"What's Bruce Lee's favorite drink?"
— Well-known joke
Alright, here's the deal. If someone is making a tongue-in-cheek kung fu scene, there is always
a character who suddenly pulls a pursed-lips expression, makes random mystical hand movements, and shouts a falsetto 'WOOOOOOO
!' Anyone doing this can automatically be written off as having zero martial arts talent - unless it's an elaborate Confusion Fu
This trope's been around for a while, but it doesn't look to be going away any time soon
Of course, Bruce Lee
himself gets a pass for his own shtick.
See also Kung-Foley
, What the Fu Are You Doing?
Compare and contrast Kiai
, where the character is using it seriously.
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- A series of Stanton Optical commercials invoke this trope with screaming eyeglasses.
- Bruce Lee does this constantly during fight scenes.
- Po in Kung Fu Panda's dumpling-and-chopsticks fight scene.
- The annoying porter in Under Siege 2 Dark Territory ("I know a little WOOOOAAAAHHHHH... I know a little of that myself.")
- Jennifer Love Hewitt during the rooftop fight of The Tuxedo.
- Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films (the example that springs to mind is in the fight with Zhang Ziyi in film 2, but I'm sure there are others).
- Gonzo in Muppet Treasure Island, whilst throwing starfish in a shuriken-esque way.
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights ("Do you know... Praying Mantis?"). Achoo mixes in some Funny Michael Jackson Noises.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: HI-KEEBA!
- Elliot Carver mocks Wai Lin by making faux-kung fu gestures accompanied by Funny Bruce Lee Noises in Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Sonny Chiba, especially in his early career and The Street Fighter series. Sure the faces he makes are giggle-inducing to a modern American audience... right up until you see him tear down a dozen mooks like a frakking animal.
- Jeeja Yanin in the first fight scene of Thai actioner Chocolate, although I can't tell if they're deliberately being funny.
- Artemus Gordon pulls one of these in Wild Wild West, but only to distract Jim so he could press the Big Red Button on the wall behind him, activating a trap that essentially puts the latter mere inches above railroad track (they're on a moving train).
- The Chosen One in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist does this, though he does have some martial arts talent.
- In The Karate Kid Part III, Silver, despite being an actual karateka, does Kung Faux poses while making Funny Bruce Lee Noises before fighting Mr. Miyagi.
- Rupert Grint does this in one scene in Wild Target while practicing with a Japanese sword.
- Jones does this in every Police Academy movie starting with the second one (Where he first demonstrates skill in martial arts). Since he's also a ventriloquist, he also makes it look like everything he says in those scenes is being badly dubbed in, just for fun.
- Malaguita does a shuffle variation of this in Torrente: El brazo tonto de la ley to intimidate Torrente, though he has real martial arts training and seems to be very skilled.
- In The Magicians, Quentin invokes this before knocking open a cut-through door. The successful yet anticlimactic result may explain why Alice laughs.
- Hugh Laurie's "The Gun Seller" has something like this at the start. To get the man trying to break his arm off him, the protagonist lets out "what Japanese martial artists refer to as a kiai - you'd probably call it a very loud noise, and that wouldn't be so far off - a scream of such blinding, shocking, what-the-fuck-was-that intensity, that I frightened myself rather badly."
- This isn't actually a special technique for striking, it's just to shock his assailant for long enough to headbutt him in the face, kick him in the balls then smash his head in with a small statue.
- In Thief of Time a monk tries to intimidate Lu-Tze with 'Ai! Shao! Hai-eee...' before learning his opponents name. '-Ai! Hao-gng? Ohsheeeeeohsheeeeeee..'
Live Action TV
- Theo, the Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, tended to make nonstop Bruce Lee noises during battle, notable in a series where most of the Rangers actually practiced Chinese-based martial arts and none of the rest felt the need to do that.
- That very same year, the teamup movie between Engine Sentai Go-onger and Juken Sentai Gekiranger had a minor starting enemy named Nunchaku Banki who made these noises at all times. Regardless of whether he was attacking, jumping, getting hit, or painfully getting knocked across the battlefield by exceptionally powerful attacks, he still made these noises. It's possible this may have been a Take That against the above, but we'll probably never know.
- Lord Zedd also utilized this trope once to make fun of Tommy, who uses Kiai liberally. Actually Pretty Funny, because Zedd proceeds to beat Tommy's ass.
