Given enough time, any man can master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man can become wise. It is a true warrior who can master both.A Big Guy or Brute who is also a geek or tech-head. Often coupled with Gentle Giant to subvert two tropes at once. Basically what happens when you put Brains and Brawn as one character. It's a possible benefit when you carry a heavy Doorstopper or two (or a whole shelf of them) while using it as weight-lifts and studying calculus at the same time. The diametric opposite of Dumb Muscle. This guy has not only huge muscles and fists, but a very bright brain! There is, however, a difference between "especially smart" and "not a total moron"; keep that in mind when adding examples. Here's a tip: A character who is strong but displays frankly average intelligence is simply not an idiot. But if they constantly spout technobabble and are considered an expert in some scientific field, that's especially smart. Similarly, if they're especially smart, they must also be unusually strong to qualify. "Beats people up" or "very physically fit" don't exactly count. The inversion is the Badass Bookworm. In general, a Genius Bruiser looks huge and powerfully muscled, then unexpectedly shows off an intellectual side, whereas a Badass Bookworm looks like a standard geek, but then displays a surprising amount of physical prowess. Remember, in this case Muscles Are NOT Meaningless. The person needs to look the part to qualify for this trope. If Authority Equals Asskicking, you may well end up with an Emperor Scientist. A Genius Bruiser is almost always also a Cultured Badass, but the two aren't necessarily always found in the same individual. In fantasy, a Genius Bruiser is often a Magic Knight or a Mighty Glacier. Also tends to be combined with Lightning Bruiser, as the speed is frequently tied into intelligence or very specific training. See also Minored In Ass Kicking. In a Five-Man Band specializing in brains, is The Big Guy. In a Five-Man Band specializing in brawn, is The Smart Guy. Contrast with Shorter Means Smarter.
—Emperor Yoshiro, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
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- Dark World!Spike from the Pony POV Series is a fully grown dragon and as such extremely powerful. But, unlike most dragons, he's also able to come up with complex strategies (such as superheating the area around an opponent, then having Twilight freeze it to cause a temperature shock explosion or using his opponent's own weapon against them) and is quite intelligent. Twilight outright says this is an advantage he has over other dragons, whose combat strategy normally amounts to 'smash it till it stops moving' or 'Kill It with Fire'. We find out later that he spent those thousand years Discord ruled the world (when not busy being Discord's mount) reading books. He has in depth knowledge on everything from combat styles and meditation to chiropractic massage. This comes in handy fighting Rancor, the Spirit of Violence who's immune to violence, and thus only things that aren't violence are capable of hurting her, like chiropractic massage.
- Xenilla (a.k.a Spacegodzilla) from The Bridge. While we got indications he was intelligent in the kaiju home realm, once he arrives in Equestria and we can understand what he's saying; he's got quite the mind on him. While most kaiju are sentient, it's obvious Xenilla was the one with the brains behind his faction. Aside from using his wit to trick his way into getting to the Crystal Empire, where he'd be stronger; he seems well learned in more trivial matters. Played for Laughs briefly when he forces the entire Crystal Court to pause and consider the illogical nature of Princesses Rule in an Empire, think it ridiculous Cadance wasn't an empress. Oh, and he's easily one of the most physically powerful kaiju in existence. His equine form being a full head taller than Shining Armor and very well muscled. Now consider his true form is a tall, 70,000 ton dinosaur.
- In Origin Story, Alexandra Harris, a Kryptonian with all the super-powers that entails, is very intelligent, a speed-reader, and has perfect recall. Her mind literally operates faster than that of a normal human being's. She's just not used to thinking of herself that way, having memories of an emotionally abusive childhood in which the phrase "you're an idiot" was used a lot.
- Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm:
- Jason Shepard, aka Lightstorm, is this. Despite losing his powers before the beginning of the story, his intelligence is so great that he can use ordinary human tech to create Moon Kingdom-level weapons and armor. He's also one of the deadliest fighters known to exist.
- Sailor Mercury, upon receiving military training from Jason. She is shown to be smart enough to learn the Moon Kingdom science that Jason teaches her, despite it being so advanced that it appears to be magic. Her skill with her ice powers also makes her a force to be reckoned with in a fight.
- Sailor Jupiter. Her knowledge of chemistry exceeds that of Sailor Mercury's, and even before Jason began training her, she was able to kill six human adults at the beginning of her debut episode.
Films — Animation
- Professor Padraic Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective is the rodent Captain Ersatz of Prof. Moriarty, plus is very physically imposing due to him being a... ahem... big mouse.
- Dr. Jumba from Lilo & Stitch is smart enough to create an incredibly powerful genetic experiment, and strong enough to go toe to toe with said experiment in order to obtain amnesty for the crime of creating him. He did better against Stitch than a 20-foot tall whaleman who was an expert in combat.
- Not explicit, but Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles must be very intelligent to master the subtle ins-and-outs of Insuricare, which we see even before he outwits Syndrome's Omnidroid and goes for a delve in the computer network. Mr. Incredible is actually quite sharp, and when he's infiltrating Syndrome's base, this fact helps him just as often as his strength does.
Films — Live Action
- The actor Richard Kiel has played with this trope more than once; his James Bond villain Jaws is far from stupid, although he only gets one line of dialogue to truly reveal this. Years earlier, he appeared in a similar role in a Bond rip-off film titled A Man Called Dagger. At one point his Big Bad employer asks rhetorically why Hitler lost World War II, and Keil's character considers for a moment, then starts to give a complex and erudite answer before being cut off.
- John Candy also played with this a little bit. Stripes, for example, has Ox.
- Xander Cage in the movie xXx.
- The musclebound Luther Stickell in the Mission: Impossible films and video games is also one of the world's foremost computer experts.
