Fantastic Fighting Style
Martial arts styles that are given a name and/or described in a work of fiction but do not exist in real life. They often involve unrealistic or dangerous-in-real-life moves. See also I Know Kung-Faux and Supernatural Martial Arts. Wikipedia's article on this.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Hokuto Shinken and Nanto Seiken styles from Fist of the North Star, along with a host of others derived from them.
- Mifune from Soul Eater uses "Infinite One Sword Style." It involves spreading a vast number of katanas across the battlefield, but (usually) only wielding them one at a time.
- One Piece has a whole bunch of these.
- Roronoa Zoro uses Santouryuu (Three-Sword Style, one in each hand, one in the mouth).
- The octopus Fishman Hatchan uses Rokutouryuu (Six-Sword Style, with six arms).
- Many higher ups in the World Government including CP9 use a set of seven techniques called Rokushiki. These techniques include Razor Wind, bullet-like finger jabs, Super Speed, Double Jumping, two methods of No Selling (one that makes you Made of Iron but unable to move much and one that makes you flexible like paper), and one Ultimate Technique thats basically a two-fisted one-inch punch.
- One often seen is Fishman Karate and its variants. These fighting styles, used by the Fishmen, are all about controlling and using water to their advantage, while sometimes taking advantage of a particular Fishman's attributes (Fins, tentacles...). Part of what makes this an interesting and formidable fighting style is that because every living being is made of water, it can hit virtually anyone, even our rubber-bodied hero.
- Hasshouken (Fist of Eight Impacts), a fighting style used by the Chinjao family where they manipulate the vibrations produced by their blows to bypass defenses and augment their blows.
- Okama Kenpo, which basically combines Karate with ballet dancing.
- The number of Fantastic Fighting Styles just go on and on and would take way too long to list them all.
- Shinmei-ryuu ("Gods' Cry School") is the name of a fictional style of kenjutsu used by several manga and anime characters created by Ken Akamatsu.
- Strike Arts and Kaiser Arts in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid are karate-like martial arts that rely on magical energies as much as on the practitioner's fitness.
- Rurouni Kenshin gives us Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, a deadly sword style used by Himura Kenshin, the Hitokiri Battousai, focused on blinding speed, reading the opponent's emotions and battoujutsu. This is just one among a great many fighting schools introduced in the series; among the more prominent is the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu taught by Kenshin's Love Interest Kamiya Kaoru, a Martial Pacifist style that teaches its users to conquer their opponents rather than kill them (e.g. breaking a kneecap to disable an opponent).
- From Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita), Panzer Kunst and Ahato Mastarday spring to mind. Not to mention the thousands of sects of space karate, like Tohji's Electromagnetic Karate in Last Order.
- From Naruto, Killer Bee uses seven swords to attack, without using his hands.
- There is no such thing as Frog Style Kung Fu either. In it, even punches that miss actually still hit.
- The Hyuga clan's "Gentle Fist" fighting style involves lightly tapping the opponent in near-microscopic Pressure Points. Only the Hyugas can use this style, because those pressure points' locations vary slightly from person to person and thus it requires X-Ray Vision to know where they are.
- Dragon Ball has the Turtle and Crane Schools of Martial Arts, and while animal-named fighting styles exist in the real world, ones where a Kamehame Hadoken is the ultimate move... not so much.
- Although, other than teaching powers of Flight, Crane style Kung Fu DOES exist.
- Many are shown in Ranma ½: Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū (Anything Goes Martial Arts), Umisenken, Yamisenken, various Martial Arts and Crafts styles, and more.
- Girls und Panzer gives us Sensha-Donote , which is a traditional armed combat style for women. Where "armed" means "driving a huge box of armor rolling on treads and bristling with guns -- as in, cannons."
- Blade has the sword style that the titular character and his rival Kikyo use. It's techniques involve Razor Wind, You Are Already Dead, Death of a Thousand Cuts, and Homing Projectile moves.
- In an interesting inversion, according to The Rival Kikyo, who also uses the same style as the hero, their sword style is Yagyu Shrinkage Ryuu, which is a real life swordsmanship school.
- Superman had at least two Kryptonian martial arts styles.
- Klurkor, which Lois Lane learned in the bottled city of Kandor.
- The villainess Faora Hu-Ul knew Horo-Kanu.
- The Green Arrow used Moo-Gi-Gon.
- Spider-Man, prior to the Spider-Island event, trained under Shang Chi to compensate for the temporary loss of his Spider Sense. After the martial-arts equivalent of boot camp, Shang Chi and Spider-Man developed The Way of the Spider, a unique fighting style that utilized Spider-Man's physical strength and agility to their fullest.
