[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/{{xkcd}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/xkcd242_7013.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:ForScience!]]
->''"A learning experience is one that tells you, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.'"''
-->-- '''Creator/DouglasAdams'''

Some people [[ButIReadABookAboutIt learn by reading]]. Some people [[AwesomenessByAnalysis learn by observation]]. Some people [[TaughtByTelevision learn off the telly.]] Some people [[IKnowMortalKombat Know from Mortal Kombat.]] And then there are those who just '''have''' to grab the electric fence...

The human mind is an interesting thing. When we put our hand on a hot burner or put a penny in a lightsocket, what's left of us tends to not want to do that anymore. We learn from our mistakes.

Characters in a story usually begin their journey with little actual experience in the [[RealLife real world]]. Somewhere along the way, they figure out how to manage. There is usually something either said or implied that being in a constant life or death situation has forced them to find some way to survive. By default, they usually become damn good at it.

When the time for action has come, the time for preparation has passed. Sometimes your TrainingFromHell is not enough. Other times you have no training whatsoever. This is often how someone TookALevelInBadass. Some are so good at this that they have AwesomenessByAnalysis, maybe to the point of being an InstantExpert. Maybe, somewhere along the line, [[IKnowMortalKombat they learned Mortal Kombat.]]

This is a staple of MacGyvering, the devices they make work because they ''have'' to. The CrazyPrepared person is either this way because of past experience, or because they want to avoid the bruises associated with it. And this is implied with a person who has SeenItAll -- they have experienced it personally.

TruthInTelevision: want to learn German, live in Germany. Want to learn Japanese, go to Japan. Hard work is still needed to get to a well rounded skill level you need, because there's no guarantee that learning by experience will cover every critical area. Worse, because you learn what is "good enough" to get by and lack formal teaching that might spot overlooked errors, you may pick up bad habits that those with proper training are taught to avoid. And on the other side, the pure academic approach doesn't account for the "street smarts" and variations not found in the classroom. Let's just say there is a good reason why a leader needs to know what it is like at ground zero.

In VideoGames, especially [=RPGs=], this is what they are trying to replicate with ExperiencePoints, especially in the more complicated leveling methods where [[StatGrinding performing an action repeatedly gives you more points to allocate to that skill area]].

See also the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil. Compare/contrast HardWorkHardlyWorks, TheOnlyWayTheyWillLearn, SinkOrSwimMentor, BookDumb, and WaxOnWaxOff.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Mugen from ''Anime/SamuraiChamploo'' has a bizarre [[DanceBattler fighting style]]. Jin (who is a classically trained samurai) even notes how his style is [[AwesomeButImpractical completely impractical]], yet is one of the few men Jin could not kill easily. Mugen made mention that he grew up in very violent conditions, (living in a prison colony and being a prisoner himself) which forced him to figure out that style on his own. It works for him.
** In the final two-parter, the two two face off against Kariya. Mugen goes first and Kariya notes that while his movement make his swordplay unpredictable it leaves too many openings that a trained swordsman can easily get through. Adding that Mugen need to learn to adapt more in certain conditions. In the final battle he takes this to heart which allows him to off Umanosuke by using his scythe against him.
* A foundation of ''Anime/DragonballZ''. Doing some TrainingFromHell so that MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours often leads into a {{Determinator}} moment. As Goku once said to Gohan, "Power comes when there is a reason. Create your reason."
* ''Anime/SpiritedAway'' uses this in the classic gentle StudioGhibli way. Chihiro has to fend for herself. She has friends, but the story is about how she grows during the process.
* The first season of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' was a fairly ridiculous case: Nanoha became a mage when she was handed her EmpathicWeapon and defeated the first MonsterOfTheWeek. She does this ''after school'', and without ''any'' training, she's stronger than another talented mage that had been training for his entire life ''within a week''. Then within a few weeks, she's an elite [[RankInflation A rank]] mage firing a WaveMotionGun from her staff. The manga actually provided a {{handwave}} that she used said weapon to go through TrainingFromHell at all hours of the day.
** Also, it helps that she's crazy talented. Specifically, she's naturally ''powerful'', which means that she can make up for her lack of skill via sheer brute force when she needs to, [[HeroicRROD though she would pay for doing that too much in time]].