- Killjoy in The Ice Pirates, played by the late John "Sloth" Matuszak, is not only the biggest of the pirates, but also the smartest and most Genre Savvy.
- Star Wars:
- Chewbacca is an enormous Wookiee who has the strength to tear your limbs off if you get him angry enough. He's also quite the engineer, able to keep the Millennium Falcon running, chart hyperspace routes, and repair C-3P0 from virtual scrap. In Revenge of the Sith, Chewie is a high-ranking commander of the Wookiee forces, so he must be skilled at strategy and military tactics. In addition, a scene in A New Hope implies that he's somewhat skilled at Dejarak (the Star Wars equivalent of Chess), although his skills in it won't help him if he's playing against a Droid.
- Darth Vader is a huge guy with extensive cybernetic implants. Although he usually kills people with his lightsaber or Force Choke, he is also capable of crushing a man's throat with his bare hands. He also built C-3PO as a child and modified his star fighter extensively.
- Not only did Vader modify his starships, his skills with engineering also made him the main creator of at least two models of TIE fighter (His TIE Advanced and the original, mass-produced version).
- Let's not forget that pretty much the entire plot of The Empire Strikes Back was his own very cunning Batman Gambit to draw Luke to him.
- Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 is most definitely one of these. He's able to reproduce Tony Stark's Arc Reactor technology and bashes through Hammer's secure firewalls, as well as improve on Hammer's rather pathetic Powered Armor designs into genuinely viable weapons. During the prison-break sequence, he kills two men unarmed - one of them a burly prisoner and the other a guard who was grabbing him. Later, we see the aftermath when Hammer tries to lock him up - Vanko kills two security guards entirely unarmed and strings up their corpses for no readily apparent reason except it was amusing.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Twins. He was a result of an experiment of producing an advanced human being by combining sperm from six fathers who are athletes and scholars. Being raised by a doctor, he's physically strong, spiritually pure, and excels in history, science, mathematics, literature, and can speak twelve languages. Until he learns he has a fraternal twin played by Danny Devito who inherited the leftover genes and living in shady lowlife schemes.
- A dock worker in Eraser hints at being a Genius Bruiser while he and his colleagues are observing an arms deal between the bad guys and some men from the former Soviet Union.
- Boss: Damn Commies.Bruiser: Actually, Sir, they're not Communists anymore. They're a federation of independent, liberated states.
- Victor Creed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
- In X-Men: First Class, Hank goes from being a Badass Bookworm at the beginning to being a Genius Bruiser toward the end. This is because he injected himself with something that utterly transformed his appearance.
- By X-Men: The Last Stand, he's a scientist/diplomat who can kick lots of ass.
- The Wolverine:
Implied with Viper since she's a scientist.
Shingen Yashida makes a brief mention to the fact he graduated in biology, and is as well a very competent businessman.
Ichirō Yashida served in the military in World War II, and later founded a highly successful technology conglomerate.
- El Santo, the famous Masked Luchador hero of Mexico, was always portrayed as highly intelligent and cultured, and often as a true genius. To take just one example, in Santo en El Tesoro de Drácula, Santo invents a working time machine all by himself!
- Gunnar Jensen in The Expendables movies got a Fulbright scholarship and a degree in chemical engineering...just like Dolph Lundgren, who plays him.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane looks like a gorilla wearing a Darth Vader costume. But he's a match for Batman tactically as much as physically. He's also highly cultured and well-spoken and one line even indicates that he has a good working knowledge of nuclear physics.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, the Lizard stands 7'6" () tall and is capable of punching through inch-thick steel emergency doors. When he and Peter fight in a chemistry classroom, he takes note of the vials standing around and mixes the contents of two them together to create a bomb. It makes it clear Connors' intellect is still there under the scales. In a Deleted Scene he convinces himself he doesn't have to be afraid of Spider-Man because he is bigger, faster and stronger than he is, has teeth and claws and an Empire State University degree.
- Roadblock from G.I. Joe: Retaliation he's not only strong, but he's also pretty smart and good at coming up with strategies.
- In Broken Arrow (1996), Terry nearly bites off more than she can chew by trying to sneak-attack a mook in Nerd Glasses and a lab coat.
"You probably thought I was some science nerd! I was a Navy SEAL, lady! You should see what I can do with just my thumb!"
- Warrior: Brendan is a physics teacher, and a badass MMA fighter. This is even lampshaded by his trainer.
- In Frankenstein: The College Years, the Frankenstein's Monster nicknamed "Frank" starts out as the typical lumbering moron of other film adaptations since the process to resurrect him is incomplete. The protagonists eventually figure out the secret to saving Frank namely sugar, since the anti-rejection serum that keeps Frank's organs working together causes glucose deficiency. This explains Frank's Sweet Tooth throughout the movie. After his brain fully recovers, Frank is able to speak for the first time in the movie and he claims that he's fluent in multiple languages.
- Jason Bourne from The Bourne Series. Extremely good at lateral thinking and finding highly creative ways to stay one step ahead of the people hunting him, but when the chips are down, can annihilate anyone who goes up against him in a fight.
- Cady, the villain in Cape Fear (1991) is both in exceptionally good shape and terrifyingly smart. He studied law in prison, becoming a lawyer, even acting as his own defense during his appeals.
- In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla is rather crafty for a giant reptile. After seeing how his atomic breath only had a minor effect on the female Muto, he switched to grabbing her head and firing it down her throat until it decapitated her. As for the male Muto, Godzilla was having difficulty dealing with the male constantly resorting to hit and run attacks from the air. So Godzilla suckered the male into attacking him from behind by pretending that he didn't know it was there, then giving him a tail attack that knocked the male out of the air into a protruding beam, impaling it.
