudley together in the same cast. Now it's easier to compare whose boxing style is more efficient.
  • Steve Fox from the Tekken series is strictly punches, being a middleweight boxing champ. When you press the kick buttons, he'll do some kind of dodge which can actually leave you open if you're not expecting it, so he takes some getting used to. He has one rather weak kick, which is really more of a stomp, and another jump kick was introduced in Tekken 5. He can head-butt with the best of them too, though, and isn't afraid of using his elbows.
    • Tekken does also feature Tae Kwon Do practicioners like Hwoarang, who only has about 1% of punch moves, and the rest is kicks. This is untrue in the case of Baek, who uses a more traditional style of TKD that employs close-handed strikes and has just as many punching attacks as any other fighter.
    • If not for two poking moves common to all of the fighters—namely the crouching punch and the supine kick—Steve and Hwoarang would be purists. The Capoeiristas still have rollout hand strikes.
    • Sumo wrestler Ganryu kicks when you press the kick buttons, but his moveset is focused mainly on open-handed striking.
  • The Grieve Edge discipline from Soul Calibur III uses kicks enhanced by sharpened metal footwear. They block with their bare hands though.
  • Sanzou Kongoumaru, the Mighty Glacier from the doujin fighting game Big Bang Beat: 1st Impression only has punches, unless you count shaking the ground by stomping on it or falling feet-first onto an opponent after jumping. He's so large, attempting an actual kick would probably just make him fall down.
    • And, of course, boxer Burai Yamato only has punching moves, for a completely different reason. Half of his attack buttons are used for dashing because of this.
  • Sai from the fighting game Akatsuki BK has one or two punching moves, but overwhelmingly uses kicks while his hands are in his pockets. He's supposed to be a suave businessman, but he comes of as a total nut.
  • The vast majority of Lee Rekka's moves in The Last Blade series are kicks.
  • Yumizuka Satsuki in Melty Blood is no boxer or anything like that, but for some reason none of her attacks are kicks (other than using her knees as a jab for one of her her style).
  • Ghost Kick and Scorpion from the fighting game Martial Masters both favor kicks overwhelmingly to punches; Ghost Kick, particularly, doesn't have any punches at all. This proves to be a somewhat one-sided source of conflict between them, as Scorpion wants to prove his is the ultimate kicking style.
  • Nayuki Minase and Kaori Misaka in Eternal Fighter Zero are the kicking and punching versions, respectively. Kaori, in particular, seems to be based partially on both the above mentioned Dudley and Vanessa, moves-wise.
  • Boxer T.J. Combo only uses his fists in Killer Instinct (although in the 2013 game he is being reimagined as an MMA fighter and thus has a more diverse set of attacks, including leg attacks).
    • From the same series, while Sabrewulf is cappable of kicking, he would mostly rather bite. And claw.
  • Olof Linderoth in Power Instinct Matrimelee only uses his legs to fight because of arm injuries. The only exception to this is a Limit Break in the form of a Megaton Punch that hurts him if it connects.
  • Joe Fendi, the boxer in Fighting Layer, doesn't even have Kick buttons; pressing them instead performs an evasion technique.
  • In Death Vegas, this is the situation with champion boxer Helmut. In his case, however, he's so top heavy that he's probably genuinely incapable of kicking without completely throwing off his balance. And, like Balrog, he may simply be too stupid to reach out of his style's traditional roots even in unsanctioned fights, being a serious piece of Dumb Muscle with a mind clouded by years of severe steroid abuse.
    • Joshua and Winstone both have this to lesser degrees; Joshua has only one punch in his repetoire, while all of Winstone's normal attacks are punches and all his special attacks are kicks.
  • Knuckles only ever uses punching attacks, and Rouge uses only kicks. Tails just tail-whips and Sonic relies solely on Rolling Attacks.
  • Jack Garrison from the arcade fighting game Holosseum is a self-taught martial artist who fights only by kicking.
  • Liu Yungmie from Fighter's History Dynamite is another Taekwondo fighter who uses nothing but kicks in combat. She kicks with punch buttons, throws opponents with her legs, blocks enemy attacks with her knee, and even sends out sonic booms from her feet.
  • Akihiko Sanada from Persona 3 is the captain of the boxing team; therefore, when fighting Shadows, he relies exclusively on his fists. This is in contrast to the Main Character, who can also equip gloves (Akihiko's "weapon" of choice) but can kick as well as punch.
    • Similarly, Chie Satonaka from Persona 4 fights using kicks, and blocks with her knees when she's on the defensive. She even summons her Persona with a roundhouse kick. Her weapon is boots, obviously.
  • A sort of car-applied example happens in Initial D Arcade Stage, where the Mazda RX-7 is meant for uphill races and the Toyota Sprinter AE86 is for downhill races.
  • Similarly, in Need for Speed: Carbon, the Dodge Charger 1970 and the Plymouth Cuda are strictly for straight-line acceleration, the Lamborghini Murciélago is for speeding, and the Toyota Sprinter AE86 is for cornering.
  • In another sort of example, in the fanmade Kinnikuman Muscle Fight, Mixer Taitei specializes in knocking opponents down and using moves from the mount position. Additionally, Terryman's style is clearly boxing inspired and most of his special moves and strong attacks are punches (even though one of his signature attacks is the Texas Condor Kick, but even that's actually done with the knees rather than the feet).
  • In The Godfather: The Game, your man Aldo uses his fists almost exclusively and only breaks out his legs for a "power attack" knee to the face against a kneeling target or some Execution Styles.
  • Kyle in Violent Storm only attacks with kicks.
  • The player can do this in God Hand, customizing Gene's moveset to have exclusively leg or arm moves.
    • One may be an extremist even among extremities—it is possible to create a chain of moves solely consisting of, say, right-handed punches.
  • Earthgain and Vyrose from Super Robot Wars 64. Earthgain specializes in punches while Vyrose specializes in kicks.
  • Almost all of Zan's attacks rely on kicks in Undercover Cops.
  • Ruputna in Seinarukana.
  • In Lunar: Dragon Song, protagonist Jian Campbell fights with his feet and all of his weapons are things like sandals and sneakers (although his character design has him wearing boots). His few magic spells are performed by spinning on his head.
  • From Anarchy Reigns we got Durga, whose moveset consists of kicking and shooting with his mechanical leg. The only times where he actually uses his fists is when he need to reload his leg or when he grapples a downed opponent.
  • In Little Fighter 2, Dennis uses only kicks and Davis uses only punches.
  • In Sengoku Basara, Tokugawa Ieyasu (from the third game onwards) fights primarily with his fists with a style that's a mix between boxing and brawling. At most, he uses an elbow drop for his ground pound attack and a really powerful headbutt as one of his Special Arts.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor: Each and every unarmed attack is described as a kick of some sort, and the hero himself will punt everything, be it a door, chest or a monster, but will never use their hands for something other than magic, shields or weaponry. This being Dungeons of Dredmor, it's lampshaded constantly, with mentions of enchanting your boot to deal extra damage common among skill descriptions.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In 4 and 6, most of Leon's melee attacks consist of various kinds of kicks. For the most part, he only uses his arms for throws and Suplex Finishers.
    • By contrast, in 5 and 6, Chris's melee attacks revolve around punches and throws.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series, the Gundam Epyon can only use Melee attacks. When you press the charge button (which would normally unleash a shot attack), the Epyon just twirls its heat rod above its head as an attack.
  • The main Dynasty Warriors series finally indulges in this too in 8. One of the Downloadable Content weapons, the Sabatons, is a pair of armored boots, and its moveset consists entirely of kicks.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Fi's attacks consist largely of ballet-style kicks. Justified, since she's an Armless Biped.