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'', Ash doesn't get ''anything'' right in the first story arc (Indigo league), often getting his badges after losing the first gym battle and having to help out the gym in some fashion later on. As the series progresses, he gradually gets sharper and more creative with his methods, both in training and battling his Pokémon ("Use [[ShockAndAwe Pikachu]]" and "If that doesn't work, use [[MoreDakka more Pikachu]]" won't solve [[ElementalRockPaperScissors all]] [[FragileSpeedster of]] [[HotBlooded his]] [[IdiotHero problems]]).
** Ironic as he kept using Pikachu on Team Rocket, despite them using something that's shock proof (which they've done since, what, the fifth time he faced them?) As Meowth pointed out in one episode, "You'd think he'd learn by now".
* A lot of the goofing off Taichi does in ''Manga/DigimonVTamer01'' is just that, but occasionally he'll try an experiment with seemingly no beneficial outcome that he later can build on. He keeps a lot of notes too.
* ''Manga/{{Vagabond}}'' is about how MiyamotoMusashi goes from a naturally gifted [[HotBlooded hothead]] to a true {{Badass}} ''after'' he gains experience, being humbled before overcoming the challenge; when he's going [[spoiler:to fight all of the remaining Yoshioka]], he actually thanks them (silently and by himself with a silent prayer) for giving him the past year to learn, develop and grow.
* Generally, most of the cast in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' opt for TrainingFromHell (with the occasional AwesomeByAnalysis). The former [[PrivateMilitaryContractors private soldier]] Mana Tatsumiya, on the other hand, thanks to [[ChildSoldier a youth spent in combat]], can boast the skills and instincts above what the rest of the warrior-heavy class have managed, befitting a mercenary of her ability. Evangeline also counts, having learned to use magic and her vampiric abilities at age ten, then going from there.
-->''"Surviving for hundreds of years ain't just for show, you know."''
--->-Chachazero
** Jack Rakan. His general attitude tends to make people think that he's just naturally strong and talented, and has never had to really work for his wins. Nothing could be further from the truth: he was an ordinary boy who was just in near-constant combat for over forty years. Negi realizes there's really not a whole lot that could catch Jack off-guard; since the guy has seen pretty much every trick in the book.
** After Negi's and [[spoiler:Rakan's]] match, some of the fans started quarreling about who was better. A fight broke out. Onlookers started betting on the outcome. [[spoiler:The draw had the highest stake.]]
* Parodied in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', where Genma wanted to teach Ranma the legendary [[UnstoppableRage Cat Fu]] martial arts style. Being unfamiliar with its methods, he decided to wrap Ranma in bacon and sausage and throw him into a bin filled with starving cats. Ranma learned nothing (at least at first) and in fact gained a crippling phobia of cats because of it. It was later shown that he did learn Cat Fu, but has to go into a psychotic break-down from his cat phobia to reach it unconsciously.
** On a funny note, it didn't teach Genma anything, as he tried to "cure" Ranma's phobia by throwing him in the bin ''again'' (this time with sardines).
* Guts of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' has spent his entire life fighting from childhood on. While his training as a mercenary from childhood made him quite the badass against any human he met, the skills that he acquired in DemonSlaying were born out of pure experience, desperation and survival instinct, his first experience being with Zodd, then with Wyald after Griffith's rescue, and then with [[spoiler:a whole mess of monsters from hell out to eat him alive during the Eclipse]].
* In ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'', the entire point of [[spoiler:setting up Shoichi Irie as the main enemy of the Future Arc, and having the Vongola storm Merone Base]] was so that they would gain more strength in order to defeat the ''true'' BigBad, [[spoiler:Byakuran]].
* Yuu from ''Manga/{{Holyland}}'' does this most of the time fighting on the street. Sometimes he has to be manually taught by others, but mostly he figures it out by this. For example, he used what he learned fighting a judoka to know what to look out for against another grappler and started using more kicks after he found that he was damaging his hand from over-reliance on his fists.
* In ''Manga/HappyYarouWedding'', Kazuki thinks he can wipe the floor with Yuuhi, but Yuuhi is quick to point out that he's never been in a real fist fight before. Yuuhi may not be trained in martial arts, but his experience gives him the edge over Kazuki.
* Due to the circumstances of the story, any training Ichigo Kurosaki of ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' undergoes tends to be relatively short, from a few days to a month or two. Because of this, his real progress happens through the various life-or-death fights he finds himself taking part in. While he does get regular power ups, he also becomes gradually more skilled as the story goes on.