- Nathan from Ex Machina is a muscular fitness nut who practices boxing and works out constantly. At the same time, he wrote the code for the world's most-used search engine when he was thirteen, built up a multi-billion dollar corporation around that product, and designed a ground-breaking artificially intelligent robot all by himself.
- DMX's character in Exit Wounds. Besides looking like a typical thug and being able to fight Steven Seagal to a draw, he turns out to be a tech whiz who got rich during the Dot Com boom and who is using high-tech equipment to try to expose Dirty Cops.
- Rummelsnuff looks like a real life german Hulk◊ with the brain of a fly, whom you'd rather expect to work as an enforcer for the Mob. However, both of his parents were classical mussicians and music teachers. The working class image is part of his art.
- One of the most common Metal Head stereotypes is that they are Dumb Muscle. The technical ability required to play the music definitely creates this when combined with the typical image. This is especially the case for Folk Metal, where the musicians are invariably well-versed in history and folklore and they generally speak at least one language besides English (the only exceptions come from English-speaking countries), probably more.
Myths & Religion
- Most Greek heroes are Genius Bruisers. The ancient Greeks believed as much in exercising the mind as the body.
- King Odysseus of Ithaca is the epitome of this trope in Greek mythology. Odysseus was the Achaians' most cunning general as well as one of their best warriors. Most notably he commissioned the Trojan Horse used to invade Troy. At the end of the Odyssey, he demonstrates that he's still a Badass after all these years by performing some archery feats and then slaughtering a roomful of younger men. His combination of brains and brawns makes him the favored hero of Athena. However, like many Greek heroes, some of his best work was possible only with substantial help from the gods.
- Athena is the goddess of wisdom and intellect and is known for her cunning and inventiveness. Though she prefers tactics and strategy instead of brute force, there are accounts of her incredible physical feats, such as crushing the giant Enceladaus with the island of Sicily. She is also undefeated in combat. In the Iliad, Ares, the god of war, challenged her on the battlefield and Athena knocked him out in a single strike.
- Prince Theseus of Greek mythology; his use of brains as well as brawn to pass tests, defeat opponents, and slay monsters.
- Hercules' Twelve Labors required a substantial amount of cunning as well as strength. When he found out that the Nemean Lion's hide was impervious to weapons, he strangled it. To fight the Hydra, which could grow its heads back, he seared the stumps with a torch. And to clean up the enormous and never-cleaned Aegeans Stables, he uses his strength to alter the course of two nearby rivers. Athena was the Olympian who liked Hercules best, excluding his father anyway.
- Hephaestus, the god of the forge and Zeus' main artificer, was able to take on and humiliate Ares, the god of war, with cunning, trickery, and his technological genius. Also counts—unusual among the Greek pantheon—as a Handicapped Badass, walking with a pronounced limp due to injuries sustained when Zeus literally threw him from Olympus as an infant.
- The old Christian martyrology has several cases of Genius Bruisers who were high-ranked Roman soldiers before their conversions, becoming Badass Preachers and facing the cruelest tortures and martyrdom with much badassery. Some of the more popular examples are:
- Jesus of Nazareth himself. It has been estimated his IQ has been over 200, as he was able to tackle Jewish scholars (who are not stupid) in the age of 12. If we assume the Shroud of Turin is genuine, he has been very muscular and strong as well - his civilian profession was carpenter - and larger than most Jewish men of his age.
- And even if the Shroud is not genuine, the New Testament report that time, in the Temple, he started tossing around the merchants' stone tables by himself...
- Saint George of Lydda. Assuming that he existed—he may not have—he was a powerful soldier and then able and charismatic captain and administrator for Emperor Diocletian. He stunned the Emperor by declaring himself a Christian just as said Emperor was beginning the last Roman persecution of the Christians; he refused all kinds of gifts to convert to paganism and was martyred for his trouble. Unlike many other martyrs, he had led a long enough life in the Roman military to make other badassery possible, and people naturally added new stuff to his story. The most famous of these additions has him slaying a dragon, saving the local Barrier Maiden, and then managing to convince everyone in her kingdom to convert to Christianity. He later became Patron Saint of a ridiculous number of things, including England, Georgia (the country), Genoa, Portugal (because of blood ties between the English and Portuguese royal families), the Palestinians (well, the Palestinian Christians, but the Muslims of Bethlehem and Lodnote like him, too), Scouting, and armored units. This patronage, by the way, is why the flag of England looks exactly like the flag of Genoa and both are awfully similar to the flag of Georgia.
- Saint Sebastian. This ex-captain of the prestigious Praetorian Guard (meaning, the guy was among the guards that protected The Emperor) was so badass that he had to be martyred twice (first by arrow shooting, later by flogging).
- Saint Christopher. A man over 7 ft. tall who started out as an arrogant Genius Bruiser obsessed with finding the best and more noble king to serve, then became a Gentle Giant after coming to believe that Jesus Christ (specially as Baby Jesus) was such master, and remained a Badass Preacher as he was tortured and killed by the Romans.
- More recently, we have Ignatius of Loyola who began his career as a Spanish knight but was severely wounded when a cannonball struck him in the legs. During his convalescence, he was inspired to switch his focus to religious study and eventually founded the Jesuit order. Fitting for the trope, Ignatius is the patron saint of both educators and soldiers.
- Jesus of Nazareth himself. It has been estimated his IQ has been over 200, as he was able to tackle Jewish scholars (who are not stupid) in the age of 12. If we assume the Shroud of Turin is genuine, he has been very muscular and strong as well - his civilian profession was carpenter - and larger than most Jewish men of his age.