    Webcomics 

     Web Original  
  • Bobby Jacks of Survival of the Fittest almost invariably resorts to his fists in combat. He is, however, a boxer, so that isn't a huge surprise. He doesn't seem to have many compunctions about using his head either. It's mostly a case of sticking to what he's good at. (In fact, the one time he tried to kick somebody he immediately got his ass kicked).
  • An online comic/story series called Setsudankanja tells the tale of a martial artist who learned his art after having his arms and feet (But not legs) cut off. He trains two girls in his fighting style, and ends their training by giving them special irremovable outfits that forever bind their arms together. It's Author Appeal Fetish Fuel, to be sure.
  • In Darwin's Soldiers, Dr. Kerzach prefers to use a weapon in combat but when he fights unarmed, he will almost always use his feet. Justified because as a Cassowary, he has sharp talons and very powerful leg muscles that can easily cause serious injuries.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob Oblong, in spite of being born with no arm or legs, is still able to fight, by flinging himself head-first at his opponent's stomach. In the first episode, he uses this to knock out a redneck who's bothering his wife.

    Real Life 
  • Boxing, of course.
    • Worth saying that, while only punching is used, these punches are powered not by biceps or triceps, but by the hips, meaning a solid stance, strong legs and a strong core are as important as the arms. Legs also play a huge part in dodging, which is easily seen when a boxer is "rolling". You may notice that professional boxers are muscular all over the body, and that happens precisely because boxing uses the whole body to generate power and deliver it through the fists..
  • This is thought of Capoeira, which supposedly uses almost exclusively kicks. This is because the art was developed by slaves, who expected to have their hands shackled when the time came to use it. The traditional reason given for the acrobatics were to disguise the practice of the art. If asked while practicing the slaves would reply dancing. All that being said there are plenty of hand blows in capoeira, though they are rarely used when playing. And that's not even going into the fact that a lot of supposedly defensive moves allow you to stick an elbow into various fleshy parts of the body.
  • There is an Eritrean fighting style called Testa which consists entirely of 1) headbutts, and 2) pushing your opponent off balance to set up a headbutt. (Unfortunately, it might be better to say "there may be an Eritrean fighting style called Testa - you can find people talking about it on the internet, and an article was published on it in a martial arts magazine once, but it's all pretty vague.)
    • Meaningful Name: "Testa" is the Italian for "head"; and Eritrea used to be part of the Italian Empire.
  • Nearly all the offense in sumo...slaps, thrusts, pushes, pulls, and the multitude of holds and throws...is done with the hands. In fact, the winning techniques are known as kimarite, literally "decisive hands". There are a few trips, but these are rare (tripping an experienced sumotori is like uprooting a tree stump with one foot).
  • Taekwondo originated as an amalgamation of multiple unarmed fighting styles, but has gradually evolved so that the emphasis is almost entirely on kicking, at least in competition sparring.
    • Artifact Title: Tae Kwon Do roughly translates to "The Art of Hand and Foot".
  • At first glance, aikido techniques seem to only use the arms. However, every part of the body plays a role, so while there are no kicks and no tripping, how you place your feet decides whether you get the technique to work. Other parts, like hips, are used more actively in throws.
    • Some aikido schools do incorporate kicking into their striking techniques, but they don't emphasize them very much.
  • An old joke refers to the (fictional) Scottish Martial Art of 'Fuk Yu', which exclusively involves headbutting your opponent to the ground and then kicking them in the ribs.


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