* The two sisters in ''LightNovel/MaoyuuMaouYuusha'', particularly the older one, understands about being poor with no food very well unlike those who haven't, such as the sons of the noblemen being taught by the Crimson Scholar. When one of them nonchalantly mentions how the nobles will take care of their people in times of trouble and famine, the older sister comments that they must have never starved before.
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', Touma Kamijou has never received any formal training, but has picked up street fighting skills from a lifetime of defending himself and others from bullies and street thugs. His various fights also help him pick up patterns and weaknesses in people's fighting styles and powers. However, he once got curb-stomped by Motoharu, who mocked him and said self-taught street fighting skills cannot complete with elite martial arts training.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In some versions of GreenArrow's origin, he develops his incredible archery skills as a result of being stranded on a desert island and having to learn how to use a bow in order to survive.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In the start of ''Film/PacificRim'', Raleigh almost gets killed because he assumed a Kaiju was dead when it wasn't. Later, He takes down another Kaiju and "[checks] for a pulse", which is to say that he disembowels it with his energy cannon.
* ''Film/CastAway'' is a great demonstration of this. A pudgy Tom Hanks struggled for a while figuring out how to hunt for food, gather water, and build a fire. After a large TimeSkip, you see him slimmed down and very efficient at all of those, in addition to making his own rope.
* ''Film/IronMan1'' had Stark forgo the thorough safety inspection on his Mark II suit because he wanted to use this trope. The lessons he learned from were used as a ChekhovsGun later on.
** Whereas [[spoiler:Stane can't hit the broad side of a barn once his targeting computers are... "disabled". ]]
--->'''Stark:''' [[spoiler:"[[AreTheseWiresImportant Oooh, this looks important!]]" ''(rrriip)'']]
*** To say nothing of [[spoiler:the "icing problem"]].
---->[[spoiler:'''Stane:''' "Icing problem?" ''(suit goes ka-put)'']]
---->'''Stark:''' [[spoiler:"Might want to look into it!"]]
** Carried into ''Film/TheAvengers''. After the electrical discharges from Whiplash's weapons were able to disable his suit in ''Film/IronMan2'', [[spoiler: Tony has upgraded his suit further to absorb excess electrical energy, which he can then channel into his repulsors. He uses this feature against Thor.]]
** Tony functions on this trope. Each of his suits are improvements on the previous one, correcting old flaws. It goes both ways because a good deal of the danger comes because Tony will often not think ahead and be unprepared for easily planned for scenarios - Tony's fight against Whiplash, for example would be much easier if he packed spare laser cartridges and most of in Film/IronMan3 could have been avoided if he bothered to store some of his extra suits in Stark Tower.
* ''Film/{{Platoon}}'' has Creator/CharlieSheen's character develop from a shell shocked recruit fresh from basic training into a capable soldier... unfortunately.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Luke Skywalker's advancement in TheForce can be attributed to this. Without the classic training of the monk-like Jedi, he learned by improvisation and [[ArtificialLimbs sometimes hard lessons.]]
* ''Film/BatmanBegins'' uses this entirely as its main story. Bruce went through the training, and when he came to forming the mantle of "Batman", it was from picking up his mistakes. After getting a military combat suit, he found that he needed something to soften a fall, which leads to the glider-cape. After getting gased by the Scarecrow, even though he was now innoculated against the effects, he was fully aware of what Crane was going to do. As Alfred used as a CallBack quote from Bruce's father, "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
** ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' continues with this, as Bruce found the original Batman suit not holding up to the demands he was putting into it. He commissioned a new suit that addressed various limitations he found, such as a limited range of motion including the [[MythologyGag inability to turn his head.]]
* Despite having "teaching machines" they could use, in ''Film/BattlefieldEarth'' the humans decided to just learn to fly jets through experience. And they do it well enough to actually pose a reasonable challenge to the Psyclos.
* ''Film/TheEliteSquad'' (aka ''Tropa de Elite'') combined this with TrainingFromHell: The latter half of a room-clearing obstacle course is actually a part of a real slum with real assault-rifle-toting criminals.
* Implied in the movie ''Film/{{Sahara}}''. Dirk and Al {{Mac Gyver|ing}} a boat to explode (LongStory), with a quick explanation that despite them calling it "The Panama Maneuver," they were actually in Nicaragua. After the boat explodes, an amazed side character asks the duo how they got it to work right the first time. Dirk sheepishly admits that it ''didn't'' work the first time...