- Ogma of Celtic Mythology. He's described as the Celtic Hercules based on his appearance, but he is so well-spoken that he can lead men happily into hell. If you prevent said men from following him, they'll get pissed at you.
- Odin of Norse Mythology. He is a god of war and hunting, but also of wisdom, magic and poetry. AND he's a trickster to boot. While old and gray, he is often depicted as quite physically imposing.
- The Book of Mormon gives several examples:
- Nephi was said to be "large of stature" even in his youth, and the vocabulary and terminology he uses indicates the he might well have been a smith by trade. He also built a deep-water ship for his family and ended up leading his people once they had crossed the ocean, both in building up civilization and creating civic projects and also as a warrior.
- Captain Moroni was the general of the Nephite armies several hundred years later. He would end up in the middle of battle from time to time and acquit himself quite well on the field, but some of his greatest victories in the war against the Lamanites came as a direct result of the strategies and ruses he devised. Several of his sub-commanders also qualify.
- At the end of the narrative, Mormon is made the general of the Nephite armies specifically because (much like Nephi a thousand years earlier) he was really big and strong even from his youth. In addition to his military exploits, he was also an accomplished historian and scholar (he clearly admired Moroni so much that he named his son after him) who ended up abridging a thousand years of the spiritual history of his people to form the record that bears his name.
- George "The Animal" Steele, Bill "Masked Superstar"/"Demolition Ax" Eadie, Little Spike Dudley and Matt "Prince Albert"/"A-Train"/"Giant Bernard"/"Lord Tensai" Bloom all were teachers before getting into pro wrestling. Steele would mostly wrestle during summer vacations. Matt Striker had to resign from his teaching position because the school system found that he had taken "sick days" when he was actually wrestling in Japan, or, as in the incident that caused his dismissal, wrestling a try-out match for WWE. Caylen Croft, real name Christopher Pavone, went in the opposite direction, retiring from wrestling to become a teacher.
- "Precious" Paul Elllering, best known for his work in the 1980s as the manager for The Road Warriors on television and off roles, is a member of Mensa and carried copies of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times with him to the ring during the Road Warriors' early days in Georgia in 1983. Despite this, he still accepted the ridiculous Rocco the ventriloquist dummy gimmick in 1992 WWE.
- Scott Levy, better known to Professional Wrestling fans as Raven, has an I.Q. of about 160.
- Similarly, pro wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield, who's about and (6-6, 290), has made millions with his keen stock market acumen, makes frequent appearances on financial programs to dole out advice, and is a Senior Vice President with Northeast Securities, as well as CEO of Layfield Energy. And you thought the whole Screw the Rules, I Have Money! thing was all an act... Doubly appropriate as he's apparently a complete jerk in real life too.
- Likewise, Accie Julius Conner (a.k.a. D-lo Brown) is a Certified Public Accountant.
- WWE NXT participant David Otunga is a Harvard Law grad and a licensed attorney, having passed the Bar in Illinois.
- Former wrestler and WWF Tough Enough season 1 finalist Chris Nowinski was also a Harvard grad. He went on to be signed by the WWF, and did quite well for himself until forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome. He now heads the Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit group dedicated to researching the long-term effects of concussions and other injuries in sports and sports entertainment.
- Female wrestler MsChif is a genetics scientist outside the ring.
- Modern pro wrestling is particularly good for these. When on the road, wrestlers have a lot of time in cars and on airplanes, so they take to reading to pass the time, which ends up with quite a few rather knowledgeable autodidacts. Mickie James has been slowly but surely working toward a Business degree, Shantelle Malawski (TNA Knockout Taylor Wilde) retired to focus on her psychology studies, and bodybuilder Chris Mordetzki (Chris Masters) is fond of reading books on politics on the road.
- Michelle McCool is a former 7th grade science teacher.
- Glen Jacobs, better known as Kane, has degrees in English and Teaching, and has said that if he weren't wrestling, he'd be teaching. He's also a quite knowledgeable blogger in political matters. Check out "The Adventures of Citizen X in the Land of the Free" sometime.
- Sheamus was an IT Technician before coming to the ring.
- Wade Barrett is a former bare-knuckle boxing champion and a former marine biologist.
- WWE talent Xavier Woods (formerly known as "Consequences Creed" in TNA, most infamous for losing the tag championship held by Adam "Pacman" Jones and Ron Killings on his debut with the company) has a graduate degree in Psychology and is looking to earn his doctorate in the field.
- Chess boxing is a sport designed for genius bruisers. The players alternate between rounds of boxing and rounds of speed chess. You can win by a knockout, a checkmate, judges' decision or by your opponent running out of time in the chess game.
- Chess-boxers can fit this trope if they also fit the Smart People Play Chess trope. Not only must they be experienced boxers, but they must be at least Class A in chess playing strength (which is as strong as a strong amateur chess player).
- Josh Waitzkin, the former chess prodigy whose early career was portrayed in Searching for Bobby Fischer, doesn't box. Hopefully his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes up for it.
- A number of Mixed Martial Arts fighters are surprisingly intelligent.
- Rich Franklin, who is considered one of the top fighters in the UFC and the promotion's former middleweight champion, was a high school math teacher at one of Ohio's top public schools. He holds a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.
- Matt "The Law" Lindland ran for Oregon state representative but lost partially due to his opponent's anti-MMA ads. He also earned his nickname by successfully litigating to overturn a wrestling match he lost via illegal move. He went on to win the rematch.
- Chael Sonnen also ran for state representative. More infamously, he took part in a money laundering scheme as a real estate agent while fighting professionally at the same time.
- Shane Carwin is a full-time mechanical engineer and showed up to work as usual at 9:00 a.m. on March 29, 2010... two days after he won the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.