- Albedo Erma Felna EDF has stick fighting, basically a mix of both bojutsu and kendo with a cane rather than a shinai.
- The Mega Crossover Undocumented Features has the Asagiri katsujinkenryuunote , which combines more traditional martial arts techniques like zanshin with Jedi kata. Special attacks are Hyakken no Arashi and Blade of the Inviolate Soul.
- Played with in "From Bajor to the Black, Part II". The Bajoran viewpoint character draws a comparison between the Israeli art Krav Maga, which is part of Starfleet's training regimen, and the Cardassian-derived "military boxing" she learned when she was in the Bajoran Militia. The Wrong Reflection gives the Cardassian name of the art as chakar daran and even shows two practitioners (Eleya, the protagonist, and her mirror universe counterpart) sparring with it.
- In Red Fire, Red Planet by the same author, an Orion character mentions Klingon Mok'bara, Andorian shan-dru-shaan, and human jujutsu as arts she's learned.
- Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Sailor Mars uses fire jets to maneuver around the battlefield and deliver powerful punches. Sailor Venus does something similar with her six energy chains.
- Gymkata is an entire film built around the blending of Western gymnastics and Eastern martial arts to create a new fighting form.
- Throughout the Star Wars universe, there are seven different forms of lightsaber fighting. These were invented to explain why different characters have very different fighting styles, for example Darth Vader's slow-but-powerful approach, Obi-Wan's subtle defensive style, Yoda's crazy acrobatics and Count Dooku's fencing-inspired bladework.
- Arguably averted or subverted; what we see on screen is based on practical fighting systems—as interpreted by people who are mildly precognitive and wielding weightless bladesnote , and so can flynn it up to their heart's content.
- Gun Kata in Equilibrium and Ultraviolet: the art of dodging bullets by estimating statistically where they would land and not have any body parts there.
- Remo Williams The Adventure Begins had Sinanju, the Korean martial art from which all other arts are descended.
- This is Older than Television thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His 1903 Sherlock Holmes Short Story "The Adventure of the Empty House" has Holmes practicing "baritsu", which is either a typo of or a Shout-Out to the Real Life mixed martial art Bartitsu (a turn-of-the-century British takeoff of jujutsu that adds quarterstaff moves intended to be used with a gentleman's walking cane).
- The Weirding Way, which is derived from the Bene Gesserit prana-bindu skill.
- Due to the presence of kinetically-sensitive personal Deflector Shields, knife and sword fighting styles have evolved to include slow strikes that can penetrate said shields.
- To say nothing of the Honored Matre fighting style that involves incredibly fast kicks delivered with no nervous input from the brain, which makes one wonder what triggered the attack in the first place. Reflex action?
- In Isaac Asimov's later Foundation prequel novels, Hari Seldon is skilled in "Helicon twisting," which isn't described in detail.
- Interestingly, "twisting" is only mentioned in Forward the Foundation. The first prequel novel Prelude to Foundation only mentions that Seldon is a skilled martial artist.
- Logan's Run (the 1967 book that the 1976 film was based on). Sandmen use the hybrid martial arts style Omnite.
- David Weber's Honor Harrington:
- The Manticoran military uses coup de vitesse (French for "blow of speed"), an art featuring little finesse and specializing in the brutal pounding of enemies into the pavement. Honor holds a top rank in it and gets an extra edge from being a heavyworlder. Coup de vitesse seems to be the Manticoran Navy's preferred style.
- The Judo-derived Andermani martial art Neue-Stil Handgemenge (Dog German for New-Style Hand-to-hand Combat) is also demonstrated. It is the preferred style of Helen Zilwicki junior and the Gryphonian martial artist known only as Master Tye.
- There is also the Grayson sword arts. There are apparently several schools, but all of them are basically what you get when you learn kenjutsu from The Seven Samurai and then decide to redesign the katana into a more efficient form. Honor ends up influencing one of the schools by showing historical records to its master which inspires him to try Dual Wielding the traditional Grayson sword with a wakizashi as well as adding some kendo moves to his repertoire.
- Robert A. Heinlein's novel Podkayne of Mars mentions a martial art called "Kill-Quick", which Podkayne's mother is skilled in.
- Sinanju from The Destroyer
- The Kingkiller Chronicle books feature the Ketan, a martial art practiced by the Ademre. It seems to be based around striking and stand-up grappling, much like real world aikido.
- There is also Naked/Kill from Shibumi by Trevanian.