* Discussed and played straight in ''Film/{{Fearless}}''. The former occurs when Huo Yuanjia and Tanaka [[GoKartingWithBowser are having tea]] and Tanaka asks Huo if he thinks there is a "Ultimate Fighting Style" that can't be defeated. Huo responds with a no saying that "It's more like there are people who are all at different skill levels and experience.". The played straight part starts from the beginning of the movie where we watch Huo go through years of training and '''SEVERAL''' fights building up his skill making him the {{Badass}} we see near the end of the movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', the royal family learnt the hard way that it is no good to let their daughters marry a man who looks good and is of noble birth. After the failure of last time (the handsome guy turned out to be abusive), they are very careful about it and ask every single daughter for her consent - much to the chargrin of Ren. [[spoiler: Eventually, all sisters agree to marry Jerin, a decision that makes everyone happy, as Jerin is a very good husband, despite his lack of noble birth.]]
* Played with in ''Literature/DragonBones'': The only useful thing Ward learnt from living with an abusive father was how to hide his emotions and carefully time his actions so that ''he'' is the one who gets beaten instead of his sister, Ciarra. After his father is dead, Ward spends a lot of time trying to fix the stallion that his father turned into a fierce monster by mistreating it, making it unlearn the aggressive reactions caused by this. There is also Oreg, a slave, who learnt that saying his opinion is dangerous, so he hides behind furniture whenever he tells Ward something that could offend him. Ward would never raise his hand against him, but he doesn't know that. The wisdom gained from experience doesn't serve Oreg well, as Ward is different from others, and it would be better to tell him about weak spots instead of hiding them. Oreg suffers severe pain at least once, because he didn't tell Ward what happens if he doesn't obey an order.
* ''TheDresdenFiles'': Harry Dresden's magical (and [[HandCannon regular]]) arsenal changes between books from his observations of what works and what doesn't. After getting his left hand burnt into uselessness because his shield spell stops matter and kinetic energy but not heat, he devises a new shield that stops just about everything (including heat, light, electricity, most sorts of magic, etc). After seeing Elaine's taser-chain trick in ''White Night'', he comes up for his own version for when fire magic isn't such a good idea.
** Oh, and teaching his apprentice how to do magic gives him a LOT of ideas. And there's his upgraded 'knock people around' ring...
** He also stopped using his wind spell, ventas servitas, after the first few books. According to the author, this is because while wind is flashy and impressive, force magic (his forzare spell) is much more effective and versatile in almost any situation.
** One good example of this trope in action, that might be easy to miss: In the ninth book, the opponent turns off all the lights, so Harry does what any wizard would do: [[FantasticLightSource he calls up a supernatural light]]. [[DeconstructedTrope However]], this just makes him a target for the baddies, who immediately attack him, which was the [[BatmanGambit the aim of the blackout in the first place]]. [[ChekhovsGun Two books later]], another baddie tries the same tactic in a room full of White Council wizards, and Harry is one of the few wizards ''not'' to call up light and make himself a target.
** Arguably his rings count too. In the beginning he had a single ring which stored up force, and could unleash it in a single large blast of force. It turns out that having a 'free' sucker punch of force that can be unleashed immediately when magically exhausted is useful, so useful that Harry decided [[MoreDakka more is better]]. He started adding rings to each finger, then tripling the bans per ring. By Changes he has 3 bands of force on each finger, 30 times the power of his original ring. If something is proven to work you should double down on it!
** The advantage was demonstrated in Skin Games. [[spoiler:Hannah]] is a powerful mage, who can work [[spoiler:fire]] magic much better then Harry. However, in combat she turns out to be much weaker then Harry because despite raw magical talent. She doesn't know how to adjust her tactics on the fly, and she commits everything to offense without knowing how to defend herself. Harry clearly states that she isn't in his league as a fighter because she hasn't learned from fighting in real battles as he has.
* In the ''{{Literature/Eisenhorn}}'' books, after the title character binds [[spoiler: Cherubael]], he finds that it keeps running wild at the worst possible times. Eventually, he triple-binds it, deeming the subsequent loss in power acceptable for the greater docility forced on it.
* Scourge from ''Literature/WarriorCats'' was thrown out onto the streets and learned this way. It led to him becoming a brutal killer with no remorse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. This, along with a heaping helping of natural talent, is subliminally given as the reason why Willow went from a newbie in magic to becoming the worlds most powerful witch in the space of four years.