- Dr. Rosi Sexton has a 13-2 win record as of July 2012 and a Ph.D in theoretical computer science.
- Nick "The Goat" Thompson achieved his J.D. in Law and became a practicing attorney while amassing more than 50 fights across almost every major fighting promotion.
- Several Boxers
- The Klitschko brothers (Wladimir and Vitali) were both reigning heavyweight boxing champions, renowned for their prodigious knockout percentages, huge size and amazing physiques, as well as doctors of Kinesiology. They are also pretty good chess players. As of 2014, the eldest brother, Vitali, has retired from boxing and is currently the head of a Ukrainian political party and Mayor of Kiev.
- Recently retired Mexican boxer Marco Antonio Barrera is a qualified lawyer.
- His countryman and one-time opponent Juan Manuel Marquez is still recognized as one of the top 10 boxers in the sport. Marquez is also an accountant.
- In fact, this may not be uncommon among the lower ranks of professional boxing, where the money may not be all that great.
- Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews. According to Men's Health Magazine, he's "very smart" with an extensive knowledge of kinesiology.
- Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins is a Certified Financial Planner (he took courses during his stint in Ottawa), can fluently speak four languages, with a working knowledge of two others. With plans to learn Italian. He also holds the all-time NHL records for tallest player and hardest slapshot.
- Ice hockey players Douglas Murray and George Parros are both the epitome of a stereotypical hockey player (large, heavy hitters who are not afraid to get physical during a game), yet they're also both Ivy League grads — Murray from Cornell, Parros from Princeton. Murray even runs his own business, UberTap, that produces a three-spout beer keg tap.
- Despite being more known for his physical play and fighting, Kevin Westgarth (like Parros) graduated from Princeton. During the 2012 lockout, he became a representative of the NHL players and assisted with getting a new collective bargaining agreement worked out.
- Shaquille O'Neal is widely recognized as one of the best centers in the history of professional basketball who often used his size (over 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds) to overpower opponents on the court. As of May 2012, it's now Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, as Shaq has earned a doctorate in education, which he earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.8. He also attended film school, and is currently attending law school, simply because he thinks it's fun. Shaq may be the only man in the world with a PHD, a platinum album and an Olympic gold medal.
- Conrad Smith, a member of the New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks and the 2012 captain of the Wellington Hurricanes, has a Law degree with Honours and is therefore a qualified lawyer.
- Along with the fighting examples, one must remember that most NFL players actually do finish college, many of them using their 5 years of scholarship (yes, they actually get 5 during which 4 are eligible as playing years), many of them actually earn Masters Degrees. And we can include all Rhodes Scholars.
- The NCAA even uses this as an advertising point—their commercials show students in labs and other academic settings while a narrator comments, "Most of our athletes will go pro in something other than sports."
- Bills Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was an economics major at Harvard and interned at a hedge fund.
- Similarly, Andrew Luck—a star quarterback picked number one in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts—chose to remain at Stanford (the Harvard of the West) for an extra year to complete his degree in architecture and engineering.
- The SECOND pick of the 2012 draft: Robert Griffin III. Let's let The Other Wiki explain: "Griffin graduated from high school a semester early, after serving as class president and ranking seventh in his class. He began attending Baylor University during the spring 2008 semester when he was 17 years old. As a member of Baylor's track and field team, Griffin finished in first place in the hurdles at both the Big 12 Conference Championship and the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meets; he also broke the NCAA Midwest Regional hurdles record. He placed third in the NCAA meet and also participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials, in which he advanced to the semifinals. Griffin graduated in three years with a degree in political science and a 3.67 GPA, while appearing on the Dean's List twice. During his final year of college sports eligibility, he was studying for a Master's degree in communication."
- Offensive lineman Ron Mix, the second ever American Football League player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Famenote , was known as "The Intelectual Assassin" during his playing days, known as much for his Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness as for his playing prowess. He became a lawyer after his playing career, practicing out of San Diego for over three decades.
- Alan Page, Hall of Fame defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Practiced law after his playing days, eventually becoming a Justice on Minnesota's Supreme Court.
- "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell, longtime NFL fullback, once was late to workout for NFL scouts, because he was back at Stanford giving his Master's Thesis in Computer Science.
- Myron Rolle. Rhodes scholar and 6'2" 215 pound safety for Florida State University.
- Linebacker Dhani Jones stands out in particular, as one of the only pro football players to have conducted an orchestra while on an NFL roster.
- Tim Ruddy, former center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami Dolphins football teams, who at 6'3" and 300 lbs. easily manhandled oppossing linemen for 15 years, finished high school with a perfect 4.00 GPA, and graduated from Notre Dame with a 3.86 GPA (including a perfect 4.00 during his junior and senior years) and a B.S. in mechanical engineering.
- In Necromunda, the Warhammer 40,000 spinoff set in the Underhive of the planet of the same name, the Heavy has to have both copious amounts of brawn to carry the massive squad-support weapons they use, and just as much technical skill to maintain them.
- This it taken to an extreme (As usual) in the standard game with the Techmarines of the Space Marines. By definition they are the field mechanics and combat engineers of the Space Marines, but with all the custom high-tech weaponry and dangerous tools they have on hand, they are also among the most formidable individuals the Space Marines can field!
- The Emperor himself was a giant of a man, but also an Emperor Scientist who labored for years to create what would become the Space Marines.
- Along with the Emperor are his sons the Primarches, all are exceptionally intelligent with superhuman strength, most of them are either powerful warriors, great statesmen, brilliant scientists, or any combination of the three.