- Vasili Golovachov's The Envoy introduces Rossdao, a Russian martial art based on ancient Russian combat styles and is said to be equal to any East Asian martial art. While the details are not described, the protagonist learns how to put out a candle from a distance (similar to a Real Life Wing Chun technique), jump and kick from a kneeling position, evade a submachinegun, etc.
- Golovachov loves inventing fictional (Russian) martial arts. In his Catharsis series, he introduces a martial art that has its roots deeply in magic, and the fights take place at Super Speed.
- In Leonid Kudryavtsev's Star Corps Agent, a Bounty Hunter challenges the titular protagonist to a fight using a martial art called Handasiri-ha. Somehow, a master of this (even a regular human) is able to move at Super Speed to the point where a fight that takes up two pages is actually only about 5 seconds in real-time. The basic fighting stance involves arching one's back in a cat-like manner, spreading one's arms, and tilting one's head slightly. The bounty hunter is also a Human Alien and has more joints than a human, allowing him to use more complex moves. A single successful strike can break one's spine or even kill on the spot.
- Several moves and stances are named but not described, such as Spirit Windmill, Twist, Griffin's Wing, and Deadly Spinner
- The Matador Series has sumito (a.k.a. the 97 steps), developed from Pencak Silat by professional fighter Lazlo Mourn in The Musashi Flex. It eventually became associated with the monastic order the Siblings of the Shroud, then the Siblings taught it to Emile Khadaji in The Man Who Never Missed. Khadaji in turn passed it on to the Matadors. Sumito relies heavily on footwork and positioning, with practitioners training by walking a pattern of 97 footprints stenciled onto the floor. The series includes a number of other examples as well, including oppugnate, a military mixed martial art fusing elements of boxing with bits of several other arts.
- Star Trek Expanded Universe:
- The Rihannsu series has llaekh-ae'rl, a Romulan martial art whose name translates as "laughing murder". It requires the practitioner to root themselves to the ground and control their movements. Ael's crew member N'alae is a master but Ael herself isn't—her temper tends to get the better of her.
- In Star Trek: Titan, Andorian Shan-dru-shaan. In the novel Fallen Gods, Pava Ek'Noor sh'Aqabaa and Tuvok have a conversation regarding their respective cultures' martial arts; Tuvok mentions the previously established Suus Mahna discipline. He also notes that in the pre-Federation years, feuding Vulcans and Andorians borrowed from each others' traditions.
- Wielding a Shardblade in The Stormlight Archive is based around a structure of ten stances, each one a fighting style and combat philosophy named after one of the Ten Essences (Windstance, Smokestance, Flamestance, etc).
- In one specific combat scene, the hero switches from the elegant Windstance he usually favors to the Combat Pragmatist style of Ironstance as a way of reminding his fellows that they are in the middle of a war.
- Chronicles of the Kencyrath has the Senethar, a four element fighting style favored by the Kencyr culture. Kothifiran street fighting has also made an appearance as a Capoeira-like acrobatic style.
- Tor, encountered in both Phoenix Rising and the Jason Wood stories. It includes tricks like turning invisible and killing demons with your bare hands. And that's only halfway through the art.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome, there is a martial art called yu-dao that can only be used by fighter-speshes, due to the fact that it requires superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and reflexes, not to mention the ability to bend joints in ways most people can't. A sixth-level defense stance is described in the follow manner: "Legs forward, as though they had been broken and twisted at the knee, torso leaning backward, left hand, palm open toward Alex, at her face, and right arm thrust forward."
- It's not terribly often, but for all the high-tech weaponry taken for granted in the Perry Rhodan universe martial arts, including alien ones, do make the occasional appearance. Prominent examples are the recurring traditional Arkonid martial art Dagor (trans. All-Fight) and the Upanishad style once taught on a mass scale by the warrior cult that had taken hold in the twelve galaxies once ruled by the super-intelligence ESTARTU — and which involved among other things the regular drug-assisted conditioning of practicioners of the fourth and higher ranks (of ten) at the time.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Klingon martial art Mok'bara, which includes unarmed combat and the use of traditional Klingon weapons such as the bat'leth. Several Mok'bara katas are mentioned to be very similar to Tai chi chuan.
- TNG: "The Icarus Factor" introduces anbo-jyutsu, a Japanese-developed staff art taught to Riker by his father that requires the combatants to fight blindfolded. Kyle Riker stated he considered it the ultimate form of human martial arts. Dr. Pulaski thought it was incredibly dangerous.
- Vulcan Suus Mahna. The Star Trek Novel Verse adds V'Shan.