** Wesley from ''Series/{{Angel}}'' defines his TookALevelInBadass from this trope. His first appearance on Buffy had him as an arrogant rookie from the "Watchers" academy (which wasn't too much different than what Giles was in the first season). By the third season of ''Angel'' he grew a permanent [[PermaStubble five day beard]] and while not as strong as TheHero, he was a fairly badass [[TheSmartGuy smart guy.]]
** Gunn, also from ''Series/{{Angel}}'', learned this way before we even met him. He led an urban vampire hunting team made up entirely of local gangs. He had apparently been doing it for years and has had a relatively high life expectation compared to the better funded Watchers council and even the various Slayers.
*** Arguably, Buffy herself. She goes from having trouble with 2-3 vampires in Season 1, to killing 20 at once with a giant stake in Season 5.
* ''PowerRangers'' lives upon this trope. Don't believe me? ''TwoWords''. ''[[RookieRedRanger Red Rookie]]''.
* ''{{Scrubs}}'' has this throughout its entire run, but most notably in the first episode where J.D. is afraid to even touch a patient. Dr. Cox became his unwilling mentor when he dropped the cold truth on him and forced him to get the job done.
--> "Four years of pre-med, four years of med school, and tons of unpaid loans have made me realize one thing... I don't know jack."
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Interestingly enough, even the centuries-old Doctor.
** Well, except when he does actually know what it does from having actually read, heard or otherwise found out about it without first-hand experience (seriously, he can't actually have all that encyclopedic knowledge of the extraordinary variety of alies he faced without having read about at least some of them before actually meeting them, can he?) and is [[ObfusticatingStupidity only pretending to not know about something for effect]].
* Inverted with a character on ''Series/{{House}}''. An applicant for House's diagnostic team was revealed to not have actually gone to med school. He worked as an admissions officer at Columbia University's medical school and audited every class multiple times, and so had a large understanding of the textbooks and medical theory. But he never actually worked with patients or was actually trained to do certain procedures, not to mention didn't even have a medical license. Sneaking around that limitation is what led to House figuring out his secret. House ends up firing him but not because of the deception but because his opinions and ideas were too similar to House, which the latter doesn't want in an assistant.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' had elements of this, very much in the style of the Apollo 13 accident. Characters would come across a problem, spend a whole episode dealing with it, and then end with them saying, 'Okay, now we ''don't'' let that in the future.' For example, invisible aliens took control of the Stargate, because they'd found out the passwords by spying on the base. At the end of the episode, hand scans were put into the protocol. This adaptability was a major reason humanity became very powerful very quickly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stand Up Comedy]]
* This seems to be a theme in Christopher Titus's work.
-->[[NoExceptYes "I don't fail. I succeed in finding what doesn't work."]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''Any'' game based on strategy. You can read all the "How to Play Chess" books you want, but you'll never really understand the game until you actually play it and get your butt kicked repeatedly.
* ''TabletopGame/UnknownArmies'' allows players to put a free point into a skill on a matched roll.
* Continuum's skill system is explicitly built on this, with points accruing each time the skill is rolled if players don't decide to [[TimeTravel take a short cut]]
* [[XtremeKoolLetterz Sykers]] in ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}: Hell on Earth'' took years to train [[AfterTheEnd Before The End]], with new PsychicPowers being added to a SuperSoldier's repertoire once every year or so, on average. It's possible for {{Player Character}}s to ''become'' sykers much more quickly, to say nothing of adding new abilities. What's the difference? [[WordOfGod Experience.]] Keeping your melon intact while the horrors of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Apocalypse]] are breathing down your neck teaches you damn good. Or you die. Either way, [[FalseReassurance you'll have learned something]]!
* When making a unit in BrikWars, you have to find out what does and doesn't work. Your unit may have a FatalFlaw that you didn't think about until someone exploits it (ie having a creature that can replicate itself every turn at the cost of defense, then getting set on fire and dying in the first round). It takes several games to really know how to utilize your Cost of Production points.
* It's an unofficial but often-suggested rule in ''TabletopGame/TheWorldOfDarkness'' games that you can only spend experience points on skills or abilities you either used in the sessions that ''got'' you the points or put some foundation work in on (for new abilities), or which you have at least been using frequently. (Pretty much all games suggest either that or require you to burn time training between adventures -- ''how often'' this is enforced varies from group to group though.)
* Happens a lot with experimental equipment in ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}''. Just because you have security clearance to test the equipment doesn't mean you have security clearance to ''read the instructions'', which pretty much just leaves ''repeatedly'' invoking "WhatDoesThisButtonDo" (and hoping the answer isn't "activate the SelfDestructMechanism").