- Warlord Gazghull Mag Uruk Thraka; not content with being as big as a Space Marine Dreadnought, he's brought the Imperial planet of Armageddon to its knees twice (the first time was just a test run, see) and, unusually for an Ork, has learned from his experiences to the extent that he can outwit most Imperial field commanders before they even make their decisions. And all whilst fighting in the front lines with his ladz.
- Another Ork worthy of mention is Kaptin Bluddflagg, who can tell that Adrastia was an Inquisitor by her uniform, which is remarkable as Orks have a biologically enforced Large and In Charge thing going for their race and have no concept of uniforms (and Adrastia is a mite shorter than the soldiers with her).
- He also deduced Kyras' location very intelligently, not just by Ork standards, but by any standards. Here. Note that Autarch Kayleth, leader of the so-called "super-intelligent" resident elves, struggled to figure this out. Although, to her credit, Kayleth takes a lot less time to explain it when she finally puts two and two together... and unlike Bluddflagg's gang, her subordinates actually understand what she's on about.
- The Adamantine Arrow of Mage: The Awakening endeavors to train all of their members to be formidable physical combatants (without the use of their magic) as well as highly capable with a wide range of mental skills. As their creed goes, "Adaptability Is Strength".
- Many Euthanatos of Mage: The Ascension may also fall under this category. To counter the effect their assassin training has on their psyche, many of them dedicate what's left of their "normal" life to various forms of science and academics - from medicine, to philosophy, to computer science.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, properly made Fighter/Mage builds or gishes to use the common name illustrate this trope. Generally however their physical strength is coming from spells, so that while often stronger and more dangerous in close combat than ordinary bruiser sorts while still having magical prowess to draw upon. The magic itself has a few limitations that can be exploited by a canny enemy mage.
- In fourth edition, Assault Swordmages and Tactical/Resourceful Warlords rely on both strength and intelligence, and unlike the gish example above their strength is not a result of magical buffs, thus making them even better examples of this trope.
- The canonic Forgotten Realms character Fyodor is a big lad with an enormous sword and all the education non-witch can get in average Rashemaar village, The Berserker, and uncontrollable one at that. He also got a magic sense, can see spirits, is a good storyteller and smart enough to outtrick a drow. Sort of lampshaded, as he carries a sword that is blunt piece of metal he normally cannot swing, but fits his strength well while in Unstoppable Rage (and the sword's sheer mass makes it truly unstoppable) and bears a strong enchantment, so it can cut or chip even things immune to normal weapons, blunt or not.
- Ogre Magi. They are as strong as regular ogre, but they are smarter than average human. And they can use magic.
- As monsters go, Ogre Magi (known as Oni in 4th Edition) are on the low end of the scale when it comes to this trope. They're vastly outclassed in both strength and intelligence by numerous other creatures, like Storm Giants, Titans, Dragons, most demons and devils, ect.
- While most of the Lords of the Nine Hells are both very intelligent and dangerous fighters, Bel, Lord of the First fits this trope best. He's the largest and most physically powerful of the Archdevils, but is an absolutely brilliant military mind. Indeed, most all of his type of devils, Pit Fiends, fit this very well. Powerful demons are like this too. Mariliths and nalfeshnee both have genius-level intelligence, and are strong enough to defeat small legions of enemies on their own. (To say nothing of their masters; Orcus didn't get his position just because he was the strongest.)
- And of course, there are the monsters the game is named after. Dragons, especially the oldest ones, are overwhelmingly powerful, and most of them have very high Intelligence scores, which only get higher as they get older.
- Tome of Battle's warblade was often acclaimed for this. Most melee combat classes either dump Intelligence or get it just high enough for Combat Expertise, and recieve a minimal two skill points. Warblades, on the other hand, receive four skill points, and many of their abilities key off Intelligence, meaning that most warblades invest in it. Your average warblade is a competent tactician, a skilled speaker, and an expert in military history, but still quite capable of slicing an iron golem in half.
- The Ogre warlord Greasus Goldtooth from Warhammer Fantasy is both a stunningly powerful (if also very lazy) warrior and an incredibly shrewd businessman who has built his empire on physical conquest, intimidation, bribes, and cunning trade agreements in equal measure. It helps that he commissioned a magic crown that increases his intellect.
- From the same game, there's a Dwarf master engineer who, when not maintaining cannons, is ripping goblins in half with his Steam Punk prosthetic claw-arm.
- And Malakai Makaisson, the Slayer Engineer, responsible for, among other things, a fully automatic throwing-axe launcher, various successful modifications to the repeater cannon known as the Organ Gun, and the Warhammer world's first successful airship. All of this whilst under an oath to seek an honourable and violent death. And he's a Violent Glaswegian in all but name, right doon to th'accent.
- Our very own Gotrek Gurnisson: former engineer (DWARF engineer. Given the extremes to which everything is turned in the Warhmmer world, that should say a lot), now turned into what must be the single most dangerous creature in the Warhammer world, which is no small feat.
- Also Azhag The Slaughterer, one of the strongest Orc warlords, who happens to have a crown that "gives him good ideas", probably because it contains the spirit of Nagash the strongest wizard ever, inventor of necromancy and all around evil dude. Most of the other famous Orcs and Goblins qualify too, especially Grobad Ironclaw, Grom the Paunch, Grimgor Ironhide and Skarsnik (if you count Gobbla).
- Beckett the Gangrel scholar from Vampire: The Masquerade.
- Clan Brujah tends to have quite a few of these. To the common outsider they may just look like your average street punk, caring little about any intellectual pursuits, but the facts are more complex than that. Back in the days of the medieval era they were known as the Learned Clan, and housed many Warrior Poets who were skilled both physically and intellectually. While this has detoriated quite a bit over the centuries, this bit of intellectualism crops up more than once in a while to further reinforce the clan's passions.