- Kamen Rider Meteor seems fond of these. Unlike most examples he actually does martial arts, and functions as a low-level Bruce Lee Clone (his name is Ryuusei, and Ryuu means 'dragon', Bruce Lee's nickname).
- Used hilariously on Chuck in an episode early in season 3. Chuck is unable to "flash" during a confrontation with a Ring operative he lured to the store to keep her away from Devon. So instead he tries to psyche the operative and her mooks out with this and a bit of posing, then takes off running.
- One of The Frantics' best known sketches, Ti Kwan Leep (sometimes mistakenly called "Boot To The Head") has Ed Gruberman attempting these.
- Bayonetta does so when have a combo really going while equipped with Sai Fung, which are nunchuk guns.
- Jon Talbain from Dark Stalkers. Justified in that he's a werewolf, so of course he'd howl. Further justified in that he's a werewolf Bruce Lee Clone.
- Jann Lee of Dead or Alive is another Bruce Lee Clone with this habit.
- Kim Kap Hwan from The King of Fighters.
- Liu Kang of Mortal Kombat fame makes this a Most Annoying Sound. Midway decided to make it sound like turkey gobbles!
- Raiden also fits this trope. He became notorious for yelling randomly while performing his Torpedo move in MKII. Fans originally believed that he was yelling Japanese phrases. Interestingly, others thought that he was actually speaking English, and thus Raiden's phrases were misinterpreted as "Get back in the car!", "Gimme ma money!", "I humped my dog!", "Freddy bought a car!", "Your mother's from L.A.!" or even "Santa Monica!" Midway eventually revealed that Raiden was just screaming gibberish noises, and not actual words of any language.
- Chie of Persona 4 does this occasionally.
- Soul Calibur's Maxi (another Bruce Lee Clone) does a lot of this too.
- Fei Long from Street Fighter, cementing his status as Bruce Lee Clone. Hwaieeeee-YAAHHHHHH!!!
- Marshall Law of Tekken, being a Bruce Lee Clone, obligatorily uttered these sounds. So did his son, Forrest.
- Kim Dragon from World Heroes, being the first video game Bruce Lee Clone, obviously used them.
- Touhou: Some versions of Hong Meiling have her use these, others use "JAAAOOOOO!"
- Ruby uses these to describe her fighting style in RWBY. In an interesting variation, she really is that good. (Although fortunately she doesn't make said noises while actually using her fighting style.)
- In the first episode of Batman Beyond, near the beginning, the first random Joker Terry shoves around starts posing while making these noises, before blowing a raspberry and running away.
- Kim Possible: Quite often, Ron Stoppable.
- Happens in Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected, although they're not fighting, they're just flipping the fuck out because one guy's eye turned into a fountain of blood.
- A crab perched on a rock does it to a group of seagulls in Finding Nemo. As the gulls are about to pick the crab apart (to raucous cries of "Mine!"), the crab waves its pincers and makes noise in stereotypical kung fu fashion before back-flipping itself back into the water.
- Texas does this a lot in Motorcity. Probably because he actually does watch a lot of action movies.
- Rafiki does this as he fights off the hyenas in The Lion King.
- Anyone who's ever taught a martial arts class to small kids knows they do this. They usually sound more like Michael Jackson than Bruce Lee and fall about laughing if you point this out (assuming that they actually know who one or both of those people are...). Depending on the personal style (and possibly martial-arts style) of the teacher, you're actually supposed to do this, just not nearly so exaggerated. In competitive martial arts, shouting when you attack counts for points (or at least points out that they're supposed to be looking for a scoring hit rather than a feint), in defensive martial arts it's a focus thing to add a little extra aggression to the attack.
- The Kiai (yelling when striking) serves a number of different purposes from the physiological (yelling firms up the core muscles, increases blood flow, and helps to keep you from getting the breath knocked out of you) to psychological (yelling focuses your attention on the moment of the attack and may startle the opponent. The timbre of the yell makes little difference for most purposes. Yelling while warming up can serve many of the same purposes, including intimidation, increased blood flow, and increased focus.
- However, opening your mouth while fighting is a good way to get a broken jaw, which is why the participants of full contact martial arts matches, boxers and MMA fighters are less likely to kiai.