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Every {{RPG}} ''ever''. Full stop. In some point-buy systems you can get smarter by kicking ass.
** And conversely in some you can learn how to be kick-assier by reading books.
*** Noticeably zig-zagged in ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning''. Reading books, handing in quests and kicking ass makes you smarter. However, you absorb fate (you can ScrewDestiny in a world where fate rules all) when you kick ass. In other words, killing an enemy makes you gain XP from combat and also absorb their fate (what they could become if you didn't kill them.) and can use that fate to increase your skills (from Alchemy to Stealth and also combat moves) giving a in-universe reason for the player learns through ass kicking.
* The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series both subverts and plays this one straight. In the first game, you get to define the abilities your character starts with, and each class has specific skills that can or cannot be used. The only way to increase skill in something is to use that skill (which makes sense: you get better at climbing by climbing stuff, better at swordplay by swinging your sword and so on). The subversion comes later in the series, starting with the third game, where the Thief character can be taught the acrobatics skill and immediately becomes proficient in it within seconds (though not necessarily ''good'' at it, that takes practice). In the fourth game, Fighter and Paladin characters can read a book and instantly learn how to climb. Mages subvert this from the first game: finding a magic scroll and reading it ''instantly'' imparts the spell to the mage, although it is at a low skill level. At least half of every game in the series (there are five) is spent just practicing your skills.
** The skill level system itself is very vague. Having 10 points in Weapon Use means you can use your weapon, but you'll miss a lot, whereas having 100 points ([[[[{{Cap}} Level Cap]] in the first game,]] at least) means you'll rarely miss...but you'll ''still'' miss occasionally. Generally speaking, it's possible to complete the game with low skill levels (depending on the skill and the character, of course), but certainly not recommended. Getting that LastLousyPoint in a particular game can also be a frustrating experience, since skills level up slower as they reach the [[{{Cap}} Level Cap]]. ''Quest For Glory 5'' completely subverts the skill system, however: as long as you're the right class, you can do anything in which you have skill. The numerical values mean very little.
* In the first ''Franchise/DevilMayCry'' (not so much the sequels), files are kept on every enemy encountered, and descriptions of their attacks as well. For every new attack you witness, another section is added, usually with an explanation on how to stop/avoid it. Oh, and by the way, there are files on BOSSES, too...[[UnexpectedGenreChange well, except the last one.]] [[ThatOneBoss S]][[ThatOneAttack h]][[MoreDakka a]][[RailShooter m]][[FrickinLaserBeams e]]...
* In ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'', there are no ExperiencePoints to speak of... the experience belongs to the '''player'''. An experienced player with horrible newbie gear can and will be more successful than a newbie with great gear.
* Much like Monster Hunter above, ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' and ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' drill the players not just how to fight, but remember enemy placement, trap placement, enemy aggression range, weapon moveset, etc. An experienced player can tell what another players' rough stats are from what he/she equips and then deduce what needs to be done to counter it, usually in order of seconds. There are more than enough anecdotes of seasoned players zipping through the game in a fraction of the time they required to do it the first time around.
* A case of a boss who does this in-game: Mr Freeze in VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity seems at first like a typical "impervious unless attacked in a certain way, but never learns to cover that weakness" sort of boss. Turns out he isn't; each sneaky trick Batman can use on him [[ItOnlyWorksOnce will only work once]] because he will alter his attack pattern to cover that particular weakness, forcing the player to do the same: [[CreepyMonotone "I can adapt my strategies, Batman. Can you?"]]
* In ''VideoGame/FTLFasterThanLight'', your crewmen directly become more able at the stations they're assigned too.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'', Achilles directly refers to this when explaining to Connor why he was left behind in Boston in Sequence Five.
* In ''Franchise/MassEffect'' lore, getting the coveted N7 rank requires N6s to prove themselves in actual combat and not only survive but do so in "admirable and effective fashion".
* This can be an invoked trope on the part of the player, by rampant abuse of the Quick-save/Quick-load keys. Make a mistake during your last turn? Time travel to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The ''[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Order of the Stick]]'' prequel book "On The Origin Of [=PCs=]" deconstructs this trope by showing what happens if you take it too literally. Vaarsuvius, the future party wizard, is lamenting how his ascent to power is taking too long. Her friend Haley, the future rogue, tells him that if she wants to get more powerful, he should just become an adventurer. V brushes this off, saying that killing monsters isn't going to teach her more about magic and the workings of the universe. Haley points out that she recently killed a bunch of kobolds during an adventure, and when she got back to town she was better at picking locks.