- Pathfinder has an interesting example in Absalom resident Dr. Bensi Skule, a renowned alchemist and knowledge broker who sits at the vast web of street urchin informants known as Skule's Army. Unbeknownst to most of Absalom's citizens, the real Dr. Skule actually died years ago, and his operations were taken over by one of his experimental subjects—an adult male troll whom Skule was vivisecting in order to uncover the secrets of its Healing Factor. The new Dr. Skule is an eight-foot tall, 300 pound predatory giant who can recover from almost any injurty; he's also as talented an alchemist as his predecessor, and is the one who assembled Skule's Army, turning him into The Fagin of the city.
- Onua from BIONICLE, typically regarded as one of the wisest of the Toa, and possessing Super Strength.
- All Makuta to an extent, but none moreso than Teridax.
- Hydraxon has extensive knowledge of weapons and tactics. He is also one of the most badass characters in the series, once bringing a mountain down on Teridax.
- Brutaka is is a scholar warrior when not cracking skulls or teleporting Tahtorak underneath Metru Nui for a laugh.
- Klaus and Othar from Girl Genius are prime examples. They are both immense men, towering over most normal people but they are also Mad Scientists. The two of them once got into a rip-roaring brawl from one end of Castle Wulfenbach to another busting through walls as they did so.
- Also, the constructs known as Punch and Judy are pretty big and tough. A member of one of the "traveling Heterodyne shows" based on the adventures of the previous generation cheerfully plays Punch as the big, slow and stupid type that folklore would have him... until he meets someone who knows what he was ''really'' like.
- The Jager Generals. Big, heavy-hitting bruisers... and extremely intelligent and world-wise, with literal centuries of military experience each.
- In Looking for Group, Krunch Bloodrage, the
Taurenminotaur-like member of the main group is known to be part of two brothers, one a scholar and one a warrior. While he is confirmed to be the scholar and is generally the most knowledgeable of the party, he often relies on pure brute strength in battle and to solve other problems.
- Parodied with Dr. Birding in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, who is a genius with the ability to turn into a Hulk-like monster. He would be a Genius Bruiser — if his paralysis didn't carry over to that form. Martin, his son, is an example of Dumb Muscle.
- Buck Godot is extremely strong and tough, owing to his Heavy Worlder physique, but is also shown to be a very quick thinker, able to outsmart his enemies (and occasionally employers) and come up with complex plans at moment's notice... and being very handy with plans.
- In the fantasy theme of Irregular Webcomic!, although Alvissia has the most common sense of the party, Draak has the most book smarts. He is also clearly the physically strongest member of the party.
- Sauerkraut of Trigger Star. The party's Big Girl sports dual master's degrees in literature and finance.
- Uni-Man of Axe Cop starts off as a normal-looking, albeit extremely intelligent, man with a magical unicorn horn (It Makes Sense in Context). Events through the story see him use his own magic to permanently transform into a muscle-bound Mighty Glacier who keeps his intelligence and later builds an invisible lab. He's now seen with a lab coat instead of a suit and tie.
- Equius Zahhak loves being STRONG and also builds robots. And then destroys them in steel-cage brawls in order to blow off steam. With his bare hands.
- Dirk has an AI of himself that almost passes the Turing Test, builds robots, and is able to understand the Sburb code. He's also an alternate universe version of Bro Strider and like Equius, also has death matches with robots.
- Equius's alternate universe counterpart, Horuss, has Equius's STRENGTH, but is smart enough to build not only robots, but also a steam-powered suit to actively reduce his STRENGTH so that he doesn't break stuff. (Of course, being a member of the Zahhak family, the steam is supplied by boiling his own sweat.)
- Illyra of Rumors of War is The Big Guy in a smarts-centric Five-Man Band. Not that she doesn't qualify as The Big Guy on her own merits, she just tends to fall into The Big Guy role since she isn't
as nice asOccela, and she isn't as motivated asElysia. You know what? Never mind.
- The gamer of the future is expected to follow this road, according to Nerf NOW!!.
- More combative members of the Veiled tend towards the gray area between this and Badass Bookworm. Murai says it all in one simple sentence: "Our specialties are hand-to-hand combat and comparative theology."
- In The Whiteboard, Doc easily qualifies, being a polar bear and built like one would expect of a member of the bear family who builds things like pizza teleporters, mecha, and reality-altering devices (as a paintball gun!) as a hobby.
- Roy Greenhilt from The Order of the Stick is the party's fighter and leader. He also holds an MBA (Master of Battle Administration). The party's wizard is insulted when a mind-flayer finds Roy's brain to be the most appetizing in the party. When his Dumb Muscle Evil Counterpart asks how he intends to use his Intelligence score in combat, he says "I'll figure something out, that's sort of the whole point". That something later turns out to be using knowledge of architecture to collapse a ceiling on him.
"THAT'S how I use my Intelligence score in combat, DUMBASS!!"
- In Jet Dream, Marlene is both the team's strongwoman and a brilliant scientist capable of achieving actual advances in the field of science!
- Biscuit of Clan Roak in Goblins has been alive for six hundred years, and all creatures in the realm receive a stackable wisdom bonus based on their age. This allows him to deliver some eloquent Badass Boasts in between murdering everything that looks at him funny.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! Jean's ex, Slick Simmons, is a tall, very imposing, muscular guy, and also a brilliant scientist. And a loony.
- Waterworks: Typhoon is described as a huge, extremely strong "beast of a man" whose hobbies include discussing scientific theories or reading fine literature.
- Sketch Comedy: Professional wide receiver Ubiquitus Moss spends his spare time mastering chess and writing essays on Nietzsche.