- Doctor Who has Venusian Aikido, which was practiced by the Third Doctor. It was hard for two-armed beings to learn because Venusians have six arms.
- Time Trax: Mosh-ti was a 23rd century occidental improvement on the martial arts.
- Cole on Tracker had a martial-arts fighting style that relied on both his and the fugitives' ability to move faster-than-human, and sometimes made use of Cole's hyperspeed ability for brief periods.
- Stargate SG-1:
- "The Warrior" introduces the Jaffa martial art mastaba, which is really just capoeira with the serial numbers filed off.
- In "Affinity" Teal'c gets an apartment in Colorado Springs and practices a martial art called loc'nel, which he teaches to his neighbor Krista. Then she uses it to kill her abusive boyfriend in self-defense.
- There is also an unnamed martial art used by the Sodan, a tribe of rogue Jaffa. They teach the basics to Cam Mitchell in order to fight one of their own to the death (his teacher, who fakes his death). When SG-1 is ambushed in a later episode by a group of Sodan, Mitchell and Teal'c are the only ones to successfully hold them off, while Sam and Daniel are quickly taken down (granted, Daniel is an archaeologist, but Sam has no excuse considering the third episode in the series stated she had advanced hand-to-hand training).
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Zack's Hip-Hop Kido, derived from breakdancing.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Forgotten Realms, the elves have a sword-fighting style called Bladesong, it is described as being deceptively graceful and appears like a dance. The focus of the style is on putting the opponent off balance before striking home with lethal force.
- The 3.5 edition sourcebook Tome of Battle introduced a series of nine martial disciplines in an effort to offset Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. Each consists of a series of maneuvers and stances that incorporate supernatural elements into combat.
- Shadowrun has carromeleg, an elven martial art similar to capoeira, with whirling, dance-like movements.
- In Traveller, there are a number of these. Notable are styles made for the ayloi an artificial claw worn by humans fighting Aslan style.
- Inspired in part as it is by Eastern mythology, Exalted has many of these (mostly powered by Essence).
- The Palladium RPG Ninjas And Superspies included, among others, Lee Kwan Choo, a non-violent martial art that stunned opponents by almost making lethal strikes; presumably it was less effective in a setting where Everybody Wasn't Kung Fu Fighting.
- This is also referenced as being included in earlier editions of Palladium's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG, in the "Guide to the Universe" sourcebook where a practitioner has this art.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse offers Kailindo, a special style for werewolves which uses wind-magic and their natural shapeshifting.
- Another Fighting Style would be Klaivaskar: Dueling/Fighting with a magic shortsword/dagger made out of pure silver.
- Mage: The Ascension features a hybrid mental/physical martial arts discipline practiced by the Akashic Brotherhood simply called "Do."
- Transformers have included several Cybertronian martial arts, like Circuit-Su or Crystalocution. The best-known one is Metallikato, mastered by the Decepticon Bludgeon.
- Echani, used by the Echani people in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords.
- Insult Swordfighting in the Monkey Island series, which is a combination of fencing and insulting the opponent as a form of art.
- There's also Monkey Kombat in Escape from Monkey Island and a mention of other Insult sports (you actually engage in a round of Insult Armwrestling in the game).
- You also engage in Insult Swordfighting in The Curse of Monkey Island, only with a twist. When fighting at sea, all the comebacks have to rhyme.
- Khajiit in The Elder Scrolls series of games are credited with several martial arts styles in the in-game literature, with colorful names like Goutfang, Whispering Claw, Two-Moons-Dance, and Rawlith Khaj (translated as "Raining Sand").
- Practically every single Fighting Game ever has at least one or two fictitious fighting styles; sometimes a game has nothing but those.
- Schlock Mercenary: Tagon's Toughs have received training in Parkata Urbatsu, though some have taken to it better than others. The amorphous brown blob is faster than he looks.
- Girl Genius: The canonical spin-off "Othar Tryggvassen's Twitter" establishes that Othar is a Genserhersker of the school of Norwegian Sweater Fighting. The only thing that prevents this from being I Know Kung-Faux is that Othar is consistently shown to be one of the most lethal hand-to-hand combatants in the setting.
- El Goonish Shive: The ki-based fighting style that Greg teaches Nanase, Elliot and Justin is called Anime-style Martial Arts and it is said to be inspired by several anime series.
- The Onyx Eye tong in Academy of Superheroes practices their own unique martial art, the Onyx Way. It includes horribly painful torture techniques, incredibly effective blindfighting skills and, for the most skilled practitioners, immunity to telepaths.