-->V: Next you'll tell me that cleaning your kitchen improved your Decipher Script ranking.
-->Haley: Hey, it might! You haven't seen some of the things growing in my kitchen; I wouldn't put language skills past them.
* Burk of ''WebComic/HeroOhHero'' claims his only experience in fighting comes from [[http://neorice.com/hoh_169 wrestling with his brother]] and "defeating things". He's still capable of defeating enough wolves to have given someone with military training trouble.
* This is how Amical from ''[[{{Webcomic/Morphe}} morphE]]'' likes to teach his seedlings. On the first day of actual training a frustrated Asia chides him for not actually teaching them anything and just expecting them to do the impossible feats of magic because he'd shoot them otherwise.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Dimensional Guardians from the web fiction serial ''Literature/DimensionHeroes'' are more or less bumbling fools when they first stumble upon their Guardian powers, but gradually learn to control them as they fight, to the point that they're able to take down a dark force that threatens their very dimension.
* In ''[[Website/BecomingABetterWriter Demonic Symphony]]'' this is given as a reason for Derek’s [[http://becomingabetterwriter.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/demonic-symphony-scene-029/ continued survival]]
* The whole point of [[SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy]] in the ''WhateleyUniverse'' is to teach new mutants how to control and use their powers, and ''defend themselves'', even if they don't want to be superheroes or supervillains. Even a mage as powerful as Fey has to learn control, and all those spells. And PK bricks like Lancer have to learn how not to wreck everything they touch.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Rachel Lindt -- known as Bitch to her allies and Hellhound to the authorities -- learned to fight by spending years dodging the superheroes trying to capture her.
* In ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'', this is [[spoiler:[[StarFox Fox McCloud]]'s]] edge over [[spoiler:[[ComicBook/BuckyOHareAndTheToadWars Bucky O'Hare]]]] when it comes to [[spoiler:ending wars]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** The entire show covers a little under one year, yet Aang learned three other bending practices, Sokka became a passable swordsman, Zuko increases his firebending and Katara has become a virtual waterbending goddess. Sozin's comet gives them added incentive. On another note, this is the reason Toph learned metalbending - because she ''really'' wanted to get out of a metal box.
** Aang, however, is a special case of this trope. The Avatar gets reincarnated repeatedly but with a different element each time but the same skill (muscle AND mental memory). It's less Aang learning but [[LeakedExperience REMEMBERING all the skill from his past lives.]] He's being taught by experience. His own. Over MULTIPLE lifetimes.
* The ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' movie ''[[TheMovie Mask of the Phantasm]]'' had Bruce perform his first night as a vigilante in black clothes and a ski mask, yelling out police commands. He had all the training and gadgetry, but didn't really understand Batman's foundation of fear and intimidation. This is what leads him to being the poster child of CrazyPrepared. This aspect of the movie was a homage to ''Batman: Year One'', which used essentially the same thing.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' sees Bruce Wayne's then-protege Terry go through a long process to learn how to properly be Batman. Early on he is dependent on [[ClothesMakeTheSuperman his batsuit]] to survive; later episodes sees him learning from the constant hazards to the point that he's perfectly capable without it(and even wins a fight against the suit when it gets taken over by a hostile AI at one point).
* In the first season of ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' the title character has little control of his powers and has trouble taking on the weakest of his enemies. After three sesions of fighting, he is able to hold his own against the ghost gods.
* Subverted by Ed in ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' with his inability to grasp the concept of a fridge light despite a whole night of experiments:
** Ed: ''Hello light...Hello light...Hello light...''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' had Superman learn to adapt to various situations, such as getting a suit that was proof against kryptonite ''and'' skin contact for when that was necessary, or come back at an electric-powered villain coated in rubber.
* Ben Tennyson [[WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}} throughout]] [[WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce the]] [[Ben10UltimateAlien various]] [[Ben10Omniverse shows]]. One episode has him being forced to enter and pass the [[SpacePolice Plumbers Academy]] just so he could keep working for them. Needless to say, his experience in the field caused him to pass fairly easily and quickly.