- At least two major characters in The Dragon Doctors fit the trope:
- Goro was in the army before becoming a legendary surgeon and joining the Dragon Doctors. She demonstrates both her Nerves of Steel and combat training during Smith's surgery: when an assassin tried to enter the operating room, she threw the scalpel Aki had just handed her like a throwing knife and casually requested another to operate with.
- Tanica is introduced as an assassin on the team sent to kill Smith. After she is accidentally turned into a tree during the fight, she ends up as a patient of the Dragon Doctors, and they decide to take turns keeping her company to save her from going crazy from lack of social interaction. Mori, The Smart Guy, decides on his first turn to challenge Tanica to a relaxing game of Go — and learns to his discomfiture that Tanica is good at it. It is later revealed that Tanica became an assassin specifically to pay off the student loans incurred earning her multiple university degrees.
- The Manly Guys Doing Manly Things-version of Kratos is headed this way, as is his video game counterpart. He is still very much the Hot-Blooded Emotional Bruiser, but also loves puzzles and thought-games of all kinds, and is regularly shown doing sudokus or fiddling with a Rubiks Cube. He also considers a Cenobite puzzle box to be too easy, and tells Pinhead to bring back a twenty-story one (as opposed to the original five-story one) instead.
- The Psycho Stalker story arc of Suicidefor Hire has one of these. The object of the stalker's affections is quarterback of the football team, active in three other sports as well and is also on the honor roll and a certified mechanic to boot. As the main characters say, egghead jocks are quite rare.
- Grrl Power has Vehemence, a hulking muscleman who's proven to be quite smart and well informed, and who manipulated a horde of other villains into attacking the heroes.
- One perk of wearing a Vitalogy Ring in Hero By Night.
- Lemurians in Atlantis: The Second Age are a race of gorillas with advanced technology, who not only have one of the highest bonuses to Strength in the game, but also much higher Intelligence scores than anyone else. Though it's an Iron Age fantasy world, they often prefer to fight with guns. And ride into battle on rhinoceroses if they can get one!
- In The Gamers Alliance, Ismail, the captain of the Black Guard, is quite a strong and skilled warrior but also has a good understanding of politics and magic thanks to having been taught by his friend Belial.
- In Survival of the Fittest, professional boxer Bobby Jacks stands at 190 and weighs in at . He's also shown to be very intelligent, capable of trickery, fighting very tactically, and being able to quote William Shakespeare (relevantly) purely from memory.
- In the RPs Insane Cafe 2: Rise of the Shurlups and Insane Cafe 3: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel features Zachary Johnson, an anthropomorphic Clydesdale who is very well versed in biology and is shown to be capable of tearing doors out of the wall with his bare hands.
- Zachary Johnson from Darwins Soldiers is a researcher at Pelvanida. He is so strong that when he kicks a combat robot, he leaves the imprint of his foot on the robot's armor.
- Keegan O'Neill stands over six feet tall and is almost all muscle. He's also a high ranking officer of Dragonstorm.
- Piotr Kozlov is seven feet of pure Siberian grizzly bear muscle, who is also a talented weapons designer.
- Hans Donitz in the story Ship Of State is capable of understanding and explaining how the Einstein-Rosen bridge works. He is also a huge man with great strength and extraordinary combat prowess.
- Will Heggers of AJCO is the Crew's patient engineer, and can work his way around the many machines needed to keep the Castle powered with ease. Going by MACELIPS stats, he's actually smarter than his former boss Nights as well as most of the other characters on the server. He's also absolutely enormous; the only people who beat him in terms of strength have a natural advantage due to being a demon/a robot/a Hector.
- He once knocked a metal door off its hinges with his bare hands!
- Odysseus and Attila the Hun from Fate Nuovo Guerra. One's a Guile Hero best known for the original Trojan Horse and a Lightning Bruiser, and the other's a tactical genius who also happens to be a Mighty Glacier.
- Ultra-Man, a stalwart member of the Global Guardians is a bit of a mix between the Gentle Giant and the Genius Bruiser. Regardlesss, he is the moral compass of the team.
- At the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there are plenty of examples. Pyrs is a huge, brutish mutant 'with a brow ridge you could camp under', but obviously knows just what people think of him. We see him at the Whateley Weapons Fair (don't ask), looking for holdouts because he knows everyone assumes he wouldn't use anything other than a fist.
- Maybe a better example: Montana, who looks like a huge blond Sasquatch. But his real power is a genius-level ability with small electronic gadgets.
- Ashpaw Longstripe in Tasakeru treads the line between this and Badass Bookworm.
- Muhammut Kali; fifteen feet tall, able to punch through solid steel, and wields a sword taller than a man with incredible power. He's also the president of a steel company and a brilliant businessman.
- Worm has a few, such as Weld, who is literally made of metal, but has a sharp intellect.
- Alexandria is best known in-universe for being a Flying Brick, but she also has Super Intelligence.
- The Numbers Man first appears as the guy who seems to manage every cape's money, but later we find out that he's actually Harbinger, a former member of the S9.
- The Endbringers are shown to be quite intelligent during battle, despite being Kaiju that do literally nothing but try to kill everyone.
- This Cracked article called "6 Myths About Body Builders That are Total BS" discusses the Dumb Muscle stereotype. According to it, a lot of body builders are total nerds about what they do for a living in the sense that they have extensive knowledge on things like deadlifts and are very passionate about body building.
- In Red vs. Blue, Agent Maine/The Meta seems to just be a hulking, mute brute. However, even without Sigma to guide him, he can be quite cunning. For example, biding his time and pretending to be subservient to Wash until he got what he needed, neutralizing weapons that can damage him as soon as possible, and immediately getting into melee range when the Reds try to use grenades on him.