** The new series references this by giving him a new partner who is [[ByTheBookCop all training, but has no experience in the field]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'', this is why Spidey is recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. and given four agents to lead: while he's essentially a RookieRedRanger to the more experienced Iron Fist, Power Man, Nova and White Tiger, Spidey had a year of superheroics under his belt - experiences the four don't have to actively operate normal.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* ''Everyone'' learns very quickly in the Canadian Forces that if a sergeant asks "Who has 404's[[note]]A drivers license for a military vehicle[[/note]]" or "Who likes ice cream", you're in for a crummy task if you [[SchmuckBait raise your hand]].
** Though sometimes it's [[WrongGenreSavvy inverted]] where that sergeant needs a group for a crummy task and the one guy who was brave and/or stupid enough to raise his hand is the one who ''doesn't'' have to do it.
* Steve Irwin aka the Series/CrocodileHunter learned most of what he knew about wildlife, especially crocodiles and snakes, from his father and from working with and growing up around them in his family's wildlife park from a very young age.
* Bruce Lee developed the philosphy-labled-martial-art Jeet Kune Do specifically under the idea of using your personal preferences over set forms and attacks. It is more of a training method. He believed that you should do what you feel is most comfortable and that if an opponent knows the set fighting style you have been taught, they have an advantage. In fact, for this reason supposedly there was at least one aspect that he deliberately never taught correctly.
** One of his instructors, Kenpo Grandmaster Ed Parker, was fond of teaching with this trope and even used it on Lee. One time when Lee was practicing a stance, Parker insisted the stance didn't work and showed him by repeatedly knocking him over with a wooden board saying if his stance worked, the board would not knock him over. Lee quickly let Parker show him an alternate stance to use.
* The British Navy in the 18th and early 19th centuries put men off the streets aboard its ships of war and left it up to the officers to train them for sailing and combat. Likewise, midshipmen went aboard as children and were taught the requisite mathematics, navigation, and seamanship required to see them past their promotional exams by senior officers or, if they were unlucky, a schoolmaster or chaplain of some description.
* This is also why licensing for certain trades, including electricians, plumbers, and [=HVACers=] (at least commonly in the USA), requires one not only to pass a fairly lengthy test, but to have an already licensed master electrician, plumber, or [=HVACer=] vouch that you've had 2 years of apprenticeship working on the job under them. There are some things you can only learn by making that mistake on the job and having someone more experienced there to explain what went wrong/help you straighten out the mess/call the ambulance.
** IT and other computer professionals can relate to this as well. Many can only learn by doing, which leads to Malware being installed when you want to download a program to use or entire coding not working because of misspellings. Also, no matter how careful one may be, you're gonna brick a laptop/desktop or two just fucking around with the registry or trying to remove malware.
* All those commercials you see on TV for culinary schools that say, "Become a chef?" Yeah, about that... ''all'' chefs started as cooks. A cook must spend several years actually working the trade, including at least some of those years actually ''running'' the restaurant (or at least the kitchen of the restaurant) you're working in. Until then, you're nothing but a line-cook with a degree.
** And to all those non-culinary types out there, yes, there is a ''tangible'' difference between a cook and a chef.
** And, to be honest, the degree is just a tool to get one's foot in the door. If you've had the aforementioned experience and spent several of those years of experience being taught by a working chef, you can skip the degree.
* ''Series/{{Mythbusters}}'' is pretty much a case study of this. Usually, neither Adam, Jamie, Tory, Grant, nor Kari will have any formal education in the subjects they delve into, and pretty much tend to learn as they go. They have little trouble finding experts on the topic at hand, but usually only use them to get a handle on what they're dealing with and to gain whatever information they need to set up their experiments. Said experts will even often already know the answer to the question they are trying to answer, but that information is typically only called upon after the Mythbusters have tried answering it themselves, either to further confirm their findings, or as a backup in case their experiments go awry.
-->'''Adam Savage:''' "Failure is always an option"
* Why every middle- or highly-placed job demands a certain number of years of experience in a relevant field.
** And many employers are reluctant to supply on-the-job training when they can be cheated of their investment by another company. They know this because they save time and money by poaching other companies' seasoned professionals.
* Creator/QuentinTarantino never went to film school - everything he learned came from making a film with his friends when he worked at a film archive, as well as [[TaughtByTelevision watching the crap out of his favourite films.]]
** This is actually a big reality for a majority of the film industry. While some go to film school, many people can manage just as fine by starting out in low positions and working themselves up.
*** This is more true for directors than any other position in the industry. Other positions can serve time in internships and assistantships, or bringing an outside skill-set into a job that calls for the specialization. But the only way to become a director is by directing movies.
* The famous Edison quote: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
[[/folder]]

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